Adventures in housecleaning….Part 2, 3 &4

Many of you have commented or emailed me that you particularly loved the post about Tess.  And so the house cleaning saga continues…..

Over all things are working out with Tess.  She does most of what I’m paying her to do, which is really the ironing, the bathrooms and the floors.  All the rest of it, I try to convince myself they are ‘bonuses’ (and good blog material!!)

Cleaning #2: When she arrived, I re-emphasized these three things.  I told her not to do our clothes laundry as I like doing that myself and I have certain things I hand wash, don’t dry, etc. This obviously displeased her and so she substituted by washing all towels (even the clean ones), our bedding and all pillow covers in the entire apartment including the ones from the couch and the decorative ones from our bed.  (I didn’t think the decorative ones were designed to be washed, but too late now).  I also told her that it was important to be mindful of the time–I’m paying her for 3 hours and I’d like to keep it to that and not go over.  The last thing I emphasized was that if she had any questions at all to please ask me.

I was sort of sneaky before she arrived and staged various ‘experiments’ to see what got cleaned/moved and what didn’t.  (I know that is evil of me, but after the removing my bookmarks from my book, it was now more of a curiosity more than anything).  The experiment went as follows:

  • Test: I rearranged some items in the pantry, thus messing up the whole sorted according to size of the previous visit.
    • outcome: things were once again rearranged back to by size and shape
  • Test: I organized Tupperware in two different places in the pantry to see if she’d combine them into one.  Also did this with my two prized cans of Dr. Pepper–one on each shelf.
    • outcome: they remained in two different places but very neatly organized in each place.  Dr. Pepper also remained on two different shelves.
  • Test: books went back to their place on my night stand, some with book marks, some without but all with dog-eared pages to mark my place in case book marks were removed again
    • outcome: book marks remained IN the books that had them, all remained on my night stand which is an improvement to all of them being relocated across the room.
  • Test: Took note of beginning stages of soap scum ring in bath tub
    • outcome: ring remained (can’t win all the battles)

She asked if she could put a different set of sheets on our bed while the other ones were being washed.  I told her that was fine, and didn’t really think much about it.  In past posts I’ve noted that in Singapore you typically do not have a top flat sheet and instead you have a comforter cover which acts as a top sheet.  The sheets Tess asked to put on the bed, were our sheets from home (had top sheet but no comforter cover).  Later that night I noticed that it was a lovely made bed, which only had fitted and flat sheet–nothing else in terms of blanket or comforter or anything……where the heck did she put our comforter???  after a minute of looking in the master bedroom with no luck we descended upon the rest of the condo.  The comforter was discovered jammed in an empty drawer in our guest room.   What happened to the “if you have any questions at all, please ask me” part of our conversation?!?!?! Obviously we were sleeping with the comforter, and in what universe is it deemed ok to not only not put it back on, but to move it to another room and shove it in a drawer so it was out of eyesight??  I understand there was no comforter cover, but it isn’t hard to ask “what should I do?” 

Ironing, she saved until last, which I don’t care, except that Ironing is one of the main things I’m paying her for so it’s important that it gets done.  Well Ironing took longer than expected and she ended up staying an hour longer. (prior conversation again went out the window). I of course only had cash for the 3 hours planned and thus couldn’t pay her for the extra hour.

 Cleaning 3:  fairly uneventful as we now had fallen into a routine….except for the fact that she showed up an hour late.  Awesome!!    We again revisited the importance of only 3 hours of cleaning, but I had her money for the extra hour she worked the previous visit.  Also now touched on the fact that I really don’t mind that she is late, but she needs to text message me or call so that I know when to expect her.  I learned that she’s from the Philippines, has an 18 year old daughter whom is graduating high school in June–the first family member to do so and thus the family is trilled.  3 hours exactly she was out the door.

Cleaning 4: I had forgotten that it was cleaning day and had gone into the office.  Luckily I had remembered at lunch and thus worked the afternoon from home.  Our scheduled time is 2pm and 2 pm came and went, 2: 30 came and went.  I texted her to confirm that she actually was coming…no reply.  3, 4, 5pm came and went and still no Tess.  No message, no text, no phone call…NOTHING.  She simply disappeared.  I sent her one last message the next day saying something along the lines of ‘sorry I missed you yesterday, I’m assuming this means you no longer want to be employed by me?’  still no reply, but actions speak louder than words.

That was 4 weeks ago and I haven’t looked for a replacement.  Not sure if I’ll try again or not, but I likely will because I still very much hate ironing especially when it’s 90% humidity!!!

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