For the Teabag in All of Us

Not that kind of teabag. Don't be gross.

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Location: South Florida, United States

If I go about this properly, the blog will (eventually) explain enough about me, so let me just explain the blog, or at least the title of it, here:

"A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Professional Help

I thought I'd borrow the term from Terry, since she blogged about the topic that was in MY head! (Bad Terry)

As I mentioned in the last ramblepost, at long last, I decided to hire a cleaning service. I've bandied this idea about for quite some time, and haven't committed to it for any number of reasons, ranging from "I can't afford it" (bollocks) to "I'm exploiting the immigrants" (bollocks) to "Am I really so lazy that I cannot clean my own home?" (yes) to "I'm not sure I trust these people in my home when I'm not there" (still sorta true).

But I was talking about it with one of the girls at work and she absolutely RAVED about the service that she uses, and claimed that another one of the girls in the office uses the same service and that said other girl is equally enamored of them, and here's their number, don't delay call now! She really did give them such a glowing review that I thought... why not? We really never are around long enough to clean... we both work long days and by the time we get home, have dinner and clean up from that, it's past 8pm and no one is in the mood for cleaning or any other sort of "ing" other than sitt"ing", talk"ing", smooch"ing" and sleep"ing".

So I called them up and made an appointment. I was so excited, I called Chulo straight away with my announcement. His reaction?

"You did what? Why?"

"Um, because the house is a mess"

"So, we can clean it"

"Clearly we cannot, my love... otherwise it would be clean right now"

"I think you should cancel"

"The shop fumes are affecting your reason, honey... why would I cancel?"

"Give me $64, I'll clean the house. Crazy woman!"

Hehe. Reminded me of an old boyfriend who, when I would admire this or that little trinket (or pair of shoes, or window treatment), would say "I can make that." Uh, no you can't. And Chulo can't clean the house, either. I mean he CAN, but not the way I want it cleaned. Not the way I'm expecting it will be cleaned by two women being paid $16/hour each (or at least that's what I'm being charged ... God KNOWS how much those girls get out of that).

In the end, Chulo always lets me get away with murder (thanks baby!) and I told him we'd just hire them this one time to see how it goes, then decide from there whether we'd sign up for regular service. So we forged ahead with the plan. A minor adjustment to the plan, since I had originally arranged for them to come last weekend when I forgot we'd be out of town attending a wedding (SEE what I mean about never being home? Yeah.)

So yesterday morning, bright and early (ahem, 7:48 am), two girls came knocking on our door (poor Chulo was asleep). I let them in and they took quick stock of the place, then busted out their bucket of cleaning supplies (I asked them to use mine instead -- I'm particular about smells), and got started. I was busy for a while, trying to hang up all my carelessly strewn clothing and put away all the dried but unfolded laundry, and deal with the piles of undealt-with mail (I hate mail and hardly ever open any). But I was done with all that after about a half an hour and then I thought... well now what do I do? So then I started feeling guilty and slothful, because there we were with the tv on and these two girls were slaving away... I mean, I found the one girl dusting my wine bottles. Thankfully, I'm not the pretentious sort that prefers dust on the bottles as proof of aged authenticity or whatever. Plus, there's nary a $20 bottle on the rack. But I digress... I guess if I'm going to let people service me, then I have to learn that it's ok to let them do their jobs and not flutter about trying to make myself feel more productive and less guilty/lazy/elitist. I had to learn it after I got my first pedicure, and I'll have to learn it again now. Fine.

About 30 minutes into the job, one of the girls asked me if this was a one-time thing or if I planned to schedule regular service, because she would be happy to come and work for me "away from the company" but that if she did, the other girl wouldn't be helping her. I was thrown off -- I think I'd have less of an issue with it if she'd been to my place a few times and we were comfortable with each other. But that just made me feel that she was a dishonest person. Chulo says she's just trying to make a decent buck, and I guess that's true... but I didn't feel it was a good start to our professional relationship. And in the end, she was the one who did the worse job of the two girls. So I believe I'll pass.

And the verdict is, they did a good job. I was expecting a great job, from the tremendous endorsement of my coworkers. But it was good enough, the house is clean and neat, smells nice, and I'm pretty sure I'd like to keep using a service. But I don't believe I want to use those girls again. First, there was the underhanded offer. Then I found some dirt in my shower and under the faucet in my bathroom sink (Chulo's bathroom looked good but his shaver attachment is missing). Also, my front door is on the first floor... there's nothing ON the first floor but a teensy foyer and a closet, but there is a first floor and there are stairs. The girls did not vaccuum the stairs, nor did they sweep up the bit of dirt on the floor right inside the door where I put the plants when I brought them in for the tropical storm a few weeks ago. They didn't sweep or mop the patio. All in all, it was fine. But had I done it myself, I would have done a more thorough job. Of course the whole point of hiring them was because I don't have the time to do it myself ... but I think I'd like a service that would do as good a job as I would do myself... or is that pipe dream?

The next hurdle? Convincing Chulo that we should have this service at least once a month.


Blogger DZER said...

hey ... can you send them over my way? my apartment is in serious need of a cleaning LOL

9/17/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Natalia said...

You both make good money. You both are not born cleaners. You both have better things to do than clean. I can't see how it is an issue at all.



9/18/2006 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

i agree!! if you have the cash.... why not. you can always clean the additional parts the way you like them to be cleaned (thus helping to assuage some guilt at the same time!) and everyone wins :-)

9/18/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger JMai said...

Dzer -- What if I send Chulo over your way? He swears he'll clean the place if he gets the $64... and you two could swap SPAM recipes.. mm mmm

Butt -- We are in complete agreement. Me and you, that is. Not me and Chulo. Or you and Chulo, for that matter.

Alice -- where the heck have you been, lady?? Also, good suggestion.

9/18/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger terry, queen dork said...

hey, i'm so glad you posted about your experience.

kinda sucks, tho, that you didn't get the great cleaning you expected. after all, how else do you find someone good and trustworthy if you don't get recommendations from people you know?

9/18/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Hageltoast said...

I have a freind I hire for one hour a week, during which she can achieve more than i can in 5 hours, she's super efficient and totally uptight about mess and dirt, she also organises things properly. I think she only took the job because she's sick of me being a scruff. Just gloating really. Hope your cleaning service works out.

9/19/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger masgblog said...

A friend was talking to us about that ont he weekend. She has someone come in every 2 weeks, and she does not regret it. She said that this is an essential service for people who work. Yes!

9/19/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger sassinak said...

did you pay by the hour or was it a set rate? if it's a set rate they stop when they run out of time and do the best job they can.

that said? underhanded and not okay... least not that soon.

that said too? dude, I used to clean house to pay the bills. from all the people who need your sixty four dollars? lady you do not need to waste your life cleaning when you can pay me so i can eat AND you can not clean. see how it works out so well?

9/19/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger art said...

You are being FAR too picky on the cleaning. If they missed something you would have done it was probably an honest mistake and if it is that important then I suggest you point it out next time in a freindly manner. Yes you are paying for the service and have a right to be satisfied within reason just as your boss pays you and has the same right to be satisfied with your job. If you did something wrong or missed something at work wouldn't you want to know about it? Be able to correct it even? The 'underhandedness'....was probably the woman trying to support her family. If you are paying 16 for the service per hour then divide that by 2 and you are now down to 8 per woman. Now, subtract all of the companies costs, fees, insurance, taxes, ect, ect. how much do you think these women are getting paid? Not your problem? hmmmmm. interesting view

9/20/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger JMai said...

terry -- I think you should go for it, too! Then tell us about your experiences.

hageltoast -- I would gloat too if I had such a lovely arrangement! That's great that you and your friend are able to help each other out.

masgblog -- I have to agree with you on the "essential"ness of the cleaning service. We just do not have the time!

Sass -- we paid by the hour. They decided they wanted to be done in 2 hours, but they could have stayed and we would have paid extra for it. Whatever it takes! Also? Thanks for letting me know that, it really does help!

art -- Uh, I'd like to say thanks for stopping by, but I don't really appreciate being attacked on my own blog, and your tone certainly seems accusatory. I believe I am entitled to be picky if I am paying for a service. My boss pays me very well and he gets extremely good work in return. Not saying that I never make a mistake or miss something, but also, I do a very different job. For your information, the girls were paid hourly and as I said in the post, it was $16 per hour per girl, not $16 split in half. I'm sure she is trying to support her family and there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're given an assignment at work and you know your performance means the difference between a raise and losing your job, wouldn't you do the best job you could do?

9/20/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Cressida said...

you know how you have to clean so the cleaning person can come in and... clean... yeah. that's when I know I'm a slob.

9/21/2006 01:02:00 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Good call. A cleaning service is a great idea. I'm the same way as you though. I'm very uncomfortable just sitting around while other people do work for me.

9/23/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger art said...

Wasn't meant as an attack; I just wanted you to think. At best those girls are probably making 7 an hour apiece which after taxrs will be about 230 for a 40 hour work week. In Tampa you couldn't buy a shoebox to live in making that. I beleive in doing the best job you can for your employer as well, no matter how much you get paid. If I agreed to work for 5 dollars a week then I should do the best job I CAn for that 5 dollars. Mistakes happen and not everyone is perfect, has the same work ethic, drive, or for that matter situation as our own. No harm intended. peace~art

9/25/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger JMai said...

Cress -- Lol, what do ya think I was doing hanging up the clothes and sorting laundry, etc? Cleaning up before the cleaners got there!

Phil -- it's a weird feeling. I'd rather just leave the keys and come home to a clean house. But I don't believe Chulo is into that idea

Art -- no harm no foul. The last part of your post where you said "not your problem?" hit me the wrong way. Although to be perfectly honest and perhaps a bit callous, it really ISN'T my problem. Everyone has choices in this life and these girls have made different choices than I have -- some choices were probably more forced upon them, but you understand where I'm coming from. Yes I had certain advantages in life but if I'd just sat idly by instead of working to get where I want to be, I'd probably be doing something menial to make the rent, too.

I still stand by my right to be picky. When you get your car washed, do you get annoyed if you notice that they missed a smudge here or there or forgot to wipe down the interior? Sorry, I'm generalising about men and cars but I hope you see where I'm coming from.

Welcome to the Teabag Blog :)

9/25/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger art said...

Thanks for the welcome ;) I wash my own cars because honestly I've never been satisfied with how my cars have been washed, (I'm picky) lol

9/26/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Found your blog from someone else who listed it as a favorite! Looks great =)

10/06/2006 09:55:00 AM  

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