Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Housecleaners

I'm at the point most women consider "rock bottom" domestically. I find myself outsourcing more and more meals to the local market, and have refused (until now) to do the same for cleaning the house. I've spent five hours every other Saturday bruising my knees, bleaching my hands, and causing an allergic ruckus in my head on account of "house cleaning." Five hours. Crazy, when you consider one only has about 48 in a weekend, a third of which are asleep.

So, I invited the most reasonable bidder into my home on Friday to survey the lot & debrief me on the services offered. When I called the guy who owns the company to schedule the appointment, I had one of those female instincts kick in that I ought to have another person here when he arrived. He had what sounded like a perverted laugh, and I wasn't about to be caught solo for a "cleaning evaluation." So naturally I roped the Realtor in. Hallie arrived a few moments early, saying she would just ask him a few questions because she didn't want me to get screwed (this is why I asked for her). She also said that guys like this who service hundreds of houses should make me run for the hills.

When Jeff arrived, I let him inside, introduced my friend Hallie (again, likely thought we were a duo), and walked the periphery of the house. It wasn't long before Hallie had him backed into a corner of the upstairs bedroom, interrogating him like a fugitive. At first, it sounded innocent.

Do you carry insurance?
What exact types of insurance you carry?
I mean, I can bring the paperwork, the two major kinds...
What happens if Suzie slips down the stairs and hurts herself- are you paying for that? 
I have workers comp
Where do you find these women?
Mostly through referrals
Do they have their green cards?
Did you check that for sure?
Do you hire anyone with a criminal record?
How do we ensure they don't use something stupid like kerosene on the brand new hardwood floors and ruin them?
They actually can't use any materials we don't provide them with, so they won't have kerosene
How do we ensure they don't get bleach on the shower curtains or towels?
Well, that's happened only once. Everything we use is green besides bleach, but we replaced the towels
How do we ensure they don't run off with stuff or get sticky fingers?
I trust these ladies. If they were to steal, I would have known it by now because they would be repeat offenders.
How many theft incidents have you had reported in the last year?
In four cases, the homeowner found the goods they misplaced. There was just one that was never found.
Are we talking computers or iphones here?
They didn't do it...but a laptop
How do you get into the house?
We usually get a copy of your key and store it in a safe in my office. On the day of the cleaning, I check it out to the team and they return it to me the same day
How do we ensure they don't take the key and run by Lowe's to make 20 copies before they get here?
Ummm, we've never had that happen
Are there any males on staff?
Just me
We need to make sure there isn't any hanky panky going on in the guest bedrooms.
No hanky panky. We have had a homeowner though, who liked to get naked in front of the ladies.

He left. I closed the door. Hallie turned to look at me and said, "well, I think he's good."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Le Chat

“I think it’s time I give social media a try,” the message read. Working in PR, it’s hard to predict what self-claimed catastrophe might head your direction. This time? A cat.

Comedic timing, one might add, as I had just wrapped up several social media presentations at the non-profit where I work. We were groveling, urging, and flat out desperately recruiting people to help with spreading our message via tweets and posts. Looks like we had a taker.

The crux of the email focused on one particular cat. This cat is the vagabond feline who roams the parameters of our workplace. His name has endured much scrutiny; 99% of those who reference him call him by the street's name, 1% call him Garfield. I’ll let you guess the 1%.

The email contained a desperate plea to put out a memo on our face book, and hatch tag it on our twitter account…the cat was missing. Attached were three portraits of the fellow, complete with one in him wearing a photoshopped santa hat.

“Have you heard about the cat?” I asked Stan. Annoyed and disgruntled, he spat back, “cat’s smarter than all of us, probably hiding in the gutter because it’s COLD.”

My department wasn’t the only one to be hit. A request was submitted to notify all employees, countless coffee-goers were stopped in the hall, forced to hear the breaking news. Everyone knew about the cat. And due to its hilarity, we did post the cat on FB.

The next day, the cat chatter was down to a minimum, stopped no doubt by the forces that be realizing the lessened productivity of a staff bent on helping as many humans a day.

As it turned out, a client had visited our campus earlier in the week, saw the creature cowering in the rain, put him inside of her car, and kindly dropped him off at the Humane Society. And since it wouldn’t be right to buy a cat back only to let him stray (and others who are terribly concerned have maxed out their per-household cat limit), we fondly say goodbye to street/G.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Two Eyes: One Lazy, One Maybe?

I’m always accused of being a hypochondriac, which may have some validity. But I assure you I wouldn’t run around huffing about something that someone else hadn’t planted in my brain first.

It was time for my annual visit to the eye doctor. Each year since the 8th grade, the vision in my right eye has progressively gotten worse. It’s worse than both of my parent’s vision (possibly combined). I’m a bat in the mornings, stumbling around with a perpetual nightmare that the man next to me might not actually be my husband.

I visited my local LensCrafters and went through the normal charade: peripheral vision, corneal photographs, read the letters type stuff. She asked if I was having any issues. Nope. Same stuff as long as I can remember. Can’t see with both of my eyes in the morning when looking at my phone, have to favor an eye. I assumed it normal.

She pulled out more tests, and after a series of tests, declared that I had strabismus. “A lazy eye?!” I shouted back. It was true. It was like learning that everyone else saw color and I saw black and white. I’ve just learned that no, not everyone takes a few seconds to focus when looking at an object, no, not everyone has to pick and eye to look at when getting close to their spouse. Not everyone, when hungry, sees two of everything. Not everyone, when running, has to look at the floor to avoid the muddied magic eye up ahead.

It seems one eye is slow, if you will. One eye, when behind the black plastic paddle, is staring into the abyss. When the paddle is moved to cover the other eye, it zips back into place. I waited as the Dr. paraded two of the front desk ladies in to witness. “This is so crazy,” she said, “I haven’t seen this in someone under 10 in ages.” I think it’s good to note I was in the Lenscrafters inside of a mall.

She immediately jumped to surgery and began writing up specialists. But wait, I insisted, where would an incision be? This was, after all, a vanity issue. There wasn’t an incision; they simply remove your eyeball, tighten the muscles, and voila. Sick.

But wait, I insisted, surely there is another solution. No one has ever mentioned to me that they have seen my lazy eye. What if I just cope? I’m informed that over time, my slow eye may drift further into space. This was, after all, a vanity issue.

But wait, I insisted, surely there is a non-surgical fix? An eye patch.

This was, after all, a vanity issue.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weather Forecast

  Every right-standing neighborhood has some kind of committee, be it a newsletter group, an association meant to say yes or no to your paint colors, or a block party group. Ours apparently has what I like to call the weather forecasters- those who hear about a threat from other nearby areas (and sometimes in our area) and campaign to make sure we’re all well aware. A few weeks ago, it was a neighboring cult (I know, where do I live?) who were posing as handyman, then robbing people.

This week. Well, take a look:
"From one of our OPNA neighbors, I hate to say it, but be on the look out!

A quick note to let you know that I was walking in the park on 10/31/11 at 6 – 6:15 a.m., directly across from Tanglewood Elementary School when a man with dark hair in his mid-thirties came out of the playground, completely nude except for tennis shoes, walked directly in front of me, said good morning, and crossed Overton Park West onto the Tanglewood Elementary property.  I called the police and I have heard from the school that the police came about 6:20 a.m.
I have no idea if anyone was apprehended, but wanted the neighborhood to be aware of a possible streaker in the area."