Finding a Cleaner

Some years ago my cleaner had major surgery and had to stop cleaning. I put an ad in the local paper looking for a replacement and got four responses.

First on the list was a nineteen year old girl who wanted the money but didn’t have a clue about cleaning. As I walked past the bathroom she was holding the toilet brush gingerly between thumb and forefinger, nose screwed up, poking madly into the bowl while flushing at the same time. When I suggested she might need a cloth to do the rest she said “Oh, do you have to clean the outside as well?” She had to go.

Next was a Polish lady who said “It’s a very nice house, apart from ze dog who lives inside.” Our golden retriever was petrified of her and she only lasted two weeks. It wasn’t a good match.

Next on the list was a young Vietnamese girl. I showed her around and explained what needed doing. Everything seemed fine. On the appointed day she arrived with her father and left him to do the job. He obviously had no experience and communication was a disaster as he spoke no English.

We had friends coming for dinner that night and Mr Nguyen was making painfully slow progress. “Friends are coming for dinner tonight so I want everything to look nice,” I said in a desperate attempt to speed him up. With that he smiled, stood to attention, saluted and went out to do the gardening. He had to go.

Last on the list was a lady from Pakistan who could only come on Saturdays. She sang Gospel songs at the top of her voice while she worked. Her favourite job was scrubbing the bathroom, which took her at least an hour. The Hallelujas echoed around the house.

Matthew was trying to read the weekend newspaper and said he couldn’t cope with the singing. She had to go. Seeing my frustration he suggested we do the cleaning ourselves. So that’s what we did for several years.

We’ve now found a lovely girl from Colombia who does a great job and everyone is happy. The dog and the cat both love her and I get to practice my Spanish.

This is a favourite fish recipe I was given by my cleaning lady in Israel, many moons ago.

4 thoughts on “Finding a Cleaner

  1. This fish dish is like one I invented for myself when single–tomato and capsicum, olive oil, whatever over firm white fish and bake.

    I laughed as I am close to looking for a cleaner now I’ve turned 80. But I did have 2 reactions: first world problem and what work experience/qualifications do those people bring with them which we’re not recognising and/or valuing.

    • Surgery put me back in the market for a cleaner and the one we have now is a dental assistant and does a bit of cleaning on the side. I must say it’s nice to have one again, leaving me with more time to do other things like cooking!

  2. Are you happy to share the name of successful cleaner. My story is more dismal than yours but let’s not go there!

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