Monday, March 1, 2010

Key-riced ...

I come to you with the chipped nails, ripped cuticles, bruised finger pads and spasmodic hand muscles of a dupe who paid someone else a hot wad of fresh cash to clean out our apartment, then spent three hours fixing it myself for free. 

What is that word that means more than pissed off?

Chuck and I both fall into the category of "People who do not like to do things they don't feel like doing." As we were emptying out the old apartment, we realized that we could hire someone to actually give it a good solid scrubbing. That took a load off us both, mentally. All we had to do was move Chuck's plastic dinosaurs and collection of extension cords into the new house, and let someone else shear the cat hair off the base boards. This romantic reverie of hired help was spurred by the fact that the floors were littered with loose change, enough, we imagined, to pay for this single luxury.

I had a maid in mind. An old acquaintance, a fine karaoke singer who shares a nickname with a popular candy bar, who had in fact  moved into my old apartment. In fact, she had cleaned out that den of filth for a pittance, and did a bang up job. (Of course, I now see that act of herculean scouring wasn't extraordinary. She just didn't want to move into a place with its own compost heap growing in the hallway). Knowing that she has little income, and fewer teeth, I tossed her the job.

Lest I make myself sound innocent in this matter, let me fully explain the circumstances. The apartment was a mess. Not the kind of mess chronicled on A&E, but a mess still. Floors needed to be scrubbed, the bathtub had jumped three degrees on the Roy-G-Biv map. The cat hair, the change, the refrigerator smell had been almost completely absorbed into a hunk of cheese -- or maybe it was vice versa. On the other hand, all of the furniture was out, so it there weren't like La-Z-boys and dining room tables to negotiate.

I called her, she agreed, I explained the state of the apartment, and she still agreed. I said "Are you sure?" and she said "Yes." She has actually cleaned places professionally, so it isn't completely assholian that I'd ask her if she wanted to do it. It did feel super condescending, though, only because if someone offered me money to clean something I'd [insert vulgar cartoonish behavior involving a vacuum cleaner hose here].

She needed a ride. I picked her up. I showed her the apartment, told her what we needed, handed her toxic chemicals, and left -- telling her she could call if she needed a supply that I'd not provided. A half hour later, she texts me asking for me to bring her lunch.

About five hours later, I call her for an update. I had a small window in which I could take her home if she was done. She was not. She had two more hours, she told me. I told her I'll bring her money for a cab, and pay her the next day when we know how long she worked. She hemmed, hawed. Let it be known that she was going to want this money more pronto than that. Since I know her, I know where she lives, I trust her mad cleaning skillz, I paid her for seven hours with some bonus bucks thrown in and cab fare so she could get back to her place (a mile away).

I hadn't had a chance to go check it out, yet. Today Chuck woke me with bad news: We'd been had. The place was far from done. I'm sure that money has been drunk and flushed by now.

You're probably wondering why I didn't call her and scream swear words. That's easy: I'm totally not confrontational at all. At all. I built up a few tirades, practiced them on friends and family, and in the end said nothing to her.

Tonight I had to go finish what she started. Break down cardboard boxes, shine shit up, build garbage castles. My hands were lacquered with cleaning supplies, and I wondered if I'd be poisoned to death after ripping at a bloody cuticle with my teeth. I was there for three hours ... so I guess I get that part where it maybe could have taken her longer than I expected it to take her. Which might explain why she didn't finish. Her pre-paid meter ran out.

How about that? I started this post all pissed off, and by the end I've been able to rationalize shitty service. I'm such a wimp.


beret said...

Who is it? KitKat? Hershey? Oh god...Snickers??

Wahkonamama said...

I'd be ticked.

This fall/winter I'd been on a roll of letting our house turn into a dusty, cluttered, food particle'd mess - cleaning once every other month or so - and I could get the whole place shined up in 5-6 hours if I brewed up a strong pot of coffee. I smell a lollygagger.

What a bummer.

Futbol said...

In my mind, she'll always be the original Snicks, Jersey Shore be damned.

Heidi R. said...

You can't trust people, especially if you go out of your way on their behalf. Your first mistake was picking her up, doofus.