I fired my fourth housekeeper last week. To clarify, I haven't fired four housekeepers - two quit, one went missing, and the last I fired - but I now have had four former housekeepers in less than two years. I'm not sure what this says about me; am I bad to work with, do I have bad luck, are my expectations too high, or is it just Azeri housekeepers? I think maybe I hold the record among my friends, however, and maybe in the whole embassy community.
The last one didn't survive very long. After swearing off housekeepers entirely, I broke down and admitted that I can't handle life by myself and hired my friend's housekeeper. As a salve to my conscience, I only hired her for one day instead of the two I had my last housekeeper working. I never liked having someone else fold and wash my laundry anyway and Asli had never, ever stayed for the eight hours I was paying her for. I figured that if she didn't have to put anything away, wash laundry, tend children, or cook dinner, a housekeeper should be able to clean the house in seven hours. Just basic cleaning, after all, nothing fancy. Our windows would just have to be dirty the last four months of our tour, and I suppose I could finally bring myself to clean out the refrigerator every now and then. Or, maybe four months isn't too long to leave the refrigerator uncleaned? I know that if I didn't have children to watch, I could clean the house in seven hours. Really.
Boy was I wrong. I had been warned that she was slow; another friend had her previous to my first friend and she had commented that people had fired this housekeeper for being slow, but I thought that they were just being picky. They weren't. At all.
The first day she came, the housekeeper (I'll avoid publicly smearing anyone's reputation that hasn't done me any wrong) cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen. Then she left, because her six hours were up. Granted, we have four and a half bathrooms, but the bathrooms aren't that dirty and Joseph's only gets used for diaper pail duty. She'll get better, I told myself, it's just the first day. The next week she cleaned all of the rooms, but no bathrooms. When I discussed the situation with Brandon he asked if maybe there were toothpicks and q-tips involved with the cleaning? I looked, but the rooms didn't look any better than when Asli took five hours to clean the whole house, including hiding all of our stuff and watching Joseph - they even looked a little worse.
I really like to think that I'm a reasonable person. Maybe I'm not, but I like to think that I am. However, I also have a house that I need cleaned every week - the entire house, not just half of it. After all, we have four small children and four children make a lot of mess over one week - mess that needs to bed cleaned. And I would be inclined to be less concerned if every other housekeeper I've had hadn't been able to clean the whole house in one day. But they did. I'm also a cheap person, and I can't stomach the idea of paying someone to clean half my house when I can pay someone else to clean the whole house for the same amount of money. So she had to go.
Meanwhile I had another friend whose housekeeper had some extra days and by this time I was so desperate that I didn't even care that the lady doesn't speak English. If she can clean my whole house in one day, she can speak whatever language she wants. Or none at all. Or be a mime. I don't care. I just don't want to scrub my own toilets.
So yes, that is five housekeepers in two years, if you are keeping track. Good help is so hard to find these days. Don't laugh. It really is.