Believe it or not, Mike and I had been cleaning the apartment for the first almost two years. Scary. Taking several hours on a weekend to dust, mop, and windex, among other things, took away from the fun NYC activities that we save for Saturdays and Sundays. So, we called the cleaning lady from our previous apartment, and she said she would be happy to come back and start again. Easy enough.
The one thing that had always annoyed me about her cleaning skills previously, was the residue left on all of the furniture. She must have been using a dirty rag to wipe it or something, not sure. I finally mentioned this to her when she started cleaning at our second apartment; I told her to use paper towels. Use all of the paper towels needed. I know that is not exactly “green” and it does get expensive, but I like all of the surfaces sparkly and smooth (at least for a day). So she obliged with no problem. And it also appeared that she never vacuumed the bathroom. Not sure why, perhaps she fears the hoover in small spaces? I requested that she sweep the bathroom, especially the rug. Other than that, please note that I NEVER complained to her.
Several months went by, and all seemed fine. Momma Sylvia was coming for a visit, and I wanted everything extra tidy when she arrived. I contacted the cleaning person and she said she could not make it that week. She claimed that she had to go to the dentist. Long story short, when I told her I would get someone else, she showed up. I wasn’t joking, but it works every time.
She half-cleaned my apartment that day, and mom-in-law was coming in two days! Mike told me to ask her to come back. But honestly, there was no time. So of course, I went around and cleaned the things that she didn’t do–the mirror in the bathroom, the top of the cocktail table, the stainless steel appliances, the corners of the countertop in the kitchen, the top of my desk. I could go on and on. And, I paid her $85. Believe it or not, this is average for a New York apartment. It pains me to think that I paid the same for a 2800 square foot house in Atlanta. Just another overpriced expense while living in Manhattan.
A few weeks go by, and I get a text message from her that she is coming the next day. I honestly wanted to tell her to NOT come back. My sweet southern husband however, said just be honest and give her another chance. Maybe she will do it for less money next time. I called her on the phone and I was nice but firm and just laid the cards on the table. Apparently, she took my criticism personally, because she said that she did not think it was a good idea for her to return. Her exact words were, “You no like my clean.” In a nutshell, she fired me. End of story and now back to square one. No cleaning person.
Mike asked around and spoke with our neighbor down the hall. He swore that he had the best cleaning girl ever. I, of course, was skeptical–imagine that?
Barbara came for the first time a few weeks ago, and when I returned home that day, the entire apartment sparkled for the first time since the move-in day. It looked clean, it smelled clean, and it was clean.
It was odd though, because she did not do the microwave or the dishwasher. I asked her, “Don’t you usually wipe down the microwave and empty the dishwasher?” Her candid response was, “I do; but it was the first time and I just didn’t get to it…. it was really dirty…the apartment. But I am sure the next time it will look better and better.” She thought my apartment was really that dirty??? Wow, maybe I am not that obsessed with cleanliness after all.
It was a bit harsh. No one had every called my apartment “dirty”. Maybe all the places she cleans are so unbelievably spotless because of the Barbara magic, and she is simply comparing my apartment to those? After I thought of it that way, I didn’t take it so personally. And now after only three visits, I realize just how dirty my apartment was. But with Barbara, it will only get cleaner and cleaner.
|The clean clean Kaler Apartment|