Monday, May 05, 2008

Any one want to start a betting pool?

Smart money says that HB15 [House Boy No. 15] and G6 [Gardener No. 6] will be done next week. I just don't have the patience for sloppiness and/or stupidity and both HB15 and G6 came with an over-abundance of the former and some of the latter through a contracting agency. I mean, for goodness sake, is it asking TOO damn much to get you two to pick up after YOURSELVES?!? One of the very reasons that I am employing the two of you is because I want YOU to pick up after US! Is it my fault for thinking that this was a given and not something that I was going to have to explain over and over and over again? Yeah... And, apparently, once again, I am NOT being specific enough!

We "expats" are no longer allowed to recruit our own help - only "locals" are given this privilege - and thus, in order to get household help and gardening help we "expats" are now provided with two contractors from which we can choose to work with - although I have been told by someone who has been here for thirty-seven years [e'fucking gad - thirty-seven years!] that the SAME person owns both contracting companies. So just about a month ago I got the telephone numbers for the two contracting companies and I called the second one on the list I was given because the first contracting company has a gazillion trucks and workers on our compound [I didn't know when I made the call that the two companies are owned by the same person]. Was there any other rational thought behind my decision making process? No. Not really. In hindsight, this was probably a mistake and I should have gone with the contractor who has the most trucks and the most workers because the people who are currently using his guys are likely semi- satisfied with the work which is performed. Whatever.

I made it very, very clear to the contracting company that I want a "real gardener" and not a guy with no experience who is just going to come and water my grass and flowers. I can do that myself, thank you very much, so send me someone who knows what he is doing. I am assured that that is what I will be getting. Yeah, yeah, yeah - of course I'm going to get assurances like that because you guys [the contractors] are all snakes and will say and do anything for the almighty dollar. So G6 shows up and has a green jumpsuit on with the name of the contracting company on the back - and on the front - where a name patch might be sewn is a patch that says "Gardener." Yep. That's what his "name patch" says, "Gardener." I've been told his name a half dozen times but I'm getting old and forgetful and since this little guy is never going to be one of my best buddies I immediately managed to misplace in my mind what his name is. Doesn't matter - we can't communicate at all - he speaks NO English whatsoever and HB15 has to translate everything for us.

I tell HB15 exactly what it is I want G6 to be doing and supposedly as I am telling HB15 he is translating what I say to G6. I actually SHOW G6 how to "dead-head" my flowers - and now - I've shown him every single day that he's been here for the last three and a half weeks - today is the last day I'm showing him - and I explained to HB15 that he better tell G6 to get with it because if I have to SHOW him one more time to pluck off my dead flowers then this will be his last week working here. I also tell HB15 that he needs to tell G6 that he is supposed to be a gardener and if he's a gardener then he needs to be doing what I would expect a gardener's duties would include. Why the hell aren't my bushes being pruned; why are there dead leaves everywhere [don't most gardener's know how to use a rake?!?]; why do I have weeds in my flower beds; and why hasn't my lawn been meticulously manicured?!? Is it asking too much for my flowers to be bright and beautiful and for my bushes to be growing "fluffy-like" and not "scraggly-like"???

The last straw this morning, though, was when I was outside and I looked behind our air conditioning unit and I saw all the trash! Every plant that the gardener has put in for me that has come in a little black plastic pot - probably a hundred of them or so - has been carelessly and wantonly tossed into the walled-off area surrounding our air conditioning unit. WTF?!? No no, no no, no. This is not acceptable. I can't even believe I have to tell someone that this isn't where GARBAGE goes!!! Every single morning that you've come here to work one of the first things you do is grab a big black Hefty bag from the garage to fill with the dead leaves and dead grass or whatever it is you're putting in that bag - can't be leaves or they wouldn't be in my flower beds - and can't be dead flowers because you're NOT dead-heading them - but you can't throw the old little plastic pots in that bag? Did you think that I was going to start a nursery or something and reuse all those little black plastic pots to grow petunia's from seeds? Good fucking grief. What is wrong with you guys?!?

And, gee, is it asking too much to hose down the sidewalk to get all the bird shit off of it when you're done watering the yard? Why would I have to repeatedly ask you to hose down the sidewalk that leads to our front door? Do you not see all that nasty bird crap? It's green and black and white and slimy and gross and it's like manuevering through a mine field to not step in it.

So now, first thing this morning, I've made the rules which are going to be followed, in no uncertain terms for G6, via translating done by HB15, and you've got exactly ONE more day to start doing your job G6, or you'll be done working for me. "HB15, does he understand exactly what it is I want done?" "Yes, Madam. He will do it." Yeah. We'll see. Although I will admit to supervising G6 today by pretty much standing over his shoulder just to make sure he gets it. The yard looks really good right now, and there's no bird poop on the sidewalk!

But if HB15 thinks he's off the spot, he is so wrong. Every single time he leaves I find something that pisses me off - and it's little stuff - and I shouldn't care - but I did - OH SO DID - make it very clear that he would not have any problems working for me if he just did what I told him to do, how I want it done, and when I want it done. Is that too much to ask for? Why, oh why, oh why can't I get MY house cleaned MY way and have MY things taken care of the way I want them taken care of???

Unfortunately all of the things I had planned for the day have to be put on hold until tomorrow because I spent the entire morning directly supervising G6 and HB15. If I wasn't right there with G6 - then I was right there with HB15 so that every time he set something down wrong I could gently remind him that THAT'S NOT WHERE THAT GOES or that THAT IS NOT HOW THAT'S DONE!!! All the while I was muttering to myself that I am constantly forced to deal with idiots, that I'm too old for this crap, that I just don't have the patience for it any more, and why, oh why, have I been cursed with being one of THE only perfect people in the world? Arrghhh!!!

HB15 just doesn't seem to get that if he moves the two wood-framed pictures on my bureau on to the bed when he dusts then he needs to put the two wood-framed pictures BACK on the bureau when he's finished dusting. He doesn't get that the shower curtains and liners in both bathrooms DO NOT stay wadded up over the curtain rod when he's done - and he still can't seem to understand that the bath mats go IN FRONT of the tubs! And my make-up mirror gets plugged into the bottom plug - why you're unplugging it anyway when you can simply pick it up to clean the bathroom counter is beyond me - but DO NOT make me tell you ONE MORE TIME to put it in the BOTTOM plug!!! HB15 refuses to put his cleaning products back where he gets them from - and instead will walk off and leave the furniture polish on my bureau [and I have said over and over and over again that the can is NOT to touch the wood!!! what is so damn tough to understand about this?!?]. When he's done with one job he thinks that it's okay to use the same dirty rag to move on to the next - why the hell do you think that I've provided you with three dozen clean rags all neatly folded in thirds with one fold out so that you can easily grab a clean one from the basket when you need it?!? You just used Clorox Clean-Up to wipe off woodwork on that rag - and now you're going to use the same one on my leather furniture?!? Damn!!! The list goes on and on and on. And honestly, if it was just a couple of little things, I guess I wouldn't let them bother me, but gimme a break! This guy has been to my house to clean a dozen times now - today was the THIRTEENTH day - and I've got to go over the same things every time??? No. It's stopping. Right. NOW!!!

Before HB15 left today we had a little chat and I once again said, "I know I talk fast, so if you don't understand what I'm telling you, you need to let me know, right now. All of the things that we went over today? I'm not going to tell you again NOT to put cans on my wood furniture, I'm not going to tell you that you use Clorox Clean-Up to clean messes off the walls and doors - and NOT the leather cleaner, I'm not going to tell you again NOT to leave my shower curtains wadded over the shower rods, I'm not going to tell you again to use different rags, I'm not going to tell you again to take care of everything that you take out - do NOT leave the stool in the living room - that's NOT where you found it, I'm not going to tell you to pick the Kids toys up before sweeping the floors and do NOT ever let me catch you again sweeping the floors around their water bowls without taking the bowls out of their tables and moving them to the counter... Blah blah blah... Do you understand?" "Oh, yes, Madam." Yeah, sure you do. We'll know for sure when he gets here on Wednesday whether or not he's finally understanding.

So who wants to open the betting pool on how much longer HB15 and G6 will last?

[Oh, and I can't forgot to mention that the contracting company called me sometime last week and told me that their rate for a houseboy is going up from 8 Riyals and hour to 12 Riyals an hour beginning May 1st. Am I getting any more for my money? Not as of yet, I'm not! The contracting company may well be done making any more money off me. We'll just have to see how much longer I can take this!!!]

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