Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Call me crazy, but...

Andrea - If you read this, tell Donna I miss her!

My Mom, DH and I spent a glorious Labor Day Weekend at Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina along with four other couples. I have already posted that the weather couldn't have been finer - clear blue sky, bright sunshine and almost no humidity. Andrea and her husband, Ray, ARE my BFF's, and I keep in touch with them via e-mail or telephone on a weekly basis. It had been a while, though, since I had seen Donna and her husband, Patricia and her husband, and Cary and her husband. We had a splendid time catching up and partying for an entire three-day weekend. Couldn't have been more fun! Andrea is the mastermind who found the house - right on the beach - and got it all together insofar as what we all needed to bring, where we needed to go, making the requisite payment to rent the house, etc., etc., etc. She did the same the year before at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina - but she raised the bar this past Labor Day! Anyway, in catching up with those I hadn't seen in a while, I tried as best as I could to describe my day to day life, here, in the Sandbox...

...including the fact that up until the time we left for vacation in the States I had had a lot of houseboys and that I have a gardener and a pool man and occasional driver... [There was no sympathy for the fact that I am now without a houseboy from any of my "friends."] No matter. What started out as a joke, by one of them calling me Queen Sheba, stuck. I got called Queen Sheba much of the weekend. It was all in fun - for me - and I am glad that the group of them came to their senses at last and realized that I, am, in fact, Royalty. They were quite correct and proper in addressing me as "Queen." [Trust me, this is much nicer than how my "friends" have addressed me in the past...] Like I said, it was all in fun, but I did take quite a keenness to directing that my desires be fulfilled, and pronto, by Donna. "Get me a beverage... Light my cigarette... Spray my back with sunscreen... Turn the page of my book..." Where is she now? [She's small enough that I could have put her in my largest suitcase - yes, she might have been uncomfortable for the trip, but hey... Being household help isn't always comfortable, now, is it?!?]

My gardener - who does a fabulous job - Appuk, is the uncle of Houseboy No. 13. HB13 was let go shortly after we moved from the townhouse to this house - because he was so damn slow, dumber than a box of rocks, and disliked my Kids. [Big mistake there. I can overlook a lot. But I cannot overlook someone NOT liking my Kids! I'm not asking anyone to love them as I do - but for DH, I doubt there is anyone in the entire world that could love my two Kids as much as I do. And, I can appreciate that not everyone likes four-legged Kids. I am asking, though, if you are going to work for me, that you tolerate them. And I better never, ever catch you pushing The Baby away from you with a broom! I will beat you senseless with that same broom, if I do.] HB13 could not seem to accept The Kids. But, he did, do a really good job with the work I wanted him to do. It only took me some dozen times to show him how to clean the bathrooms to my standards, but once he finally got it, he did it to my exact specifications. Ditto for the entire cleaning schedule: Bathrooms get done on Saturdays, along with the windows and some "general" duties [floors swept and vacuumed, etc.]; dusting gets done on Mondays, along with the baseboards cleaned, the leather furniture cleaned and polished, air conditioning vents vacuumed and some "general" duties; and on Wednesdays the tile floors get cleaned with the floor cleaner, the kitchen cupboards get wiped down, and all of the appliances and cleaned - outside only - I'll do the insides - the outside patio furniture gets cleaned and the same "general" duties are done. HB13 did have it down and as slow as he was - he did it all well.

Yesterday when Appuk was here I asked him if his nephew was working full-time and if he wasn't, would he have him give me a call. I am willing to hire him back - even though he made me a crazy woman sometimes - with his inability to move much faster than a snail. My biggest mistake with him, I think, is that I paid him by the hour - because who wouldn't make cleaning the leather furniture take several hours if you were getting paid hourly? HB13 called me this morning. He is going to come see me on Saturday and we are going to discuss his working for us again. Call me crazy, but... I really do "need" a houseboy if I am going to be able to spend my free time doing the things I want to do - working [sunbathing IS work!], blogging, reading other blogs, doing my newspaper scrapbook, sewing, reading [I brought a stack of great books back thanks to Gill who recommended a fabulous site for buying books at a huge discount!]... Socializing... Volunteer work at the Garden Center... Scheduling play dates for The Baby with a new Kid on the block [I'm so excited about this! A friend is bringing a Giant Schnauzer puppy back with her when she returns to the Sandbox later this month... The Baby is going to have a ball with her new friend! The Boy? I suspect that he won't want to be involved in romping and tugging to the extent The Baby will want to be. The Boy is going to be six and is much more content just laying in the sun with me than he is in chasing tennis balls. Not to say that he doesn't enjoy his games of tug - with Mommy - and his flying squirrel - but he does not have nearly the energy that The Baby has!]... I have a lot I like to do and want to do and cleaning my own bathrooms and doing the floors does not rank very high up there on my "things to do list." But, unless I have a houseboy, I'm the one that is going to have to do all of those things.

So... I am going to talk to HB13 and ask him if he wants to come back to work here. [No one in their right mind would ever consent to coming back to work for me - so he may say no - but then, again, he did call me...] It is fortunate for me that I can set the terms and conditions for household help. And I will not be making the same mistake I made the last time by paying him by the hour is he decides he wants to work for me again. I do not pay Appuk by the hour. He is paid monthly. On the other hand, I have not had nearly the issues with Appuk as I did with his nephew. Appuk comes and does his work - he anticipates what I want done before I even realize I need it done. He checks with me if he has questions about cutting bushes or trimming trees or uprooting old flowers to plant new ones. Why is it so damn easy to get a good gardener and so damn difficult to get a good houseboy?!? If HB13 decides he was to make his life absolutely miserable for three days a week and come back and work here I am going to pay him a set wage - I will pay him decently - and give him three months as on a trial basis and then raise his pay - but again, it will be a set wage - and I will expect the same work to be performed on each of the three days that he comes to work for me that he would do if he were being paid hourly - I will expect the same level of work that has done in the past but suspect his work will be accomplished in a more timely manner than if I pay him hourly. I know it doesn't take me more than an hour to clean ALL of the leather furniture - there is NO reason whatsoever that it should take two or three; ditto for the bathrooms - I can clean them in forty-five minutes each, not and hour and a half, each. But more importantly, his working for me will depend on how he decides to interact with my Kids. As I said, I don't expect him to love them like I do, but he has got to understand that if The Baby takes a ball to him, I do expect him to take a minute or two and throw it for her. I don't think that I am asking all that much, am I? We shall see...

If all else fails, I can see if Donna would be willing to come work for me for next to nothing wages [all relative - good wages, here, but next to nothing in the States] and virtually no benefits... Donna? What'd ya say? And, yes. Of course I will expect you to address me as, "Queen Sheba."


  1. I don't know................but they do say better the devil you know than the devil you don' this may be a good thing.......Your Royal Highness...LOL

  2. DH thinks I am absolutely nuts to have him come back, Gill. But I like what you had to say, "better the devil you know..." I just can't - can't, I tell you - go through the "motions" to train someone else.

    This whole process - having household help - would be much, much easier on me if I wasn't obsessively-compulsive and anal-retentive. It worked for me in the States, having a once-a-week housekeeper mostly because I was not there when she came, and because she only did certain things - not nearly what I want from a 3X a week guy.

    Truly I thought as I got older I would begin to start taking it easier on myself. I thought wrong!

    Hope you and family are enjoying yourselves. What's the weather like?


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