When my in-laws go out of town, they usually send their cleaning lady to our house for a good once-over.
This woman can talk. She can tell me about the garbage truck on her street, her dog's hereditary mange, or the fact that she's peri-menopausal without missing a beat.
This week, she walked in with dog treats and passed right over "Hello!" to "I just found this raw food treat at the feed store and I've been feeding it to my dogs and they love it because..." So I stood and talked to her for what turned into 30 minutes while David dodged us, walking from room to room with "things to do."
Finally, I excused myself and went to work while she started cleaning. About a half an hour later, she came in and asked if she could show me something in the kitchen.
"You see this stuff on the stove top? You've got to do a better job of cleaning it. This has probably been on here for week...I've been standing here rubbing it and I don't have time to get it all off. Maybe you should ask David if he's strong enough to get this off."
I stared at her for a minute, wondering if she was for real. I quickly realized she was dead serious and halfway between being offended and getting pissed off, I said, "Oh. Ok. Thanks."
I went back to work and a while later she came in and said, "Do you really need me to clean here in the office, too?"
I thought for a second and decided I didn't really need her to be in the same room I was in. It was already weird enough that she was walking around looking at the dirty things in my house. "No, that's ok."
A little while later she walked into the office and said, "It's so hot in here! Do you usually keep the air at this temp?"
"Oh, um, yes. This is what we normally keep it on. Would you like me to turn it down?"
"No, it's fine. I was just wondering if it's usually this hot. I'm going to go outside and cool off."
Outside to cool off? Really? It's 91 degrees outside.
I watched as she sat in her car and lit up a cigarette.
About an hour later: "You know, Erin, these floors are way worse than they were the last time I came. With two dogs slobbering and shedding, I've had to change my mop water 4 times. I don't know if I'll have time to do the upstairs."
The first thought that came to mind was, "Time? You don't have time?! It's noon!! You've worked 4 hours and spent a quarter of that time 'cooling off' and criticizing my dirty house! Your only job is to clean and your complaining that you're spending too much time cleaning?!"
But I actually said, "Oh. No problem! Do what you can!"
At about 1:30pm, she walked into the office, obviously exhausted, and told me she needed to be finished. She said she didn't have time to vacuum or do the upstairs. She then proceeded to talk to me for another 35 minutes about absolutely nothing.
In all of this, I had a flashback to when I was 8 years old and my mom hired a cleaning lady to come once a week. I'll never forget when she would tell me to clean up my room because the cleaning lady was coming. I didn't understand why I had to clean before the cleaning lady came.
Now I do.