11 January 2010

It's so hard to be a part of the bourgeoisie.

My mom and stepdad gave me a fan-freaking-tastic birthday gift, which is six months' worth of every-other-week housekeeping. While I normally have a major aversion to taking care of life logistics, I'd managed to line up someone for that job within 48 hours of receiving the card. I'm more than willing to deal with the logistical "hassle" of having a clean house.

Susie started today. She came last week to check the house out and figure out a schedule, and she showed up today right on time. Maddie and Riley already adore her, and when she rang the doorbell they yelled, "SUSIE!" and ran to get their brooms and mops to "help" her. Maddie had also written her a little note (?) to take home. Um, that's sweet, although none of us could tell what it was that the note said. Even Maddie seemed a little unclear about it. But hey, that's fine, the point is that we are all thrilled about Susie's arrival in our lives.

I showed her where to find the things she needed, then the kids and I headed off for preschool dropoff (swoon) and work (feh). Around 10:45 a.m., my cell phone rang. It was Susie. "Stacey," she said, "I'm locked into your house!"

OOPS. Bourgeoise employeer fail of epic magnitude!

See, our house has the kind of locks that are a deadbolt inside and out; you need a key to unlock the door from the outside or the inside if it's locked up. I'd given Susie a key to the house when she'd come for her initial visit, and she'd brought the key back with her today, but she'd left it in the car. When I left with the kids after Susie arrived, I locked the door behind us figuring she'd feel more secure with it latched, but I didn't think to ask if she had her key on her.

Luckily, the timing of her call was prefect as I'd just come out of a meeting, so I told her to make a cup of tea and relax while I dashed home to set her free. I'm just so glad there was no emergency in the house while she was there; I mean, I suppose in a real emergency, she could have gone out a window, but still.

No denying that it's Monday today, eh?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

funny! our super-nice neighbor watched our dog when we visited PDX back in the summer. We have a crazy back door lock that you must twist a little (bathroom door type)piece that you must turn vertically or it will lock behind you. Of course he forgot about that and locked himself out of our house, in our backyard - which my husband had locked the gate to keep out he bad guys - so he had to scale the 8" fence but not without stepping in fresh dog poop first!
amanda in ATL

Alayna said...

That is way too funny. I'm glad you were able to let her out!

Sheila said...

So how did you find her? I'm also looking for someone and would rather not go the "merry maids" route. I'm half a country away from you so specific names wouldn't help, but in general, did you just ask friends or is there some easy way to find house cleaning help that I'm clueless about?

Steph said...

I'm so jealous you have a cleaning service! But I'm happy for you though too! Nothing better than coming home to a clean house after work.....

Suzi said...

Oh, how nice! I would love help with cleaning the house. NIIICE. Such a great gift!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

That is a wonderful gift.

Needing a key to get out of a house kind of freaks me out. What if there were an emergency? Would you need to have your keys handy? Or is it simplier than I am envisioning?

Anonymous said...

We had the same setup growing up. Since it was a solid door we kept a key in it. For some reason my mom once took the key out and then lost her keys and that key...I received the 6:30am call that she was having a panic attack about being locked in. I got pulled over getting to her and the cop felt so bad for me he let me off the hook.

michiganme said...

I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A HOUSEKEEPER even if it was once a month to mop floors and scour tubs! (like I even do that once a month.)

We have a deadbolt lock which requires a key to open from the inside and we had an emergency many years ago which convinced me to keep a key in the lock at all times. No key ring, just a bare naked key which we use just like a thumb-turn.

Snickollet said...

Sheila: It's all about the recommendation from a friend. I had a housekeeper in Boston for a while, and she was recommended to me, as was Susie.

@all with questions about needing a key when inside: It's not that big a deal; I usually keep my house keys on a little table near the door. I would keep a key in the door, but the whole reason the door is deadbolted on both sides is that both the front and back doors have windows in them, so an enterprising thief could smash the window, reach in, and turn the deadbolt latch (or turn or take out a key). So I keep the keys out of arm's reach (and not visible), but nearby. It's sometimes annoying, but mostly not a big deal.

Sandy said...

That's a great gift! I'm green with envy. :) Funny story to top it all off!

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned about the door locks you have. I know you keep the keys nearby. But where I live (NJ), that is a violation of fire code because it is so blatantly unsafe in case of am emergency. Please rethink that and check with your building inspectors if it's even allowed where you are. If it's against code, it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask the landlord to change the door styles to allow for safe use of a turn deadbolt from the inside.

What A Card said...

Hi Snick: We had the same set up in our last house and for the same reason (glass window in the doors). It is terrible in the event of a fire or other emergency. What we did was have extra keys made, then hid them (out of arm's reach) near each door. Make sure to tell any sitters where they are!

If there's a fire or something else goes wrong, the last thing you want is for it to be the one time you can't find your keys. Invest in a couple spares, then they'll always be ready!

jwg said...

Please replace the door and get one without a keyed deadbolt. You have little kids who might like to play with keys or, even worse, might need to get out in an emergency that leaves you incapacitated. You are taking a real risk.

Sandi said...

Our housekeeper has been with us for 2 1/2 years. The kids love her and she's even watched them on occasion.

Sadia said...

Oh dear! It sounds like Susie's the kind of person to take this sort of thing in stride, though?

How did you find a good housekeeper? I've had failure after failure. I don't think my standards are particularly high ... surfaces wiped should not have visible dust or sticky substances remaining on them. I pick up beforehand, and I don't hover.

Maybe it's just not meant to be.

OTRgirl said...

That is the best birthday gift EVER. I love it.

And it's a hilarious story.

Amy in NC said...

It's actually better to have a deadbolt that does not required a key on the inside. My parent's used to have one like yours and my mom got stuck when my dad was out of town. I just happen to be on my way down to their house, but I live 7 hours away and she could have easily had to call a locksmith to get her out. The Fire Dept also recommends a deadbolt that has a twist lock on the inside so that it is easy to get out in an emergency.

Abby said...

I usually lurk but reading this... ack ack ack! I second everyone who said you need to deal with that door. (I have cred here: dorm fire, 1991. We all got out, because of a well-designed building that was up to code in every respect. Now I have... shall we say, extremely strong feelings on fire safety!)

The key-nearby solution doesn't work if there's an actual fire. Imagine thick smoke, a heavy 3yo under each arm, and you knock the key to the floor. You'd never find it and, well... that would be that.

Please, please, change the lock and get the landlord to put something over the glass, or do it yourself. So so worth it.

masteroftheuniverse said...

It is so nice to have someone help out, It gives you time to live.

Deborah said...

I have the same setup. I leave a key in the lock at night but if I go out, I hang the keys on a hook next to the door and high up. It's not noticeable unless you know it's there. If she got a turn lock on the inside, it would be easy to break the window and just reach in and turn the deadbolt.

Congrats on the housekeeper. I got one when I became a court reporter 20 years ago -- so worth it. I figured if you take my hourly pay times the eight hours she spends cleaning, it's more cost-effective to pay her. I've had the same lady, recommended by a friend, for about 18 years. I would trust her with my life. She once found $100+ that had fallen behind something and I thought I had spent. She left it on the counter for me. She could have kept it and I'd never have known it. She has a waiting list of people hoping one of her clients moves away!

culley said...

Consider asking at a church near you for house keepers. Don't ask me why (as I'm personally an atheist) but I've got my last 2 house keepers from the local catholic church. I call the front desk and ask if they know anyone who's looking for house keeping work. I do hang out in the house the first couple times to make sure they are reliable and won't steal (but I've never run into anyone that does) and then after I give them a key and the run of the house. My Mom's had the same lady for 30 years now. I've had my current keeper for 8 years.

on the fire front... break a window and get out. If your life depends on it, the window will be the least of your problems. Locks with keys on both sides are common in high crime areas. It's always good to look at the data from the police to make sure you are actually living in a high crime area before you go there. (the little old ladies in my neighborhood get scared every now and then and add bars to all their windows too. Too bad they don't look at the data that shows we live in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city).

As an aside, my house keeper lives in a bad neighborhood and once asked me to come home from work to check out the house. Turns out I left the front door unlocked and open when I got the newspaper in the morning and left with the door still open. DOH! I gladly came home and "swept" the house before she could clean. :)