Making A Clean Getaway

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 27, 2020

Two other people and I are a team that clean people’s houses for my maid service job in a very affluent neighborhood. The thing about The Help is that we overhear a lot of things because we’re often invisible.

I’m cleaning the place up. [Client] is home, puttering around while I dust the high places and such. [Client]’s husband calls her cell phone and she answers. The discussion is in a normal tone of voice.

Thirty seconds later, [Husband] calls the home phone. The discussion becomes heated, and from what I can overhear, [Husband] thinks [Client]’s cheating and was making sure she was at home where she claimed to be. [Client] slams the phone down and fumes.

I clean house basically every two days, so I come back. [Husband] is now on a “business trip” and I am asked to do a little straightening in the bedroom. My team and I strip the bed and then I go to take fresh sheets out of the linen closet… but the door won’t open. I can’t even turn the knob.

Me: “[Client], the closet door in the bedroom is jammed.”

Client: “Let me try it.”

She tries, but she can’t get it open, either.

We all ponder briefly, and then [Client] gets the idea to call [Husband] about the stuck door.

She hits the dial button… and the phone rings from inside the closet!

We all turn to look at each other, disbelief in our eyes, as we can actually hear fumbling sounds coming from inside the closet.

I try the doorknob and the door opens without resistance. [Husband] practically falls flat on his face, the now silent cell phone in hand, at my feet.

The whole lot of us, the wife, my team, and I, are just staring at him.

Husband: “Oh… Uh… Hi, honey.” 

There’s lots of awkward fumbling as he gets to his feet, and he won’t look any of us in the eyes.

From what I glean from the following nuclear explosion, [Husband] still thought [Client] was cheating on him and pretended to go on a business trip, when in reality he was hiding in random areas in the house where neither of them normally go to try to catch the supposed side boyfriend in the house.

Naturally, the maid service is invisible to this dude, so it never occurred to him that those clean sheets happen because the servants do go into those places, until like, the very last second. He’d panicked and grabbed and held the doorknob to keep me from opening it the first time.

[Client] basically chases him out of the house entirely and he flees for his life.

Her very next call is to a divorce lawyer.

Sometime later, I show up for another appointed house cleaning and find the woman seething while on the phone with her bank. She has apparently discovered that their joint bank account is $4,000 short and she’s trying to figure out where it went.

Where else? [Husband]. [Husband] apparently bought plane tickets to another country shortly after he fled the house and withdrew the rest for cash on hand. Not suspicious at all! I was left thinking about the husband, and about pots and kettles both being black.

Client: “I have plenty of money in my account, so I promise that I can still pay you, so your services can continue as normal.”

At this point, I shyly suggest she call my home office. She can ask for a referral from the cleaning company for some trustworthy house movers to remove [Husband]’s personal effects from her home.

The house movers and cleaning company sometimes share job requests and bounce off of each other; they often carefully pack up entire households and then leave the place to us to clean the carpets, clean shelves, etc., and prepare the house for new families moving in. It’s a very beneficial arrangement for both of us and we refer clients back and forth.

Less than half an hour later, four big guys arrive at the same time her lawyer does — when you have big bucks, response time can be measured with a hand timer, apparently — and they go room by room. The lawyer notes everything that is slated as [Husband]’s, which the movers take down and carefully pack. My team and I coordinate with the movers and clean up behind them so that there aren’t even dust rings left behind where the removed things used to be.

The lawyer makes careful inventory of everything and its condition when removed so [Husband] can’t complain about breakage. [Husband]’s things are then taken to a storage facility.

Details are sketchy from here on, but [Client] now has a different last name and is very happily living her life as a divorced woman.

I’m just left shaking my head. I’m used to some odd stuff that is accidentally discovered, overheard, or observed, but so far, this takes the cake.

On the plus side, with half the stuff gone, the house is much easier to clean!


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