Ah, Children, Part 2

, , , , , , , | Right | December 11, 2020

I’m monitoring a room in a historic house when a little girl of around four or five wanders in. We have the rooms set up with the original furniture, so I try to keep an eye on her.

Girl: “Hi.”

Me: “Hi, honey, where are your parents?”

The girl points to the room she just came from.

Me: “Oh, great! Why don’t you head back to your parents? When they’re ready, you can pop back and I’ll see you again!”

Girl: “It’s just my mummy.”

Me: “That’s great! Is she still in there? Could you go stay with her for me?”

There’s a pause.

Girl: “My daddy doesn’t live with us anymore.”

Me: *Awkward pause* “Oh, no!”

Girl: “It’s okay. He just moved out.”

There’s yet another pause.

Girl: “Daddy moved out so Uncle Pete could move in. Uncle Pete lives with us now.”

Me: *Another, even more awkward pause* “Your silly mummy’s taking a very long time, isn’t she?!”

Girl: “Mummy and Uncle Pete are going to have a baby.”

Me: “OKAY! Back to Mummy, sweetheart!”

Ah, Children

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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!

This story is part of our Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

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Divorced From Reality, Part 6

, , , , | Right | October 2, 2020

Our company sublets apartments. By law, if you are married, you both need to sign, giving both equal rights and equal responsibilities. If only one person signs, it’s not a legal contract and you can’t rent the apartment. I am sitting in the room next to where this conversation takes place between a client and a consultant.

Client: “I want to rent this apartment.”

He hands in the documents.

Consultant: “Thank you. Let me take a look at this.” *Silence* “This document here says you are married.”

Client: “Yes, but my wife and I will be getting a divorce.”

Consultant: “I’m sorry to hear that. But since you are still married, we need both your signatures on the contract.”

Client: “But I don’t want her on the contract.”

Consultant: “I’m sorry, but that is the law. But maybe we can work something out; maybe I can hold the apartment for a few days. When will you file for divorce at the court?”

Client: “I don’t know.”

Consultant: “Oh, is the separation not amicable?”

Client: “No, she doesn’t know yet.”

He did not get the apartment.

Divorced From Reality, Part 5
Divorced From Reality, Part 4
Divorced From Reality, Part 3
Divorced From Reality, Part 2
Divorced From Reality

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Divorced From Reality, Part 5

, , , , | Right | August 25, 2020

I’m a work-from-home photographer. One day, I get an email via my website.

Client: “Hi, I’m looking for a wedding photographer.”

We discuss her needs and wants for the day.

Client: “I want a full refund if we get divorced because I won’t need the photos then!”

Me: *Pause* “Good luck with your search for a photographer who agrees with those terms.” 

Divorced From Reality, Part 4
Divorced From Reality, Part 3
Divorced From Reality, Part 2
Divorced From Reality

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That’s One Way To Do It…

, , , , , , | Related | August 15, 2020

When one of my cousins got married, she and her husband had a “Generations Dance” at their reception: the dance started with all the married couples on the dance floor, and then anyone married less than an hour — that is, the newlyweds — is told to leave, then anyone less than a year, five years, ten years, and so on, until one couple is left, usually the bride’s or groom’s grandparents.

My grandfather had been married three times, having outlived one wife and gone through a divorce with another before marrying the woman he’d been with — at the time of the wedding — almost thirty years. When the generations dance was announced, he joked to me, “If they count up all of my marriages, I might win!”

My cousin’s other grandparents won, though.

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