When I was a newlywed and a young student I cleaned offices late in the evening. I remember my first interview very well. The owner was hesitant toward my age. He thought I would lack experience, but gave me a try when I told him about the women who had trained me to SEE DIRT.
My Grandmother, aka Eagle-eye, could sense dust and dirt a mile away and then there was Sister Martha, the nun in boarding school, who taught me to have the prettiest folded sheet corners on my bed any human being could have. Both were only satisfied with absolute perfection, and I spent my childhood years trying to achieve this stage. They were searching for dirt and dust bunnies, and they always succeeded. They even looked happy when the top of their pointer finger was covered with dust -me not so much.
They also showed me where to look to judge if a house is cleaned the right way. Until this day I touch the underneath of the sink when I visit a new bathroom. (Just kidding -I would never admit that I would do anything like it.)
The office owner listened to me and gave me a chance. He told me I could start the next day at 8 pm. To my surprise, the parking lot wasn’t empty when I arrived. I let myself in, heard laughter downstairs in the breakroom. I knocked and let them know I had arrived, went back upstairs and started cleaning the office rooms.
A couple of hours later, I went back downstairs and started cleaning the restrooms. When I shut the door to the men’s room and mopped in the corner behind the door, I found a shriveled olive. “These people love to party,” I thought and finished my job -all but the breakroom.
I interrupted them again, told them I would clean the breakroom the next day and wished them a good night. The boss invited me in and introduced me to the people in the room. A younger man got up and went outside, and when he came back, he was laughing and shouted, “She found the olive!”
They had tried different cleaning companies, but none of them had looked in the corner behind the door, and the poor olive shriveled more and more. I had passed the test and got the job for good. I cleaned their office -and others- for about two years.
I couldn’t help but think about this story when I tried out my cleaning fairies. I hit the kitchen cabinet when I moved a cake, and a small amount of icing is stuck to the corner of the kitchen cabinet. 2 months and 4 cleaning fairies later -it’s still there. White frosting on a white kitchen cabinet -such a mean thing to do.
So far none of the cleaning fairies has found the OLIVE in my kitchen.
…To be continued tomorrow