The Cleaning Lady brings up the Paris trip, which I remember quite well. It was just a few months before the IVF was begun and cost a fortune; he insisted we had to go because once we had a child, there would be no more traveling.
We took his kids and mine and there is not a single picture of the five of us together.
On the day we left, there were five of us in the house, getting ready, with all the last-minute activity that goes along with it: taking turns using the shower, making sure the dog got walked, and things were locked. I had a dog-sitter coming to stay in the house; she would arrive that evening. The Cleaning Lady was supposed to clean the house that day, so it would be clean before the dog sitter came.
When I came down from my shower, The Departed told me The Cleaning Lady had come, but with all the chaos, said she’d go to her other job first, then come back to clean our house in the afternoon, when we were gone.
I didn’t give it another thought until our return flight was delayed a week later. I called the dog sitter to let her know, and she said no problem, but also told me that the house had not been cleaned before her arrival. I was mortified; I left a sty behind.
I was also furious, because I left a check behind to pay The Cleaning Lady, to make sure there was no such sty awaiting the dog sitter.
I discuss all this with The Departed. I debate firing The Cleaning Lady, which is a bit of a problem because it took me a while to find her in the first place. I have other things to do, especially just at that time. Doctor visits to schedule. With any luck, I’d be looking for a day care in a few months’ time.
He and I agree to sit down with The Cleaning Lady, and see what she has to say for herself. Why on earth would she do that? She had been paid in advance; I was counting on her. I lecture her, and talk about trust. I need to know you are going to keep your word to me, I tell her.
She doesn’t seem to know what to say. She fumbles around and says, well, I didn’t think it was a problem; I’d just do twice the work the next week.
She sticks to this version a bit longer, until finally she backs down and says, I’m sorry, and I won’t do it again. I take back the house key from her, but say we’ll keep things as they are and as long as there aren’t any problems, we should be fine.
It all feels strange; it doesn’t make sense. I try to reconcile the feelings I have always had about her – I trust her and am comfortable having her in my house – with this awkward conversation I’ve been forced to have with her, and this strange unreliable thing she’s done.
I can’t add it, and I have other things on my mind, so I forget about the whole thing until she brings it up nearly two years after the event.