Friday, February 24, 2012

The tradesman, the bench and the burglar alarm.

This is what happens when you don't clean up before a tradesman arrives.
Oops. Are those cobwebs with dessicated flies clinging to the wall? Clumps of Rufus fur hanging onto the back of the bench cushions? Surely those aren't 3 year-old Jordan furballs clogging the carpet?!!

[I admit! I removed some all of the fur clinging onto the back of the bench before taking this picture. I couldn't help myself. It was a reflex action born of deep humiliation.]

"Oh my goodness!" I exclaimed, feigning surprise and giggling nervously when I saw The State Of The Area Behind The Bench. "Where did all that come from? I just vacuumed yesterday! It's very dusty here in Balmain. Did you see all the utes parked outside? There are 7 houses doing renos and repairs right now on this street! Can you believe it? It's like living in the middle of a construction site."

Of course, the tradesman was diplomatic. "No problem, ma'am." he said conversationally.

"Let me get the vacuum cleaner, " I suggested. "You don't want to get all asthmatic crawling around in there."
"Quick, Typist! I'll distract him by sticking my nose in his butt while you get the vacuum!"

Oh, the ignominy of it all. To be caught out by a tradesman as a sub-standard hausfrau. How was I to know he needed to get behind the bench? I'm furious the call centre didn't warn me.

"Please vacuum, mop, dust and otherwise sanitise your house before 12noon today. Our man will be coming and he'll need to get behind bulky pieces of furniture that haven't been moved in 10 years."

That was the Telstra man, by the way. As far as he's concerned, our internet connection is all good to go now. We'll see.

So here's my question for the day. 

How many of you clean up in anticipation of a tradesman coming over? Or dust, scrub, vacuum and mop before you go on a holiday?

I do. I clear the dishes, do all the dirty laundry, scrub out the bathtub and toilet bowl. I even change the bedsheets and towels.

I think it makes complete sense. If something bad should happen to us on holiday, I'd hate for the police, neighbours or rellies to break down the door and walk into a pig sty. Let me tell you, no one has any sympathy for a filthy dead person. [Which is why I fervently hope I'll die with clean undies on.]

The Other Half thinks I'm being idiotic. What does he know? He's a man.

Besides, I'm convinced there are a lot of us idiots out there. [Maybe even some men.] Are you one of them perchance? You can confess here in total confidence, you know.


In more exciting news, the house security alarm has gone off 4 times in the last 2 days, 3 times in the dead of night.

Our vigilant and fearsome guard dog slept through it every single time.

No, that's not true. She did look up, but she didn't stir from her bed. Why bother? The humans are taking care of it. Look at them hurtling down the stairs in their flipflops, all bleary-eyed from sleep. I hope they don't trip and break their necks. Who would take me for a walk then?

Finally, this morning [and I use the term loosely, since it was still pitch black outside], The Other Half proved his mettle and value for the 2nd time this week by dismantling the damn box. [I do hope no burglars are reading this.] It was touch and go and I now have an inkling of how a bomb disposal unit must feel.
"Hey! It's still dark. What am I doing down here? Can I go back to bed now?"

I toyed with the idea of dropping off apology notes in my neighbours' letterboxes but have decided against it. My immediate neighbour knows because she was laughing at us pounding down the stairs, so she says. As for the rest, let them ponder on who the culprit might be who woke them from their slumber. I don't think I can cope with dirty looks on the street at the moment. 

I have enough mental anguish to deal with knowing that, somewhere in greater Sydney, a Telstra man is telling his wife about the filthy pig he met yesterday. And she's no doubt gloating in her gleaming house.


And just when I think nothing more can happen.

Our clothes dryer has started to creak and groan while tumbling. I fear, after 10 years of good service, it may be dying.

Fark. Have I offended Some Higher Power in some way?

Note to self ... best vacuum behind the dryer, just in case.

"What's the use of me having 3 baths a week when I have to live in a house full of cobwebs and dander?
I  really hope I don't catch some disease." 


Bing said...

hahaha! Enjoyed this one!

Jan said...

I've put up with a broken dryer for three months now because i don't have the energy to clean the laundry room. A drying rack serves quite well.

Jean said...

Ha ha ha - I can soooo identify with this post! I am busy fretting because I have someone coming to stay with the dogs for a day and my house needs cleaning. And worse - she is coming to stay with the dogs for four days next week while I go away - someone living in my house - It Must Be Spotless.
Tradespeople? I do clean if I know they are going to be looking in the corners and moving furniture, but nothing like when I have someone coming to stay in the house. EEEK.

Anonymous said...

I Am one of them(a man), who wants to clean and make it tidy before I go on holidays. Just to feel less stressed when I am back - got it from my mum. (She even needs a tidy house before she goes to bed.) BUT for me it doesn't happen all the time.

booahboo said...

I'm not much of a housecleaning fella myself.. i have lotta cobwebs behind heavy furniture and some behind not so heavy furniture.. shhh... dun tell my dad.. hehehehehe

when my eldest sis comes home, she always embarrass me by sweeping the house from each and every nook and cranny and come out with loads of cobwebs. I have to thank her for being helpful but my dad always gives me the evil eye after that.. *LOL*

forget the alarm... over here the neighbours houses.. the alarms goes off even when a lizard passes by.. *LOL* We don't have one installed as Dom is our ever ready alarm. He has a good ear.. still :)

Hope GLP got some butt sniffing done with the tradesman :p

TimberLove said...

Haawwoooo! Too funny, we would have to step into the circle of those who madly dash around at the last possible moment. Play bows,


Kolchak Puggle said...

LOL, the Mama is definitely a cobweb culprit. One of her new year's resolutions was to subscribe the the newsletter and *actually* follow her schedule. She definitely subscribed to the newsletter...everything else has been a little hit & miss. We'd best get out the vaccuum before having any servicemen over.

H and Flo said...

Snigger. Behind my couches is cobweb free ONLY because of the arthropod action - they drag all the dust and crud out on their way. I highly recommend employing cockroaches to do that work for you. Then you pay them with a squirt of Mortein, which is easy to do as they're much slower when they've legs are caught up in dust, hoover them up and Bob's your uncle. Actually, a friend and I have a pact that if we're ever run over or some such other disaster befalls us, I'll be the first into her house and she'll be the first into mine so that we can clean up before anyone else sees the mess!

Love this post GLP! :)

georgia little pea said...

What a great pact H and Flo! I wonder which friend I could approach with the same proposition. I think I'd rather be the dead one, than the one to clean up someone else's mess though.

houndstooth said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, that is so me! I do clean when I know there are people who will be around or when we leave. That's only because I want to come home to a clean house after staying in a hotel room, though!

verobirdie said...

Hilarious! I identify with every bit of the vacuum stuff! I clean up before going to vacations, because of the neighbours coming to feed the cats. Otherwise, I really do hate cleaning.
No alarm for me, not much to steal anyway, and when I see the stress it puts on those having one, I take the chance. Besides, the houses behind mine are bigger, so thieves would go there, won't they?

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Lol, yes about the only time our house is VERY clean is when I know anyone is coming to visit. And it's only clean if I have to get a tradesman in. The rest of the time I'd be highly embarrassed if an unexpected visitor arrived! I've been known to hide in a wardrobe ... can't fit under the beds, lol!

Frankie is our burglar alarm and he's very good at it, no burglars ever ... so far!

Karen Friesecke said...

The stove broken down a week before Christmas. With all the stuff that I had to do, it didn't even cross my mind to pull out the stove and clean the floor beneath.

I was absolutely horrified when the repair tech revealed 8 YEARS of gunk underneath my broken down stove. Yeah, not my finest moment...

georgia little pea said...

Sue - I gotcha! I hide in the toilet. Shhhh.

Karen - that would have been gross I bet! Grease +

Team Kenzo said...

Our choice for a guard dog like a Hovawart (and to install an alarm) had to do something with us waking up to a burglar standing in our bedroom, scary stuff! And true, my other half worried about if the house was clean when the police arrived, LOL

georgia little pea said...

Kenzo - VERY scary! I'd probably have grills and an electric fence as well, if something like that happened to me! Lucky Kenzo is protective :)

Rumpydog said...

I was putting some baking dishes away last weekend and when I opened the drawer beneath the oven, I saw hair. Then I got to looking and saw LOTS of hair beneath the drawer. I ended up having to move the drawer out and cleaning beneath. Then I moved the refrigerator. Oh, nothing keeps ya humble like housework.

Patrice and Higgins said...

My mom is barking, I mean laughing so hard at this post!! She also cleans up before anyone comes over to fix anything...but I don't see her pulling out benches to clean behind them!! OH, she also said that I would sleep through a bomb at night going off, so she was not suprised that the alarm didn't phase the dogs any!!


Kristine said...

You are hilarious! I rarely worry about what tradespeople think of my messy house. I always figure they have seen worse. True or not, I am too lazy to care.
However, I do usually clean before going away. There is just something nice about coming home to a tidy house. There is enough to do after a vacation. Who wants to sweep dog hair?

I hope it turns out your dryer is just a bit sick and you don't have to clean the laundry room. That does not sound like good times.

Arthur's Daddy said...


I am a bit anal retentive and move all furniture in order to clean at least once a year and before any work is to be done anywhere in my house.

What Remains Now said...

I do try to pick-up before someone comes over, but I have been caught out when things get moved around. I WISH I cleaned before vacations. Unfortunately, I'm such a procrastinator about getting ready for the trip, that it's usually a big mess when we leave. I'd like to do better with this.

Sage said...

Oh, my goodness! I can totally relate. DON'T MOVE THAT SOFA UNTIL I VACUUM, PULEEEEEZE!

georgia little pea said...

Rumpydog - HOW does dog fur get into closed drawers? I'd love to know because my CLOSED pantry is the same. There's always a mess of dog fur caught below the wire baskets. Ugh!

Kristine - bless your cotton socks girl, you may just be an anomaly ;)

47 said...

Best. Post. EVER!

Speaking as the wife of a service man, I can tell you that the only time Service Man tells wife about a Particularly Disgusting House is if it is so Disgusting the Service Man refuses to work in it. Like as an example, if cat poo is smeared evenly over every surface, 3 months of food-related garbage is strewn over the floor, or there are dead animals laying around.

As for me, my mother-in-law can spy dirt in my house from hers, and enjoys telling the entire nation about it. >_> "That wouldn't believe the things I see."

I lint roller the curtains and use cotton swabs in the corners where wall meets floor if I think there's a possibility she's coming to my house.

So. Find dirt. I dare you!

georgia little pea said...

Oh 47!!! Best. Comment. Eva. BOL.

I'm glad my mother-in-law lives 1 and 1/2 hours away and actually never visits. I do hope you're joking about the state of smear and decomposition witnessed by your tradie hubby. I suppose a good quality gas mask must be part of his gear?

And you know what? Thanks to you, I feel much better now! Cheers! :) x

KimT said...

Love, love, love this! It was as if you were narrating what goes through this head here. Good luck on the dryer, and yep - best to clean now before it konks out! lol

gsm alarm said...

This was funny for me. I like the way you presented your story.Thanks for posting.

Pamela said...

I've nearly gotten over this particular neuroses (but not quite). Several years ago in Philadelphia we were awaken by the sound of loud firecrackers in the middle of the night.

In reality, it was automatic weapon fire aimed at the other side of our duplex by a local, pissed off drug dealer.

We had held a porch sale earlier in the day and our living room was covered with the detritus from the event when the police officer came into interview us.

I was mortified. But eventually I figured out it was stupid to be more worried about what a policeman thought of my housekeeping than the bullet holes all over the house and the young man headed to the hospital.

Ahhhh, perspective.

So enjoy your cobwebs and dog hair. They're just a sign to the universe that you are committed to thinking about higher things.

Friko said...

YOu mean to say that I should clean BEHIND the furniture?

And who has three baths a week? Georgia?

georgia little pea said...

Pamela - you live in such exciting neighbourhoods! I bet you have great reflexes and are excellent at ducking. Your life insurance premiums must be horrendous ;0

Friko - they're MEDICATED! Skin probs unfortunately. She also gets hosed down almost every day. Poor thing.

Leslie said...

Oh geez, we SOOOOO know where you're coming from - why do they always have to get behind that ONE piece of furniture I couldn't dust behind if I wanted to because I'd have to hire a moving company to push it aside?!

Great post - thanks for the laugh. :) (And hope your internet woes are truly past.)

Unknown said...

LOL! Have heart, Typist! You're in dirtier company: I haven't vacuumed behind stuff for so long that I don't even remember when I last vacuumed those places.

As for the Telstra man - he might have developed new-found affection for his wife, in which case you've earned some good karma points by bringing a couple closer. :)

Peggy Frezon said...

Now you just have to hope the vacuum cleaner doesn't decide to break down next. I'm called the vacuum killer. I just touch one and it breaks. I end up dragging around vacuums with missing parts, wobbly wheels, kinked hoses, you name it. Once I vacuumed over the cord and severed it, causing shocks and sparks! So anyway, be kind to your vacuum so that you can prepare for all those workers and company!

Ellen said...

I certainly chuckled on reading this one...when our old washer use to have to have a repair it was so awful behind it. I mean I never thought to regularly clean behind and underneath it! But as soon as the repair man was gone out came the vacuum and mop.

georgia little pea said...

Dear Peggy The Vacuum Killer - thank you for your confession. I'm thrilled to hear it because that's what The Other Half calls me! Your kill methods sound a lot more violent and dangerous than even mine and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase - "housework will be the death of me"'. LOL.

chandra said...

I love how GLP got all up in the cable man's business! You know she may have a point about the baths-to-house cleaning ratio.

It's quite dusty in Los Angeles as well and I'm terribly behind on buying some household items for our new place. I actually lint-rolled the large floor rug in the living room the other day because I can't bear to go vacuum shopping.

I always clean up the place before leaving for a trip. At the very least, the kitchen. I can't stand coming home to dirty dishes in the sink. My husband, on the other hand, seems to enjoy it. It really makes his day when the food in the fridge has gone bad.

-c at ddy.

Elizabeth Keene said...

Oh look! Blogger has changed the comment screen. :)

I actually read this post on Friday (I've become quite a lame commenter, yes?) and thought of it THE WHOLE TIME I was cleaning my house in prep for my child's friends to come over. :-/ And, yes, they are kids (teens), but at least the tradesman goes away and never comes back (hopefully). The kids go home and tell their mothers that their friend lives in a hairy, messy sty, and then (to make themselves feel better about their own housekeeping) their mothers tell other mothers that a certain other mother (with five pets) is endangering her kids health with all the pet hair/dander/drool/cat yak/etc. :)

(I might have used hyperbole a little.)

Anyway, you have clearly hit a nerve here. ;) Good luck with that dryer!

georgia little pea said...

Holy dust mites! You're right! And for a change, it's a change I like! I've always wanted one if these reply thingies. Now if only blogger would put commentluv on as well.

OMG. I never thought of kiddies tittle tattling. Little horrors. You're right again. The tradesman is better.