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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Knock Knock "Housekeeping."

I was entering the Hotel through the hidden side door. Pulling my messy bed hair into a pony tail. I caught the cozy warm glow of the fireplace and the empty couch in front of it, As I walked on through the Lobby thinking "I wish I could drink my coffee right there." But instead I clocked in. It was almost 8am I always got to work early to fix a cup of coffee to take on my cart. This job allowed me to wear jeans and tennis shoes but the polo shirt with "Best Western" embroidered on it was my uniform. Checking in with my Supervisor for all my charts and keys. These keys were sliding cards on a springy chain. 
"Good Morning!" I always came in with a happy smile though deep down I wish I could stay in the office and just visit. "Have you learn to speak Spanish yet?" My Supervisor asked and I laughed. She has been looking for a spy to know what all the Housekeeping Ladies are saying about her. I can easily feel the mood over lunch time when they are NOT happy, But speaking Spanish was hard for me when feeling very shy.
"No, not yet but I will let ya know, It's pouring rain out there and that fireplace in the lobby looks so perfect. I wish I had a fireplace in my apartment it would be a perfect way to spend these winter nights..." My Supervisor looks at the clock and my list all ready. I understand the concern so I start to leave as she asked "You haven't came across anything bloody yet have you?" I reply over my shoulder "Not on the bed sheets." She lets out a loud laugh and I shrugged on.
When we do clean a bedroom there is a bright red bag that we put anything dangerous in when we drop our laundry.
Shouting down the shoot was always fun to me. Like when we yelled down "Heads up, Bedspread!" The Laundry crew would reply "Hold on" or "Okay"
From the top of the 3rd floor I always watched my stuff fall. Suddenly my Supervisor followed me to the elevator. "Oh and I almost forgot, You are dropping way to many bedspreads Debby." I stood surprised "REALLY?" I had thought I was taking a huge risk not dropping them all! She nodded looking at her charts and holding the elevator door for me. "We only wash them once a month if they are REALLY bad, but we try for at least 6 months in between washes... just so you know." The door was closing as I nodded "Okay Thanks." then I did a little shivering dance at the very gross thought that these bedspreads went so long with out an actual wash!
My Cart was my work horse, with my rainbow colored name I took pride in how clean it was. My cart was super organized so everyone came to borrow stuff from me because I didn't fight them about it. Some women would have started swing the toilet brush if you asked for a Kleenex box. I also emptied and cleaned my vacuum cleaner every morning, even though that was just a weekly chore. Some mornings I never saw any co-worker until lunch time, so it was a lonely job especially for me. I kept trying to purposely bump into someone so we could chat.
One morning I was asked to train a new person, and you would have thought I had gotten a big raise! "REALLY someone to actually talk to while working?!" I responded. My Supervisor didn't mind my hug but she did tell me that my cleaning time should be cut in half. An average hotel room 2 queen size beds or 1 king should take a seasoned Housekeeper just a half hour to clean. I was in that job for only 6 months but they thought in 6 weeks I should be that fast. My average time was 55 minuets, 1 hour and half if it was a jacuzzi room. Have you ever seen a Jacuzzi? 
With all that hair getting wrapped up inside those jets, the wide tub ring can feel just like butter, never wiping clean. So I was determined to leave a sparkling room. Though it would cost me extra time. Once my trainer timed me to encourage saving minuets but under the stress I was racing around to clean in 37 minuets. She was very impressed until she saw a hair on the floor and I suggested it could have been mine. 
How ridiculous to put a time limit on cleaning. One room can be dirtier then the other....Oh and how dirty they can get just made me work harder to clean all the more.
One afternoon my Supervisor stop into my room to tell me that all my rooms have been looking really good. "You honestly understand what being clean is." I sarcastically reply "Wow, I am really smart." She stopped writing to look thoughtful at me. "No, I meant it. You would be surprise how smart you are and how many, many people out there don't get it." I ponder her compliments, realizing I did have a gift, but I knew I couldn't ever be an under 30 minuet cleaner.
My first room once I was on my own, was the most impressionable. My voice sounded faint when I knocked "Housekeeping." I cleared it and took a deep breath. "HOUSEKEEPING." There, I can in confidence speak clearly. Opening the door to the dark damp room was like a scary movie. The tooth paste on the mirror reveals that a child was there. With crumbs all over the bed, they must have had pizza while watching TV. The bathroom was soaking wet like they splashed water on the walls just for fun. But it was the toilet, that was the most shocking. So just like a Rookie I didn't know what NOT to look at....yet. 
"OH MY GOD!" I stumbled out of the bathroom, relieved that I have a stomach of steel. 
"Naturally, these sonsofbitches would leave me with a room that I will NEVER forget." With the fresh air from the window I got my the strength back. While wondering How is it that some women just never learned the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves when on that "Time-of-the-month"? 
I mumbled to myself "WHO lives like this?" just because a trash can is in the other room doesn't mean you throw your personal toiletries on the floor in the corner with water pooling a inch deep. I stopped to look at myself through the greasy mirror understandingly saying "Welcome to HELL." 
The Hotel job had all kinds of adventures, but my first room to clean was almost unbelievable.
While I was training the new person I exclaimed "Don't open that lid!" she looked startled stopping in action and I showed her "Always flush first. it's better to fix a plugged toilet then to try and understand how is THAT humanly possible." Also I showed her the very first step in cleaning is to open the window, just let all that fresh air come in with the light taking in whole layout of the room .
The morning I found a used condom was the moment I realized I was VERY under paid. I was just like Rob Schneider in that "Deuce Bigalow." movie with the scene he laid on the perfectly made bed next to a used condom and then screamed!
When he took a garden rake to the bed I was laughing so hard, tears were rolling down my cheeks! For I really could relate.
In One room with 4 empty boxes of Budlight beer, There was every empty can laid out all over the whole place, I even found cans under the pillow. I said "I hope this wasn't just one person because they would STILL be trashed."
When the girl I was training came up to me saying "I think...I am not sure but it looks like poop is on the wall." 
I just handed her the spray bottled and nodded. 
Making the bed alone was a heavy job I always lift the mattress for fresh air and to check for bed bugs. I liked to leave the mattress for last so it had all that time to breath out under the sun light, smelling freshly clean.
I always asked myself if I stayed here what would I want in a clean room? The coffee pot alone took time to soak in vinegar. 
"Debby, I smell vinegar again. You know we only do this once a month." I stopped working to look at my Supervisor, brushing my sweaty hair out of my face. I walked over to her as she drained my coffee pot. "But if I stayed here I would except a very clean almost brand new coffee pot." She shook her head at me saying this room was taking me almost 2 hours. I explained that with shit on the walls I don't feel like the room is ready for me to leave. She turned to me when she left and looked me in the eye as she said "It can't be Brand new everything, everyday or you will always run late."
So on the last room of our list with my girl in training, she went boldly up to the door. Knock knock "Housekeeping." the dogs on the other side of the door erupted. This little Hispanic girl threw herself against the wall like she was being robbed. I was surprised while watching her,suddenly realizing she was deathly afraid of dogs. "It's okay." I explained while getting in front of the door as it opened with 2 huge golden labs, I was down on my knees in a second laughing and loving up those dogs. They were all about to go out for a walk and I was full of fur. I came alive again laughing, talking and eating up those dogs. Looking up at the new housekeeper she was crying with such fear so I hugged her. "Oh now it's okay you are safe. those dogs wouldn't hurt anyone." She looked at me with a frown, "I thought they were going to bite you in the face! Who keeps a dog inside?!" I laughed realizing that in Mexico, dogs are treated so differently. "I do. I would. I love all kinds of dogs! someday I will have a big house full of dogs and My dogs will really like you too!" 

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