The girl in this story is probably a mom herself now. First a wee bit of back-story. We hired a Merry-Maid type service to clean twice a month nine years ago. The leader eventually went out on her own, we liked her, and for those years she came fairly regularly (she had a habit of flaking out). But as I said we liked her, despite her being slightly unreliable, and the fact she managed to break one thing each visit (most memorably a ceiling fan and a bathroom sink). But we liked her, as I said. We gave her a key. It was easy. She said she needed the money.
The last straw was -- well, really the last two straws, were -- 1) we had a load of friends coming to town, so I spent all week on the yard and cooking, since S. said she'd be over to clean. She wasn't. 2) (And this was the death knell of the partnership), Excy was interviewed for HGTV's Dream Builders show, for three houses he designed. They flew in from DC for the day and rented a car.* It took weeks to set this up, so every one had ample time to adjust schedules. His studio was a black hole disaster so we concentrated on that and I made lunch for everybody and still needed a clean house for the day. I mean, come-on, it's HGTV! In your house!
Again, I told S. how important this was, and warned her I couldn't abide any flakiness. If she couldn't make it, I needed to know to make other arrangements. When she didn't show, and didn't call, it left only half a day to clean, on top of everything else. The house was half-cleaned, not as nicely as I wanted it to be. I was so pissed, I sent her a letter and told her to mail back the key. She tried calling but the excuse was half-assed lame so I didn't respond. It takes a long time to get me riled if you're my friend or an acquaintance, but when I finally am, just back away, it's over. I'm done.
* This interview took place the day before 9/11. The crew ended up keeping their rental car and driving back to DC. Which turned out to be the best plan, anyway, since planes didn't fly again until the end of the week.
This post was so long, I am calling this the forward, and will continue the story this week.