Within a few days after I fired the house helpers, we were able to hire a gardener. A manang who comes around daily. Even before we hired her, we already knew the quality of her work because she tends to some of the neighbors’ gardens so she’s really a familiar face in the subdivision. With someone to take care of the garden, a huge amount of work was taken off us.
Meanwhile, inside the house, we tried to manage. I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. The thing about writing — especially writing for a living — is how it requires hours and hours of uninterrupted time that allows me to focus. And I lost that. And I had been alternately irritable and depressed because there was this itch to write and there was no outlet. But life has to go on and we did the best we could. I’m not great at cleaning but with both girls old enough to help, and Speedy doing a lot of the cleaning, I told myself it was just a matter of getting used to with the new set-up.
Then, the surprise came. Applicants. The gardener, a neighbor’s laundry woman and another neighbor’s stay-in house helper had recommendations. And they’re really all pushing for their recommendees to get hired. I couldn’t understand at first. Most wanna be house helpers shy away when they see a large house that looks like A LOT of work. But then there are all these women who want us to hire them. Not until I talked to one of those making a recommendation did it dawn on me. Of course. House helpers gossip and word has gotten around. As Sam puts it so succinctly, this is a house known for “gourmet” meals everyday. But that’s just part of it.
The neighbor’s laundrywoman, accompanied by another who also does laundry and ironing for some other neighbors, was here earlier and she was recommending her niece who would be coming from Bicol. Both knew our former house helpers and both were well aware of the working conditions in this house. Good food but no cooking. Early nights (the ones I fired even took four to five hour afternoon naps, didn’t they?). Wages paid on time. Christmas bonus on top of 13th month pay. Birthday bonus. The former house helpers had apparently been bragging about how good they had it so we have recommendees and applicants who are very much willing to fill in their shoes.
That’s the house helpers’ room in the photo — the window on the right side at the far end of the carport. It’s still unoccupied because we haven’t made any decision yet.
There, a closer view. It’s twice as wide as what’s visible because there is an en suite bathroom (sounds too chi chi but I don’t know any other term for a bathroom inside the bedroom).
Whoever will stay there next will have to be the best candidate. We’ll see. We haven’t ditched the option of having a daily cleaning woman either so the room might stay unoccupied permanently after all. We’ll see.