Breaking the rules

This morning I was all set to write a post about our trip to Singapore over the weekend. I had a blast. I loved Singapore and it is a place that I would be thrilled to visit again. Unfortunately, I have another topic that is at the front of my mind, so Singapore will have to wait.

I think that our cleaning dude has been coming into our apartment uninvited. I considered not writing this post because I don’t want anyone to worry about me **seriously don’t worry about me**, but it is one of those topics that just makes my blood boil and I need to talk about it if nothing else, just for the therapeutic value of doing so.

When we first moved in here and filled out our rental paperwork, I was sure to indicate on the form that I did not want Cleaning Dude to have a key. Sounded straightforward enough.

Since then, I have been somewhat aware of the fact that in spite of this rule he had been coming in to clean when we were gone. Not a huge deal, right? He seemed innocent enough and it probably was not worth the hassle of explaining to him that he should only clean while I am here. After all, with his English language ability, this would be a long and confusing conversation. In fact, it would probably be more than one long, confusing conversation.

In the beginning, I purposely left a few rupees lying around here and there to see if they walked. Not one rupee missing. I’m an untrusting jerk. I know.

Fast forward to last week. Chris was off in Japan doing that work thing and I was here in Chennai on a conference call, also trying to do that work thing.

There was a knock on the door. I didn’t answer, after all, I was talking on a call for work and I knew who it was. Cleaning Dude is the only person who comes to our door unless we order pizza.

[I should add that Cleaning Dude does not understand that I have a job and that when I have a headset glued to my head that it is probably because I am working and that he should not speak to me. In the past I have had trouble with him trying to interrupt me while I was on calls.]

I hear another knock on the door. I am even more entrenched in the discussion that I am having on the phone and I am certainly not going to jeopardize this opportunity that I have to work remotely by being distracted by details such as Cleaning Dude knocking on the door.

[Did I mention that it was evening? Cleaning Dude cleans at noon each day, so our apartment had been clean for hours.]

He knocks yet again. I almost gave in and answered, but it was a really inconvenient time for me to interrupt my call.

Silence for several minutes. Suddenly Cleaning Dude is face to face with me in my living room loudly yammering something in broken English. I had no choice but to interrupt my meeting and firmly explain to him that a) he was not to enter my apartment unless I let him in and that b) he needed to vacate immediately.

Cleaning Dude left. I resumed my call feeling annoyed, shaken, and somewhat unable to concentrate.

The following day I was somewhat cold to Cleaning Dude. I purposely didn’t answer the door right away when he arrived at noon to clean. I wanted to test him. I’m a jerk like that. He knocked and knocked and finally, ten minutes later, I answered the door.

Chris and I spent the weekend in Singapore, far away from Cleaning Dude. After I had a few days to chill out and step away from the Cleaning Dude situation, we talked about how we need to discontinue his services. Today, that became even more apparent than ever before.

As I sat on the sofa this morning drinking tea and catching up on some news, I thought “Man, I smell horrible.” I was surprised that I smelled quite that bad, but I decided that it was plausible. After all, I slept on a plane for half of the night before tumbling into bed at home to catch the rest of my Z’s and I was wearing a sweatshirt that I may or may not have worn a few times already since its last washing.

I decided to open the blinds on our front and back balconies to let some light in. There was a red and white checkered apron wadded up on the floor of the back balcony. It didn’t look particularly clean, but for some reason I thought: “That is exactly why I don’t hang my clothes outside to dry.” I looked all around to see where it might have come from, but I couldn’t see any reasonable apron source.

After showering and putting on clean clothes, that smell still seemed to linger, but only when I was seated on the sofa. “Chris, come smell the sofa. Is it just me or does it reek of BO?” Chris confirmed my suspicions. It wasn’t me. Whew. I didn’t think that I could smell that bad. Ever.

[At the last minute, the Indian government declared a day off from work today because of elections.]

Suddenly things started to add up. Extra garments on our back balcony, the smelly sofa, Cleaning Dude knocking a billion times before randomly entering. I think that he is hanging out in our apartment when we are not home.

Chris confronted him today in a way that nobody except for Chris can, but I don’t think it made a difference. Cleaning Dude just kept telling Chris that he would clean the sofa cushions. Chris not so politely explained, repeatedly, that he did not care one bit about the sofa, he cared that someone was in here on our sofa when we were not here.

[I tried to retrieve the checkered apron from the balcony as evidence, but it was miraculously gone.]

Cleaning Dude either didn’t get it or was playing dumb. I’m guessing the latter. We have had a message in with the apartment management since early last week, but they seem to be responding to us on India time.

For now, I am doing my best to cope with the situation and not get too fired up about it. Tough to do as it makes me feel incredibly violated to have pretty good reason to think that Cleaning Dude is living in our apartment when we are gone. I sure hope he is not sleeping in my bed. I might break out my sleep sack until I know that he is gone for good.

Once again, please, nobody worry about us. Cleaning Dude is not a harmful guy. He is not going to bother me (or Chris, haha) or even steal our stuff. I am pretty sure that his offenses are limited to partying in our apartment when we are gone and that is only if our suspicions are true. Which I think they are.

  1. Oh wow! I would be extremely annoyed about that too! And a little freaked out. I mean, that is your space and your stuff…he shouldn’t be just chilling out on your couch. Not cool. Hopefully the management people get their act together!

  2. Webcam + live feed on your blog = fun for viewers + evidence!

    • Brit said:

      We discussed a nanny cam yesterday. It would be interesting.

      • Just thinking of it being necessary gives me the heebie jeebies.

        Hopefully running into you mid-day was enough to give him a scare.

  3. jen said:

    Want my DH to come over and translate? 🙂 Good luck getting him to stay out of your place and with the management… I hope they put an end to his employment. :/

    • Brit said:

      Does he speak Tamil? 🙂

      I think I figured out a way to lock Cleaning Dude out. We have a front door and a service door. He only has a key to the service door (different keys). If we get a chain the service door, that should do the trick. Definitely on my agenda for this weekend.

  4. Nah, danger or not, that would give me the creeps too. The idea of somebody else using my house without my knowledge instigates spine chill. I wonder what his story is…

  5. jen said:

    Yep, he does. 🙂 Very well!

    • Brit said:

      That gives you a distinct advantage here! So many of the time consuming and confusing incidents that I have had here can be directly attributed to my inability to do so.

  6. jena said:

    Ew, that is weird, and gross. Mostly weird. Did a company help you relocate to India? Any chance they can help you contact the management in a more timely manner? That is so creepy. What if you were in the shower or something – heck to the no.

    Good Luck w/ that situation, I hope it resolves sooner rather than later .

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