No Hablo Espanol

by Meghan Medford in


When I found all three toilet seats lifted (in a house with two women) and dirt tracked throughout my house, I realized it was probably time to do some deep cleaning before we got settled in. It hadn’t been cleaned since the previous owner vacated and with all the construction workers, contractors, electricians, and other service workers coming and going, it wasn’t exactly the most desirable place to walk around barefoot. On top of that, the seller also had a cat that apparently shed like nobody’s business, which in turn is making me sneeze like nobody’s business.

Now, I am perfectly capable of doing this myself, but I thought my efforts this weekend were better focused on keeping paint on my walls and out of my hair. So I went about hiring a maid service, and to prevent any disasters like Vivint, I went on Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, etc. Because you can never be too careful when you have strangers cleaning your mostly-empty home. I have been collecting some pretty valuable art, you know.

I went with a company (that shall not be named) that had raving reviews, next-day service, and gave me a decent quote. It appeared to be an easy transaction (it wasn’t - of course). 

So when the two maids arrived to deep clean my town home, I began blabbing on to them about instructions and tips and rattling off questions - “do you need anything?”, “do you take credit cards?”, “do you see anything that will be a problem?”. I was holding the conversation hostage for a solid five minutes, while they are nodding their heads yes and no. It was then I realized that I hadn’t heard them utter a word except for “Hello”, when I introduced myself. 

Eventually, one of them looks at me and states, “No English”.

Oh, okay. You should have stopped me sooner. 

So then I backtracked into what I could barely remember from my middle school Spanish days and tried to repeat as much as I could - and loudly; because logically, raising my voice in broken Spanglish will better help their understanding. 

The tricky part is, I had to explain to them that my boyfriend, Eric, and I would be in the upstairs bedroom, assembling a new bed frame that I had ordered. I wanted to warn them that we would be in their way for a few minutes and to have them start their cleaning on the first floor instead.

However, the only Spanish word in that whole phrase that I could remember is “novio” - boyfriend. So I did by best with our one mutual word of understanding, my voice at a raised volume, and used plethora of hand signs.

All in all, I said, “mi novio y yo”, pointed to the floor above us, and made some crude hand gestures to signify that we would be assembling and building a piece of furniture and that it may create a loud noise. 

A sly smile crept across their faces, they nodded and then one of them winked. 

I immediately started backpedaling, trying to set the record straight that we were only making furniture - and nothing else. But it was too late. That ship had sailed. And I probably made it into their book as the trashiest and most provocative client of the week. 

After we finished assembling the bed, I tipped them, quietly exited my town home, and came to the conclusion that I could clean my house myself from now on.