It’s been almost two weeks and I’m franticly picking up my place and putting things where they should go. I grab all the unsorted unanswered mail and I stack it on the desk of my work armoire and close the doors to hide the mess. I inspect everything to make sure there is nothing that might cause me any embarrassment. Who am I preparing for? I wish I could say some carnivorous hottie but no, it’s my cleaning lady, and a hottie she is not. However, she is an angel with a heart of gold who leaves my place spotless. I always look forward to the day she comes…she shows up after I leave in the morning and when I come home in the afternoon my place is clean, sparkling and in order…in relative order that is. I often struggle with having others clean my place. Is it worth it for me to waste valuable work time or lose moments of these beautiful California days for me to dust, vacuum and scrub toilettes? It isn’t being elitist or aristocratic but it is probably a wise investment to outsource such services. Although, I’m fairly clean and organized it’s anyways nice to have someone who does the mundane manual tasks that we all probably dread and despise.

So as I’m on the phone with a friend they ask “What the hell are you doing? You’re like huffing and puffing and I can’t tell what you’re saying with all the background noise.” “I’m cleaning up. I have the cleaning lady coming tomorrow!” I tell them that as if it makes perfect sense to clean before the cleaning lady comes. Then all of a sudden I have a flashback to my childhood and things my folks would say that I thought were ridiculous. Back in those days I would think to myself “I’ll never say pish like that!” I recall it now, mom yelling “Teamwork! Teamwork! Rosario is coming tomorrow and we need this place clean!” (I’m not being racialist that was her name). Immediately, my mom would start getting any visible papers out of the way and clear all surface tops, I would make sure that any incriminating evidence in my room was well hidden or stowed, Loni would grab the Windex and paper towels because that is just what she did, and Eric…Eric…I’m actually not quite sure what Eric did? Oh yeah, Eric disappeared because that is what Eric did, but only after stuffing all his mess underneath his bed. And as for Papa Alonso – He would find some task in the garage or maybe just page himself and say he had an emergency at the hospital.

Funny thing is that these days I understand where my mom was coming from. It only make sense now to give access and remove any impediments so that Juliana could do her job effectively and efficiently without my stuff getting in the way (not being racialist that’s really her name…and racialist is a word by the way). By pre-tidying up I also want to make sure that I don’t embarrass myself with anything, well, embarrassing. Yet as I’m preparing for my cleaning maven’s arrival, I internally scoff at the poltergeist that coincides with her biweekly appearance. And I’m not just picking on my cleaning lady; from the intel I’ve gathered this seems to be a common occurrence with others.

Much like other anomalies, at first they might seem interesting or entertaining, but in time they have a cumulative effect of annoyance. Many probably have their own unique experiences; I’m going to share what my paranormal phenomenon is about.

Since most of my things are organized in the manner that I’m accustom to, which I have acquired over years, I would only think that they should be in that same order upon my return. However, during this bi-weekly ritual certain things completely change positions and locations. For the most part, it wouldn’t be a big deal if it would make sense, but these alterations continuously baffle me. For starters, I have all my bath towels in the closet adjacent to the bathroom…it seems like an obvious choice to me. Yet, every time I arrive home they have found their way to the closet on the other side of my place. Something eerily similar happens with the trash can in the kitchen. I strategically place it slightly to the left of the refrigerator where it doesn’t really get in the way of any cabinets or the freezer door and sure enough, week in and week out it completely shifts to a spot that blocks one of the entrances to the kitchen; as if my kitchen isn’t tight enough as is. The one that truly perplexes me is the kitchen sink one. My sink has two basins: One with a disposal and another with standard drain. The standard basin has a stainless steal drain with a perfectly mating metal stop, while the drain for the other disposal basin is a rubber drain with a matching rubber stop. It makes complete sense and I would think it’s blatantly obvious to anyone over the age of 5 but every time I come home they are switched. The drain stop for the sink with garbage disposal gets mysteriously swapped with the one from the non-disposal one. I don’t get it…it’s simple geometry and material matching.

The poltergeist also affects many of the electronics in my place. For example, my entertainment surround sound system has an off/stand-by switch that must be depressed to the stand-by position in order to be able to turn it on and off with the remote control. There really is no need to touch the button on the unit and I doubt she watches any TV while she’s in my crib but yet there seems to be some powerful attraction to turning it off (I’m not even sure how she sees it). Next, I have an iPod docking station in the bedroom. I often like to boom some Jay-Z while getting ready. It’s a standard iPod docking station with the flat male connection that we have all become so familiar with which inserts flawlessly into the bottom of our iPods. The only time I undock it is to upload new songs, so otherwise it rests undisturbed on the docking station, or so it would seem, because other than me USBing it to feed it more Ne-Yo, T.I. or Coldplay (no Chris Brown anymore) it goes unmolested. However, this powerful force that seems to interfere with my electronics seems to hate that the iPod is so nicely mated with its male counterpart. As if she was offended she rips my vessel of music from its happy resting place and places it behind the male row of golden prongs. Why? I cannot venture to guess. I thought maybe to dust but there is plenty of access to feather dust without tearing them apart and even if they needed to temporarily part to properly dust there, it can’t be that difficult to figure out how to reconnect them.

One other trait in these “happenings” is the pure disappearance of certain materials and the altered state of others. Namely, I’m talking about my laundry. She does the laundry on these days, and although it is a blessing this produces more amazing occurrences. I buy Cheer Laundry detergent (refuse to buy tide for obvious reasons), and these days most of the detergent containers are ultra concentrated. So these days it says “64 loads” on the large bottle. Therefore you would think that should last a very long time. I mean I don’t soil tons of gear and it is simple math. She does about 3 loads of laundry when she comes and I do another one on her off week. That’s roughly 2 loads a week or 8 loads a month. 64 loads per bottle divided by 8 loads per month is 8 months worth of detergent. Yet, it seems like she goes through a bottle a month. The Clorox is another one…this disappears even faster. Now when it comes to house cleaning, I understand that Clorox is the bread and butter of any Latin woman but once again, it disappears so much faster than what is humanly possible. The bleach conundrum is probably a very telling one because I have noticed that my white athletic socks are all starting to become quitters and there is nothing more annoying than a no-show that’s lost its will. It also seems that she doesn’t differentiate between good whites and bad whites (wow…that sounds racialist). Now I’m sure most of you know what a good white versus a bad white but for the non-metro males out there I’ll go ahead and elaborate. Bad whites are those that we can use bleach on such as: wife-beaters, underwear, socks, and most gym clothes, while good whites are the more delicate whites such as any James Perse waffle knits, white jeans, and dress or polo type shirts. Once you start using bleach on these, the nice tight cuffs and collars tend to weaken then just give up and quit. But there has to be a reason that my laundry goods get used up so quickly. Maybe she skims my supplies then rebottles it and sells it in East LA as Juliana’s own. It’s just another piece of the total mystery.

The list goes on but I don’t want to pile on my Juliana. And I’m not trying to pick on her because she does clean house better than the MIT gang at the blackjack tables. Some things, like the cool trick of putting the creases back in my T-shirts as if they were brand new and the fact that my sheets have never been so soft (probably explains why my fabric softener sheets disappear faster than silver change does from my car) are well worth it. I know many of you are probably thinking “why don’t you tell her how I want things.” Well, I have many times and it’s not a language thing…yo hablo español también. And getting rid of her wouldn’t be an option because the next one would bring a whole new array of mad paranormal skills that I would have to get accustom to. The thing is that I would get it if this were a girlfriend, fiancé, wife or even roommate. I would be open to learning new ways to organize and maybe where things might work better. But when you are paying someone it would only make sense to keep things like they were. Yet for the time being, I’m going to refrain from calling an exorcist or a medium and just learn to cohabitate with my bi-weekly phenomenon.

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