Friday, September 03, 2010


Bonjour mes amis,

Late Wednesday night, my friend came online and begged me to get her a ride to a town that's about a half hour from mine, because she was supposed to be cleaning a woman's house from the American Legion who just got out of the hospital. Well I agreed, and she generously offered half the pay. I set my alarm to wake me up at 8:00am so I have plenty of time to wake up and get ready for my friend who would be meeting me at my house at 9:00am sharp.

I woke up to her knocking on my window at 8:52am. I jumped out of bed, threw on some clean clothes, grabbed my keys and the Google Maps printed directions that had been prepared the night before, and we were on our way.

"Our way," in this case, meaning "We'll get there at some point in time but no promises when." First we missed the road we needed to turn onto because it was this little back road off of a six lane road that goes 55 mph. That's understandable. So we turn around, get on the correct road going the correct direction, and I ask my friend where the next turn is.

"About a mile," she says. Alright, I'm keeping my eyes peeled, checking each and every street sign. It never came. Like, ever. Using lots of guess work, a handy dandy atlas of the Metropolitan area, a quarter tank of gas, many U-turns, and an extra half hour of time, we eventually make it to this woman's house. It was quite the adventure.

Well, we walk into the house and she's sitting on the edge of her bed, so I introduce myself as we haven't met. She then begins to rant about how her husband left a huge mess on the laundry room floor with "soap and water everywhere, and then he just left it, like he couldn't see he made a mess!" but then the phone rang and it was a woman from the hospital calling to check up on her, so she dismissed us until she was done on the phone. Of course, we walked out into the living room but still heard every word of her yelling at the poor lady on the other end how miserable she is and how she's weak and can't do anything and all of that. First impression? An unhappy old woman, tough-looking, strict, likes her house clean, fights with the husband a lot.

She set us to work soon enough and we were careful to clean everything just so, although realistically the laundry room didn't need more than to be swept and have the rug vacuumed quickly. Unfortunately she had no mop, so I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor as my friend was outside watering plants, when I hear, "HELP!" from the other room.

I sprint into the room and ask if she's okay, and she's sitting on her bed, seemingly fine, but she says she's really dizzy and asked me to stand by her just in case, so I did, as I was genuinely concerned for her safety, and she took my hand and just held on for a few minutes. She kept saying how she "has to make it, I can't go back to that terrible hospital," and she seemed to be feeling something similar to what you experience when the body has a severe lack of oxygen- you feel very dizzy, nauseous, tunnel vision, that sort of thing. Unfortunate it happens a lot to me if I take more than a quick 10 minute shower, so my heart was aching for this lady. As she started to recover from it, she asked me to sit beside her because she still had to take her insulin. She let go of me and said, "Please stay here, I feel secure with you here."

I think that's one of the sweetest things I've ever heard anybody ever say to me.

The rest of the afternoon went well. We did more cleaning and tending to her when she wasn't feeling well. We looked through an entire closet full of medicine to find her something for her breathing, as she had two sores in her nose from where they had the tubes. (In hind sight, that really probably was what the dizzy spell was, since she was having issues breathing.) We "closed" the door ("No, the other way!" *Opens door confusedly* "Thanks, I don't like closed doors.") and turned on and off lights and recorded messages from her machine, we hung up all of her clothes ("The blue slacks go on the blue hangers. No, you have to fold them with the seams together. Yep like that, but here let's do it my way since my way is better, bring it here!"), we opened her mail and sent to return the "tent" as she had written on the package that contained a pair of elastic tan pants. The size labeled them as 3x but she swore they looked more like 5x. I guess I don't know any better, half the time I can't tell a small from a medium! At the end, she asked me to bring her the checkbook and a pen, and she told me how to write out the check. I was scolded for not writing it all in the stub first. I've only written one check before and it didn't have stubs. At some point during the hanging of clothing, she had another dizzy spell and my friend went to assist her that time. This time instead of just holding her hand, she was sitting on the edge of the bed with my friend standing, and put her arm around her and her head on my friend's chest, like she was giving her a hug. I know she must have been uncomfortable from the dizziness and whatnot, but it was so cute. She ended up doing the same thing with me once later too. Final impression? An unhappy old woman due to her recent health complications, strict but with her heart in the right place, highly OCD, and fights with her husband whom she loves.

I guess that's why they say to never judge a book by its cover. We left our names and numbers written down so she could call if she needed us again. She said she would, and I'm looking forward to it.

À demain,
Mlle Delphine

1 comment:

French Bean & Coffee Bean said...

That certainly was quite an experience. I'm glad you were able to look past the "cover" to read the "book"^.^

-French Bean