Favourite Books

  • The Green Mile
  • Animal Farm
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Lord of the Rings
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

This morning, because I have a day off, I decided to stay out of the smelly stuff, and allow you to get to know a couple of our unforgettable guests. It seemed a shame to keep these folks to ourselves.
  We will start with Toe-Nail man. He arrived many years ago, and housekeeping was warned to keep an eye out for him, because he apparently had a bit of a temper. Now, back in those days, we would not allow any of the younger staff to go up and clean this area. It is a few blocks from the main hotel, and at the very edge of town. We did not want a young girl getting herself into an uncomfortable situation, with no one around, so, most times a couple of us would go up together.
  This particular day, my friend was up with another woman, they tootled about, cleaning , and chatting , the sun was shining, and all was good, until they arrived at Toe Nail man's room. As they were dusting, they came across a jar, it wasn't hidden, it was right out in the open, therefore it was to be lifted and dusted under. As it was lifted, it was suddenly placed  back on the table, and with a yelp, the housekeeper backed away. My friend went to see what the problem was, and lo and behold, in this jar, that had dates marked on it, were toe nail clippings. Yep, it was clear this man had kept every single toe nail clipping for decades.
   O.K. I know we all have hidden habits, and if I am offending any of my friends who have kept their toe nail bits, I am sorry. I will simply offer a suggestion, when traveling, keep those slices zipped in your suitcase, housekeepers do not want to come near stuff like that.
  I am curious, though, are we missing something, is there some value in toe nail clipping, maybe a medical thing, like Locks for Love, folks who lose a toe nail can go in and have a donated clipping attached? OOOhh yuck,eh?Sorry, my imagination has become warped with the passing of time.
  Now, I will tell you about Vaseline man. Some of those in my work place heard this name, and refused to wait for the blog story, yes, they were male, and the name must have brought all sorts of visions to them. I am not saying Vaseline Man was kinky, he was just a slob.
  Our system works with one of us stuck on laundry duty (now with short staff issues, this person cleans rooms and does laundry in between) . Mounds of laundry are placed outside the little room by all staff, and this person grabs, and sorts whites from coloured, and sets the machines going. Every week, a whole set of sheets would go into the garbage, because they had this grease smear that would not come out. It was a mystery, and of course, we had to solve this, before we ran out of sheets. Time to actually look about, and it did not take long to find the problem. Once again, up in the outlying area we walk into a bedroom, the guy is still there,and climbs out of bed to sit in the living room while we make his bed.
  Yuck, hate doing this, those of you reading, take note, when housekeeping goes into your room, please leave. We are not personal maids, our jobs are to go into empty rooms, and clean, we do not like doing our job while you sit and watch TV, and feel like chatting while we scrub your toilet and clean your short and curlies out of the tub. In truth, we would prefer not to know what you look like. I actually took this job, thinking it would be great, not having to use energy to be nice, did too many jobs were I had to be nice to customers, and used up my social skills.
  To get this uncomfortable situation over with quickly, my friend and I set to making the bed together. Pull back the bedspread, and there was the girlie magazine. Nope, we are not prudes, we understand, girlie magazines are like our chocolate and potato chips, comfort things, LOL. However, beside the magazine, was a gigantic jar of Vaseline. Lord love us, all those damn wads of Kleenex we had been picking up from the floor....Oh, sure enough, the sheets were toast.
  How to solve this problem? Once again, off to the office we go. Had to tell the boss we could not afford to throw any more sheets away, something had to be done. The poor boss, she sat down and printed out a lovely note to this man, worded as best she could do in a situation like this. It simply requested he refrain from using Petroleum Jelly on the bedding, as it could not be removed. Situation resolved. The next day, we returned to do the room, and the girlie magazine was now on the couch, with the Vaseline Jar sitting on the coffee table beside it.
  So there you have it, Hotel tips for the day, do not leave your nail clippings on the table when traveling, and keep your Petroleum Jelly off the bedsheets!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Ahhh...Friends are always trying to convince me that my life is not crappy, I have to argue that. Each day, I deal with Crap, be it literally or physically, so best just to accept the crap is a constant, and realize, I simply state fact!
  I know that I tried to grab your interest with a list of characters that I will introduce in the future. Today, I decided to regal you with the Tub Turd story, instead. I have to get this down before it is forgotten, as it is one of those unbelievable, non-fiction stories, that will surely make you shake your head, and definitely steer you away from hotel housekeeping.
  So.....The hotel I work at, is very old, in fact, some of it is older than myself (pretty unbelievable, already, right?). Parts of it are affectionately call the "Shackco Atco". which most folks who have spent any time in camps, will understand. One area, consists of large units, that have separate bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchens, and full bathrooms. In  time, these units are getting overhauled, but some are showing their age, and bathtubs that have held 40+ years of bathers, and been cleaned time and again, with harsh chemicals, don't look pretty. I have heard all kinds of comments on the state of the tubs, but, I can honestly say, no matter what it looks like, it is darn clean!!!We have this stuff that we use, called de-limer. Smells like it would take paint of metal, and it will remove the "ring-around the tub" easily. When you clean someplace that is not pretty, you have to go the extra mile to ensure that guests can't whine about filth, along with age, and we do!! O.K. now back to the bath..
  Oh, it is horrid, the finish has been off for as long as I have cleaned there, countless cleans with delimer, if you ran your finger along it, you would burst an eardrum with the squeak of clean, but the bottom is a greyish, black streaky stained mess. I expect anyone who has gone into this bathroom, looks twice, and is leery of standing on it, but upon inspection, it would be clear, the tub is clean.
  Now, we add two grown men, apparently both in their 50's, who come to work for a company that pays their rooms. They are working out on a pipeline, hard dirty work, and clearly, they want to shower each day. Their day starts around 7AM, and finishes around 7PM. Our maintenance man had some work to do in this unit, so around 7:45AM, he heads up to the place, opens the door, and heads into the bathroom, where he is to do some plumbing. Now, our maintenance man will be the first to tell you, his sense of smell is lacking, but upon entering the bathroom, there is no doubt, somewhere, very close by, there is Crap!! Sure enough, he spies it, it is laying in the tub!!! Clearly, someone has sat on the edge of the tub, and defecated. No toilet paper, that was apparently flushed, but the coiled crapola lay near the drain. HOLA...Sure doesn't take much imagination to visualize what happened, hey? This man, felt that tub was too dirty for him to use to clean himself, so he S*it in it.
   Now, I have to wonder...there were 2 men, did his partner agree to this? Do I have any friends I would feel so close to, that I would accept them pooping in a tub in a room I would want to use? Nope, sorry friends, but, I do have some lines that I will not cross, and my poop is not something I want any friends to see, and I do not want to see their poop (just for future reference, in case you wondered).
  So, what to do? This is not something that is covered in Housekeeping 101, the poor housekeeper who is to do this area, has a problem. Calls are made, the office is brought in, who is responsible for poop removal? The solution is, the unit is cleaned as usual, except the bathroom, the door is simply closed on that, and left for the guests to clean.
  When they do get back, they call the office, claiming the poop is not theirs!!! Huh? Now, we are unsure if it was the pooper that called, likely his partner, who perhaps did not know this had happened, some stories have gaps....Someone must have broke into their room and did this deed...Well, the office asks what time they left, and the answer of 7AM, raised the question. Who could have got into that room in the window of 45 minutes, before the maintenace man arrived? The caller was adament, it was not his poop, and he was not touching it. Well, someone must have stepped up to the plate, as the next morning, when we stepped gingerly into the room, there it was...a squeaky clean. grey and black stained bathtub, turdless!!!
  So, what do you think? Would you have cleaned up a strangers poo in your tub? I have to think, this was cleaned by the pooper himself, and perhaps it was someone they knew, but, I personally will keep an eye out for those names to appear on the hotel list, and ensure I do a diffferent area, wouldn't you?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Helllooo all those waiting with bated breath for the next installment. Were you worried I had hit a writer's block? Hah!! Just have so much to say, and not sure where to start. Yes, it is clear, I have not changed much over the years, mouth is constantly moving, flitting from one thing to the next without a pause, and making absolutely no sense of anything. So those who can sit back and read through my drivel, either have the patience of Saints, or have grown accustomed to my insanity. You read this, because you feel obligated (as friends) or enjoy torturing yourselves. You know why you click in.....
  So, what do I go on about this time. I thought perhaps I would simply give hints (or previews) of future tales from the toilet scrubbers. I am just going to give you some character names, that will be described in much more detail, as we go deeper into the inner sanctum. You can try and imagine what story goes with the name. In some cases, it will be an easy matter to figure the story behind the name, others, not so easy.
  Now I will go waaay back to the beginning of my introduction to Housekeeping, with the character, Toe Nail man..I wonder, will you figure this guy out...hummm..doubtful. Then we have Vaseline Man (hey, you can guess most of this, but it has a twist). There is Princess Kiss my Ass (one of the least beloved) Skidmore, a few Parmesan Cheese guys, the Amazon, the Seal, Doily Lady, Doigie (and his Mrs.) Zestie, the Stair dweller, and the ever famous Frying Pan Fracers (This one will knock your socks off) .
  This job requires a large amount of humour, many days, the nicknames are our way of making light of some pretty nasty guests, and most of these characters would stay long term, so we had to develop an ability to cope.
  We used to think we could speak freely at our little "Staff" table early in the morning, but learned the hard way, our voices do carry. Our mornings start with a list of hotel guests, rooms X'ed that are strips, and then we have our own little list of weeklies, and the normal cleans. For a short while, we would read guest names out loud, and laugh at the ones we found funny, until the morning Mr. Pigg stayed with us. Yep, that name just stood out, could not resist it, and of course, along with Pigg came the name Arnold, we decided that would be the man's first name. Oh the two of us, sitting there, killing ourselves laughing, when suddenly, from a table across the room, came a very polite voice, saying......Good morning Ladies, I AM Arnold Pigg"! Thank goodness, it was likely not the first time he had dealt with the burden of his name, and he was so very nice...Heaven forbid he was a hulking, miserable Pigg, we lucked out that time. Most times, we try and remember our Pigg episode, but I have to admit, one of the nicest men I have ever met, and had the pleasure of knowing as a friend, was also the brunt of our morning chuckle, his last name was Beaver....Hey, I know that most people I grew up with would never have let that one slide.
  So, stay tuned, we will slowly but surely deal with the above characters. I think you should all be aware of who is out there, and be thankful, like me, you are "Normal".

Saturday, 18 February 2012

O.K. I know, I promised stories.. Some days I wish I didn't have these stories to tell, and today is one!!!Funny, I thought this would be a chance to write about things of the past, perhaps I had some hope that those dirty little secrets were over, Hah!!
  So, today as usual, I wake up, have my 2 cups of coffee to get my day started, decide, although I have bed head, it doesn't matter. Who am I trying to impress? I am heading off to clean other people's dirt, no need to ensure I am picture perfect. Dressed and out the door to begin yet another day of drudgery, knowing it will be another day, with only 3 of us to clean everything. I am Gung ho, though, just 2 more days of this, and I am off, I can do it!!!! Wrong, as usual!!! It only takes a moment in the door, and the sh*t hits the fan. A little post-it note on the room list, stating "Men's public washroom out of order", whoa, that is never a good thing, and today, a particularly bad thing. The morning waitress informs my buddy and I that there are feces all over one cubicle, and customers are using one of the empty rooms as the washroom. Apparently this incident happened around 9 last night, and the answer to the problem, was to simply shut the doors until housekeeping came in next morning! Yep, we were expected to jump to it, and scrape excrement off the toilet, that had hardened for over 10 hours.
  Now, I will tell you a little tidbit. I have raised 3 children, which means I dealt with poopy diapers more than once. I had one child who painted their crib and wall with crap, and I can still vividly remember gagging, as I cleaned it, tears running down my face. I do not have a strong stomach. I can't clean vomit, without the overwhelming urge to vomit myself. Once my children were out of diapers, the ability to clean doodoo, left me. I had difficulty even with my Grandchildren. It was something that apparently Mother Nature gives to a woman, for a prescribed amount of time, so she can care for a child till they are potty trained. I have lost that ability. Poop makes me puke, when it is outside of a toilet. I knew instantly, if I was to begin my day, with this disaster, I would certainly not be able to continue for 7.5 hours cleaning rooms, and doing laundry. I made it clear, I was NOT going to clean that mess!!! Hey, at my age, I know my limitations. I can haul furniture about the hotel, I can pack a humungous vacuum up and down countless flights of stairs, I can go in and out of rooms in -40 degree weather and deal with fingers that stick to the metal on the vacuum. I can kneel on knees that often lock, to clean 15-20 bathtubs a day, I can make beds and climb over dufflebags filled with dirty underwear, but, I cannot begin my day, cleaning a grown adults poo off a bathroom cubicle.
  Hey, the job was done, not by housekeeping, but by a brave soul who just started working in the office. I give kudos to that girl, she stepped up to the plate and did what no other office worker would do. She deserves a medal , in my eyes. Will I be punished for not doing this, perhaps. But, truth be told, I did not have any other choice. Just because I work in Housekeeping, does not mean I have the stomach to do every filthy job that comes up. Yep, I have lines I have learned I cannot cross, and if I had done this job, someone else would have been left to clean up after me.
  Thank goodness I didn't take the time to fix my hair for this!

Monday, 13 February 2012

So, today, I decided, maybe it would be a good thing to let folks know something about those women, who do go into their rooms when they lock their doors. Yep, that's who we are, you lock the door, we have the key to go in. Kind of creepy, I think...When I lock my house door, I am hoping that means no one will enter, you, on the other hand, know that your personal stuff will be seen by at least one other person. Oh, I know, in your minds,that person is simply going to make your bed, and clean your toilet and tub, which in the perfect world, is what we would do. But Lordy, sometimes, we have to dig through mounds of stuff, just to find your bed. We pick through clothing, hoping that you have some system for the clean and dirty, and try and pile things separately, but....I don't know about others, I do not do the "smell" test.
 I wonder. do you think of us as your Mothers? I often go into a room, and figure the guys staying in there are the same age as my son. Why? Because the rooms look exactly like his room did, when himself and his buddy lived in our basement.I gauge rooms, some are occupied by people who are simply here to work, the beds are often barely slept in, pillows not moved, blankets just turned down. These rooms are organized, simple, a toiletry kit, neatly on the sink, a small bag, clothes folded, dirty laundry in a separate bag. It is easy, make the bed, clean the toilet, wipe the shower, dust, garbage out, and a quick "hoover" , done. Love those rooms!! But...then you have your kid's rooms. Hey, my son and his friend heard me screeching many times, over their mess. Yes, I know, I get paid to do these rooms, and I certainly didn't get paid to clean up at home, but come on!!!How on earth can a couple of guys have enough time to make such a mess, after work, every single night? I could understand the weekend, but Tuesday night??? O.K. maybe we are Mom's that can't yell at their messy kids.
  So, now for some of my secrets, so you know a little about the one coming into your room. My job is cleaning, so...I expect you assume I am Martha Stewart at home, Hah!!! My honey put it best when he said I am like a mechanic. You know, the guy who spends all day working on other people's vehicles, and drives around in his own truck, sputtering and belching fumes, with bald tires...yep, I spend all day cleaning up for a pay cheque, and have nothing left to my own housework. I dream of doing a "weekly" on my own home, I stare at my sink and toilet in the morning, wishing I could gather up the energy to make it sparkle, fluff bunnies roll across my floor, meeting in corners and becoming fluff Sasquatches. I calculate that I can fit just a little more garbage in the can, before it overflows. Windex, well, I do manage to do my windshield (once in awhile) but all furniture has the same coating of dust. Heck, I can manage to do 2 Row House weeklies a day, that means cleaning every single square inch of a 3 story home, often 4 beds, 2 bathrooms, floors carpets, dusting etc. Then home I come, where I can somehow manage to turn a blind eye to things that would never be allowed to happen at work. I hate feeling this way. I would love to have a home that smells all lemony, and a person could safely walk about in bare feet, it is my dream! I get miserable, because of the mess, and therefore, when I do clean up the hotel rooms each day, only to wander in the next morning to find the same disgusting teenage mess, I go off the deep end.Hotel guests are enjoying my dream, a nice clean space, and not appreciating a thing.
  Hummm...as I was writing that, I wondered, maybe us Housekeepers should start some sort of pact. Maybe we should do weeklies for each other? Nope, that will never happen, we would be (or at least I would be) totally embarassed to have a co-worker clean my place. Hola, they would be talking about it for years. Forget that idea!!!
  Do we discuss what we find in the rooms, OH YES!!! We will even drag co-workers into rooms at times, to show them stuff. Funny, we seldom see those who stay in the rooms, but we have our own ideas what you look like, and what type of person you are. Do we discuss those who do not touch towels in weeks? Yep!!We hope that where you work, you have a company shower you use, putting fresh towels is not an issue, that part of the job is expected. One strange thing, though, often those guests who don't shower, are the neatest in every other aspect. Again, is that because they work so hard, they simply need the room to sleep?
  Our job is apparently very unappealing, therefore, we are continually short staffed, and for over a year now, our work place has been booked solid. We have days when 2 housekeepers must do the whole job. Now, if we worked in a place where we stayed in one building, it would be difficult, but not insane. However, our workplace has building scattered all over town. We must drive to two of these properties, packing all our linens and supplies into a car, and hoping we have remembered everything, from toilet paper, to face cloths. So, on these days, one of the two must accept this job, and the other must do 3 buildings,including public washrooms. When we take our days off, we know that this is going to be left on 2 co-workers, not a good thing. Often, something is forgotten on these days, and a guest will complain. We know you pay for this. Hotels are no longer inexpensive, and we understand, you expect service for your money. In a perfect world, we would gladly provide this service, but, our world is far from perfect. We don't have the opportunity to do our job as well as we would like. Most of us want that sense of pride for a job well done, and it is aggravating that we are seldom ever able to do this. When we get the complaints, we do get angry, not so much as those who have placed the complaint, but at the conditions that do not allow us the time to complete everything.
  Maybe the time will come, when things slow down, or we suddenly have a ton of people who want to join our group (doubtful). But in the meantime, we do the best we can, and try and envoke our Mom side when entering one of the "teenage" rooms. We are all Mom's, funny enough, and we all have life outside housekeeping, not much of a life, as we are usually all too tired once we have looked after our rooms, and our guests. We work at a job where we provide a service for a lot of people, we seldom ever meet. We simply get to know you, through your room, and, we decide how nice you are, by how easy it is to clean up after you. So, just a heads up, keep a clean hotel room, and there will be housekeepers who like you!

Sunday, 12 February 2012


O.K. here I am, again. Figure it is time to let you know who I am, and why I started this.
  I am a 50 some yr. old hotel housekeeper. I started this insanely difficult job, about 7 yrs ago, and I am still wondering how on earth I ever got to the point in life, where I would be scrubbing some strangers "glue Poo" out of various toilets.
  This was certainly not the job I dreamed about growing up. I have had many other jobs, starting with my very favourite, Front Desk Clerk way back in the 70's at a newly built hotel, in a tiny little community on the North Coast of B.C. I went on to work in a copper mine, working for a short period as Post office clerk, and then in the warehouse on ledgers. I spent a year or two working in the local bank as a ledger keeper, long before computers, when every single penny had to be accounted for, and interest was paid on the smallest account. Then off to join the military for a short time as a Supply Technician. I floated back to the front desk job, was a Silviculture spacer, flagger, ambulance attendant,RCLegion Bar maid, Chevron Town pantry clerk, and then suddenly after all that, I reached the very bottom, Hotel Housekeeping staff!!
  OMG!!! Until you spend some time cleaning up after absolute strangers, you have not seen it all. It is like we are assumed to be like the three monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, with an addition, touch no evil.
  No, we are not the law, therefore the ginormous "buds", hookas, assorted eating utensils (knives, forks and spoons) burnt black, white powder, ashtrays filled with roaches (no, not the crawling kind)are invisible. We learn not to empty "those" ashtrays. I have gone into a room, spied something in the corner, and with my blind as a bat eyes, immediately thought I would be picking up a doggie turd, only to get close enough to see it was simply the biggest "bud" I ever ran across.
  Then the more "personal" items....pretty pastel, or "lite bright" dildos, propped up on side tables or King Kong sized ones sitting on bath tub ledges, which by right, should be moved and either wiped or dusted under, but....nope, not me, I am not going to reach out and touch items that have been up very close and personal with who knows who's private parts. I cringe and pull on the gloves to remove wads of toilet paper beside Costco sized "jerkin's"lotion. Tight curly hair in the tub and on the toilet seats, gross me out, and often refuse to be removed by one cloth, many times it takes two, and after a particularly nasty fight, I will resort to attacking these with "bathroom tissue".
  Then there is the "glue poo" this is usually just a small dot , but somehow attaches to the toilet like crazy glue. Our weapons to remove this space aged crap, is a fluff ball toilet scrubber, much like a fuzzy Q-tip on a handle. Those itty bitty tiny dots will actually cause me to work up a sweat trying to remove. I. personally, would rather find an unflushed turdet, than that tiny brown speck. Oh, those unflushed turds, after sitting for about 3 hours with the lid closed, do not disappear, in case you wondered. Nope, upon entering a bathroom, and finding the toilet lid down, most of us know, immediately, that lifting that lid, will likely result in the vision of brown coloured liquid, wrapped up in soggy paper ( oh, the smell does not disappear, either). I know hotel rooms are not rented out to those under the age of 18, therefore, I have to speculate how many mothers did not teach their children toilet manners.
  I expect there are some out there that would find this disgusting...well, trust me, housekeepers tend to find some of the most disgusting things in the world. So, now we get to the why. I have some stories to curl toes, regarding my job, and those I work for, have their share, as well. Some times we will entertain each other with our latest shocker. We work in a very small hotel, in a very small town, and know that out in the big world, there is a huge group of others like us, who likely have some incredible stories to tell. I have been pressured to start this, so that, with any luck, it will become a place, the diva's with dusters can get together and put these stories down in print.
  Come on in...

Universal toilet bowl scrubbers

O.K. folks, I have finally got off my butt, and got this up and running. Now, you can open the eyes of the world to the reality of Hotel housekeeping.
  This has been set up in hopes that other Housekeeping staff will share their stories, and I know there are some pretty amazing,funny, and, likely, simply bizarre stories out there.
  Because I have chosen to set this up before work, I just don't have the time to tell any of mine, but, perhaps, today will bring a new one, and when you check back, you will be in for a chuckle.