“Affordable housekeeping Valley-wide. Best prices in town!”
I don't know about you, but that line doesn't necessarily scream trustworthy source. Especially since that was the tagline on a Craigslist ad. Yet for some reason my mother and my younger sister, Kitty, thought it sounded like a deal worth taking. I’m sure Craigslist has its perks, but inviting a perfect stranger into your home seems a little dicey to me. This was their fix, however, for my parents’ need for a little assistance around the house. I guess the upside is the admission that there is actually a need. Downside...well, we’ll get to that.
You see, the whole Craigslist fiasco ended up in my lap despite my not having a role nor a say in the matter. It all started one day when I dropped by my parents’ home. I check on them every day after work, my whole purpose for relocating to Sun City. Typically, when I arrive I find the same general set up. My mother will have prepared a light dinner and the pair will be tuned in to the evening news or listening to talk radio. This day, however, I arrived to find an older model Toyota parked in the driveway. It didn't belong to anyone in our family, so I immediately thought, “oh dear, scammers!” You always hear about seniors being taken advantage of, and I am terrified of them falling for some monkey business. So, I barge inside to find a woman vacuuming the living room. My father, who frankly, hasn't been the same since that fall last month, was eating alone at the table and my mother was dusting a coffee table. The entire scene was strange. The woman was noticeably ruffled by my presence. She did at least have the decency to stop the vacuum as my mother casually greeted me with a peck on the cheek.
“This is Cassie. She’s the new housekeeper. Your sister found her on that Craigslist deal-a-ma-jig. Isn’t she lovely?” Ruby beamed. Her words practically dripping with infatuation.
“Hello, Cassie. Pleasure to meet you,” is what I actually said aloud, pushing my immediate distaste for her and the situation back down into the pit of my stomach. I’ll tell you, even her handshake gave me an unsavory chill.
I guess my unpleasant thoughts outed me despite my pasted smile.
“Craigslist is not as bad as people think. I actually have a bunch of references and tons of experience.” Cassie volunteered.
I smiled politely at this information and asked my parents to join me in the kitchen. My father rolled his walker joining me at once. My mother, of course, lingered behind a few moments mumbling something to Cassie I couldn't quite catch.
This is where I, the responsible one, end up the bad guy. See, that’s the thing with Ruby and Robert. All of their children have roles. The baby, Kitty, is their pet...kowtowing to them constantly. She’s the reason for Craigslist Cassie. Ben, the oldest, throws money at any given situation. Always there, but not there. Never delving into an issue, simply asking where to send the check. Then there’s me. The clean-up girl. Better known to my mother as the bossy and controlling one. As luck would have it, I most times have an ally in Ben since he never wants to know the ins and outs, just the resolution. I am the queen of resolutions. In fact, I had offered to have FSL come back out to set up housekeeping almost a month ago and he was on board, yet my mother and Kitty were opposed.
When my dad and I were out of earshot, I asked, “Dad, what do you guys know about this...Cassie? Did Mom and Kitty even check references? Do we know if she has a criminal history?”
By now my mother had sashayed into the kitchen and answered on my father’s behalf. “Why must you meddle when your sister fixes something up for us? Kitty said you’d be upset we didn’t use the company you suggested, but you were a tad rude to Cassie back there. Dear, this way is much cheaper and I really like it. This is the way it’s going to be and that’s final,”
“Your mother has a point, sweetheart. That list deal did say she had the best prices in town”, said the man with a pension large enough to buy the Arizona Cardinals.
I couldn’t resist asking one final question before shutting my mouth and letting this catastrophe unfold. “Mom, if she’s the housekeeper, then why were you dusting?”
In true Ruby Whitmore fashion, she replied, “This house is way too big for one person to clean alone. We can’t expect her to do everything by herself.”
That’s my mom! Sweet as pie but stubborn as a rock. So, from here I guess we’ll just have to let this Cassie thing play out. I feel it in my gut…this is a terrible idea but I have no choice but to let my parents discover that fact on their own.
Until next time,
Sleepless in Sun City (still…)