Fortunately I met Fortunate ….

If you recall Pepe was going to be going away and I had to find someone to replace her while she was on annual leave.

The problem is that at the mere mention of Pepe not being available my heart starts to race, my pupils narrow, and breathing becomes difficult.

I realize that there are thousands if not millions of woman that cope without the aid of a maid, but I am not one of them.  It appears my DNA was designed differently, and I need help – as I already have psychiatric assistance I might as well get some household assistance as well.

In the early years I roughed it without a maid, and now that I have a maid/nanny/house keeper – which ever is more politically correct for you – and I look back now at my previous life, and wonder what the hell I was doing!

Later for that.

Pepe keeps me sane(r). 

Because of Pepe I get to skip off to work, reasonably guilt free.  I get to wear clean ironed (oh the luxury) clothes.  I do not have to wash the kitchen floor, and pubes collecting behind the toilet are no longer my concern.

More importantly I do not have to get irritated when I look at dried Pronutro left on the kitchen table.

The fact that I have a Pepe allows me the opportunity to work full day.  There is no way I would be able to do that – and keep a semblance of my sanity – if I did not have her managing the house and keeping my kids reasonably clean.

My kids go to school with packed lunches, and Oros in a bottle – if it was left to me we would do a MacDonalds drive through on the way to school.  I get to kiss Isabelle good by each day knowing she is well cared for in our home, and she spends her days with someone who adores her only slightly less than I do.  Isabelle gets to sleep in her own cot and has the delicious opportunity to destroy her sister’s neat bedroom.  It is all heady bliss.

When Pepe announced she was going on annual leave, I felt a bit of despair as I know that without her my life would start to crumble.  I anticipated the pain and the anguish, and started planning for the inevitable “sky falling down.”

I am wise enough to realize that “we cannot cope without Pepe” by relying on our ability to wake up early enough to prepare lunches, and calling on assistance from nearest and dearest to help us over this month. 

The unfortunate situation is that we do not have the quantity of “nearest and dearest” needed to pull off this coup.  Often, even with the best will in the world, we are dropped when we rely on someone else.

To avoid the usual panic stations, I approached an agency to assist me with a replacement for Pepe.  To be honest I was not filled with much in the way of hope, but plenty in the way of despair and horror.

Anyway after much backwards and forwards I found an agency, I did some interviews and I met Fortunate and decided to give her a whirl.

A try-before-you-buy plan shall we say.  I will confess that I was a bit reluctant to “try” Fortunate.  There was something there that was setting of a small red flag in the distance, and I could not put my finger on what it was, or why it was going off.

<but I balance my mothering intuition with the fact that it also told me in no uncertain terms that Georgia was a boy, so it has been faulty in the past>

Fortunate came in for two days while Pepe was still with us – and I thought, great that seems to be working. Pepe left on holiday and Fortunate stayed to fill her large shoes.

I was understandably nervous and suspicious and thought maybe Fortunate was going to steal Isabelle.  Have you seen how cute Isabelle is?  Totally stealable.  Totally reasonable thing to worry about.  Totally consumed my days.

Besides my two days of total paranoia, once I got over that part then it was great.  It was better than great.  What is better than great?  More great?  Greater?  Greatest?

It was that.

The month zoomed by and it was brilliant.  Fortunate is such a great find. I seriously did not even notice that Pepe was gone –  which I felt a bit guilty about, as I felt like I was “cheating” on my Pepe.

But it was seriously brilliant – like giddy curl-your-toes-while-wearing-shoes brilliant.

Pepe came back this week, and I could not face letting Fortunate go – I think anyone who has attempted to find someone to care for their children (and their house) knows that often you really have to put up with something awful because you can’t find someone really good.

But I have found great – and yes I am gloating.

We have decided to  try out a bit of colonial and have two house staff, yes, you go ahead and tut-tut, you do that if it makes you feel better.

Pepe is going to help us out during the week, and Fortunate is going to be there over the weekends.  Having Fortunate also means that if Pepe is ill or has to go to Home Affairs, or what ever, I can just call Fortunate in.

Damn life is good.

Listen, I have no idea how we are going to afford our staff complement and buy bread, but we can cross that bridge later, today I get to click my heels together three times and go whoop-whoop!

Pepe, with the kids, at our wedding – and no you cannot have our home telephone number to poach her.

Leave a comment


  1. Celeste, please tell me which agency you used. I’m URGENTLY (can not stress that enough) looking for a full time housekeeper/maid (which ever one you prefer) – 5 days a week.

    We are currently using these cleaning services twice a week, but it is costing R1500 per month for two half hour, half arsed cleaning jobbies per week. Ridiculous!

    • reluctantmom

       /  April 4, 2011

      I sent you an email with some contact details, hope that helps. But seriously go in with heaps of pessimism, and try not to leave yourself totally in the agencies capable hands – as they left me somewhat less than overwhelmed, but that being said eventually I did interview 3 good candidates.

      Do you want to hear my comments on Zimbabwean staff??? ……… or will I be totally flamed?

  2. I totally understand what you mean! When I had my twins I underestimated how hard ppl were to find. As a result I had to cope by myself for their first year! I finally found my current nanny/househelper just after their first birthday.
    I would die without her! it has allowed me to go back to work, coz I could NEVER be a SAHM! I wish we could afford her for weekends too!

  3. Darien

     /  April 1, 2011

    Love the photo!

  4. sue stuart

     /  March 31, 2011

    I am so envious 🙂 oooh enjoy every minute of the extra help!

  5. So that worked out much better than you thought it would! I still have Rebecca coming in to iron once a week although we do have Lucy.

  6. Sharon

     /  March 31, 2011

    You are very Fortunate indeed! What would we do without the Pepe/Fortunates/Loveness’s (yes dear, I said Loveness, how precious is that) loving and caring for our homes and our precious children!

    • reluctantmom

       /  March 31, 2011

      I am not sure what we would do …. in my case probably have thought harder about whether I could manage with a second …..

    • Anita

       /  April 4, 2011

      Okay, not related to domestic help at all, but beat this one – I have a Loveness and Lovemore that work for me AND they are married to each other! Gotta love the imagination that goes into these names.

      • reluctantmom

         /  April 5, 2011

        Clearly your two were meant for one another …… xx

  7. You are “Fortunate”! Me thinks you are very rich as well! 😉

    • reluctantmom

       /  March 31, 2011

      Rich in spirit, not so much in rands and cents …..

    • Kennith

       /  March 31, 2011

      I think more financially astute than rich. What it was costing us for Day care for 1 kid and the cost of a 3 times a week char – we got a full time live in maid. Without the need to take time off to care for a child who is too sick to go to daycare – remember, at the time our family was all out of town so we did not have that resource.
      The weekend services are a bit of a luxury, but represents an opportunity cost somewhere else.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: