The one where the puppy shit was a problem …

Pepe is our maid.   She has been with us for more than 4 years and she is what keeps me remotely sane for the bulk of the year.  There are a few months where even Pepe can’t help me, but that is another story.

I regularly preach the gospel of “Hire a full time, sleep in maid, if you have a child …. really do, it will save you hours at paeds and somehow life will have more meaning.  Really!!  Really.”

I have waking nightmares that she might leave me, and I regularly look at her with a twinkle in my eye because I love her so very much.

I really depend on her for all things that are good in the world.  If it was not for Pepe I might have shot someone or myself, long, long time ago.  She is my sanity, or at least the thin thread that keeps me tethered to it.

Dexter is our new dog.  Dexter is 8 weeks old.  Dexter has the shits.  Dexter has not learnt to poo outside.  Dexter is still learning.

Pepe appears not to like Dexter. Pepe refuses to clean up after Dexter.

Dexter poo, because that is what puppies do.  It is not a Dr Seuss poem it is just the way it is.

Our entire house has tiles or laminated wood, so there is no carpet – cleaning the floor is not exactly challenging.  Pepe has decided to leave it – the poo – until I get home.  From work.  At 6pm.  To runny, on it’s way to be dried shit.  Which I know has been there since early morning.

This has been going on all week, and I am a bit at my wits end.

Pepe’s job is to look after the kids, and to look after the house.  What ever that entails.  But she has decided that Dexter is not “her job” and anything he does is left until I get home.

Seriously?  Yes, seriously.

Contrary to popular belief I hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs.

Mr CBT gave me a handout after our Monday session on the difference between non-assertiveness (basically avoidance) vs assertiveness vs aggression.  I think if your doctor starts photocopying notes from his doctor book then it is time to maybe start focussing your attention on an issue.

I know I avoid confrontation, and the problem is that it leads to anger and frustration, because I feel like I am standing mute in the corner.  I see the thing or the issue that drives me crazy, but I just cannot speak out.

All the right words are in my head.  But I look down, purse my lips and say “okay” when actually I mean “NO, NO, NO, hear me…” but I don’t say anything, and this clearly compounds the fact that “you” cannot hear me.

I explained my pepe-versus-dexter dilemma to Kennith last night.  Kennith is a take charge guy, like Captain Underpants, but with a slightly larger belt buckle and less shiny underpants.

Kennith spoke to Pepe and asked her if everything was alright, and if there were any issues.  She said no.  He then asked her what is the issue about cleaning up after Dexter.  She said it was not her job.  Not her job.

I sipped wine in the tv room, and turned the sound of “Ridiculous Large Cake Bake Off” <<or what ever it is called>> up louder so I could act I was not listening to any of this.  I just wanted it to be all unicorns and rainbows and not puppy shit and unhappy nanny-who-keeps-me-sane-who-I-am-terrified-will-leave-me.  Can you say co-dependence?

Kennith chatted to Pepe. I thought great that issue is resolved.

I woke up this morning with a spring in my step, and an almost smile on my dial.  I spoke to her this morning with a certain chipper, high-pitched tone in my voice.

I went to work.  Pepe sms’d me: “Don’t forget to buy milk and your dog has poo’d in the bathroom.”

I thought cool, I will buy milk, and thanks for the poo update.  Strange, but okay …..

I get home from work today.  Go in to the bathroom, and there is the poo that Dexter made this morning still there.  I am like WTF!  I go outside and the poo’s he has made on the paving outside the door is just lying there.

I clean up the poo and wash down the paving.  I purse my lips.  And then I get angry.  And then I realise I actually can no longer stand in the corner with my mouth closed.

I go and pull an old job description out.  When Pepe joined us we had two dogs.  Part of the description was to take them for walks, and all sorts of other things including cleaning up the yard after them, as I did not want flies-on-poo near my children, or near me for that matter.

I have no issue cleaning up my dogs poo – I have an issue cleaning up your dogs poo.  But I do not want flies on poo then on my kids, so if there is poo in the yard, clean it up before it becomes a health hazard.  Simple enough.

Dog poo’s, you see it, you clean it up.

But right now Pepe refuses to clean up after Dexter.  It is not her job.  So I get home from work, and then I face old dog poo, which has been there all day.  So now a rather simple issue, has become AN ISSUE.

Today I decided that this is now an issue that I can not look past.   Possibly because I rushed in, dying to go to the toilet, I was trying to, Isabelle was opening the door, I was looking at the mound of shit in the bathroom that had been there since the morning, Connor was hanging through the window and talking to me … and I just kept thinking “Can I not make a shit in peace …. is that really to much to ask??”

I pulled out an old job description, explained that actually it is “her job” and really there is dog walking and all sorts of other things that she no longer does, but that is not the issue.  I need her to do this, and why is she getting her back up against this.  It is one dog.

Today I just need her to clean up after Dexter.   She can leave him outside all day, really that is fine, but if he happens to stumble inside, then seriously clean it up – why leave it on the floor until I get home?  If there is a point then I am seriously missing it.

On Tuesday Isabelle starts school,  so from Tuesday there will be no kids at home.  Taking care of a puppy seems like a fair swap for three kids, or am I missing something?

Pepe got thin lipped and looked at me with disdain.  I began to gesture and repeat myself.  I tried to remain calm and remember that if I go hummmmmmm and put my fingers in a circle shape on my crossed knees it will be okay ……. I really tried … gawd knows I tried …….. I failed, but I tried.

I decided to make the final point: “Here is the old job description, go over it and see that your job does include cleaning up after two large Staffordshire Bull Terriers, who are no longer here, now I have one puppy.  This is part of your job.  Read it.  If I come home tomorrow and this problem persists, I will issue you with a verbal warning and then we can go from there.  I don’t want to.  This is such a stupid issue to sour our relationship after all these years, but I am not going to do this any more.  Go and think about it.  Talk to me if you need to, but tomorrow evening if I get home and walk in to this again, I will give you a verbal warning….. and that is the end of it”

I think I might have repeated the same phrase about 12 times.    I was nervous, and confrontation really makes me uneasy and bumble like the village idiot.

She glazed over at one point.  I slid the job description over, and did my best to give her a look of firm resolution – rather than whimpering fear that I felt.  I suggested she read through it and if there is an issue raise it with me in the morning.

Fk, I really do not want to lose Pepe over a stupid dog.  But seriously, I need to get out of the corner, stop covering my mouth and say what I need.

<<Please bear in mind that I am trying my utmost to restrain myself and not sms Pepe and tell her I am so sorry, and please will she accept a kidney she can sell, and I will pay her triple, and hire someone to come in and pick up the doggy poo, and I will rub her back with body butter, and I will plait her hair, and please, please, please for gawd sake do not leave me ….. or something to that effect ….>>

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  1. Ok, here’s my bit about this – our maids refuse to do dog poo. We have had the same – not inside the house, outside. She refuses, even with a poop scoop to pick up the dog poo – she says it’s a man’s work. ( regardless of the fact that I do it!). We have concluded that it is a cultural thing – kids poo is fine, dog poo is not.

  2. Spirited Mama

     /  January 16, 2012

    I hope you get this resolved sooner rather than later.

    I read this and felt that you were describing me! I am the person in ther corner saying…”Ok, I’m sorry”…. Why the feck are we so scared of confrontation????

    I wish I could invent a happy pill that will fix all

  3. Imah

     /  January 13, 2012

    just a question, when she got the job with the two terriers, was she cleaning after them? Maybe there is no resentment there, I know that in some cultures, it is taboo for women to clean after dogs poop. Maybe you should try and understand what exactly does she mind about having to clean after a puppy. and then you can take it from there.

    Resentment from her part will be complaisance, entitlement and eventually although you have had her for 4 yrs, you might eventually part ways. I hope you resolve this for your own sanity

  4. countesskaz

     /  January 13, 2012

    Put your hands in the air and step away from your phone….

    Stay firm. At the end of the day, your house your rules.

  5. Sharon

     /  January 13, 2012

    Eish wena! Interested to see how this turns out, especially because I have the same kind of relationship with Loveness as you do with Pepe, they are such important part of our families that we cannot afford to have them be upset.
    Good luck!

  6. Dave

     /  January 13, 2012

    Hell,Celeste, you absolutely need to make sure this one is resolved in your favour or the relationship will deteriorate, resentment will build and other problems will undoubtedly creep in. Having employed many people over the years, I know how it goes.

    The fact is It IS in her agreement of employment, you are within your rights, and you must not give in, even if it takes some time for the gravity of the situation to sink in to her pip. Jobs are not easy to come by and the day you let her know you are advertising for a replacement staff member… that will be the day the problem will be resolved. Just treat the engagement as part of your healing process. Don’t get emotional, just repeat the facts till you get through.You go girl!

  7. Charne

     /  January 13, 2012

    I think (just maybe) that I “get” the issue here Celeste. Before you brought Dexter home, did you sit down with Pepe and tell her that the family was getting a puppy and explain to her that until the puppy has been “toilet-trained”, he will most likely be doing all sorts of weird things inside the house and could she please “help” you train him by cleaning up after him and showing him the “appropriate” place to do his business??

    If you didn’t, then maybe the dog shit isn’t really what Pepe is upset about, but more that she feels taken for granted?? I am just guessing here. But just like in the corporate world, we would get upset if suddenly we are left cleaning up someone
    else’s shit without being “asked” to, even though it might be our job.

    Just a thought, I could be losing the plot completely though…….

    • reluctantmom

       /  January 13, 2012

      Valid point ….

    • Hilary

       /  January 13, 2012

      Strong possibility that you’ve hit the nail on the head Charne. One of the main gripes in my office is the fact that staff feel unappreciated and taken for granted. I’m sure she’ll be more accommodating with a different approach.

  8. Charlotte

     /  January 13, 2012

    Pepe will not leave you, she loves you!


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