Tag Archives: stealing

Another one bites the dust…………….

Plain and simple – I stink at having staff in my house. We just fired our cook and his wife. And by “we” I totally mean “me”.

Just so you know I don’t get rid of staff willy nilly – please remember that we have had Ravi (our house keeper) since the day we got here a year and a half ago. And I am only on our second driver – and the first driver was simply reassigned within hubby’s company so he was not “fired”. We don’t have loyalty issues. But dang it. Another one bites the dust. And this was a two-fer.

If you haven’t been taking notes along the way while reading this blog, this is the 4th cook we have fired. Hubby fired the first 3 because I was just a big fat chicken and simply did not want to deal with it. So Francis and Rani were my first “fire”. I really, truly could have lived my entire life without firing someone. It’s not pretty. There were no cameras, no lights, no dramatic “cue music” like when Donald Trump does it – and certainly no applause. And they did not get to ride home in a limousine.

Francis and Rani have been working with us since October, when cook number 3 (Laxmi) got canned. My first warning sign should have been the day we hired them. They stood in our driveway and called Laxmi’s mother to find out if this was the house that Laxmi worked at and did she know they were interviewing new people. Thick as thieves these guys – literally.

I have been grappling with what to do about Francis and Rani for a few months. When we first hired them, we really liked them. They worked hard and Francis made excellent breads – which forever endeared him in the heart of number one hubby. But then I realized they weren’t honest. Francis was doing the shopping and on the way home from the store, he would rewrite the receipts to his benefit. They were not nice to the guards or the other people working in our home and they were making decisions that were not theirs to make. And they were stealing. They were smart enough about it – my earrings are all still in place but they would take little things that I probably wouldn’t notice.

Just one of the many examples of the things they did that was less than impressive was this – our guard stands outside of our gate in 110 degree heat. He does not get the benefit of the air conditioning like some of the other people who work here. Our guard asked Francis for water. Now, mind you, Francis and Rani used to fill up about 6 large soda bottles a day and take water home with them. But Francis said the guard could not have a glass of water. He never even asked me my opinion. Just decided all on his own that the man guarding my house and my family did not need to be hydrated, while he sat fat and happy in the kitchen with air conditioning. Let me just say this is probably what sealed Francis’ fate because it told me that his heart is black. How can you look at a person standing outside in the heat all day long and deny them a drink of water, especially when your cup literally runneth over? Especially when it frankly is not even your water.

Of course, there were many other things along the way that caused me concern. But the plum that broke the boss’ back was actually just that – a plum. Now, I know this will sound absolutely ridiculous to most of you and as I think about how to write the story so that it makes sense, I am not sure I will be able to find a way.

Most people who have staff here just accept that they will be dishonest sometimes, that they will take a few things here and there, that they just don’t look at life the same way we do. After all, we have so much and they don’t. And most people will argue that it doesn’t really matter if they take things from you as long as they don’t take anything important. A year and a half ago, I would have been incensed by that and argued the morality of it all. Now, I understand that it can make you crazy and if you just don’t think about it – then it is not a problem.

But even after having a long heart-to-heart with Francis and Rani about being honest and playing nice with the other staff, they still thought the rules did not apply to them. These heart-to-hearts are supposed to snap staff back in line faster than a rubber band and buy you a few weeks if not months of no conflict. But it was clear that Francis and Rani did not take me seriously and that they thought I am not the brightest bulb in the pack. Even after I explained to them that I know exactly what is going on in this house and, just because I don’t address something immediately, does not mean I am not aware of it.

Oh “yes, ma’am” they said with heads bowed. “Yes ma’am, yes ma’am, yes ma’am.” Augh.

If you are a parent and you have had this type of discussion with a child, you know just how I felt. It was pretty much “yeah, yeah, yeah” and they went right back to their antics. Immediately right back.

So, I waited until I knew that they had taken something and I asked the guard to check their bags. There it was – a plum. Along with half the contents of the fridge that I had actually given them. I cannot stand for food to go bad – so we give a lot of leftovers to our staff. (Which by they by, means that they are forever making too much food so that there are leftovers – see how this all works.) That day I had asked them to make sure to clean out the fridge and take home the leftovers. And when I walked in to the kitchen, I saw Rani’s bag with a plum in it. Completely separate from the other food. And no, I did not look through her bag – it was sitting on the counter and the plum was right on top.

Right about now, you are probably thinking, well you gave them food – how did they know the plum wasn’t on the menu. Trust me. They did.

Or you might be thinking – seriously a plum? Yes, because enough already.

As I said, there was a lot that lead up to the great plum incident of 2010. And I am writing this – not to get your sympathy or not to earn Francis and Rani your sympathy – but so that I can remember this. This blog is a great big “note to self” for me to remember my experiences here. Already, just a few days later, I am questioning my sanity. How did I let myself get so wrapped up in this? Why can’t I just let some things go?

And now I am left with a plum that is rotting and that cannot do laundry or cook dinner or wash dishes.

But, how can I stand in my own kitchen everyday and look at people who are dishonest and whose hearts are black and pull money out of my wallet to pay them to steal from me?

I will surely never reconcile this whole having staff thing.

Let Freedom Ring…………..

This weekend my niece turned one. Her party was in Philadelphia. Off we go.

It was a great party – she is (of course) the most adorable little one year old and as sweet as can be.

I figured if we were going to be near Philadelphia, we might as well go thru the city and soak in some history. Enter moans and groans from my kids. But, too bad, I am the one with the drivers license and I have always wanted to see the Liberty Bell. So we started off at the Liberty Bell Museum. Because it would make perfect sense that the Liberty Bell Museum would house the Liberty Bell. Don’t you think? Yeah, not so much.

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It was a good thing though because that museum closed at 5pm and, for some reason, when you show up at 4:55ish, they aren’t exactly pushing tickets your way. We did see a lovely replica of the Liberty Bell and took a picture of it just in case the real Liberty Bell building closed at 5pm too. (The picture of the Liberty Bell above is the real deal. Luckily, that building closed at 7pm. Whew.)

I have always been a big fat patriotic dork and love this country. I am so proud of all we have accomplished and how we learn from our mistakes. I know we are not perfect – but I think we are as good as it gets. There’s no two ways about it – I heart America.

But I had more selfish reasons for wanting to see the Liberty Bell.

In 1976, the U.S. Mint printed a commemorative quarter in honor of the 200th birthday of the U.S. of A. On one side was a picture of the Liberty Bell – crack and all. When I was younger, my father had a bicentennial quarter collection. Every time he got change, he sifted through looking for the special quarters. If I found one, I would save it to give to him. He kept them in a very cool bank that was a clear cube with a Liberty Bell statue inside. When you put a quarter in the bank, it clinked and clicked against the bell. Good times!

I, on the flip of the coin, had a pinball habit.

Do you see where this is going? Yes, that was back in the day when a pinball machine was still entertaining and cost exactly 1 quarter for 1 game.

I stole borrowed some quarters from my Dad’s collection to play pinball at the local youth club. Yeah, I know. Brilliant. (You probably guessed that I did not exactly ask permission first. Clearly not the best approach. Ooops!)

Every Friday night the high schoolers had a dance at the youth club. Every Saturday night the middle schoolers had a dance.

My Dad knew there were exactly two suspects in the case of the missing quarters. My brother or the girl with the blisters on her thumbs and overuse injuries in her fingers. He told us that neither one of us would be allowed to attend the dances until someone fessed up. Smart that guy – no blaming – just giving us both the same opportunity to come clean with consequences for the other if we did not.

My brother was older – so his night was coming up fast. I had decisions to make. Disappoint my Dad or shortchange my brother. AUGH. I would like to believe that I confessed my crimes before Friday night and my brother was able to go to his dance. I believe I did. I don’t think my criminal streak ran deep enough to keep him from his night with friends.

Anyquarter, fast forward many years later. I now have that bank full of quarters. My Dad gave it to me. It was more significant even than the time when he passed me the car keys. Because along with that bank came his re-established trust that I would not waste the quarters away on pinball games and other foolishness.

Even now when I get change, I look for bicentennial quarters and every once in a while I find one. They always bring a smile to my face. And that bank is in my safety deposit box. It is a real treasure. My kids also keep their eyes open for those quarters – and yes, I have confessed my sins to them in hopes they can learn early from my mistakes – we’ll see how that goes.

So, while I fully appreciate all that the Liberty Bell stands for and I embrace its history. For me, it also represents the rise and fall of a stupid teenager who loved pinball a little too much – and it represents a Dad who loved her anyway – cracks at all. It may not be what the Founding Fathers intended but it is my own little slice of history.