It's interesting not having your regular PA for a while. Mine is off for a few weeks having just had her sixth child.
So in the meantime there have been two regulars. And then last week happened. Both my regulars were off for half term so we got a replacement. All I can say is the agency was struggling, and a lot of regulars had colds. It started with the bathroom...
Me: Could you clean the bathroom?
Her: (pulls sour face) Where's the bathroom?
Me: Erm, upstairs?
Now fair enough this was her first visit, but I clearly don't live in a flat and mine is an upstairs bathroom sort of house. She's the first person to ever have asked where it is. And then I wanted the rubbish taking out...
Me: Could you use the alley to take the bins out?
Her: (pulls sour face, sighs, looks at ceiling) Where's the alley?
Me: (in disbelief) Erm, it's outside and it runs along one side of the house?????
I wish I'd said "It's in the shape of a helter skelter and it runs from the top floor, round the house and finishes across the street."
But this was only the start of it. Seriously, this woman is not stupid, just perverse. So I have no qualms about recording our exchanges here. If she had been stupid I'd have respected her stupidity. But it was as if every time I gave her a helpful instruction she had to challenge it. It gets better...
Me: Here's two pillowcases to put on the pillows in my bedroom. The rest are in the dryer. They will be ready in a few minutes.
Her: (a few mins later) There aren't enough pillowcases
Me: (double take) Yes, as I said there are more in the dryer...
Or how about this? I was quite astonished and had to leave the kitchen for a few moments to compose myself...
Her: (about to wash up) There's not enough hot water.
Me: Well you could use the kettle.
Her: (almost as a threat) I'll burn my hands.
Me: (breezily) Try adding some cold water to the bowl first, then you can slowly add hot water from the kettle until it is the right temperature???
Yes, I absolutely had to leave the room at that one. My home support worker (who was visiting at the time) also left the room and collapsed in giggles in the front room. In fact, we ended up going out for a while to return a manual wheelchair I'd borrowed from a local shop. I had to get out, even though I was worried about leaving her.
Thing is, each of these utterances was delivered with what I can only describe as a 'meaningful look'. I can't describe it, but it was as if she wanted to find a problem and present it to me to see what my solution would be. To finish, here's my son's favourite (it was half term last week so he got to be hugely entertained by this person - we ended up calling her Grumpy Cow)...
Me: Could you put the hoover under the stairs?
Her: Where's under the stairs?
Me: (cringing) Erm, under the stairs????
Priceless. Which is exactly what I should write on the cheque when I get the bill from the agency.