One boyfriend climbed into the helper's bedroom from the HDB corridor and spent nights with her. A neighbour living opposite our HDB flat tipped us off. Another one came to us looking like a Plain Jane and in 4 years time, morphed into this petite and sexy thing with dresses costing $100+ in her cupboard. She was so attractive that men followed her home. On one occasion, 2 men fought over her at the traffic light junction and she needed to go and be a witness at the police station. The lasts straw came when she got herself molested in our lift and I had to bring her TWICE to the police station to look at a line-up of potential culprits.
I finally decided that I was getting to know the inside of the Jurong Police HQ a little too well.
Then, we had a very quiet but extraordinarily sloppy helper for another 6 years. Dust bunnies gathered under the tables. Shelves collected dust like the top of Mt Everest collects snow. After she had swept and mopped, the floors still had dust and debris. It took her all of 2 years to learn how to make ciabatta bread. She was not good with machines so we replaced 2 bread makers and 1 washing machine. I reckoned it was still ok because I don't have babies in the house... and if I closed one eye or asked her to re-mop the room a few times, we could still get the house rather clean.
It does not have to be THAT clean.
Then M came along 6 months ago, and she has been wonderful. When M mops the floor, she is thorough. It is really, really clean. It is cleaner than when I mop it myself and I pride myself to be a very thorough floor mopper.
I only need to show her twice how to make a dish and she can manage on her own. She spends her evenings writing down our recipes and even bugged me to let her grill the steaks. We really fell in love with her when we caught her staring deep into Milo's eyes, stroking his ears and whispering sweet nothings. She even powders our dog with the rose scented talc that I got for her. So twice a week, our dog runs around with face and head dusted in powder and smelling of roses. It reminds me of The Son as a toddler. We used to slap powder on his face after his bath and he used to look so cute with a half white face.
I am not the only one who respects and honours M. The Daughter (who used to buy economy rice with 2 veggies and one meat for the previous helper) now insists on queuing at stalls with good food. I surprised myself one day too. M loves roses. I bought her a bouquet of roses just to make her happy. I can afford it. If it makes her happy, it is worth the expense.
Why do we love M so much? Beyond the fact that she has high professional standards (i.e., not sloppy) she is also very kind to our dog. The first is enough to earn our respect because this is a family that respects competence and high work standards. The second warrants our affection and love.