Heed those first warning signs

The only reason I could even think of writing this column is that my tyrant ex-helper doesn't read. Otherwise I'd be in hot water. Very hot water. No, I would fry. Courtesy of this former helper and her toddler ...

The only reason I could even think of writing this column is that my tyrant ex-helper doesn't read. Otherwise I'd be in hot water. Very hot water. No, I would fry. Courtesy of this former helper and her toddler ...

And to think I saw the signs and the antenna was peddling the pictures before I agreed. She came to my gate with sheepish eyes and an invisible hat in her hands saying: "I'm looking for a job as a maid." And since I was tired of running after my toddler with a broom and a cloth, all I could think at the time was "why the hell not".

First on the list of her duties was to dress to kill. She even had lip gloss that she kept smearing on every time my then boyfriend made an appearance.

Later on she came clean that she was pregnant and since most people would attest to knowing far too many stories about helpers taking over, I couldn't help wondering who the father was.

Inevitably, the baby was born, skinny jeans and all. When my ex suggested that we send "something small" I had to run the idea by an objective ear. "Chomie, they are too close," suggested a woman with a house in disarray.

It wasn't her planting of the seed of suspicion that got my blood running cold.

It was the fact that my ex and this woman had this kind of relationship.

Before my eyes they were like ships in the night and when no one was looking, who the hell knows what my nickname was? Something was about to give.

And just to kick a dog when it's down, stories started pouring in. Molly the sweet white lady down the road was getting married to her gardener.

Next thing my big specs aunt was listening to her radio, polishing her cutlery with Brasso when out of the blue she recognised the voice of the respondent on a show called Cheaters Uyajola.

It was none other than her husband being confronted by their former helper. "You said you would leave the old geyser a long time ago and you expect me to put up with that?" and the make-meek-and- mild voice responding was that of a desperate man.

"Please, don't do this to us. You know I will leave her the minute ."

It's not as if I'm easily intimidated, which explains why I only realised her gorgeous features a while later. I was quite relaxed with her presence and my ex had far too much class but the way she fidgeted in his presence made me wonder sometimes.

Then, again, I remembered our Mildred who ended up sleeping with my uncle when my other aunt went to the Eastern Cape for holidays.

"You see, you can't let a woman clean, wash, iron and cook for your man without her extending her womanly ways to other spheres," commented her sister upon this discovery.

Yes, all issues considered, once a maid is too much woman in the house, wires can easily get twisted.

However, why take a salary from your rival? It's the sickest thing ever. Why on earth commit a crime and get paid for it? If I entertained this idea I would surely vomit, so I took tranquillisers and slept.

In the morning the problem was still watching me with a smirk. I had to tell my ex why I wasn't going to buy clothes for a new-born who made my former maid a total witch. Instructions from me about household chores made us arch-enemies and she would blame it on pregnancy. Whatever.

So I decided to come clean and let it all hang out that if it made me a screeching bitch, so be it. I was not going to endorse their secret relationship. He left and I was miffed. I couldn't really say that I never saw that one coming, maid or no maid.

But then recently she emerged clutching this toddler and asking for her job back.

I had to think about the baby. She was to work half days and basically use her discretion with the chores.

But then this woman insisted on bringing that child to work and the child reminds me of my ex. If you take something from the fridge, she asks where her's is.

You go to the car, she wants to come with you. You try to write a column she comes to type her own things.

No my ex was just like that, always reading the paper from the back while you tried to finish stories from the front. This is her baby, that's all I kept thinking. And her mother, being her cucumber-cool self, just looks on as I assume the role of the nanny. I'd be damned.

Calculations and all stories given, I realise that helpers are women just like us. Whoever thinks that a helper's job is ever done, they had better think again.

They show their resentment of their role in households by getting even. Some do call it leverage.

Others are just victims of men's mysterious ways. As for mine and her running amok child, they can beat it.