One of the many challenges we have experienced this past year
is staff. Having staff is like having employees, only these
employees might live with you, work all day in and around your
house, watch TV in the garage, take care of your animals, cook for
you, wash for you, do the ironing, shop for you, run errands for
you, do the gardening, drive you, and ... you get the idea. Along
with all those useful and helpful things provided by staff, we also
get to deal with such things as ill children, children that need
jobs, friends that need jobs, staff that suddenly need a loan (this
is usually requested just as we are walking out the door), and our
latest experience, sexual harassment.
In hindsight, perhaps we should have realized that something
was up when, upon our return from summer vacation, our
housekeeper, Saroh, was wearing a head covering, something
that, although she is Muslim, she had not worn previously while
at the house. But we didn't really think that much about it, other
than remarking upon it to each other. Alas, a renewed sense of
religious modesty was not her reason for the covering.
Christopher was approached on Friday: "Mister, can I tell you my
problem?" As Saroh's eyes were red and brimming with tears,
Christopher responded, "Of course. Let's talk."
In short, it appears that one of our young guards had taken quite
a fancy to Saroh, but the guard did not take her polite and
consistent rejection well. Finally, Saroh had to resort to kicking
the guard. Saroh has also been wearing the head covering as a
visible sign that she's "not that kind of girl."
Our problem is two-fold. One, Saroh should not have to put up
with anyone that requires kicking to be convinced that she is not
interested in, as one SMS (cell phone text message) she
received put it, "maka luv."
Two, the guard in question is now, apparently, aware that others
know about his rejection and is either a) embarrassed, b) angry,
or c) both and more. But whatever he is feeling, he is reacting by
not speaking with our staff (neither Koko the gardener and Saroh
nor our two drivers, Yanto and Bachtiar) or the other guards. On
Friday, the occurrence that convinced Saroh to speak with
Christopher is when the travel agency driver came to pick up the
payment for our tickets to Bangkok (see Photo Album 13), rather
than letting either Koko or Saroh know that the driver was here,
he proceeded to walk around to the back of the house to look in
windows to see if he could see Christopher so he could let
Christopher know. From a security position, communication is
critical. An unknown person should never have been left in the
yard without one of our staff or a guard there. And a happy (i.e.
secure) house is one with harmony among the staff (including the
So at work on Monday, I had a visit with our chief security guy,
who, luckily, has an office about 6 doors down from my office. It
should be noted that although I began the discussion by
mentioning the harassment, that was met with a shrug and a
'those things happen...' so I quickly switched to the second point,
security. And that was that. A change was made. We have a new
guard, whose name I haven't learned yet.
It's no longer the 25th of August, but rather the 2nd of
September. It's early Saturday morning. Annaliese is on the
phone with Miguel and Christopher has gone for an early
morning run. Arianna and three other girls are asleep upstairs as
they were up late destroying the entire house. Wet towels on the
couch and the marble floor, pizza boxes scattered on tables, and
dirty dishes piled in the sink. The kitchen countertops are
coated in who knows what, it appears they baked an angel food
cake, only the used the little individual heart-shaped ramekins
(just to make sure there are even more dishes to wash), and the
floor is textured with unknown crunchies.
As revenge, they all have to get up in about thirty minutes as
Arianna has a soccer game at 9:30 up at JIS. This year, she is
playing on a mixed league. Today's game is the first of the
season and they have practiced only once. We'll take pictures,
Today is a busy day. Soccer (so that's cutting out our morning
tennis game), then a visit to Johan's for a cream bath, hair trim,
and pedicure, then a trip to the snake lady as Annaliese wants to
order some shoes, then a nap, then get ready for the ANZA ball.
It probably doesn't sound like a lot by Houston standards, but
given the vagaries of the traffic, that's a very full Saturday.
Yesterday, Christopher was out running errands and just about
the time they were back here at the house, he realized that
somewhere between Michelle's house and our house, his
backpack had gone missing. As he never removed it from the car
during his four stops, someone must have slipped in while he
had stepped out of the car and somehow Bachtiar must not have
been watching the car (a big part of a driver's job...). Fortunately,
his wallet was in his pocket, but there was also a house key, a car
key, and a copy of his passport in the backpack. We don't think
there were any papers that identify our address, but who knows
for sure. He's a bit disappointed to have lost his compact-able
rain jacket, micro-umbrella, brush, and thumb-drive, but he's
quite happy there were no books, money, or credit cards in the
backpack. As a result of all this, we now have a new front door
lock and keys, as well as an extra guard for a few days -- just in
|Various summer photos
|Aunt Mabel and Terry, this summer.
|Annaliese, J, Miguel, and Ethan