The familiar beep of a text message, as I threw my coffee down my throat, and looked for my car keys, I read that one of my housekeepers would 'not be coming to work today', as 'things are a bit awkward at home right now'.
I was, I admit a bit pissed off, I don't like letting co-workers down, and I hate being let down myself, so I answered with a sarcastic 'will you be in tomorrow?' type reply, and headed off for my hour long commute to work.
I spent the day whizzing around like a blue arsed fly, we are at full occupancy, and a tiny bit understaffed, so when someone can't get out of bed after a night in the pub, it causes us major problems and huge bad feeling.
She's new, but we missed her, she's good at the job, loads of common sense, and great craic, gets on well with the girls, the guests like her, I like her.
Later in the day, after many mumbled curses about unreliable staff, one of my supervisors told me she wanted to speak 'in secret' with me...a quick look at the translator on her WAP phone, (handy little gadget), told her that 'private' was a better option!
She had just been speaking to our absent friend, and what she told me had me feeling guilty for the rest of the day.
Our housekeeper had arrived home from work the previous evening, to find her husband asleep on the sofa, he had been drinking in the pub all day Sunday, and now she had come home to find that he had done nothing, no meal for the children, the house a mess, and she was understandably annoyed. She told him to stop snoring and go to bed, although knowing her as I do, she must have thrown in a few expletives...words were exchanged and he took this as an excuse to kick seven kinds of shit out of her.
She wasn't taking any calls, so when she finally came in to see me, I was relieved to see that she was ok, bruised, hair missing, in pain, but 'ok'.
She told me a tale of a woman, married to a man for 14 years, two children, who left her family in another country to be with her husband, who miscarried twins.
A woman finally able to go out to work for a little bit of independence, a woman trying to do her best for her children.
A woman with a burst eye.
A woman worried about losing her job.
Unshockable me just could not believe what I was hearing....how had she not hit him with the frying pan, or ran out of the house, or had him thrown in jail? All the questions that you want to ask someone who is pouring out their life to you, but you don't because it must be hard enough to tell the tale without expanding on the misery.
She didn't ask for advice, and I didn't offer any, she is a strong 40-something, she has family support, all I could do was listen and gaze a little too long at her injuries, although most were hidden.
After a week or so off work, she was able to come back. She told me that she had not gone to the Gardai because she didn't want her kids to be ashamed of him, that she was sure he wouldn't do it again, and it was all recorded on her medical files, so that..
... 'if it did happen again, and she died that they would know that he was a wife beater and throw away the key'
She has been making beds as well as anyone today, apart from the discolouration on her face, you would never guess she had been thrown down a flight of stairs.
We all have a choice, how we live our lives, what job we do, who we live with, how do you tell someone that chooses to be a victim that they deserve to be happy?
How do you tell a whiny, freeloading guest to stop complaining about the rotten weather....?
For anyone outside of Ireland....it's raining....hard....every day....*blub*