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Cleaning ladies form spotless bond by Riah Lawry, staff writer April 15, 2010 "You wanna see what we do?" Sue Smith motioned me over to the bathroom. "Someone threw up all over the bathroom last night and didn't clean up," said Smith. I looked at the open door and nodded. Smith, a gentle woman with observant eyes, assured me they had taken care of it first thing that morning. Even so, my feet felt very content to stay right where they were and refrain, or shall I say refuse, to venture into the danger zone. Smiling, Smith led me out of the Glide-Crawford Commons and up the gray cement stairs to the floor above. Every day has its surprises for a custodian here at Asbury. It's possible for paint spills to appear on the carpet, for a bathroom sink to crack, or who knows, for someone to throw up all over the bathroom. No problem. These three cleaning ladies have probably seen it all. The surprises eventually become part of the routine. Yet even then, cleaning two dorms every day cannot be an easy job. Notes and thank you cards from So how do they do it? Even the cleaning ladies admit this job isn't students hang as a daily encouragement to the cleaning easy. Undoubtedly, it takes a great deal of hard work, but what ladies. Photo by Ciara LeRoy: also keeps them going strong is a well-oiled routine, a strong Collegian Photo . team and muffins. Their routine begins early in the morning. The three ladies arrive at Glide-Crawford around 8:30 a.m. and immediately begin assessing and planning for the rest of the day. Noticing the fruits of their hard work, Smith and I briskly continue up the spotless gray steps to First Crawford. Near the end of the hall and just inside an open door, we find a well-groomed woman with an upside down vacuum cleaner and scissors. Smith makes the introductions while Karen Doherty expertly snips away at what looks like years of hair encasing the upturned vacuum wheel. Doherty has been working here at Asbury for over three years. She, Smith and Lisa Lunsford, the other custodian, have been cleaning together for almost all of those three years. During that time, they have mastered their routines. Continuing the tour around GlideCrawford, Doherty shows me her responsibilities on the first floor of the dorm that are similar to the other two ladies' responsibilities on the second and third floor. Every day she sanitizes the bathroom, dusts, scrubs, clears trash and polishes. The soft cushion of the lobby carpet springs happily beneath our feet as Doherty points out the wood dĂŠcor she polishes regularly. Certainly I've been in the Glide-Crawford lobby before, but never had I felt as if there was too much wood in one room until the thought of cleaning it occurred to me at that moment. Passing quickly through that room, we enter First Glide where Doherty hands one of the handymen a mop. Apparently one of the sinks cracked. There's something else that keeps these ladies going day after day. A perfect routine can be positively miserable if the team is no fun to work with. During my tour, I noticed the

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Cleaning ladies form spotless bond

5/18/11 6:17 PM

women work together, and they know how to enjoy life. Part of the reason they work well as a team is the fact that they are all moms and they all love to clean. Even at home, Lunsford said her kids know her cleanliness and take their toys outside to play instead of messing up their rooms. Another bonding experience is a fun tradition the cleaning ladies follow for lunchtime. Three days out of the week, one of the ladies brings enough food for everyone and on the fourth day the ladies go out to eat. Like good moms, the last day is leftovers. The team members all agree with Doherty who said, "We like working together and we get along really well. This would really be a hard job, and it would really be lonely being over here by ourselves." On the last leg of the tour, I watch as Lunsford quickly wipes away the smudges from the large mirrors in the Glide-Crawford gym. Lunsford tells of all the trash they collect at Kresge that can amount to around 20 to 30 bags per floor. The mirrors are polishing up nicely when Lunsford stops for a moment as she nears the end and says "Thank you all for appreciating what we do." I heard Doherty mention earlier in the day that just a few weeks ago the Kresge girls made the ladies a big card and some homemade muffins. Doherty said, "We save all the little cards you give us and put it on our board." The board she was looking at is in a small room right beside the Commons kitchen. There is an overstuffed chair, sticky notes, and beside pictures of kids and grandkids, small notes of thanks from the girls are proudly pinned. "I guess people know it's a hard job, and they appreciate it," said Doherty. "And that makes it all worthwhile." Walking up the gray cement steps on my way from the gym, I pass by the Commons and notice with new eyes just how clean things really are in Glide-Crawford. The custodians work hard and make Kresge and Glide-Crawford a cleaner and better place for us to live. They breathe routine, enjoy their trio of cleaners and love interacting with the students who dotingly give them muffins and other treats on occasion. Things get messy around here sometimes but all three women emphasized that they love working together and the girls are really sweet.

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Cleaning ladies form spotless bond