Monday, November 3, 2008

I have a confession to make.

I hope that no one reading this will decide to stop being my friend, but...(no, this doesn't have anything to do with the election; however, don't ask me about that; you probably don't want to know)...I have a housekeeper. Not like Alice, but a lady comes once a week (Monday mornings; this is a timely confession) and cleans my house. There, I said it.

She washes any dishes that are dirty, and, although I try not to leave a huge pile, there are weeks... She cleans the floors and vacuums. She dusts. She cleans the bathrooms. She brings in and hangs out laundry (otherwise, that is [recently] the kids' job; yay!). And she folds any clean laundry (notice I make no such disclaimer as to not leaving a huge pile there; I do sort the laundry afterwards, though). Oh, and she changes any sheets as needed (I put out clean sheets on the beds that need to be changed).

Anyone ready to disown me?

Here's the deal: I've discovered, during the times when I've been without househelp here, that I can A) keep the house clean/straight and B) homeschool the kids or I can do A) and C) meet with people here or there's the A) and B) option. However, I cannot do A), B), and C) for a sustained period of time.

Therefore, we budget to bring someone in once a week to clean (roughly $15 each time, in case anyone's curious; up from around $12 when we first started having someone come almost 5 years ago). I'm okay with that. Especially on Mondays. When my house gets a big ol' "re-set," as I explained to my friend one time. I'm very okay with that on Mondays. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and actually relax for most of the day (okay, so I front load our week and hit school hard and heavy that day, but I relax on the housekeeping side of things).

Some other random details for the curious: we had a wonderful Indonesian lady who cleaned for us for 3 years from around Christmas of the first year that we lived here. She was *amazing*! She cleaned perfectly, tackled projects like cleaning curtains on a rotating basis without having to be asked, and had a very happy disposition. She disappeared around Ramadan last year. My best guess is that she was trying to get out from under the man who brought her here. Not an abusive situation, but he controlled the jobs she took, and I'm sure she wanted more say and may very well have fulfilled her obligations to him and needed to make a clean break. Unfortunately, I realize in hindsight that I think she was asking for more money to stay on with us (she was very cultural in asking in such a round about way that I didn't figure it out until I put some things together later). It was not until I tried to replace her and learned how much the going rate was that I understood. I would have gladly paid her more to keep her on, but hindsight and 20/20 and all that.

So, I fished around for someone new to come while struggling to keep my head above water doing it all myself, encountered a couple of examples of what I was not looking for. And finally, an ex-pat friend who was also looking for some help thought to ask a lady she knew who has three live-in housekeepers/nannies (hey, go to the one who knows, right?). Rich Friend knew of an Arab lady looking for just such work. She wanted to be selective in who she worked for, so she could keep her dignity (it's not a popular job choice), and Rich Friend promised her that we would be a perfect option.

She's been coming since late Spring/early Summer, and I'm pleased. I've had to do a little more directing than I had to do previously, but that's hardly a hardship. She's now cleaning for three of the four ex-pat moms in our little circle, and the fourth is trying to figure out when she can work herself into the schedule. Oh, and today she asked me to teach her to cross-stitch, which means she considers me enough of a friend to ask. She's been shy, so I was blessed by that.

Well, my secret's out (okay, not so much a secret, but you may or may not have known). I hope everyone's okay with that. If it makes you feel any better, I met my challenge to myself of keeping the house clean for the three months we were in the US last time with only a little help from ML. Of course, I wasn't homeschooling during that time, but we did have a big social schedule. I guess not all hope is lost for me. :-)


The Welch Family said...

We have someone 5 days a week in Ecuador - for $5 a day. She taught me all my Spanish and quickly became my best friend. She also helps with our real "work" there in making connections and opened a big door for us into a community.

Now that we are back, I realize just how much she helps - not just with cleaning and language, but with support from a fellow sister.

You are still loved :)

Tiffany said...

I'm glad you can have help with the housework. My mom is a housekeeper. She has worked for the same family for 27 years. Now she's looking for another family to work for since things are changing in the other family. I'd love to have someone like her help care for my house!

Grateful for Grace said...

I still love you.

But now I covet you. ;-)

mideastmom said...

Thanks, all, for your understanding (even when it did involve covetousness :-)!