Monday, September 22, 2008

Clean at Last

For a girl who adored the bliss of not having to clean up after herself for the last three years I was incredibly negligent about hiring a maid when I arrived in Cairo. (Hubby Edit: Only the last three years??) It isn’t even as if I was going to dust or mop the floors myself while we waited for a maid to materialize. Sadly the dust-infested state of our flat was simply due to laziness and fear on my part.

The lovely lady I knew I would end up hiring, and didn’t want to hire, is evidently famous for inadvertently breaking everything in sight. I used to get upset at Tori for simply not returning my knick-knacks to the exact spots where I had placed them; I knew I couldn’t deal with someone who could possibly break those same beloved items.

In addition to my desire to save my highly fragile things from destruction was also the knowledge that my Arabic classes don’t start until next month and the most I can say in the local language is “left, right, and no cheese.” Interviewing a stranger, negotiating salaries, explaining duties, and developing a friendly relationship with the woman who will be folding my unmentionables is simply beyond my current linguistic abilities.

But the yuckiness of my living situation was finally beginning to become more oppressive than my unwillingness to look foolish in front of someone with whom I couldn’t communicate. So it was with no small amount of embarrassment that I asked Hubby to ask our baowab Ash to ask Queen if she would please come to clean our apartment.

After Hubby assisted with negotiations, Queen agreed to work for us twice a week. When she arrived the next day with her daughter in tow it was clear to me that she had noticed how filth-tastic I had allowed our home to become during the past four weeks. In fact, at one point she had swept a rather large Shame Spiral™ inducing pile of dust into one embarrassingly large pile. She patted me on my shoulder when she saw my mortified look of self-disgust and said something that I think probably translated to, “You’re a bad wife who does not care for her husband properly. But it is OK because now Queen is here for you.”

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that our flat didn’t appear that bad prior to her arrival. In fact, a few years ago before we had experienced the joy of maids, we probably would have considered it clean. But it was dingy. A point that was further highlighted by the way the apartment literally gleamed after Queen left later that afternoon.

So that’s the story of how Hubby and I hired and so far love our new maid. She may end up breaking things in the near future but for now she has brought cleanliness, the overwhelming scent of bleach, and less shame to our happy home.


Connie said...

Dust is a fact of life here, do not feel shame. I swear, I can sweep, dustmop and vacuum the house, then, before I can go get the mop bucket, more dust dunes have blown in again. ah well, it's good exercise... Glad you found help!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. After 3 years in Delhi...I fear the end of our assignment next year and actually having to clean instead of going to the spa or lunch and drinks with the ladies!!

Anonymous said...

I hope she arrives as scheduled and completes the job as well as she has on the first day!
Ours only comes sporadically now but it is still good to see her (and the result of the cleaning) when she does arrive!

Lynda said...

Let 'dust' become your friend... because you will be seeing/walking-in-on-through/breathing etc more of it here than I have ever experienced... Resistance is futile... relax into it...

That is ONE impressive pile of dust!

Greetekees said...

In case you need a good cleaner, I could recommend you our. She is cooks, cleans and even recommends books. She borrowed me 'Inside the Kingdom' last week. Plus she speaks great English. Anyway did you hear about the kidnapping yet?