Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Joy of Cleaning (Bon Voyage N)


It's confession time: I don't clean the house. I used to pretend that I did, but now I am readily admitting that N does all of the housekeeping. Maybe I've done laundry, say, twice in the last six years. Dishes? Hardly. Toilet bowl washing? Forget about it.
I know, I know.
How lucky am I, right? Well, N left for Ethiopia today and here I sit wondering how I will learn to do the tasks that I have gotten out of for most of my life. I have historical roots in uncleanliness and have always somehow had some nice soul willing to assist me in my task. Here's a look at how I have gotten out of the housework for the last 29 years:

1980-1998: My mother really likes things clean. Too bad for her, I take after my father. From my long pointy noses to my love for food, I just didn't get my mother's genes or cleaning skills. Lucky for me, my moms desire for a clean house was equally matched with my desire to trick my younger sister into doing anything I wanted. Voila! Clean room! (And it usually only cost me a piece of candy or something).

1998-2002: College. Let's just say that my roommates liked me for my personality and NOT my ability to keep our living space in tip-top shape. I wised up and got a single room so that I could live judgement free. I do think that I had a college wide reputation for living in a total pit. This is when I realized that I could use my cooking skills to get people to forget about my other domestic failings. From marinara sauce to spinach dip, I whipped up culinary delights in the dorm kitchen and people always helped me clean my room so that we could all dine together. Another successful diversion...

2002-2003: Ethiopia. Working in Bonga Refugee Camp. It was hot as hell. I was teaching for the first time, overwhelmed with life without electricity, running water and living in a roach and sometimes rat infested home. Enter 'Monkite. Her name means "no soup" which described the condition of her family when she was born. She wanted a job and allegedly liked washing dishes. For a salary that is less than I spend on tortilla chips in a week, 'Monkite scrubbed my dishes until they shined as much as they ever would. (The decision to have a housekeeper while living in rural Ethiopia was a struggle to come to, but ultimately something that I would do again. More on that later).

2003-Present: Marriage. Aaghh.....wedded bliss, right? I always told N that I was messy. He swore before we lived together that he didn't mind. We got married in September and he would start grad school in Jan. Without a green card or work authorization, his time filling prospects were pretty bleak (Let's not engage the deeper issues of my potential power over him )Thus his role as domestic manager as I worked to pay the bills. Well, our roles stuck, and the rest is history. Not to say that he actually enjoys the role. I sure do, but his feelings are not as loving as mine. (He is in DC now and has ample time to form a rebuttal before his next flight takes off).

Today: Me, a sponge, some kind of all natural spray and the bathtub. Cross your fingers for a successful five weeks. The good news is that kid sister (now 25 years old and a law student) is back for the summer living in the back room. I plan to entice her with something that she doesn't know how to cook and tell her that I will give it to her if she cleans the tile. After all, it's worked for the last 29 years, why not now?

All this to say, N will be deeply missed for many reasons, including his mad house keeping skills (including coffee roasting). Enjoy this super cheesy photo of him looking demon possessed as he browns our beans to perfection!

4 comments:

contrarycanary said...

Of all the things about you of which I'm envious, your ability to get out of cleaning is probably number one. (Numbers two and three: your committment to and passion for your work and your running abilities.)

Rebecca said...

I am so happy that you have come into my life!!! You are hilarious and awesome!

Colleen and JF Bertrand said...

Hi Rahel,

I am so glad that you found my blog and that I have now found you! I am really enjoying catching up on your backstory!

Jane said...

Oh, how I love your blog.