I miss Sara and Gilbert!
For a year before we came to Australia, Sara shared my days with me. While I went about my business and looked after my son, she kept my home spick and span. Oh, how I miss Sara and Gilbert, who came every week Wednesday, to tidy the garden.
Sara did the washing and ironing three days a week, washed the windows, at least, every two months and washed the floors at least twice a week.
“I’ll be able to do this,” I thought as we moved into our temporary accommodation in Bunbury. I could, for six weeks, until our container arrived. Furniture is dust magnets!
“Get a roomba,” they said.
Upon our arrival, we were told, “Get a roomba!” We went to Harvey Norman to look at said roomba and bought her. (Of course it was a she!) We called her Beauty. Anything that cleaned without me driving it was a beaut. A roomba is a little robot vacuum thingy, which is kept within bounds by virtual walls. She was a bit rigting bedonnerd and got stuck between chair legs on more than one occasion, but I could forgive her as long as she kept vacuuming.
Dustbunnies bite toes 🙂
Here in Australia, I have discovered that dust bunnies, if you leave them long enough behind your dunny door, will come alive and bite your toes at night! Daddy long legs are welcome guests as they take care of the dastardly red backs. Mice are so clever that they lick the yummy stuff off the traps without setting the traps off and cockroaches are remnants of the Star Wars movies, that have migrated to the abode of the Venter Four. Live and let live I say.
Unlike Nataniël I do not get cleaning done with some piece of heavenly opera in the background, rather the music that would be playing would be similar to the Briels, lamenting about the train to Pretoria, that took forever!
Have you seen a cleaning fairy? Mine has gone AWOL!
Se-ri-ous! My cleaning fairy has been on AWOL since our arrival in August 2008. If you see her, please send her home. She will be welcomed with open arms, given a raise and ball and chain around her ankle.
This post, however, does have a more serious note. Most of the time we can live with our inability to keep our homes neat and tidy. We can even laugh about it. But, there is a time when we look at our homes and sigh; we dread the big clean that looms ominously on the horizon. (Drama queen I know!!!)
When our families come to visit we start cleaning weeks before they arrive, because we know the standards that they are used to, ‘back home’.
A while ago I had a conversation with a friend who said, “I come from a very neat and tidy family, and when my mum arrives she starts cleaning. In the past, I always took it as criticism for the way I run my home, but these days I just let her, it is not worth picking a fight.”
Interestingly, it was echoed a week later by a friend from the UK as well. He told me how he was going to miss his mum-in-law when she went back to the UK because she was doing quite a bit of the cooking and cleaning for the time she was here. He then said that his wife felt as if her mum was taking her role away from her.
Look, there is no easy way to deal with this at all, and I do not have the answer to this dilemma.
Except to write this,
Dear migrant to the Great South Land,
if you have domestic help, ask her to make you a list of what she does and when she does it. Ask her what cleaning agents work the best for what. Thank her every day, and remunerate her in such a way that shows your gratitude. She is actually worth her weight in gold.
If you can get rid of things that accumulate dust, do so while you are still there.
When you get here, do not try do keep your house in the condition that you were used to it, especially if you are going to work full-time as well. If you are a stay at home mum, make peace with the fact that your home will look like a bomb went off nearly every day. You may think that you will have enough time to get on top of things, but for some or other reason cleaning makes time run faster, and you never get done what you wanted to.
Make peace with a less than perfect house
Your home, may or may not look clean, with the latter being true most of the time. Let me tell you, those who like you, come to visit with you, and not with your home. They do not mind because their home looks exactly the same.
Your friendship will count more, much more than where you live and how your home looks. Make peace with it, accept it and work around it.
Dear family of migrants to the Great South Land,
when you come to visit, please know that the house has been spring cleaned. We washed the floors, windows, bedding and wiped the cupboards. We made sure that there are chocolates on your pillows and flowers in your room. When we see that you start to clean just as you get over your jet lag, we feel a twinge, deep down in our guts. We know that you are used to homes where you can eat off the floor; do not try it here – though the five-second rule does count in my home. What we want more than anything else is to sit with you on your bed and have a cuppa.
We want to sit with you, not work with you.
We want to sit at the kitchen table and chat about our lives and our days. We want you to be tired because you have seen and experienced so much, not because you were cleaning the whole day.
I get that this is one of the ways that you show you love us. Thank you for doing it. But do not let it become all you do when here, especially when we are with you. We just want to be in your company, and look at you.You only remind us of a standard that we can not achieve anymore when you keep on cleaning.
That is it then from me. I may be alone in what I feel and have written here.
This morning I scrubbed the toilets, I have washed the dishes. Tomorrow I may just sweep the floors and fold the laundry. Do the dishes once again. That is plenty. I may also go to the beach with the boys, or take them to a park. The cleaning can wait while I make memories.