Having live in help is an affordable luxury in Dubai. Imagine having someone to do the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning; all of those chores most of us dread doing. An eternally spotless and tidy house….just imagine….. You get used to it. Very quickly you get used to doing nothing, just as quickly you forget how fast dust accumulates and sand sneaks under doors and through window frames. You forget that your kids drop their clothes where they are standing and have no comprehension that everything has a place. You forget the endless Everest-esque mountains of washing, daily ironing of uniforms and polishing of shoes.
However, being ‘maid-less’ paints a very different, and not so perfect picture. Before you know it, your house looks like the proverbial ‘tip’. Ahh yes, the sense of relief I felt at the departure of my trouble causing helper (and if I am honest, happiness about regaining control over my household), disappeared as rapidly as the decline in the frequency of housework!
However, even my aversion to housework has a tipping point. There always comes a point when I can’t stand it any longer. The physical clutter and lack of order encroaches on my brain and I literally feel an urge to undertake a cathartic clear out. Earlier this week, I reached that point. I am sure my long suffering DH wishes I would reach this critical point more often! Determined to make my house sparkle, I snapped on my rubber gloves, tied back my hair and rummaged through the cupboard under the sink looking for my accomplice cleaners. I was ready to do battle……
The last home I cleaned regularly (as opposed to outsourcing the job) was when we lived in a one bedroom apartment in London. 4 rooms covering 600 sq ft. I recall zipping through that. Now my house is 10 rooms covering more than 5 times that area…….where to begin???? Thinking I was clever I thought I would employ a multi-tasking approach so I loaded the washing machine and made a start on the dusting. ‘This shouldn’t take too long!’ was the rhythm in my ears.
Manouevering around stacks of DVDs, Skylander figurines, pieces of school ‘artwork’, soft toys, boxes of match attax, iPod, iPad and Wii cables, proved challenging but not as challenging mopping floors! Who would have thought mopping floors requires almost as much planning and thought as a military operation??? Starting at the furtherest point in the room and working backwards, I soon realised I was stranded in the middle of a half damp floor, out of reach of the bucket of water which I needed to finish the job. Thankfully, I was barefoot and tiptoed across the freshly mopped floor to retrieve the bucket. Disappointed to see the messy footprints I left behind, I grabbed the Dettol-water filled bucket in my left hand, the mop in my right and tried a precarious, and less than graceful reverse tip toe mopping manoevre, as I tried to erase the initial footprints. It is surprisingly difficult to mop with one hand. Images of a purple, oversized hippo in a tutu attempting ice skating continually flashed through my mind. That was how I felt I must have looked!!
Slightly deflated and tiring of the novelty of housework, I proceeded upstairs to tackle the bathrooms; smaller rooms, less chance for mopping disasters! Eager to try out my home made cleaning concoction of vinegar, lemon and baking soda, I happily sprayed the shower stall and smiled smugly as the mosaic tiles began to shine. Stepping into the stall to rinse the tiles, I realised my second domestic faux pas. The shower head is attached to the wall, with a very limited range of motion. Sensing the easiest solution would be to rinse in my birthday suit, I thought about the rest of the housework that needed to be finished, and stepped in fully clothed. To rinse I needed to position myself under the shower head, stretch up my hand and guide the water to the far end of the shower and against the walls. No matter how I tried, the water just continued to stream down my arm, creeping across my oversized ‘housework’ shirt as quickly as ink on blotting paper.
Having gone from feeling like an ice skating hippo to looking like a drowned rat in the space of two flights of stairs, I was ready to give up and give in. I cringed at my appearance; not quite sure if I looked more like a participant in a wet t-shirt competiton or an excessively lactating mum……
Is that the doorbell I hear????
If I had a maid….I could answer that….