Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still life with bedbugs

July 28, 2009
Still life with many, many, many elements

In the work-life balance question of two out-of-the-house careers, two small children, how do we do it? there are several answers:

a) by the seat of our pants
b) not always well
c) by outsourcing what can be outsourced.

High on the list of essential tools in our arsenal is Silvia, the woman with saint-like patience whom we happily pay to clean our home for us every two weeks. And perhaps the thing that makes me happiest about Silvia is not coming home to shiny hardwood, not coming home to a sparkling stovetop, not that she puts up with my not-as-easy-to-use organic and natural cleaning agents.

It's that she changes the sheets.

She changes the sheets! She changes the sheets on our bed, which we certainly appreciate. But the glory lies in two other bedrooms, in two other points: 1) she changes L's crib sheet. Hoo baby I hate to change a crib sheet. 2) She changes the sheets on E's bed. Which: please see the photo above. And also: saint-like patience.

All of those things found on top of E's nicely-made bed were in E's bed when Silvia came to our house this morning. She had to remove them all to perform the simple task of changing sheets. And then, bless her heart, she tries to put them back in a pleasing manner.

And, bless her heart, she fails miserably.

I'll never tell Silvia this, of course, but Silvia days bring a certain measure of agony to E. Because E, our OCDish daughter with the crazy-good memory and eye for detail, she knows where each of those items was, and now where it isn't.

So on Silvia days I need to build fifteen extra minutes into bedtime because the bed as we found it this evening (see above) must be disassembled. So that e.very.thing can be returned to its rightful position.

The long purple body pillow doesn't belong on the bed proper; it reposes on the floor for the purpose of cushioning the blow should E ever fall out of bed. (Please note that since we purchased that pillow she hasn't fallen out of bed once. Nonetheless it is Necessary.)

The yellow comforter and the purple sheet need to be pulled all the way down to the foot of the bed. Then the animals, E's 'kids,', fill the middle of the bed. Please know that the kids are arranged by families: the purple kids, the ponytail girls, the babies who don't have enough hair for ponytails, etc. The purple sequin pillow hugs the headboard and the blue wall. The blue and green pillow hugs the wall and the sequined pillow. The round purple pillow hugs the wall and the blue and green pillow, until a pillow wall in approximate comparable length to E's body buffers her from the paint finish. Then, the fleecy heart blanket you see woefully folded in the lower corner is unfolded. It covers all the 'kids.' The purple dotted blanket goes on top of the fleecy blanket. The purple sheet and yellow comforter pull back up over the top of the entire mound.

Each night E asks to be tucked in to her neck. Then, long before snuggles are over, she pulls her feet out of the bed and rests her legs on top of the comforter. It's hot in there, she says. And then she sleeps on top of the blankets for the entire night.

But wait! There's more. Dora gets tucked in her cradle. Her cradle? That wasn't clear? That's the blue and green pillow and the corner of the yellow comforter. Hudson lies on the purple pillow closer to the bookshelf. And Anteater assumes his position at the foot of the bed.

And Silvia, may she never find this post and see how her work is for naught. Also, now you understand why I say I only get three inches of bed at snuggle time.

But the girl does love her bed, and at least I didn't have to change the sheets.

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stepforddreams said...

Love it. My cleaner is sweet but she doesn't speak much English. She comes once a week and I am about to engage her twice a week to help with some extra stuff. No matter how many times I have asked her to please change the sheets, she does not do it. I have tried showing her the linen cupboard. She stares blankly. Then I tried putting the clean sheets on the bed. She refolded them and put them back in the linen cupboard. Then I left the bed unmade and put the folded clean sheets on the pillow. She re-made the bed and refolded the clean sheets and put them back in the cupboard. I gave up. You tell E she is lucky at least her sheets are clean.

JAS said...

We have a shower with six small corner shelves on which to place supplies. Between myself, my wife, and two of my kids who occasionally use our shower, all the shelves are filled. They are organized in a loosely logical way. My shaving stuff is on a top shelf, so as to keep the razor out of the kids' reach. The kids' shampoos are on a bottom shelf. Etc. After cleaning lady day, it is always a game to discover in which new and creative way the contents of the shelves have been rearranged. I have to say, I can relate to E a little bit on this one.