Monday, 18 April 2011

Maid in Mumbai

As I dashed downstairs to the gym to meet my personal trainer I stopped short: “Oh no, I forgot to ask the maid to chop the watermelon!”  What am I like? Who is this person I have become? The maid rarely picks up the phone so I contemplated calling the driver to go up the stairs and tell the maid I wanted the watermelon chopping.
OMG! Get a grip! Who do you think you are? Madonna? Then I conceded I could probably chop the watermelon all by myself, after all, I don’t have much else on.  But then I thought: “No, we’ll have the watermelon tomorrow.”
When I think what I used to have to do less than two years ago, it’s amazing how quickly you can get used to a thing. I used to drive the kids to school, come back via Asda, do the breakfast pots, make all the beds, do the bathrooms, walk the dog, vac, iron, spend two hours bidding for random stuff on Ebay, pick up the kids, get the dinner on, wash up, kids to bed and then make the packed lunches. My only ‘me-time’ was between 8 and 9pm when I’d watch a property show with a glass of wine and fall into a coma.
Now I hide out in my office all day, the only room in the house without air conditioning and sweat my socks off while Lucy runs the rest of the house like a well-oiled machine.  I find it’s best to stay out of the way and when she’s goes at 4 o’clock, I have a little wander round and move the cushions on the sofa, run my finger along the surfaces and experience a tremendous feeling of satisfaction.  Back home in the UK I used to think”“Blimey, if I ever finish everything I need to do in the house, I’d sit down and write a novel.”  But housework is like the Forth Bridge, it will never be finished, there’s always something to do, especially if you’re a bit OCD like me.
But now Lucy is in charge of the house and Samir drives the kids wherever they need to go, I have no excuses yet I have still to begin my magnum opus. I sit in front of this computer all day and do anything but. For example, today I have been sitting here for three hours, I am dripping with sweat, I have checked Facebook a few times (0 messages, 1 friend request from a child I barely know) I have ordered ‘Madmen’ season four from Amazon and written the above four paragraphs. I have also checked train times for my trip to Manchester in July and arranged my CDs alphabetically. Where does the time go? And yet there is plenty of it in which to worry about the minutia.
I am now debating whether to tell Lucy that I actually want the oranges to be cut into quarters, not halves because they don’t fit into the juicer otherwise. When she first started, I told her ‘Sir’ liked fresh orange juice for breakfast so she would need to peel and chop oranges every day and leave them in the fridge (they weren’t for ‘Sir’ at all, they were for me but I rolled my eyes and made out the man she rarely saw was such a fuss pot/ogre we just had to do what he said) But every time I feed them into the juicer, I need to cut them again. I daren’t tell her to change the routine now; I will just have to soldier on.
What worries me is what will happen when it all comes to an end, as one day it must. I will be left high and dry like an incompetent minor royal not knowing what to do, standing in the car park in Tesco’s waiting for the driver to roll up in front of me and load the shopping. Who will peel my pomegranates? What will happen if one of Mick’s shirts gets creased when it comes out of that big white thing that spins round and round? So, enjoy it while it’s here, ladies because there might come a day when you are on your hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor and you’ll look up, mop your brow and stare into the middle distance remembering a time when you  could spend your days doing exactly what you wanted to do and nothing else.

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