Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

It’s cold, dreary and rainy in The Sandbox. Yes, it is! Unbelievable as it may sound. And this household has been extremely busy for the past couple of weeks and will likely continue to be – although there will be a lull between now and Christmas – when I am hopeful that I will have been able to get the entire Visa situation completed and that my parents will be here to visit us for three weeks!!! They currently live in upstate New York – the snow belt – where it’s been cold and snowing since before Halloween – so when I complain about how cold it is here in The Sandbox at 68 or 70 degrees – my parents have almost NO sympathy for me – none whatsoever as a matter of fact…

And perhaps 68 or 70 degrees doesn’t sound particularly cold but consider that it is about 120 degrees here almost every day for six months of the year – for it to be 50 degrees cooler is quite drastic and feels cold! Although I’m guessing that my parents will be comfortable in shorts and tee-shirts at 70 degrees when they are currently experiencing temperatures in the teens, twenties and thirties. [It was a little warmer there – in upstate New York – this past week from what I understand so it’s not quite as dreadful as they would like for us to believe it is.]

I did do a big Thanksgiving dinner here and invited quite a few people [read: men] that are here alone without their families. DH won a turkey at a golf tournament and it just seemed appropriate that we should cook it for Thanksgiving – and so I did – along with all the fixings and a six-pound prime rib! [I won’t eat any poultry – beef, pork, seafood, yes, but NO poultry!] It was nice. A lot of work. But then everyone knows how much work Thanksgiving dinner is!!! Definitely worth it. I know my efforts were sincerely appreciated by several that would not have had a Thanksgiving dinner to go to otherwise.

Another houseboy has come to try to clean and do so knowing that I have almost impossibly high expectations. He is doing okay so far. Slow. He is very, very slow. But, then I’m not paying him very much at all and I don’t think I’d work very fast for that paltry sum of money. The houseboy prior? The one who couldn’t follow simple
bathroom cleaning instructions? Gone. You get three weeks to show me whether or not you can do the job. After that, time’s up. Either you can do it or you can’t. Yes, my expectations are high, but I believe with a bit of effort they can be met, and so far so good. DH is not putting any money on this one – he believes the poor man “is toast.”

There is a lot going on here in The Sandbox. We’ve had quite a few executions – well, beheadings – whatever you want to call the form of death penalty here – lately. There are quite a few more mistreated workers and there is a woman from another country that married a local and has since escaped with her children and returned home. We have had a terrible sentence handed down to a couple of rapists AND the victim – yes, the victim has been punished!!! Amazing. Just amazing. So, there is quite a bit to “blog” on and I will get going tomorrow as soon as the houseboy shows up and start putting entries together to get back into my “Stilettos.” Trust me, lately I’ve had sneakers on. Doing all that I’ve been doing around here, are you kidding? There’s no way I could have had Stilettos on!!! “Sneakers in The Sand” just doesn’t quite portray the flavor I want perceived, though. Yes. Time to put the Stilettos back on!!!

In the meantime, hopefully I’ll be able to get a full night’s sleep tonight – we had thunder and lightening all last night – and it poured. I mean poured!!! We had a pool in our front court yard this morning where we usually send the kids out to do their business. It has never, ever rained so hard for so long in the entire time we have been here. The trees were all bright green today for the first time that I can recall in a long time – they were cleaned of the gray, brown dust they are normally covered with. We, no doubt, needed the good heavy, thorough soaking we got last night.

The downside to that was the thunder and lightening. The kids absolutely hated it – The Baby especially! So we had The Boy between us – he’s about one hundred and twenty pounds – and The Baby – who’s weighing in at about fifty-seven pounds right now – thank goodness she’s almost full-grown! [She will likely not get much bigger than she is – she’ll be a year old next month.] The Baby went nuts barking and growling every time it thundered so no one slept much last night, including our neighbors. It would be good to wake up and feel refreshed tomorrow morning and get on with our routine which includes a good hour and a half walk first thing – and because of the weather lately – two days of rain!!! – we’ve been housebound, not walked and had no exercise but for chasing balls inside and playing tug with various ropes and squeaky fur toys.

So, I will plan on rising and shining [okay, maybe not exactly shining!] early, walking, getting breakfast out of the way, and as soon as the houseboy gets here will hit the computer keyboard and try to fill everyone in on the happening’s in The Sandbox of late…

A belated Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It would be inappropriate to even consider asking, “Are you alright?” The answer, being blatantly apparent, is of course, “No.”

Fatima, just another poor woman who came to The Sandbox, probably lured under nothing less than false pretenses in an effort to provide for her family back home, has been “terribly beaten” by her employer. After not paying Fatima, who was hired as the family maid, for the two [horrific AND dreadful!] months she was in The Kingdom the employer [also known as “sponsor”] kindly dropped her off at the airport with a one-way ticket, so that she could return home to Indonesia.

Thankfully, alert officials at the King Khalad [sic] airport “knew something was amiss” and contacted authorities who were able to track down the employer and who, at the time
this article was written, was taken into police custody.

Whatever the kind of custody the employer was in was far too kind and lenient. Short of keeping the employer – no, make that EMPLOYERS! – in some sort of
torturous bilboes / pillory / stocks combination contraption – then these EMPLOYERS [the actual “employer” and his “young wife”] were being kept in a custodial situation quite a cry above that which “they” kept Fatima. We can surmise that certainly these two employers were given considerations they never fathomed giving their maid!

Only time will tell if the new and improved “
Super Maids” assuage any of the egregious acts of abuse all too commonly and routinely inflicted upon domestic help in The Sandbox. In no way, shape or form could I or would I condone any of the mistreatment employees experience whilst in the care, custody and control of their contracted and sponsoring employers. Suffice it to say however, at this stage in the game, with my first-hand comprehension as a mostly calm, rational, and reasonable woman saddled with a [very slight] perfectionist syndrome and perhaps some [very minor] “OCPD” symptoms, I could, with only the smallest, most minute provocation easily want to pummel the crap out of someone else with a broom or mop or floor cleaner. That that “someone” happened to be the domestic help who, for whatever reason, was seemingly not performing to expectations or standards as anticipated would only seem to make sense… [Just wait until you read my post about the paper delivery, the downtown grocery store and the local “Walmart.” Sadly, in my current life, Walmart is but just a fantasy…]

A few short days ago I grumbled in an e-mail to a dear friend [thanks, Marie!] that I have fired our most recent “houseboy” after giving him three [long – very, very long!] weeks of specific instruction as to what I want done and how I want it done. And, thankfully, she was all too understanding of the aforementioned “rage” that could take over one’s personality to make a “mostly calm, rational, and reasonable woman saddled with a [very slight]
perfectionist syndrome and perhaps some [very minor] “OCPD” symptoms” or for that matter, any person, regardless of whether or not they possess the many wondrous qualities that I have been blessed with, want to pummel the crap out of their “domestic help” with a broom or mop or floor cleaner.

Those three weeks with our most recent houseboy consisted of real “hands on” instruction; I literally cleaned one of our three bathrooms each of those three Saturday’s that he was here to show him EXACTLY what it was I wanted. This was not a situation where I simply handed the man a can of Lysol Tub and Tile Cleaner and a roll of paper towels and said, “Go at it.” No. I did the whole, entire bathroom from start to finish – top to bottom – like I want it done, with the products I want used – to show him! A “how to” video would be less specific and could not provide as much instruction as I did, starting with:

* Spraying – frosting – the entire outside of the commode with
Lysol Foaming Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner and wiping it down with white, Scott paper towels [I’m sorry, Mom, but it really does take more than one and a half paper towels!**];

* Spraying – frosting – the entire inside of the commode – lid, seat, rim, etc., repeating the above step;

* Squirting
Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner into the commode bowl and letting that sit while continuing on; and

* Removing all personal use items [soap, shampoo, shaving cream, razor
, rubber duck, etc.] from the tub and shower area and spraying the tiled-walls with Lysol Foaming Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner and cleaning the tile with an instrument that is a brush on one side and a “scrubbie” on the other to get all the soap scum off in between the tiles – and thoroughly rinsing the walls by throwing large plastic cups of water onto the tile starting at the top and working downward – quickly drying the tile with another dozen or so white, Scott paper towels – don’t throw these towels away – they can [and, yes, Mom, they will**] be reused; next

* Generously sprinkle
Comet Cleanser with Bleach in the [ceramic] tub and let it sit; while you

* Use a “lime scale” remover product such as
Cif – which used to be Jif – to spray and clean the tub and shower hardware [we have salt water – it leaves a nasty, hard residue on everything!]; and going back to the commode

* Take the toilet brush and scrub the inside of the toilet – this particular task on any “bathroom cleaning to do list” is now complete; continue on with

* Scrubbing any dirt / salt water residue off of and out of the tub with a hard sponge which is thoroughly rinsed by throwing large plastic cupfuls of water against the entire surface; and

* Then replace the personal items removed earlier, putting them into the EXACT places where they were originally located [i.e., the razor and soap go on the far corner of the tub because The Baby – who insists of keeping a very close eye on me at all times and especially as I dangerously stand in this confined “ceramic and tile area enclosed on one-side by an easily nudged aside cloth curtain and a mildew-proof plastic curtain” while hot water projects out on to me – could otherwise easily grab one of those items in her mouth!!!] – and, the rubber duck? That goes in my husband’s bathroom. It is purely for decorative purposes and thus gets replaced on the top soap shelf in the shower even though no other “built-in” soap dish is used for anything else, ever [and good grief, how many times must someone have all of this explained to them as well as shown to them before they begin to comprehend and understand and can do it right?!?];

* Take the saved, previously used to wipe the tub / shower tiles
white, Scott paper towels and wipe down the baseboards of the entire bathroom;

* Spray the sink, fixtures and countertop areas with
Lysol Foaming Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner and wipe clean with additional white, Scott paper towels;

* Clean the mirrors and any other glass areas with
Windex and wipe with white, Scott paper towels;

* Clean the towel racks with
white, Scott paper towels onto which you spray Lysol Foaming Basin, Tub & Tile Cleaner – spraying the towel racks directly results in covering your walls with cleaning products [the walls, of course, should be cleaned seasonally – spring, summer, fall and winter – unless otherwise required depending on the amount of “Kid” slobber];

* Spray
white, Scott paper towels with Windex and clean the glass of any hanging pictures or framed prints, doing the same for decorative glass and/or plastic containers of hand cream and cosmetic containers;

* Noticeable finger-prints and hand marks on white painted doors and light switches should be wiped clean; and

* The bathroom is clean but for the floor which should first be swept and / or vacuumed; then

* Using clean rags and the “red” bucket filled with “sweet water” [the drinking tap water, not the salt water] and
Clorox wash the bathroom floor on your hands and knees [these areas are not large in this particular “townhouse,” if they were, then I would use the floor cleaner but it would be about impossible to try to maneuver around the toilet in this particular instance]; and finally

* Using the “white” bucket and a couple of clean rags, re-wash the floor with straight “sweet water” which fairly effectively rinses off the bleach so that if you are barefoot there is no “sticky” feeling if your feet are wet or damp as you walk across the tile floor…

Viola! The bathroom has now been cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, and shined… Simply repeat the same procedures with the other two bathrooms. Total cleaning time: approximately 45 to 50 minutes PER bathroom.

The point [which was really not to explain as best as I possibly could how to clean a bathroom] is that I did all of the above and probably more each time that the last houseboy was here – according to schedule – during the three afternoons a week he was coming. And, there is a schedule – oh, trust me, someone with a [very slight]
perfectionist syndrome and perhaps some [very minor] “OCPD” issues has a schedule. The houseboy was coming three afternoons a week for three hours at a time and so I scheduled Saturday to do the three bathrooms, Monday to do the kitchen cleaning and Wednesday to do the kitchen / den / laundry room and entryway floor[s] – it’s all one big ugly gray and peach linoleum covered area divided by a couple walls and doorways – but for goodness sakes the floor cleaner basically does all of the work and the floor is ALWAYS done on Wednesdays!

After three weeks of my showing him how to do all of this – each afternoon that the new – now gone – houseboy was here we spent time together doing all of these things which in essence was me doing the cleaning while he observed my techniques for which I WAS PAYING HIM! And that picture? Umm... Oh, I know! Wrong. All wrong. Very. Wrong.

Which brings us back to how it is that a mostly calm, rational, and reasonable woman saddled with a [very slight]
perfectionist syndrome and perhaps some [very minor] “OCPD” symptoms, could, with only the slightest, most minute provocation easily want to pummel the crap out of someone else with a broom or mop or floor cleaner. Because if you can’t get the “how to’s” after three very patient weeks of my showing you how, then yes, I DO want to hurt you – be it emotionally or physically or both – I want to take my frustrations of your absolutely total ineptness out on you. But, because I am such a “calm, rational and reasonable woman” I will not beat you with some heavy, sure to cause bruising and pain object. Nope. Not me. I can not and will not condone any kind of mistreatment toward the domestic help. My solution: You’re fired.

So, now, again, I am back to doing the housework myself. It’s not so bad. I am not going to lie and say “Oh cleaning the bathroom is cathartic! I look forward to cleaning the bathrooms on Saturday. Once you start, you will probably find it quite relaxing.” Yeah. Bullshit. At least the stress of not having it done to my liking, to my satisfaction and standards, and in my timeframe, isn’t causing me further inner turmoil for the time being… That is, until the next houseboy comes along.

**When I was growing up, a roll of paper towels was treated more like a commodity than a disposable product. My Mother expected that a SINGLE – or better – less – make that a HALF of a SINGLE paper towel – would be used to clean the entire downstairs of our house… And if that wasn’t enough, we were expected to let the paper towel dry out and reuse it for several more weeks.

**As far as exclusively choosing
white, Scott paper towels is due to the fact that using colored paper towels might clog our septic system if we had one and we do not… [Whether this is true or not, I really am not sure – this is what we were told as children and it has stayed with me, and therefore do not use colored paper products. …] More specifically, when prints on paper towels run or bleed their color onto white surfaces cleaning efforts are doubled by now having to clean to remove “color” stains. “Scott” might want to consider giving me some sort of compensation for the promotional consideration I have extended. Or maybe not, as my first choice would be Bounty – which – naturally – cannot be found in The Sandbox; Scott is, in actuality, my second choice. The two aforementioned preferences are because sometimes when you use a lesser brand you end up with nothing more than a handful of soggy, goopy tissue… Feel the joy. My goodness, when has housekeeping – cleaning the bathroom – ever been such fun!?!
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