So, I'm sure most of you are aware of my stubborn insistence on cleaning my own apartment and not having a maid. All right. I think I did really well. I lasted 5 months. This is the second time I've gone through this cycle (here's the first). What cycle, you may ask? This one:
1. We move.
2. I rejoice in letting the maid go.
3. I insist that I can keep up the chores in the new place by myself. I make up reasons about how the apartments are different and how this time will, too, be different.
4. I spend all my free time cooking and cleaning.
5. Alexandre does nothing, because he is a Brazilian man who grew up with 2 full-time maids at home (fatal combination).
6. We bicker about how he does nothing.
7. He offers to pay for a maid.
8. I am resentful that he will not embrace this part of my culture.
9. He reminds me that we're not living in my culture, and that, here, a maid once a week would cost us about 4% of our combined monthly income.
10. I give in to hiring a maid to stop the arguing and to (slightly) curb the resentment and insist that he'd better start preparing himself, because as soon as we move to the US, he's gonna be making up for lost time in the world of chores.
All right. So a woman in the building recommended a maid for us. Today was her first and last day. I just remembered why I hate having a maid. I'll admit that I was so relieved when I woke up this morning and realized she was coming and I could use my day for something besides cleaning (you know, something like... working). But then there were some problems:
*Turns out she works at a daycare every weekday morning. Until 1pm. She showed up at 1:15.
*She announced when she walked in the door that this is the only day she's coming -- she's having surgery next week and will be out for two months and will not recommend anyone. Sacanagem! She could've told me that when we talked earlier this week. Imagine if I did that to my students. This irritated me.
*She is a Chatty (as hell) Cathy. My attempts at telling her that I was working on a translation proved futile. I got to hear all about her family, all day. I resorted to just saying "uh huh, uh huh" and then eventually not responding at all until she got the picture.
*SHE IS SO GODAMNED SLOW OMG. My apartment is the size of an egg, as the expression goes in Portuguese. Even when I am totally inspired and decide to clean the entire thing from top to bottom AND iron all the clothes, it takes me a maximum of 6 hours. I had a Skype class at 8pm, so I sent her home, even though she hadn't even touched our bedroom (THE ONLY ROOM) and even though she hadn't finished ironing the clothes. What could she possibly have been doing for 7 freaking hours!? Well, in the time it took me to eat my whole dinner, she didn't even finish ironing ONE shirt. Didn't. Finish.
I ate dinner standing up in the kitchen because she was using our table as the ironing board and because she said she didn't want food and because I was too embarrassed to be eating in front of her without giving her any. And while I was standing there, eating my dinner, I was getting more and more frustrated about how I just don't know how to navigate the social rules of having a maid. What am I supposed to do when she takes that long? Is it her fault or mine? Did I leave her too much to do? Are there rules about that? (But aren't there some limits to just how messy a 300-square-foot apartment can get? Our last apartment was like, 3 times the size, and the maid cleaned it in 4-5 hours.) Was I supposed to wait for her to finish, even if it took all night? Or was I supposed to ask her to come back to finish? Or pay her less? Or pay her more? I HATE THIS.
So now I'm stuck again. I definitely don't want to go back to this woman, mostly because she takes too long but also because she was sneaky and dishonest about the schedule thing, and she thought that, by "conveniently omitting" the important detail about her surgery when we talked the other day, that she'd secure a job with us long-term. But then I don't know if I really want to try to find someone else, either. This shit is annoying. But so is being the only one who cleans. I can't win.