Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, to have staff!

I have talked a bit already about how bewildering I find the whole experience of having maids to be. I am not naturally a clean and tidy person, as much as I wish I was!  Actually, cleaning I can do quite well.  But tidiness is really beyond me.  I just don't know what to do with stuff.  Clothing tends to gather in messy piles on the floor, and papers accumulate on all surfaces.  Well, having someone else come in everyday and tidy my stuff for me has been a real (imperfect, mind you) catalyst for change on that front.

I am ashamed and embarrassed every day of my life! And shame is a great motivator, so I find myself doing a sweep of all the surfaces and picking up dirty laundry every morning before the doorbell goes.

And oh, how I love my maids!  There have been times when I've come in at night to a spotless, fresh smelling apartment and wanted to kiss them. In my real life, coming home to a spotless fresh-smelling apartment meant that my husband had recently been in trouble and was making amends.  Now, it just means that I've been out for the day. When we went away for the weekend recently we callously left the place in a bit of a mess - unwashed dishes etc.  And when we came back, it was as if brownies had been!

But sometimes they get a little over-enthusiastic in their care of me and I feel bewildered and dismayed again.

No!  You don't have to do that! What kind of a despot do you think I am?

Do your maids ever fold your dirty laundry?  Do you fold your dirty laundry?  Oh dear.  I'm just beginning to realise that maybe they think I'm extremely slovenly because I don't fold my dirty laundry.  I think I deserve a medal when I pick it up and put in the basket.  Are you supposed to fold it?

And of course I have told them many times not to bother with folding my laundry and just leave the dishes but what you must understand is that they are not my maidsI am their project. The maids are in charge, which is just as bloody well, really, because I am certainly not capable of being in charge of my domestic life. 

Sometimes I feel like I am living in what is termed "assisted housing" in my country - where people who are intellectually disabled are helped to live independently in their own homes.  That is the exact situation for me.  They make phone calls for me.  They show me how to recharge my phone credit. And they fold my dirty laundry.


  1. This is hilarious. I have never heard of such a thing. Most of my friends have maids and so far their lucky if they fold their clean clothes.

  2. I learnt from your post that you bought the book called "The Women in Vietnamese Revolutionary Posters". I am looking for it, but couldnt find it in Ha Noi. Can you give me the name and the address of the bookshop, from which you bought it. Really appreciate it, my phone 01239649986, Nguyet

  3. Hi

    I'm not sure of the name of the shop. It is definitely on Dong Khoi St (on the right hand side as you go towards the river) and it is a poster shop, rather than a bookshop. It has quite a narrow entranceway, and you walk down a corridor lined with posters, then at the end of that there is a small gallery. If I'm on Dong Khoi St I'll try and get a picture of the shop front.