Wednesday, October 10, 2007

English Help

This very morning I have grown more endeared to living in England, or at least in Yarnton Manor. As part of our housing costs they provide two cleaning ladies, in my case Rose and Teresa, who come on every Wednesday morning and clean. Now, they don't do surface cleaning; picking up, washing dishes, doing laundry, but they do all the parts of cleaning that are the actual hard parts. This morning at nine am ( I was desperately hoping they would come later, or that we would be the last flat on their list, but apparently we're the first flat instead. See, I was sick these last couple of days with an ear-ache, and so our house had gotten a little messy, although Avram like a hero had been attempting to keep up with it, me and Lydia, and all of his school and manor obligations. So early this morning I woke up and began cleaning to prepare for them to come and clean. It's sad when your house isn't clean enough for professional cleaners to come.) they came, they changed all of our linen, they hoovered (vacuumed, but that's what they call it), swept and washed our kitchen floor, and most entirely glorious of all, they cleaned our bathroom, including our toilet.

I love England.

And they're going to come every week, and do these wonderful things for us! Unlike the erstwhile maid I had in Egypt, who couldn't clean to save her life, and we only hired her because her husband beat her, and she had taken their two month old baby and left him, and so we felt bad for her because she was very poor. My roommates and I dreaded her weekly visits, because she didn't actually do any useful cleaning, like mopping the floors, but instead would 'organize' our personal belongings, or throw our bedding around, in an odd attempt to air it out, I suppose, but really it only made our rooms more messy. At least once we gave her her weekly pay (25 Egyptian pounds, or 5 dollars American) and told her to go away; it was worth the money just to keep her out of our apartment.

Now, these women are wonderful, and efficient. Although it is a little weird to be in your house while someone else is cleaning it. It makes me feel like a lady, or well off. Except if I truly were well off, I'd have a larger home than a one bedroom attic flat, so I could go somewhere else while they cleaned, instead of sitting in the middle of it all, looking like a lazy good-for-nothing. In reality today I mainly tried to clean up around them; do dishes, pick up Lydia's toys, etc.

Speaking of being sick earlier in the post reminds me of yesterday, in a segue way from my wonderful life here. I've had an ear-ache for a couple of days now, deep in my ear and throat, but I haven't gone to doctor for two reasons. First, to be quite frank, I don't quite know how the health system works here, and although we're registered, I have a sneaking suspicion that I wrote all of our birthdays wrong, so that here they'll think I was born on the tenth of April, instead of the fourth of October (which reminds me as a quick aside thank you for all of the birthday greetings and wishes), and I'll have to clear it all up and they'll know I'm a dumb American, instead of just suspecting it. Secondly, Avram and I both read that anti-biotics hardly help with an ear infection anyway, because the stuff mutates, and also we have to pay for our own subscriptions, so I'm just waiting it out at home.

Yesterday was probably the worst day. I was trying to avoid milk products, because supposedly that can help, so I made oatmeal for Lydia and I for breakfast, instead of cereal. I also decided to take some pain medication, which while I was swallowing it I gagged on, and once I gag I often throw up, and so I went over to the living room window, and opened it up and leaned out, to get some fresh air, and while there, I knew I was going to throw up anyway, and I did, down the front three stories of my house onto the stones below. Luckily all I had ingested so far that day was water and the medicine, so I didn't have to go outside and clean it up. I went back into the kitchen, and while I was so busy the oatmeal had burnt, and smelt awful. I still gave Lydia the oatmeal, because she loves it, and didn't seem to care at all that it was burnt, while I had cereal, and so had milk anyway. Oh, well.

Today I'm really doing much better, and the pain isn't as bad. I'm often chewing gum, as that also relieves the pressure in my ear.

I'm going to become better at posting more often, so the little day-to-day activities become recorded, like our walks, etc. For now, this is the pampered, yet sick, Thora signing off.


  1. Oh I hope that you feel better. eww to yak out your window. well it is a good thing that you only had water down there. :)
    I hope that you will get used to idea of the cleaning ladies. I for one would clean up before they came otherwise I would feel weird having them see my laundry and dirty dishes. I have no idea how people got used to maids. maybe if you were born with it. oh well I for one will probably never be that well off!
    I love you and say hello to Avram and give Lydia a kiss for me.
    your Smork Smork

  2. sorry to hear you are sick. Something to try for an ear ache is to warm oil ( cooking oil works great) and put it in the ear.. it will warm the wax and help it drain and sometimes just that alone can help. This is somehting I did in college becuase i didnt have insurance. I hope you feel in top shape soon.

    Wow I must say I am completly envious of your cleaning ladies... ahhh that would be the life! I dont think you will enjoy coming back to the states after being pampered so! I think I would love having someone sweep and mop and do the bathrooms.. you know, because I hardly get around to it! I will admit my kitchen is not moped every week... tis sad but true.( I think its more like every 3 weeks or when porter spills a pitcher of juice on the floor which happens more than i would like with his whole independance streak going on)

    Anyways that is kind of weird that you have cleaning people. why is that, do you think? does everyone in england have them? or does the college not think that students can keep their places clean and make you have them to prevent the place from falling into disrepair? Hmmmm

  3. Mom told me to pull on my ear really hard out and down, and that clears the estacian (sp?) tube, and it worked; by the next day my ear had completely stopped hurting. Weird, huh.
    Yarnton Manor just has them for the students because they've found it keeps the houses in better condition. After all, these are really old houses, so they don't just tear them down and rebuild after thirty years.