Live like a local.
So, we have had a few visitors, and all would attest to the fact that our front door cannot be opened easily. You can easily put the key into the lock, turn, open the door, but then you spend the next 5 minutes forcefully trying to pull the key out. Of course, while you are twisting, pulling and swearing, you’re saying to yourself, "the next time I’m at the store, I’ll buy that lube that we all have on the shelf in the garage". Then I get inside, and within seconds poof, the thought is so far gone from my head. It never reappears until the next time I’m at the door trying to desperately remove the key.
Not today. Oh no. I decided, no time like the present. Down to the corner construction store I march. I look around and see caulk, tape, nails, wood, paint, and other construction building materials filling the shelves… I can picture the can of lube, but I don’t see it anywhere. It’s blue and yellow. I know where it would be in my garage. I’m reduced to walking up to the counter and asking for assistance… ummm …. “Do you have any KY7?”
He gives me the strangest look. It’s true, sometimes my accent throws people. Maybe it’s an American product that they don’t use here? But without missing a beat, he looks me straight in the eye and tells me they don’t sell that here. I can’t believe it. “If not here, then where?” I explain (since we moved in 20 months ago) I’ve been so frustrated, and I thought for sure they could help. He smirks and asks me what is exactly the problem? I explain, using hand gestures, “It goes in fine, I wiggle it, but then I can’t get it out. I need some sort of lube for the lock”. He bursts out laughing and says he has just the thing. He walks me over and hands me a can of WD-40. I smile and say, “Yes exactly, that’s what I asked for!” He sheepishly tells me I asked for KY7 – and BTW what is the 7?
If I could have died of humiliation, I would have right there on the spot. I couldn’t help but smile all the way home. I'd wager he and his co-workers have had many a laugh at my expense.
My front door lock is now properly lubed and the key glides in and out easily. The can was super-sized. I have enough lube for every lock for every flat within a 10 mile radius. Just ask.
When I travel to Ireland, although people equate Ireland with Guinness and whiskey and I may have enjoyed many pints of Guinness and glasses of whiskey, I won’t be writing about that. Instead, I want to focus on a part of history that seems so obvious to all the history buffs out there, but ME.
If a country, an island to be specific, is neutral during a war, how does it prevent itself from being bombed? We are all aware how difficult it was to fly at night and how during the Blitz the German’s used the concept of intercepting and listening for two crossing radio beams and the pilot would then know he was over his target. This worked only temporarily, Briton was able to out smart the German's by sending their own codes signaling the pilots to fly wildly off course.
Remember that the Island of Ireland was Neutral during WWII. The USA and the UK were preparing the invasion of D-Day and wanted to make sure as war efforts were ramping up that there was a way to know where Ireland was from the skies. Eisenhower asked the Irish embassy to spread the word and to make LARGE letters (each letter being about the size of a small room approx. 11’x8’?) spelling out EIRE which means the Island of Ireland in their native tongue. These EIRE markers were placed all over the Island, numbering 80 in total, signaling to any aircraft that they were over Ireland, a neutral island. It was critical for the US Aircrafts having to cross the Atlantic, to avoid landing in Ireland. And as with the best laid plans, there were times Americans accidently did land, and they were looked after and escorted back to the border. In contrast, unintentionally German planes also landed, their airmen were interned at the Curragh Camp. Is anyone truly neutral?
Over the years, most of these markers have been forgotten about and overgrown with brush. It hasn’t been until recently that they are being unearthed and used as a bit of memorabilia. A big thank you to the volunteers that have spent countless hours carefully bringing back a bit of forgotten history.
One such marker (#6), we saw as we rode our bikes around Howth. (Side note: Howth is worth visiting when near Dublin!) It was impressive to see the size of the markers. It’s inspiring imagining people speedily assembling and cooperating to make such a marker. A shout out to an impressive and fun tours in Howth: Shane's Howth Adventures.
So many of the significant bloody conflicts the Irish people have fought have been between themselves. I find it interesting that they are mostly considered neutral in terms of conflicts around the world. I also think about how the USA is currently boiling up with HATE among its own people. History shows that this disunity will burst if they cannot find a way to release the pressure. Maybe on America’s soil we should erect giant markers with four letters: HELP
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And again. And again.
Sorry, this is a long one. How are you supposed to wrap up failure and embarrassment quickly?
A flood of relief washes over me after finally passing the UK’s driver’s test. Yes, you did infer correctly, I failed the first attempt at the Practical driver’s test. Like most Americans, I took and passed my US drivers test when I was first allowed to legally drive, age 16. I had no other reference since I had only driven in the US so I assumed it wouldn’t be that hard to get a license.
In the UK, Foreign residents have one year to get a valid UK Drivers license. (Many people think you can just use your USA license, nobody will be the wiser. But that isn’t true. IF you get into an accident, they won’t cover you and you’ll be financially responsible for everything and everyone) We also heard not to take it lightly because, although anyone with a pulse can get a US license, that was not the case in the UK.
I, sadly, am proof of that.
But let me back up. Let me explain the way it is here in the UK. First, since there is such good public transportation, it is not uncommon for people to never need or want to acquire their driver’s license, so wipe from your mind that all adults can drive. Secondly, it is very expensive. Remember, fewer people own cars and so most students hire a teacher that has a car you can use for the practical test. Again, an average cost from start to finish with all the theory test, licenses, rental car, few hours behind the wheel driving, the practical test etc.… average +/- $900-1500.00. If people don’t need one, they certainly don’t need to pay $900 unnecessarily.
After moving here, our plan was to rent a car multiple times to get use to driving on the left side of the road, and then within 6 months we’d take the theory test and then we’d take the practical test, and BOOM. Done.
Minor complication. Covid. We moved from the states and 2 weeks later we were in a lockdown. It felt more like a permanent lockdown. We believed everything would be fine in a few months. Not. Truthfully, we forgot all about needing a driver’s license in this country because driving was the last thing on our minds. Taking a trip was impossible and we just focused on other things. We had no idea that all the drivers tests that were supposed to be happening were just creating a huge backlog so when they finally did open, the queue to get a test would be enormous. It wasn’t until we needed to rent a car after being here one year, that we realized we were sunk, and in need of a valid license.
Whoa Nelly, let me back up even farther. One needs to pass the theory test so you can apply for a provisional driving permit. We had to hire a instructor now because it was illeagal to drive under our license. So we needed a permit to drive with the instructor. The two main differences between the US and the UK, is the size of the manual, and that you can only miss 7 questions. Statistically, most standard drivers pass within their 5th attempt. (There is no limit for the number of times you can sit for the test, but you pay each time, of course.) We weren’t too worried about this because you can study for it. And boy did we study! We spent so much time laughing at the stupid questions and hours looking up the more complicated ones!! But we did study! Then on the way to the test, David learns of something called the Hazard Perception videos? For all those old timers out there, it is no different than the simulators we had to learn on 40 years ago. You remember the kind; you’re driving down the road and suddenly, a ball bounces out into the street with a child following it and you are to slam on your brakes. You, of course, can’t see that very clearly because it all happens between two cars and there is a glare on the screen, but you wing it and hope you reacted fast enough. They keep scores and you have 14 to pass.
The UK take their theory tests way more seriously too. When I went into the test center, they asked to see the inside of my mask! I asked why and they wanted to make sure there was no cheat sheet writing inside. I also had to spread my fingertips wide so they could see that I didn’t write anything between my fingers! They give you lockers so there is nothing on your person: no purse, no backpack, no jumper, or jacket, just you and the rows of computer screens. This also means I have no cool pictures to share with you. The testing center was full of computers, and each computer stall had a camera set up filming you and they made sure you knew they were watching every move you made. NOW who wouldn’t begin to panic? How hard will this be? Why is there so much security? Do many people try to cheat to pass? Will I be able to pass? And all this worry was for naught. Again, you can study for this test, and both David and I easily passed. But keep in mind, it was more difficult than the US’s written portion. Check out some of these silly questions.... my favorite is the plaid dog coat.
Now comes the practical driving part. There was such a back log (for the last year of not giving tests) that the waitlist was long and unpredictable. We begged and begged and crossed our fingers and toes – when that didn’t work we paid a premium to the instructor who knew how to get us in. I had NEVER driven on the left side of the road until the day of my lesson, hours before my test. Note to self: probably not such a good idea.
So, the Driving Instructor, let’s call him DI, he is thrilled I know HOW to drive because the entire time he is on the phone doing business, booking people into tests, rearranging times, scheduling lessons etc. As I’d drive by something I must have not done correctly, or needed to know, he would finish his call and then tell me, “Remember a few blocks ago, you passed a sign that looked like …… well, when you see that sign you need to do……” I explain that I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast, so I most definitely don’t know what sign he’s talking about. No worries he says, we’ll pass another. Then an ambulance comes from ahead, I pull over immediately. Some things are just engrained in you! Well, that is wrong. Good thing that ambulance came by because he never would never have taught me that otherwise. All day he was full of simple but irritating information. The test giver will be looking to see if I look at my mirrors every 30 seconds. AND I’m taking the test on a manual because if you don’t take the test on a manual then you can’t drive a manual, your license would limit you to only an automatic. And in Europe you might need to drive a manual when you rent cars for vacations. Back to my instructor. He was relatively useless. Unless, of course, I made a mistake while he was off the phone, then I would learn what subtle road sign differences were. Another example is when you cross one lane of traffic to the other side. In the States you would only go out into the middle IF there was a section of the road your car could fit into. Here you can and should just move on out and block oncoming traffic if they come. So, next time I need to cross the two-lane road, I stick out into the road and he says, “what are you doing? you can’t block the traffic? “My head spins and I say, “you told me earlier I needed to go across the lane of traffic and sit and wait until I can go. And you told me to follow that car and if he can go, I can go.” DI says, “oh yes, that is true but only 2 cars can do that, you are the 3rd car and so you must stop. That is an immediate failure” Again, I am only learning by default and by making these mistakes…. Learning this way, I should have hired him for a week, not a few hours. Once again, he is on the phone, and again we pass this triangle looking signpost. Really, I have no idea what he’s talking about “a triangle” because he always points it out after we pass it and it’s long gone. But he says that I need to turn in front of it. That it’ll feel like I should turn around to its left but really it is to the right in front of it. So, I keep wanting to go back and drive by it so I know what he’s talking about, but he says it’s fine, just remember when I see it to turn in front of it. Now comes my test. The test is 40 minutes long, driving around these very narrow streets, doing the normal things like entering and exiting a roundabout, parking, emergency stops, and then … here it comes, the right turn … YES! I turn in front of the triangle post. Was that a triangle? Is that what he meant? IDK. Then she directs me back to the center. Immediate failure. Yup, after 40 years of practical driving experience, I fail a driving test in the UK. At first, I was just plain MAD, no, I was furious. I paid a lot of money to have this clown not clearly show me what he was talking about. After he and the tester talked, the DI went back to show me how that wasn’t a triangle and that I turned into the wrong lane (there were no cars so it was hard to see that since I “drove” on the left side) but regardless, you can see why driving on the wrong lane might be an immediate failure. Once my anger tempered a bit, I was just embarrassed. I also worried was I too old to learn a new trick? What if…..? and my negative thoughts got away from me. But if my child failed, what would I tell them? I’d tell them to try again. Do your best. That’s all you CAN do.
This is too long to really express my humiliation. I didn’t want to try again because what if I failed again? But today was the DAY to attempt to pass my driver’s test for the second time. I have worried myself into a knot. I have asked DI not to take calls while we are driving. I asked him to be critical of my driving so I can drive to pass the test. Once again, I must pay an enormous amount of money to schedule the test and use his car. (I am bitter about this part) The entire time he is telling me to shift into 3rd at 20 MPH. The car is so underpowered it is just strange to drive. As soon as I’d get to 30 he’d be yelling shift shift shift into 4th. (Forget a tachometer, they don’t seem to care about what that says) Then every minute he’d say, side mirror, center mirror, side mirror. You must check your mirrors every 30 seconds. Shift, mirror, mirror, mirror, be aggressive, don’t be aggressive, shift, mirror, mirror, mirror. I sort of liked him better on the phone. We practiced parallel parking, backing up, mini roundabouts, larger roundabouts, squeezing through roads that should be one way etc. I couldn’t wait to be done. Nobody drives with someone barking at you in real life. I was concentrating on so many other things, my eyes weren’t really on the road. But you need to drive like this to pass the test.
The tester gets into the car. She is lovely. A chatty Kathy. I just wish she’d have stopped talking. I just wanted to concentrate and be done. We drive, we turn, we do a zillion roundabouts, we drive some more, then we go back to the testing center. No parallel parking. No emergency stops, No this or that. I must have failed again!?#*!? She sees my complete defeat and says, “What’s wrong?” and I ask, “What did I fail on?” and she smiled, “you passed” I don’t know why I didn’t have to do all the other parts. Maybe because I had on the first test and did well? Maybe they can see that? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I was so relieved, and the best part is I won’t have to take that ever again. I now have a UK license and will only have to send in a payment and a new photo every 10 years! Boom- Done.
There are few things in England that are inspired from something from the United States. Typically, it is the other way around. However, it is worth noting that in 1903 Chicago allowed the use of their narrow gauge railroad to be used for mail service. These some odd 16 miles of tunnels underneath the city of Chicago were initially meant to serve as utility tunnels to carry a network of telephone cables, for various reasons this plan was scrapped, and they changed the plans to include rails. They were able to incorporate, George B. Armstrong’s concept of sorting mail en route to reach their destination and this increased speed and efficiency.
Here in London, there were unacceptable delays in getting mail delivered using above ground transportation. The city was too large and too congested. In 1911, the planning board decided to primarily use Chicago’s system as an example. Construction of underground tunnels began (using much of the same system that was used for the Brunnel tunneling – previous blog post). They designed these tunnels to use unmanned electric trains to go to different underground sorting stations throughout London and use these stations to drop off and pick up mail from various points. You will see some photos of examples of how they hooked mail pouches over the rails so when a train would come by the train automatically unhooks the bag and it drops down onto the train without using manpower or the need to slow down at these points in the tunnels. They employed approx. 250 employees 24/6 as engineers and mail sorters that worked in these underground tunnels for the Royal Mail.
These unmanned electric mail trains underneath London were in use from 1927 through 2003 when they were closed due to a decrease in snail mail and an increase demand moving large parcels where the train tunnels, sadly, weren’t cost effective to continue.
As with all these interesting tad bits of history, with enough digging, you can find interesting tours. We took a walking tour through the tunnels which is now underneath the Postal Museum. Overall, I found it interesting, but it was overpriced. If you choose to go, you must recognize your "donation" is keeping history alive.
Fun fact, the railway appears in the Bruce Willis film called Hudson Hawk. It is thought to be a horrible film, I have never seen it, so I cannot give an opinion. The “movie money” was used to put on some moral events for the families of the workers for a few years. At one point they painted the 12 days of Christmas on the walls of the tunnels for their children to see. Hum. But the more interesting fact to me was when they closed the tunnels and the Royal rail needed to sell off what they could. One area they sold went to a bank, but the bank couldn’t have a tunnel underneath the bank – making it a perfect making for a heist. They had to fill in the area below the bank with cement. And so the tunnels are definitively closed for any future usage ideas.
Today is my Birthday. Old enough to drag out a story that could be said in 2 sentences, but I won’t let you off the hook that easily.
David took me out to the best breakfast I’ve had in the UK!! Delicious!! shout out to “Beam” and to David! Our waiter was cute, when he realized it was my birthday he brought over two kinder eggs. I had never seen one before. Why? Because, evidently, US parents can’t be expected to watch their children and consequently, they are illegal in the United States of America.
Yes, you read that right. We are a country that protects our citizens from doing unintentional harm to one another, and so justifiably made opening a chocolate egg with a rather large plastic “yolk” encompassing a small toy, illegal.
But it is all about me today… My fun egg was a sign, it must be!! My toy had a baby. A shout out to Katherine and Josh and hopes that their beautiful baby girl shares my birthday.
For those of you, like me, who did not know anything about the illegal Kinder egg, here are some fun facts.
“It all goes back to the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. According to the law, food cannot be sold if it contains a "non-nutritive object." In the case of Kinder eggs - - the plastic toy at the treat's center is pretty obviously not nutritious. However, non-edible items can be sold with food if they have a purpose related to consuming the food, such as the stick of a lollipop.” Oddly, we do not make lollipops illegal even though there are numerous Oro-pharyngeal injuries every year to toddlers that hurt themselves with the sticks.
You have likely heard of “those kind of undesirable people” who smuggle firearms or contraband into the United States, well look no further, an underground market has developed, with people bringing the eggs into the United States. Beware, if a person is caught by customs, they can face a hefty fine of up to $2,500 per egg.
And for all you zealous religious folks out there, you may agree when you read about the resurrection of Jesus in the Bible, you'll find little mention of chocolate, bunnies, or eggs. Despite this, a large bunny that hides eggs (which are often made of chocolate, or worse yet = plastic eggs with hidden money, small toys or tiny chocolates) is a central figure during the American Easter celebration.
In Italy, there seems to be a tradition associated with the Christian holiday as well. Italian children receive large chocolate eggs that contain toys. Now you see why the tradition of the Kinder Egg came about creating the kinder surprise.
Side note. 10 children worldwide have died from choking on parts of the kinder toy surprises over a 47 year period. And yet, 300 children in the United States were shot with a firearm and killed in 1 year and yet, we make no headway regarding gun control. I realize the USA has not done a very good job of educating our population in math or statistics, but maybe that is where we should start? Unfortunately, the very people supporting the gun laws will soon be in control of our education system. Think about that. Frightening. If, we the people, cannot see what is going on, then we deserve what is coming… it’s not pretty.
After so many years of being denied a Kinder Egg, I am delighted I was able to experience one. I plan to give them to my grandchildren, under adult supervision – of course!! I might even have to smuggle a few in. I can see the headlines now, Grandmother arrested over egg controversy. Sentenced to maximum years in prison because she refused to pay the fine.
When is enough, enough? Clearly not after 85 beers. I bet you are thinking I am going to write about the raucous fans for the England - Italy Euro's final, but you’re wrong. Truthfully, if our neighbors were paying attention, they must think we are serious alcoholics!
It began one evening with a cool summer breeze coming through the window and an innocent comment from David, “wouldn’t a good English bitter taste good right now” and I dutifully replied (without a self-serving motive in my body😉) “yes it would, I’ll get right on that and order some to be delivered” …
Somehow this is how the never-ending beer cycle began. I place an online order for 2 - 8packs of ESB beer to be delivered before the BIG Euro Final. And days before the game, 48 beers arrive. Not 16, but 48. Not ESB, but 24 Peroni and 24 Meantime IPA. I get back online to express my confusion and I get confirmation that it was their error, and they are correcting it. Wonderful. That is when the second case of 22 bottles came. Not ESB, but Peroni again. Not 24, but 22, the 23 and 24th bottle broke so the cardboard was like mushy sticky oatmeal – they clearly saw the problem, so instead of opening the box and removing the broken beer bottle that ruined any stability given by the once supportive cardboard and repackaging it, they just used an entire roll of tape to make sure it didn’t fall apart any more than it already had. Again, I reply to the confirmation that, in fact, we did receive their correction beer, but still, the wrong beer and yet this time, broken. She apologized and sent the appropriate LOL via email and said that they were right on it and will send out the new correct 2-8 pk of ESB by courier.
You realize, the Euro Finals have long since been played. Sadly, we could not drown our sorrows with beer. Instead, something stronger was needed to erase the despondency felt for how close England came to winning after so many years of not.
But again, we wait with eager anticipation. This morning was the morning. The courier rang, we joyfully retrieved our box and proceeded to open it. YES! It was ESB, but not 16! Only 15? It is comical now. I am speechless. We figure we may have lost out on 1 ESB we would have drank, but we gained 70 beers I am confident the kids will drink.
A slight annoyance like this was made up by working with the nicest customer service person that had to handle the, what should have been simple, order from hell. I believe she earned the right to call herself an essential worker! Certainly made us appreciate drinking a beer.
.... I had to update you all... I'm sure you are on pins and needles. Another box arrived. It's unbelievable, but true. They got it right. 2 8-packs of ESB were delivered, unbroken. We are ready to entertain now. Please come on over!
What motivates someone to do something that is completely out of character? Research tends to believe it is one of these four reasons: herd mentality, stress, trauma, or illness. I would argue that none of those reasons caused me to act out. Then again, it is all how you interpret the following incident.
I innocently went into the spa for a long overdue pampering, a facial. Ahhh and how lovely it was, until... the conversation began. The aesthetician’s assumption was that my eyebrows had been neglected for the duration of lockdown. What makes it worse is that the inattention had not been during lockdown, instead the negligence had been my lifetime. This sudden realization after 55 years made me wonder what I could have possibly been missing? The prospects were endless, but let us stick to what they could provide at a spa. Back to the subject of my eyebrows, What Shape? Thickness? Color? etc. these things I had never contemplated, until now. Lockdown has robbed me of travel experiences, so why not get practice in being adventurous by attempting things I did not know was the norm for many people. I have always wanted to be wise, so maybe eyebrows like an owl would suffice? Then again, you all know I am a dog lover, so maybe a Burnese's eyebrows, soft and cuddly look would work? I believe in hydration, hydration, hydration, maybe the long unique look of a camel’s weighted eyebrows will be the ticket? But instead, I was indecisive and told the aesthetician to do whatever she felt was appropriate.
Who knew? she believed Sophia Hadjipanteli was trapped in my body! So now, I am stuck with dark bushy eyebrows. I got the raw end of this deal. I seemed to get her worst attribute! If we were going to make me into Sophia, why couldn't the aesthetician have transformed my body to hers? Mine was obviously, without a doubt, neglected during lockdown! All I got was the bill for the eyebrow's and to become everyone’s subject in their next conversation. I ask all of you, how long do you think it will take before they grow out, fade and become ignored again? Will they even grow out? and have I learned my lesson?
So, the next time some psychologist writes an article on why people act out of character, I hope they recognize that lockdown exhaustion might have something to do with it!
There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
I was out watering my row of flower boxes hanging off my fence and the nicest woman sluggishly and painstakingly approached. I thought, at first, she was being cautious because she worried about COVID and me, so I respectfully put on my mask so she could walk by, but then she stopped to talk, and it was clear she wasn’t trying to avoid me due to fear of covid. She was proudly vaccinated. She wanted to stop and tell me how much she enjoyed the flowers I planted. That it brightened her walk each day and she had hoped she would meet the person who planted them so she could thank them. And so, she did. We had such a nice little chat.
Her name is Camilla. She tries to walk everyday but the pain is great. She is getting both knees replaced in April, and that is why she moves with deliberate caution. She lives at the end of the street and she told me how she lives here to be close to her children. She then explained that she has nothing to complain about, everyone has some problem and hers are her bad knees. How lucky she was that hers was pain and nothing more. She cannot wait for her surgery! So upbeat and positive. Then she came back to how beautiful the flowers were. It made my day. Mostly because we have lived in this flat almost a year and hadn’t met anyone until now. This week, we’ve met two neighbors … and all because of the flowers. The day after I planted them the kids that lived next door RAN out to tell me how pretty the flowers were. They also enthusiastically talked about how school was starting etc. But you see, something as simple as the flowers was the opening needed for people to talk and share with one another.
Maybe that is what I love most about winter. People are holed up in their homes and the first sign of sunshine and warm weather everyone is outside enjoying one another and the world around them.
On a side note. I told Camilla that I hoped I’d be able to keep the flowers alive. She suggested that I take milk jugs and fill them up and leave them up at the top of the stairs, that way I didn’t have to go up/down the stairs 5 times to water the flowers with my tiny watering can. It really was a great suggestion… besides, she said when she walked by that she would happily water them as well but only if the water was nearby. 😊 How sweet was that!? It is possible that my flowers will become a community effort!!
Today my challenge is for every one of us to go beyond our everyday radius and go outside and find a flower, a beautiful weed, a garden that you have not noticed before. Really see it. Choose to be happy. And if you happen to see water near some planter boxes, help them out and water them!
You remember me telling you about the cleaning woman that didn’t clean? I feel badly even writing anything about this one… but it is so strange I must share it. I am now using a friend‘s cleaner. Yesterday, I left a clean set of sheets on the bed for her to put-on. This morning, I went to wash the old set, but I could only find the pillowcases. Strange. I kept searching. I honestly questioned if she took my sheet home. There is no place for a sheet to hide. I logically knew she did not confiscate my sheet.
With much determination, I found it. ONTOP of my old sheet! She did not “change the sheets” she just put-on the new sheet on top of the old one. I felt like I was inside an Amelia Bedelia book. After all, it is national book day today.
Next time I will leave a note that is more precise. “Please take off the old sheet and replace it with the new, clean sheet. Thank you.”
If the cleanliness of my house reflects the stability of my life at any given point, then this pandemic has, without a doubt, made me feel less stable! Shouldn’t my house be cleaner because I have more time? And yet, somehow, I cannot motivate myself to scrub anything. Instead, I tiptoe around nursing my fragile emotional stability.
I've been attributing my cleaning incompetence to the differences in cleaning products and the hard water. But I felt horrible when I was whining about not wanting to clean when so many people were out of work, so I did something that I thought would help me and them. I hired a cleaning service. I booked a 3-hour time slot. I am not proud to admit it, but I stopped cleaning as soon as I booked the cleaning date. I just ignored the filth, telling myself that there was no point in cleaning it days before I was paying a cleaner to clean.
I made a list of my priorities and then asked the cleaning person to just go down the list until the clock ran out. The first things on the list were the floors and the bathrooms. I put all the cleaning supplies out with my list, then went out for a walk so I would not be underfoot. When I returned, the cleaning person was bopping from one room to the next and the house was still dirty. I didn't say anything, because clearly she was not finished. Then she asked me to give her a 5 star review and she left. My mouth hung open. The house was almost as filthy as it had been when I left.
She didn’t even clean the toilets!#$&*! What cleaner does not clean toilets? She did rearrange my face cream and shampoo bottles?!*#$? The bathroom mirrors were streaked beyond belief. I wandered around the house thinking that this had to be a joke.
The kitchen floor had not been touched, and it was covered with crumbs. There's no way she couldn’t have noticed. In the other rooms you could see where her mop had gone because she hadn't cleaned under anything, only around things. I thought this is what it might have looked like if I had paid two 10-year-olds to clean the house. My usual after cleaner leaves jubilant mood was nowhere to be found. My joyful anticipation of smelling lemon scent and slipping on a well mopped floor turned into bewilderment, which turned into resentment. I went around taking photos of how bad it was, and then felt too embarrassed to even include them in this post or complain to the service. My house was still an absolute disaster and I knew I would have to suck it up and clean it. And so I did.
Don't take life so seriously.
I'm Jody. I love to travel. I love to take pictures. I love to meet people and find interesting places. I also love to write about and post pix of what I've found. But, I've been told that I write like I talk - in streams of consciousness. So, if proper grammar and well composed sentences are a must for you - my posts will make you crazy. If you want to follow my journey as I learn about really cool places and offer some great tips about living abroad, read on!