Thursday, January 22, 2009

the tale of the (un)hidden housekeeper

Yesterday was one of those unproductive days where I have aspirations to get something done, if only Ike would stop fussing long enough so I could think of what it was that I needed to do. On days like this I've learned to put Ike in the stroller and go for a walk, because while I push I can sometimes remember what I wanted to be doing all along. But more than likely, by the time I've remembered, I've walked myself 15 blocks in the wrong direction.

Yesterday I was out pushing, considering what was to be done about babysitting on Thursday, (which was tomorrow then, and today today). Because today was the day the housekeeper was coming.

The housekeeper. I love her, I adore her, I live for the days she arrives and brings tidiness to my life. Nevertheless, I am deeply embarrassed to have a housekeeper. My dilemma on this particular occasion was this: I needed babysitting as much as I needed housekeeping, as I had freelance work that must be completed. And while my housekeeper is housekeeping she cannot also be babykeeping, so I must find someone else to tend to Ike. The catch is: I'd be dreadfully embarrassed if my babysitter knew I had a housekeeper. The babysitter must never know that I, in fact, do not scrub my bathroom floor myself. Shouldn't I be able to keep my tiny 600 square foot apartment clean all by myself?

My babysitter is a spunky Dominican woman from my parish who is liberal with mothering advice and political prattle. If she met my kindly Dominican housekeeper, think of all the things they could they say to each other in Spanish! Oh me oh my. So yesterday, after pushing Ike for at least 10 blocks, I called the babysitter and arranged for her to come from 9:00 to 11:00, as the housekeeper wasn't to arrive until 11:30--I would just have to get all my work done in those two hours.

This morning I was out the door and working at the office by 9:00, tapping through my emails productively. At 10:30 the babysitter called, and in her strong Dominican accent said, "Amber, there is someone here to clean your house." (Of course, because I get very little cell phone reception in the basement, it took three phone calls to get this information across.) Flummoxed and foiled I stammered, "Well, of course, let her in." Sheesh! Now they're sitting on my couch, parenting Ike together without me, I thought.

Walking home I called Charles, "Can I still be a nice person and have a housekeeper?" I asked. "Yes, and you'll get over your shame. Because you shouldn't have any," he said. And maybe I will, as long as my other babysitter doesn't find out.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Ahhhh! You're back, making me laugh again. You are such a delightful writer, Amber. I love the image of you pushing the stroller 15 blocks in the wrong direction as you try to remember what you were meaning to do! And the conflict between the housekeeper and babysitter--just deliciously told. We must talk soon, I've got a story of my own to tell...