I Don’t Do Windows

Or vacuum, or mop, or dishes, or dust, or scrub.  That is our deal. Bülent and I have a division of labor. I am the Cooking Bitch, and he is the Cleaning Bitch. This works well for us, with the exception of a hiccup every now and then.   It actually turns out to be advantageous.  I spend more time on meals and food preparation than I would if I had to clean the house too. For example, I don’t mind spending an hour or two at the pazar looking for the freshest (organic) produce and then the next two hours it takes to wash all the sand out of my vegetables.  Because I don’t have to clean.  But Bulent is teaching and working on his PhD.  Sometimes he was very pressed for time, but we both like a clean apartment.

Enter Selma.   We love Selma.  Everyone I know here has a maid.  Most people have them come once a week at least.  We are still slightly maid conservative (guilt from feeling lazy and coming from the States). So Selma comes every other week.  That way Bulent only has to do a touch up once a week, plus the dishes, etc.  Selma does all the deep cleaning.  She vacuums, mops, washes the windows, scrubs every inch of the kitchen and bathroom.  She changes the sheets and the duvet. There are no dryers here so everything comes out a little wrinkly, so she irons everything. She IRONS everything.  She irons EVERYTHING.    She irons our clothes, our curtains, our sheets.

If we ask her, she also cooks.  When my parents came to Turkey I wanted them to have lovely home cooked Turkish food—it is the best kind of food here and you can’t get it in restaurants.  She made lovely and amazing food.   On the days she works it is so wonderful to come home to a ready made, home cooked meal.  She is also patient.  She speaks no English so she has to deal with my notes  in Turkish (yikes!) and my low level of Turkish conversation.   But we make it work.  We pay her top dollar (or lira) because it is what our consciences demands.  We could find another maid for less, but then we would feel icky.  For all day, eight hours, it is 90 lira.  That is 58 dollars a day, and that is above the standard wages.  I could not even imagine having someone come to clean my house in the US.  I don’t know how much that would cost, but I am pretty sure I couldn’t afford it.

Interesting huh?  It is like my mom says, “Every woman needs a wife.”  I have mine, and today I came home to a sparkling clean apartment and a hot meal.  And everything has been ironed.

5 thoughts on “I Don’t Do Windows

  1. Oh to live in a country where everyone has a maid. My husband I divide most duties, but I DO NOT clean the shower. It makes me gag. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind at all.

  2. E and I need a Selma. Not “want” a Selma, or ” it would be nice to have someone like Selma”. I’m talk’n Maslow kinds of needs. Selma would be nestled in between physiological needs and safety needs, aw heck, she might even be the base of pyramid.

  3. I’m a frequent reader of your blog, but had missed this post. It’s handy, as we have a new maid starting next week.

    Our last maid didn’t do anything as you describe. She also came twice a month and got 90 TL, AND I had to provide her with a 15 TL or so restaurant meal for her lunch. She arrived around 10-10:30 a.m. and refused to even ring our doorbell until she called to verify that I’d put the (friendly, calm) dog and cat into a locked room.

    She always left around 4 p.m. and spent most of the intervening time chatting on the phone with her teen kids. She did windows once a month, did ordinary sweeping/mopping/bathroom cleaning each visit, and that was IT. No ironing, no cooking, no changing the bedding. She spent 90% of her time cleaning the living room which we virtually never even enter (and the pets never enter) and is always in pristing condition. The places that really needed cleaning–my office where the pets usually hang out–got the 5 minute treatment.

    We fired her and have a new cleaning lady coming next week. It was good to read your post to see what should be expected. My husband puts all the blame for the last one on ME, saying it’s necessary to basically follow a cleaner here around with white gloves, do lots of complaining, give them long checklists, threaten to fire them if they come later than 8 a.m., etc.

    Do you have to do any of this, or does your maid do all of her work on her own? I’ve been here 3.5 years, but speak almost no Turkish, so I don’t think I’d do very well in the “haranguing” department… 🙂

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