Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to comfortably talk to someone about grease? (not the movie)

This question may not feature in your everyday life in a prominent manner, but it is one that I have been mulling over for days now, and today I have actually talked about grease. Pleasantly, I hope. And calmly, I think.

Because all of you are without a doubt abreast of everything I have ever written on this blog, you will not need to read this post about an issue that I battle with. Because, deep down, way deep down, I'm quite a good person and even have some of them morals.

Do too.

But then there's the Hubby, who seems to have developed an affinity for pork rashers (not necessarily a bad thing, since it seems I love them too), leading to us having some pork rashers for dinner approximately once a week, leading further to there being grease on everything, its mother, and its handbag too. And let's not forget everything else downstairs: the laundry to be ironed, the cookbooks, the plants on the kitchen window, the toilet seat, the paintings on the walls. You understand what I'm getting at.

Think a thick layer of lard on your coffee cup.

Example 1. Butter: a type of grease.

Enter the maid. The sweet, innocent, new maid as opposed to the maid who I think harbored some weird grudge against all humanity and since there is a lot of me she directed most of it towards me kept giving me the evil eye every time the Hubby dared to cook (and who also, I am pretty sure, was the main unsub in the scenario referred to as the mystery of the disappearing wineglasses).

Unfortunately, as much as I love this sweet, innocent, new maid and am happy not to have been murdered whilst I had my back turned by the previous one, she has a special talent: She can move grease around better than I have seen anyone ever do before. Here or anywhere else in the world. The woman is phenomenal. While I really, really hope her talent was REmoving grease, I have to hand it to her, she moves the fat like no one else.

Hers could be one of them Wikipedia-worthy talents. Or at least Merriam-Webster. Sadly, I think Google already has a corps of fat-movers and is not accepting applications at the current moment. Or was that world-domination takeover-specialists? I forget.

But today was a 'take the maid by the horns' kind of a day (Although I think I'm a much stronger candidate for having horns than she will ever be, just for the sake of the imagery, go with me on this one), and I decided to have a word with her. About grease.

This is what transpired:

Me, wiping the kitchen countertop with my hand: Uhm. You know.... hmm....uh? So...Uh... You know?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Yes?

Me, showing her my palm: ...uh... grease?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Ja, the cloth is very bad. And I use the strong spray. I think it does nothing. The cloth is very bad.

Me: Which cloth are you using? And what spray?

The sweet, innocent, new maid, showing me a dishtowel and a can of some spray I'm pretty sure did not come to be in this house via my hands: I use these ones.

Me: Oh, okay. ....Well... uh... Could you maybe, please, use the rags from underneath the sink, some dishwashing stuff and lots of water? Please?

Me, going into that scary place where I think I'm becoming a colonizer and consequently freak out (thus becoming a colonizer): You're great! Good job! Yes? Is that Okay? Would you like some tea?

The sweet, innocent, new maid: I can use water?

Me, getting quite baffled, and still fearing I'm coming off as a big bad white woman: Yes? ...Yes. Please.

The sweet, innocent, new maid: Good. It's easier to clean with water.

Now, who did this poor woman work for before? I would hate to find out. But whoever it was, they're probably buried in grease. Or they never did any cooking.

Sometimes South Africa just surprises me in the weirdest ways.

Oh, and as for the movie Grease - Both the first and the second one top my list of my all time favorite movies, alongside Sixteen Candles with the queen of the 80s, one Molly Ringwald, and all of the National lampoon's vacation flicks, starring Chevy Chase.

I have such high brow taste in movies that it just makes your head hurt, dinnit?

Edit: Just to set it straight. I employ a maid, because I am lazy, impractical, unorganized, rather useless, the Hubs likes his shirts ironed, and we both prefer a greaseless environment and clean sheets, but also because we live in a country where having a maid is the appropriate thing to do if you have the money to hire one (legally) in order to provide someone with a job, and a living wage.  


LordLynxx said...

Very brave to have that kind of maid around, I mean the previous one.

I wonder where did she disappear.

You handled the situation well with the sweet, innocent, new maid. :D

Is there really two Grease movies? Oh dear.. I only know the one with John Travolta.

Anonymous said...

I have the same way of approaching subjects - One quick question and then lots of making up with tea, lunch, days off etc. This morning I actually called to say I was coming home .. You know, just to give her time to stop going through the cupboards and stealing things! It's nice to give people a 'heads-up' don't ya think?!!

stepforddreams said...

Funny. I really need to tell you about my cleaner. I will write myself a post-it note.

monica said...

Good that you did away with your previous maid and i like the way you dealt with the new one.
I like the way you come up with the unusual and funny posts regarding daily life happenings.
Haven't heard of the movie called grease before!

Anonymous said...

Nice to know about your sweet innocent new maid...interesting conversation :)

Judearoo said...

Ah the ole 'grease where grease ought not to be' issue. Handled beautifully my dear, am curious as to what she used before rather than water. Please ask her, we your readers need to know...

lyndseywiley said...

Oh man... My dreams of grandeur include a maid... Maybe I should reevaluate my dreaming....

histreasure said...

the conversation between u and the new maid is downright hilarious couldn't resist laffing out loud when i imagined it with the thoughts of a 'big bad white woman' in your head...and hers

Extranjera said...

LL - Thanks. But ixnay on the whereabouts of the previous one.

And yes, there's one with Michelle Pfeiffer, imaginatively titled 'Grease 2'.

ED - Yup. Am having a real hard time having to be someone's boss. I can't be employed, and I can't employ. That narrows down the answers to my blog quite a bit, doesn't it?

How does a vagrant sound as a career choice?

SD - Please do. And I'm expecting something epic, since I know about that floor OCD thing you got going. ;o)

Monica - You've never heard of Grease? Immediately, and I mean right at this moment, Google the movie and then buy it and watch it. You won't be sorry.

Kasabiangirl - Interesting? Thanks.

Judearoo - Nada. As in just the dishtowel and something I actually think is mosquito repellent.

Lyndsey - It's all about chemistry, and since people either love me or hate me and quite often have a hard time getting along with me (totally them, not at all me) I have an extra hard time finding someone to work for me, who actually likes me. The agency that provides the maid (since I want to be all above board with the wages, social security, and everything) always sends me a new maid, whenever the current one starts fantasizing about killing me in my sleep because I took her Pledge away. I consider myself lucky.

histreasure - I know. I often go overboard with creepy nice when I'm trying to separate myself from the 'colonizers'. I think I'm getting better at it though. Or at least I really hope so.

Kaotic said...

Ha! I'm a big fan of the Grease films too.

*singing reproduction in my head now*

spudballoo said...

I loved that 'you can use water?'...sweet girl.

I have useless cleaners, 2 women both of the same name who, you know in a relationship together. I keep them on because they are good value in terms of a nice chat once a week. But they can't clean for toffee, I have to generally do it myself once they've gone.

Violet Dear said...

Oh I have been there - i have lived in many old (we call them "character houses" in Vancouver - but that doesn't change how old and janky they are) houses with gas stoves and no exhaust fan. And I have cats. So imagine all of the surfaces covered in grease AND THEN covered in sticky cat hair. Sigh.

Maybe my maid from Mumbai will come to Vancouver....

What do you find is the best combo (other than water...)

Laila Of Course! said...

Hahahah, loveee the post. And I'm happy that your maid is competent with grease! I have never had a maid but I suppose it is hard sometimes..
And please do be sure and enter my first ever giveaway! It's really easy to enter.


LordLynxx said...

I've been reading your blog since the Wake up Call(July 8)

I didn't know the story about your previous maids until I started reading the blog from the first post.

Wow.. I hope the the sweet, innocent, new maid will bring more fortune. :D

kristine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kristine said...

sorry, only me, its early morning and i was spewing typos all over your lovely comments.

I know exactly what you are talking about! I have a similar post lurking up my sleve but was a bit weary of looking like an evil person (not that you do. so now that you have dipped your toe in, the rest of us expat colonizer witches can come out in all out glory to complain about the help). Your new maid sounds really sweet though. what was she using instead of water? Nothing?

I'm Kim, by the way said...

I have an assistant at work and I've had many similar "uh... could you ... um ... well, nevermind" conversations, to the point where she really is just being paid to surf the internet these days.

Maybe if I tell her it's okay to use water ...

Angelina said...

Maybe the water thing has to do with the scarcity of water in Africa. Or not.

You handled the situation well considering your former maid, you don't want this one to turn into her.

Extranjera said...

Kaotic - Grease 2 has all of the really classic songs...

Spud - Unfortunately, if the maid doesn't clean at ours, we slowly drown in refuse. I just don't have it in me to do any housework. I might be missing a gene, or several.

Violet Dear - Yah. I'm happy I have NO animals or children when it comes to the grease. It does make for a nice fly trap though.

All's I can tell you about a working combo against grease is that it should not contain insect repellent. That shit does nothing to remove grease. I have proof.

Laila - Sometimes nothing is easy for me. I have a natural flair for petty drama.

LL - You and me both. Thanks!

Kristine - So you're not calling me an evil colonizer expat witch? Cos I'm cool with that. More titles for the letterhead is what it's all about.

Kim - I'd like to work for you. Remotely. From home. Doing exactly what your assistant does. Cool?

Angelina - Could be. I'm still more worried about all of the stuff that IS being used if not water to wash things. All those chemicals...

My name is Erin. said...

You really are so kind to let the maid use water. I'm sure she is thoroughly relieved and most likely won't use your toothbrush now.

I can sing some Grease tunes like nobodies business. Only the first one though. I'm not a fan of Michelle Pfeifers earlier work... or her later work really.

Thanks for following The Gentle Giant. I need a bit more pressure to keep the writing skills fine tuned. And being that you are writer extraordinaire... I feel the pressure! (I kind of thrive on it)

Optimistic Pessimist said... can use water while cleaning? This is a new concept to me. Perhaps why I was going to hire a maid and will at some point.

By the not only will it take me 32 hours to get to SA, it will also take approx. $2000 for airfare...WTH?

Chris Hoke said...

You're doing well handling the subtleties of the class system.

You'll know you're not doing so hot when you find yourself chastising your maid with an off-the-cuff "Uh-uh-uh. No eye contact." I'll tell you it does not go over well with my dry-cleaner, who clearly doesn't understand how it's supposed to work.

Yes, I'm kidding.

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

I seriously do not know how you have the courage to talk to your maid. I am afraid to talk to mine and she is ME, so how you ask a whole separate person to perhaps change their cleaning ways is brave.

Extranjera said...

Erin - This is a new maid, and as a precautionary measure she is not aware of the fact that I brush my teeth. Yup. I have hidden the toothbrush...

Opie - That can't be? I'm getting all the way to NM with $1300.

Chris - I thought you were kidding, but I wasn't sure. But then, when you said you were kidding, that's when I knew for certain.

VEG - I laugh in the face of danger. And also I can lock myself in the bedroom.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

Google is cheating me out of cheap airfare because clearly it's not my subpar searching skills.