Sunday, 11 November 2012

Waving a white flag

Free-rent Freddy aka the ex-au pair is moving out soon. I don't know whether I will miss him. OD's kids have had au pairs around for as long as they can remember. Thus, by and large, they don't tidy up after themselves. Who can blame them... they actually did have a magic "cleaning up after, laundry doing, picking up" fairy.

Freddy used to keep the place tidy, but wasn't very good at getting the kids to participate. I guess it was easier just to do the work, then to encourage audience participation. Since he started his full-time job though, he hasn't been doing as much. His interaction with family life has been minimal, and he spends most of his time cocooned up in his room. His contract with OD  finished in July, and the agreement was free board and lodge in return for continuing to do his bit of cleaning etc.

That hasn't really happened.

Over the last three months, I have been trying to adjust to life with four teenagers and one adult, whose standards of cleanliness are very different from mine. I don't think I have OCD, but I'm not a fan of crumbs, cups and saucers on every surface, etc. It must be the a "growing up in the tropics" kind of thing. If you left crumbs on a surface in Malaysia, you'd have an infestation of ants within hours.

I initially tried to tidy up after everyone. That didn't work.

Then, I tried the gentle encouragement to get them to tidy after themselves. That worked a little, ( some more than others), but wasn't a huge success.

More recently, the mess and feeling that the kids are not pulling their weight with regards to chores has been a source of conflict between OD and I. I floated the idea of a weekly task list past him, which he agreed was good in principle, but has failed to implement. I seem to have fallen into the "bad cop" role.

Last night, after I spent the evening cooking for a couple of his friends, OD asked the older two to clean up after dinner. Needless to say, it was not done properly ( my pickiness..? perhaps?). But after having to stand over them and instruct, I lost the plot slightly. It didn't seem fair in my head, that I was effectively doing the cooking and the washing up.

[Oh wait- he has cancer. And his horrible cow of a girlfriend is making him do the washing up?!!!]

We had terse words, and I punished him in the most passive aggressive way ever. I kept stealing the duvet, leaving him with a frozen bum!

This morning, we haven't really discussed the issue any further. The kitchen is covered with crumbs and plates. I'm now going to have to try plan D. Wave the white flag, accept that the mess seems integral in the lives of the ODs' and try to be a zen-like about it.

And when Free-Rent Freddy moves out, I'm converting his room into my study/sanctuary/CLEAN ZONE.

1 comment:

  1. yes! i think it's definitely an asian thing, and i'm becoming more and more OCD and like my mother since moving to Spore!

    Just to let you know that i have been following your blog, and i'm glad that Donal is doing alright (Well, at least alright enough to attend meetings at 545AM!! why???!!?!?!?!).. Shouldn't he be taking it easy?

    Keep warm, and get well soon.. Nothing that a good book and hot choc in bed can't cure!