“I work about one hour each week for my cleaning lady!’ I tell my friend Sarah.

“How?, what do you mean? You want to say she works for you!”

“No, you don’t understand. I work for her before she arrives. I gather clothes, shoes, newspapers, books, magazines, I push things like jars and bottles of cosmetics into closets, and try to remove all the stuff that lies around and makes my house chaotic. I want her to have a clean working field, The way my home looks before she arrives, she really wouldn’t know how or where to start! And then, after she leaves, I work again for quite a while until I bring my home back to its usual chaotic state! Things which I’ve pushed into cupboards and closets spill out freely and I feel again good in my usual mess!”

“I don’t understand this, says Sarah, my things are always placed where they should be, and my cleaning lady says I am a great housekeeper!”

Yes, I thought so, I think to myself, even Sarah’s thoughts and ideas are much more organized than my own!


I could write a book about cleaning ladies. When I came to live here I had the unforgettable Nadya. Blonde, blue-eyed, looking like a Viking maiden, she talked and informed me non-stop about all her family members, the politics and elections in the Ukraina, her opinions of the politics in our country, her opinions of what I do wrong in my life and why I don’t have a piano instead of my modest keyboard.. While talking, she was busy all the time discarding things which  were dear to me, especially clothing which she believed I should not wear, pretty plastic bags which I held dear, empty containers which I may need someday. I walked along with her all throughout my home trying to protect whatever I could against her raging vengeance.

I did not always succeed.


When Nadya left, I got a silent one. After telling me her name which I quite understandably forgot, she never spoke another word until she uttered ‘shalom’ in a high soprano voice before she left. I missed Nadya’s forceful presence. I felt deprived somehow. Life had lost some of its excitement.

I don’t know why this new one left, but the one that followed had a funny smell about her. I thought it was alcohol, but not being a drinker myself, I refrained from passing judgment. In the end she was fired and it seems that I had been right all along.


And now I have Zubaida, the one with the strangely romantic  name. A very cuddly person she always hugs me after arrival and again before leaving . She opens all the doors and windows creating a tornado in my home because she loves fresh air and hates the air condition  I look around for a corner where I can read my newspaper and not freeze to death or fly away.. She follows me around and takes care that every shutter is open to capacity. She leaves my plastic bags alone but she finds so-called better places for items like my box of cereals  which she places on the highest shelf making sure I’d never be able to reach it. Not only couldn’t I reach it, I had trouble locating it in first place . Since then I keep on reminding her that sometime in my teens I stopped growing a bit too early  and she should leave things where I can get to them.

“But this creates chaos, she says, you have everything around you and the upper shelves remain empty!”

“Zubaida, I say to her proud that I could finally remember her 1001 nights name, chaos is my life’s elixir, so please don’t tamper with that!” I have the distinct feeling that she disapproves greatly of my housekeeping while thinking that otherwise I am a very nice person. I suppose this becomes a conflict for her when trying to form an ultimate opinion about me.

At this point we are nearly used to each other and I hope quite sincerely that she will stay for a while at least, although I must admit that change often means excitement. It used to, at least, a long time ago!