Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Digging the hole deeper

So last night I was wondering what the feminine equivalent of "emasculated" is. I think that is how I feel at any rate. I don't feel like my home is my own. For a large part it isn't since it is a B&B (thus the maids). Recently, in a stab at reclaiming some privacy and independence we have reconverted half of the house into a private area, taking over a couple of guest rooms in order to have more space to live unbothered by guests.
The plan was a good one.

The only catch, I realize now, is that as we cut down on the parade of strangers coming and going, we created holes in the maids daily routines. With six rooms to deal with and a steady stream of changeovers they each had maybe 20-30 minutes each to take their break. With four rooms, sparsely populated, they've each got an hour or more. They wouldn't take their break time in 'public' areas any more than I would so instead they monopolize my kitchen or my front hall where they can sip their coffees and chat in peace. It's fine for them but it may be the thing that has driven my to the brink. If they are hanging out in the kitchen I don't feel comfortable going in and hanging out there myself. I don't really want to chat, I just want to sit there, peruse a cookbook, get dinner started early or maybe pull out the sewing machine and get creative. But I can't. Not if my presence causes everyone else's hackles to rise. These women work hard, they deserve their break times. I do appreciate them. The B&B would have been a major pain in the ass without them keeping the place in shape. But our effort to create more privacy for ourselves has backfired. Now the question is, when do we tell them that we no longer need three? Who gets the boot? I hate having to ask them to do a chore that has been overlooked. Telling them that one of them no longer has a job is excruciating just to imagine. And yet, I want more privacy right? And, with a diminished income paying for more help than we need or want isn't sensible either. But still. Argh.

On a related note I did my Myers-Briggs personality test for the first time in my life last week. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it wasn't what I got. I guess I would have assumed that I would come up as some artsy, leader type. Nope! I'm Suzy Homemaker!

Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home.
This bit seems particularly appropriate in light of my frustration with the maids, "ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles." However, this line, ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." gives me the chills!

So, are you curious now? Want to know what your Myers-Briggs label is? Here's a link then and good luck!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dark secret revealed

I never leave my freaking office.

Sure I love to surf around, check in with the dingos, keep up with email, occasionally see a friend online that I'd love to IM. But really, the bottom line for my outrageously long hours in my office is that I am phobic of crossing paths with the maids.

This is a deep dark confession of the kind that makes the confessor worry that they've admitted to too much, that the consequences will reach farther than they are prepared to follow. Nonetheless, how better to start one's blog than with an embarrassing, shameful secret.

How can I hate my maids? Especially ones who do all of the household tasks that don't appeal. Making the bed, washing dishes, ironing, washing floors, vacuuming, dusting, washing windows, watering houseplants, polishing furniture, sweeping (as dh loves to call it, Mexican Tai Chi), doing laundry, folding clothes, general tidying.

So what's not to love? If they are busy doing all of that I have oodles of time to spend on things that interest me right? I mean, I profess to be interested in cooking, sewing, scrap-booking, tarot reading, cultivating friendships, making soap, candles, clothes. I want to teach myself to knit, to play piano. I want to get exercise and read interesting books. I envy the mamas I know who seem to make time to do all this and more and most of them, maybe all of them, are without a team of maids taking care of their households.

So what is my problem?

My problem (and maybe just my lame excuse) is that I want privacy when I do any of those things. I don't want to feel like some lazy gringa with nothing but time to devote to irrelevant little hobbies such as any of the above. So, instead of feeling guilty about making soap in the very kitchen Lupe is trying to clean or trying a yoga routine on the roof that Maru is trying to sweep, I retreat to my office where they have no idea what the hell I'm doing, I just hope they assume it is something important that they wouldn't understand.

I find too many days passing in a paralysis. This is not the life I want to be living. This is some creepy little half-life. On Sunday, in 5 days, I will be 35 years old. I have a kid and husband an incredibly beautiful house and a successful business but something has disconnected here.
On the family front it's okay. I feel most of the time like an okay mom. I try to be a good listener, a gentle but firm disciplinarian, a creative playmate (I said I try!), I make a real effort to be the chief cooker of homecooked, sit-down-together-at-the-table-every-night dinners. But even there I'm ashamed of the time that I don't spend doing the chores myself. What must my daughter think of me? She sees how much time I spend in front of the computer. What does she think about it? In her world it is normal to have maids. She's always had them, all her friends have them too. But that isn't necessarily an okay worldview in my opinion. Of course I'm not suggesting that I want her to grow up thinking that a woman should spend all her time taking care of her house either, but there is no balance here anymore.

Okay, I will return to this but it's time to stop before the rambling gets away from me.