Archive for the ‘Housekeeping’ Category

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Maid Wages

November 7, 2007

Conversation with a a maid:

“You get paid KD45 a month?”

“Yes, it’s triple the amount I was getting paid as a fifth grade teacher in the Philippines. Is cleaning, cooking, watching children tiring and not the greatest job on earth? Yes. But it paid for my daughter to go to private school, college, and now she’s thinking of medical school. I also put my sister through nursing school with my wages. My daughter is going to have a better life than mine. I’m taking care of people I love back home. It’s worth it.”

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No More

June 7, 2007

Wanting some sort of a life outside of my home, hell, even ten minutes a day of deflating time (if you’re a parent, you know what I mean), I went in search of a live-in maid at the maid agencies in Hawally and Fahaheel a few months ago. I picked one out, and we waited a month and a half for her arrival. She arrived on a Saturday night and by the following Saturday night, she was gone.

In a nutshell this is what happened: I came home from picking my son up from school on Saturday. I made lunch, fed my children (and the maid) and then asked the maid to go upstairs with the children for ten minutes. Five minutes later, my son came down crying, saying that the maid smacked him on his head with a huge pencil the size of a stick that my husband bought for my son at an airport shop a few years back. The red mark on his forehead told me he wasn’t lying. I also learned that she pulled my two year-old daughter’s hair. When I asked the maid what happened, she naturally denied everything. She said she only took the pencil away from my son because he was writing on a wall. He’s not supposed to write on the wall but we make it very clear with all of our maids that if our children do anything wrong, to come to us and tell us so that we can handle the situation. So yeah, she was gone that night. I told my husband that she was the last woman I would bring into my home because I would not accept anyone hurting my children again. I’m done.

In the ten years that I’ve lived in Kuwait, it’s been one nightmare after another when it comes to housekeepers. My husband and I are not evil employers. Our maids get days off every week, rest periods during the day, free use of our phones and phone cards to call their family back home, all of their necessities are bought and paid for by us, we never yell, we treat them with respect until they disrespect us, they never look after our children for more than half an hour, I do all the laundry and cooking, I help out with the big jobs, there were many nights that they went to bed before we did and we sleep early compared to most other people.

Are most of my waking hours spent cleaning? Yes. I’m a housewife, it’s my job and it’s actually great exercise. Do I freak out when friends call to tell me they’re coming over? Yes, but I would hope that I have the type of friends who wouldn’t judge me if my house isn’t spotless. Are there times during the day that I wish I could have a live-in maid? Yes, many times a day in fact. But then I think of all the trouble they have put me and my family through and decide it’s just not worth it.

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Something Doesn’t Add Up

January 9, 2007

Ok, let me get this straight. In the Philippines, they make around $30 a month and we’re supposed to pay maids $400 a month now? Plus room and board? Why is this not making sense to me?

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Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

November 5, 2006

I’d like to know what they put in these sponges because they really are magical. I refused to buy them at first because they were a little pricey but I gave in when my kids wrote on the playroom walls with crayons and pens and nothing was working to get the stains off. I tried 409, diluted Fairy, and Windex. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers took everything off in one easy swipe. No elbow grease involved. I used them again the other day when my son wrote on his furniture with magic marker. Worked like a charm.

The only problem I have with the product is that it disintegrates quickly so it doesn’t last long. Considering that I only use it for really difficult stains that don’t come off with any other product, it’s not a big problem.

If you have children who are a little on the artistic side and have a problem with keeping all magic markers and crayons being out of reach when you’re not looking – this product is a must-have.

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Daily Shower Sprays : Make Your Own

June 30, 2006

Someone looked up how to make daily shower spray and ended up on my site. Good question. So I googled it and found the following recipes:

In a 32 oz. spray bottle, pour in 8 oz. of rubbing alcohol, then top it off with water. After each shower, spray the walls and shower curtain. You won’t have to rinse.

Or:

3 T. liquid Jet-dry (for dishwashers) Water Combine Jet dry and water in a spray bottle to fill the bottle. Spray shower walls after every shower.

Hope it works.

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Bathroom : Daily Cleaning

June 6, 2006

Two areas of your home that have to be cleaned daily are bathrooms and the kitchen. It’s a matter of health and hygiene. So let’s start with the bathroom.

When I’m really cramped for time, wipes, toilet bowl tablets, and daily shower sprays are my saviors. Wipes are useful for wiping down the sink, the outside of your toilet, shower heads, etc. They make everything sparkle. I like Clorox’s lavender scented wipes. They clean well and leave a pleasant scent afterwards. For those of you really cramped for time, Windex makes wipes you can use on your bathroom mirror. For the rest of us, we can pull out our bottle of Windex and paper towels/newspaper from our bucket of supplies we prepared before we came into the bathroom.

Toilet bowl tablets come in handy because you don’t have to use any additional cleaner when you do your daily swishing of the toilet. You take the brush out, give the toilet a swirl, flush toilet with the brush strategically placed where the water comes flushing in (to rinse it), and that’s it. I keep toilet brushes behind the toilets because nobody wants to see them, right?

Daily shower sprays are used after every shower. You simply spray your shower and walk away. How easy is that? If you don’t want to buy a daily shower spray, or in my case – I can’t find it in stores anymore, you can prepare your own by adding vinegar and water (50/50) into a spray bottle. Using this mixture isn’t as easy as a daily shower spray because you should wipe it down and rinse afterwards.

The last task is to mop the floor. What I usually do is use a damp rag with bathroom cleaner sprayed on it, place it under a floor squeegee and mop away. Believe it or not, there are wipes for this purpose as well for people who don‘t have a lot of time.

Put the exhaust fan to suck up any moisture and smells. Walk away and remember to shut the fan off after ten minutes or so.

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Bedroom : Daily Cleaning

June 5, 2006

When it comes to cleaning, I'm a geek. If there's a book about housekeeping, I buy it. I keep it on my nightstand for weeks and browse through it before I sleep. I browse sites dedicated to cleaning.

I can just see my mother now saying, "Who are you and what have you done to my daughter?!" because I haven't always been a clean freak. I was probably the opposite. My idea of cleaning my room as a child was to shove everything under my bed or in my closet.

But people change and so here we are. I'm going to take you through each room of my home and tell you how I clean it, both daily and thoroughly. Hopefully some of you can use it as a guideline for yourselves.

Before entering the room, I always have my supplies ready. That means: a laundry basket for dirty clothes, a trash bag for any trash in the room, broom, rag, all-purpose cleaner, dustbin, glass cleaner, and paper towels. You can use a caddy or a bucket to make it easier to transport all of these things from room to room.

The very first thing I do is open up all the windows. Since it's so hot here, the earlier you open up the windows, the better. I try to leave them open for fifteen minutes or so to air out the room and let fresh air in.

The next thing I do is air out the beds. I pull the sheets and duvet covers down and leave them that way for about fifteen to thirty minutes.

While I'm waiting for the room and bed to air out, I dust and pick up around the room. I take any dirty laundry out of hampers and put them in a laundry basket. I empty out trash bins into the garbage bag I brought in the caddy/bucket. I use an all-purpose cleaner and a rag to clean end tables and such. Since there is so much dust here, I usually ditch the duster (it only relocates dust) and use Pledge Multi-Surface and a rag to get rid of dust. Clean windows with Windex and paper towels or newspaper. Sweep floor/vacuum carpets if needed.

Now all you have to do is make the bed, fluff up the pillows, shut the windows, and voilá! You're finished.