...did the unthinkable and let someone into my house to clean up after me
Weekend's growing up in my Caribbean house meant a few things, reggae, rum (for Dad, Saturday Soup, Relatives for dinner on Sunday. They would always have one thing in common. The cleanliness and cleansing ritual to prepare for the weekdays. If in my teenage years I learnt the art of living for the weekend, I learnt in my formative years to live for Monday morning when the graft was over and I could take a well earned break learning to read thank to Roger Red Hat, Billy Blue Hat (the absolute melt) and Johnny and Jenny Yellow Hat.
I quite liked to lose myself in imaginative worlds where the famous five seemed to spend endless nights unsupervised out of the house, not cleaning the house like I would be, getting up to untold shiz that lets be honest, in today's money, Bellend Bella from next door would be dialling the police social services as there is a gaggle of feral kids on her street knocking off the wing mirrors of the neighbours cars, because "Have they got nothing better to do then play in the street". I mean come on BB, what's a bit of casual vandalism between neighbours. (Thank God I didn't grow up with camera phones else my Nan's neighbours would be more than fully equipped to pin the shenanigans occurring on her street every school holiday on my cousins and I!) No doubt these joyous tweenagers would also be doing this whilst in their school uniform, meaning that come Monday, I would be the designated mug fending off the "friendly" neighbourhood PCSO, the overrun social worker and Bellend Bella resulting in me giving smartarse Stefan the same speech I have given him every week since he started in year 7.
"Let's be honest Stefan, you're in year 9 now mate, and you're just doing the same pillocky things week after week, year after year. So I'll just press play on this recording of my speech that I had the foresight to record on rant number 23 about the same topic and I'll play it just loud enough for the Head to hear, and you sit in the seat facing the viewing panel of my office door and pull a face that mildly resembles sincerity. Whilst you're at it, get you homework diary out, I'll get up my outlook, and we can plan our next meeting discussing the same topic... how does 7 weeks Wednesday at 1 look for you?"
Anyway as always, I have gone massively off topic; my point is, Weekends for me from the age of 6 upwards (I may be exaggerating, I'm probs not), I spent graduating through the pyramid scheme of chores, were ultimately, it didn't matter how high up the pyramid I felt I was getting, all I was actually gaining was more housework.
It started from just having to wipe the table matts, progressing to polishing the ornaments, the big ass speakers, Daddio's sound system, the table, the leather chairs, the window sills, the wooden chairs, the African heads, the doors. The list was endless, and smell smell of Pledge was intoxicating. And this was just the weekend jobs, there were daily after dinner rituals including setting and clearing the table, packing and up packing the dishwasher, (we were one of the anointed few in the 90s that invested in one of these labour savours), sweeping the kitchen, emptying the bin plus whatever extra Crystal maze challenge that Madre decided to throw in for fun. The Kitchen after 6pm quickly became the automatic lock in zone and woe betide you if your tasks hadn't been completed before 9pm as your lock in translated to no attending the final Crystal maze, or rather being grounded for a week. For the sake of fairness I think I should point out that my chores increased in volume each time one of my two brosephs left home. These used to be shared tasks, but this quickly added to the list of reasons being the youngest in a Jamaican family sucks.
Now I'd like to say I have inherited my Madre's insanely impressive, bordering on OCD ability to keep her house immaculate, stay on top of her ironing and basically emulate suzy homemaker status and a house that resembled a Barrett's showroom whilst holding down a full time job and organising a house with 4 kids (sorry 3, sorry Daddio), but that would be a bareface lie.
I am what you would call organised chaos. My brother has even coined a phrase that my house is "Nikki Tidy" which basically means, at first glance, it is super clean and tidy, but on closer inspection, yes, it is clean, and if it is a preplanned visit, the smell of bleach, Cillit Bang, Pledge with an edge of vanilla candles which would knock you off your feet, but if you look closer, you will see that books aren't aligned, underneath the coffee table is full of unorganised magazines, letters are "filed" on shelves, clothes are allocated to a drawer or wardrobe, but some may have fallen down in the last mad pre work "Dammit how have I got a gazillion clothes but nothing Pinterest worthy to quell my judgemental Year 10 girls, who think I'm JUST young enough to maintain good eyebrows and care what I'm wearing (Yes Cassie, I did wear this dress last Tuesday, and what!?)"
So clean is important to me, nay programmed into me, tidy not so much. No matter how hard my parents and relatives tried (because we are raised by the whole village, if you're getting a cuff off Madre, be prepared to get one of Auntie, Uncle, Nan, the Goldfish.... everyone gets a go). So when I realised on Day 12 of my housebound, leg raised, crutch crisis caused by my selfish achilles that decided to rupture in the penultimate week of the school term. A week notorious for home life starting to slip because of Options Evenings, Parents Evening, marking of mock papers and general school data input, lesson planning to account for hyped up kids because its nearly a school holiday and generally being an exhausted teacher mess, that my house was turning into, for want of a better phrase, a sh*t tip!
Hubster was doing a very heroic job of stepping into my once able shoes, but if there is a thing as "Nikki Clean" then there is definitely a thing as "Man Clean", one for later discussion, and not one to tarnish all mankind with, but a straw poll at the beauticians means that 5/5 women cannot be wrong!
So I bit the bullet, and scoped round for a nice lady to come and try and get our house back into something that resembles clean. We paid for her to do 5 hours cleaning, quite smugly thinking that she would have hours to spare, smash the whole house, and turn me into a desperate housewife without any of the graft....
.....It took her 3 hours to do the kitchen. which begs the question, am I as super clean and on top of this house wife/full time worker game as I seem to think I am!?!? Madre would shout "Hell No". It's ok, we're from different generations, I'm doing just fine!