Monthly Archives: July 2008

“Maid”en Voyage

I am at a stage in my life when I finally needed help with household chores and yesterday, was our maiden voyage hiring a maid. We met with her beforehand. She was referred by a mom’s group and came highly recommended. The great news is that she lives near my home, so for her, it is a quick jaunt over and of course, as usual, in matters such as these, I was nervous someone would be in my home unattended for a few hours. I am always concerned about things like that but I decided to let go, breathe, and have a little faith and trust. I hope that it continues to go well – putting your trust in someone is tough to do.

There was a lot of staging the night before – we had to ensure the counters were clean of debris and flyers and coupons – which, if you saw our house pre-cleaning, you would understand was an arduous task. We had to put our numerous laptops and cords away and clean up so to speak so that the items were strategically placed for her to clean the maximum amount especially carpet, floor, and countertop space. So, the big day finally arrived and went without incident. I came home to a very clean home and was pleasantly surprised to see the bathrooms in such clean condition – I have not seen a bathtub this clean — ever! Not even my husband (bless him, the only one of us who actually cleans) can scrub a shower like this lady did. The beds were all made with fresh linen we left out and the old linens were laid nicely for us to wash and prepare for the next time. Since this was her first trip to our house, it probably took her longer than it otherwise would because she had to clean for the first time and trust me, our house was dirty! It needed some serious cleaning. The place had not been mopped or swept properly in a very long time so I think she had a tough road ahead of her. She and her associate were there for close to three hours but the house was so nice to come home to – it was clean and even Diya appeared to enjoy her new, dust-free environment. It was so refreshing! I do not know why we have not done this sooner. Even if we have family move back with us, it is a good idea to do something like this at least once every month.

Anyway, I never imagined needing help like this – a maid, someone who cooks for me, etc., but it is good to know this is there and I think it will be hard to go back to living without this help so for now, we will all just enjoy it and …. My daughter finally got to sleep in a clean bed, and bathe in a very clean bathtub. She could see her reflection in the spickit and I think that was very exciting … for all of us!

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Do you cook?

I remember when I was using an online Indian dating service sometime ago, some of the guys on there would post questions like, “Do you cook?” It was very important to them. I always thought they were pigs. Now, I understand why they asked that very important question up front. I suppose if you can’t cook, it becomes important to find a partner who can.

Lately I have been faced with an embarrassing situation as I posted want ads at Indian grocery stores for food/tiffin service. In our culture, this means, I would like meals to go- already assembled, already cooked- all I do is pick it up, go home, and heat it up, feed it to my daughter and eat it. It is kinda sad because this has made me feel somewhat inadequate as an Asian-Indian woman who thought she could juggle it all.

As far back as I can remember, I hated cooking. I remember my mom slaving away in the kitchen for hours and cooking up yummy meals for our family to eat but still, this did not inspire me learn to cook the favorite dishes. For some reason, I always relied on her and never ventured too far from home. Sure, I delved into experimenting and making dishes here and there but somehow, to me, they never tasted as good as mom made them or something would be off. It seemed that when I made a dish based on a recipe (a true written recipe in a book or magazine), it turned out good but if I strayed a little from a recipe or worse, tried my hand at Indian cooking, which involves throwing a bunch of spices into the pot and hoping it turns out right, it never tasted quite right. Keep in mind that all Indian women are taught to cook by throwing a pinch of this, a shot of that, or a fistful of that – it is not accurate. I remember making a mean eggplant parmesan when I followed this recipe book I have, or the mac ‘n cheese from scratch which turned out so good, people asked me for the recipe at a work potluck. Granted, occasionally I got lucky and a dish worked out just right but my point is – I have never been great at cooking and over time, I got discouraged and lost motivation to try because I always wasted so many ingredients, so much time, and worse, all the pots I had used had to now be cleaned! Over time, however, I was able to turn ready to eat meals, pre-prepared frozen foods, or mixes which made my life a little easier but wouldn’t you know it? Every now and then, I would mess that up too! Sometimes the pre-prepared stuff and the ready to eat stuff is just not the same and the preservatives take away that “je ne sais qua” from what a true Indian meal should taste like.

Someday I hope to find time and motivation to practice some and hopefully, cook delicious meals for my family … but I suppose in the meantime, I will hide my shame from people who I know are judging me, and post my signs up to ask for help because I really enjoy home cooked meals every now and then and those who can’t do…. Pay for someone else to do, I suppose. Next time I see someone being asked whether they cook, I guess I will not be so quick to judge.

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Sexism & Tolerance

I was quite offended at what I heard a Senior Leadership Conference this weekend. I was an attendee and a low man on the totem pole so to speak and of course, it was a military conference. But there were a lot of high ranking folks there and I was amazed to hear something as a question and answer session was going on in an early morning session. I am not sure how I felt about the response afterwards – I think that was more offensive than the comment itself.

So there we were in the conference and someone asked a legitimate question about timing and deployments. When, someone blurted out – “well, that’s great – all the people slated to deploy will all of a sudden end of pregnant.” I was shocked- most women were- some men were. But others laughed and jeered and agreed. It was shocking. What was more shocking was that that type of comment was tolerated by the two Generals in the room. The one General seemed to have a lot to say about everything else but never once corrected this comment or addressed it. It left a lot of people in the room … well, it left them without closure and quite offended. I was one of those individuals considering I have had a baby and plan on having more. I was convinced now more than ever that sexism in the AF is not just alive and well but it is condoned and even tolerated at upper echelon. Like I said, not addressing the comment left an even more foul taste in my mouth than the comment itself. Anyway, we …. soldier on …. even the working, pregnant moms!

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Travelling Fun

I have recently heard about alot of changes coming in the airline industry, like charging for everything – pillows, blankets, seats, bags, and food. This morning I flew across the country to Massachussetts and realized how little it had changed for me. The lack of food did not impact me because I bought my $2.68 Subway sandwich before I made my connection and then ate it on board. The drinks are free for now which helped because I could get a Ginger Ale to go with the sandwich. I carried my own Wheat Thins, fruit snacks, and granola bars so that helped alot as well. It was ironic because at DIA, I heard a woman telling her kids “we may get breakfast on the plane – they may serve us breakfast so just hold on.” I wanted to tell her to go get McDonald’s now before it was too late. They offered a $7 fruit and cheese plate and some $5 mini snack with crackers, meats, and cheese. I am sure the kids were not happy about that!

Anyway, I managed to snag a pillow – they have 1 per aisle and 1 blanket per aisle. I was surprised to see an in-flight movie being show on my longest leg of 3 hours. It seemed counter-intuitive if an airline was truly trying to save money to show a not-so-hit inflight movie. The movie was called “Married Life” but I slept through it. The flight attendants, I was pleasantly surprised to see, were extremely helpful and nice. They were downright, cheery. What a change for United Airlines!

The connections were smooth and can you believe this!? Both flights were early arriving so things were going great…. until I hit the rental car place- what a nightmare that was – it took well over 45 minutes to rent a car and get the heck out of there so needless to say, I was late to the conference but low and behold, I did not miss much. BTW, this was my first experience testing out Garmin on the road and it was great – worked perfectly and got me to my destination without a problem. When I got to my destination I had forgotten some essential items I needed but there is not much I can do now. Needless to say, it was a good airline experience and I think travelling does not have to be so miserable if the people are good and things run smooth. I am not looking forward to paying $15 for the first bag and $1 for that Ginger Ale I got for free today but I can imagine how tough it is to run a business right now with fuel prices, inflation, and every cost on the rise.

Bon Voyage!

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