Friday, November 14, 2008

washing dishes and why does the shit fall more heavily on some people than others

First I'll start with my dishes. I read that it is more environmentally friendly to wash your dishes with a machine rather than by hand. Fine by me. But it is better if you do not pre-rinse. Hmmm... I don't have that dishwasher where you can put a cake in it and the plate comes out clean, but I do have something that has been working. A dog. My dog has become the family pre-rinser. She is happy to oblige and she is a very hard worker. My only question is, do I have to pay her?

I have a woman who comes in to clean our house every two weeks. She has worked for my mom for years and is one of the nicest people I know. However, our finances have become tight lately and I've been meaning to tell her that I won't be able to have her come anymore but shit keeps happening to this poor woman. Today was the day I was going to do it, but she dropped a bomb and I couldn't. I can cut elsewhere. It's only $150/mo. Some women might get their hair and nails done, or buy gourmet coffee or shop at Whole Foods. Me, I only have to get down and dirty with my house myself twice a month instead of every week. The thing that gets me, though, is this woman has had a very difficult life since she was born. If it were me, I'd be headed for the looney bin, but not her... she picks herself up by her bootstraps and goes on with a smile. She is the oldest of 14 kids born to a poor family in Mexico. She basically had to raise her younger siblings from the time she was a small child. She didn't finish school. She was "taken" by an acquantaince of the family when she was 15 and held captive for 3 years. Her family didn't try to get her back because they were afraid. When she finally was returned at age 18, she was basically told to stuff her feelings. She came to the U.S. (she is legal) and helped her younger sisters. She's worked cleaning up after people since then. She has an alcoholic common-law husband, whom she has three children with. She finally got the nerve to kick him out only to have him back now, 5 years later, because he has heart failure and she is taking care of him while he dies. She doesn't love him, but as she tells me, "he is my children's father". Her beloved aunt died this year. One of her sons has had trouble with drugs and in school. The bomb today, her 18 year old daughter is pregnant. This young girl just started college. When she told me her daughter was starting college I was so happy. I was like, yes, you make her go to class and make sure she finishes. She's going to go on and do great things. Now the daughter is determined to keep the baby and finish college. I pray she does. Her mother has worked too fucking hard her entire life to have her child not do great things. Despite this, she owns her own home (in a scary neighborhood) and makes enough money to take care of herself and her kids. No handouts. She has medical insurance and car insurance.
The thing that absolutely kills me is that we had been talking lately about how she wanted to sell her home in January, when her daughter had been planning to move out, and she was going to get her own place. She was so excited that she would live by herself. Just take care of herself -- for the first time in her life. Now that dream is shattered because her daughter will most certainly need to live with her for some time. My heart aches, but still she has a smile and says a prayer and says that God will watch out for her. I wish I had a million dollars to give to her.

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