Savon Noir

2:27 PM

The other day our window shattered on my butt.

True story.

I tried to close it pushing it closed (they are eight foot high, wooden windows that open like doors) but the metal rod wasn't lining up so I did as I always do and I nudged it with my butt.

The key word here is nudge because I swear that I nudged it. And I have a witness! (Here, here NC!)

The glass shattered and fell every where around me. I felt it hit my butt and back but thankfully I wasn't cut. And thankfully it happened to me and not to any of the children in the house that day.

Although it has nothing to do with my landlady since she is not at fault, she came anyway to assess the damage and see if she could help. Together we put up a large piece of cardboard and she called her trusted handyman of choice about five times.

Then she started looking around my apartment. It started out stealthily enough and then it was outright checking. She asked to see under the plants to make sure there was no water damage to the floor. Then she asked if I had tried to get the stains out of the carpet. I showed her the product that I bought which never really did anything and she nodded.

Yesterday while I was putting Firecracker down for a nap the door bell rang with the unmistakable ring of my landlady. (She rings four times in a row. Always)

She came with her cleaning lady and with several products to try. Her cleaning lady got started right away with one which seemed to work quite well. My landlady in the meantime told me about all the different products she had bought. One including this:

When our gas went out two weeks ago do to some vandalism she had to come into my kitchen to check something. And she saw how dirty my vent grates were. She told me to put them into the dishwasher to clean them (who knew?). She was pleased to see that I had done that. Then she handed me this gem and told me it should clean up the stubborn grease all around my stove top.

Half an hour later she and her friend were gone and I was left with new cleaning supplies and armed with a wooden handled brush.

My first reaction was to be annoyed. To be on the defense. What is her problem? How dare she come up here and look around? She has no right to tell me anything until we actually leave! She has no right to make me feel like this isn't my apartment! I am paying for it! How dare she insinuate that I don't clean!

But then I thought.....hmmmm, maybe I should take not from someone who is older. Who is wiser. And judging by her tone of voice and body language she was actually trying to teach me and help me, not trying to be rude.

So I used the black soap (Savon Noir) and found out that it is absolutely fabulous! My kitchen is a whole different white now. Which means that it is actually white and not off-white.

So while I was scrubbing the stains out of the carpet, which didn't come out as easily as the grease in my kitchen, I started realizing that I am actually NOT that great of a house cleaner. Not, at least, as good as I think in my head.

My toilet gets scrubbed (that is not a typo. I really only have one!) every week and my kitchen is cleaned everyday. My floors gets vacuumed often and even mopped. I do dust, though not as much as a should and my laundry does get done.

But the heavy lifting? Like scrubbing the grease out? Not really ever does that get done. I will try my hand at a stain when it is fresh usually and if it doesn't come out I shrug and say I tried. But did I really?

Part of my problem is not having any pride in doing housework. And the reason I don't is because I am so afraid of becoming a 1950's SAHM who is only defined by her cooking and housecleaning. I love to cook and I love to bake, but sometimes when Principe talks to others about my cooking I get embarrassed. I don't want them to think that that is all I do. And I certainly don't want it to look like all I am good for is cleaning. I want to be defined as more than that. And in a country (continent, really) where most women work outside the home, I sometimes find it difficult to be defined as any more than a woman who changes diapers and cooks.

But then I realized that all of that doesn't really matter. And certainly it isn't any reason for having a nasty kitchen. One can have a clean house and still be more than just a house cleaner, right? Because most of it is in our heads. Or at least in mine. Why do I care what they think? And why does my caring need to keep me from having a nice house? Why should I not take advice on cleaning from an older lady as if that will help show people that since I am not that great of a house cleaner there must be something more to me?

So I cleaned. And I was proud. My kitchen is still white. So white it blinds me in the morning.

And let me tell you a secret: this Savon Noir stuff is awesome!

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