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the dog days of summer

It’s the lazy time of the year, here is where you will find me most of the day. I don’t leave the house much, I don’t do much and yet I’m tired and content to go to bed early. Must be the weather, I often feel like I’m one of the lizards just soaking up the sun and the warmth.

I seem to remember that when life gets busy in the winter I look longingly at these long, empty days full of books and small chores.

I have gotten a few things done. I got the exterminator over last week. That’s not simple as we have way too many animals around that have to be moved out for the day. It is a lot easier now that we have friends next door who leave us a key to their house. I hauled all the cats over and housed them in the two bathrooms with their accompanying litter boxes and food and water dishes. The dogs hang out in the back yard and I set myself up in their tv room with my laptop.

This is Omar the exterminator coming out from behind our refrigerator.

If you remember, we had all of the appliances covered to match the cabinets and there is a space almost large enough to walk in behind the refrigerator and the other appliance cabinets on this side of the kitchen. We pull out the refri so that he can get back there and treat the outlets and put bait in case any ants decide to move in.

It’s like a secret passage, I thought it was kind of cool to catch him coming out of it. You can see it better if you click the pic to make it larger. Like I said, I’m easily amused these days.

My housekeeper has left her husband, taking the kids and moving to a niece’s house. He kept the house and is not giving her any money. It’s not easy but she had a good reason to get out. The up side for me is that she is willing to work 3 days a week for me again. I was sad to lose that 3rd day last year when the husband didn’t want her working as much. It will make my life easier for her to be here more often and hopefully it will help her to have a little more money.

If you spend much time talking to women here in Merida, the topic of help is bound to come up. We all have stories and everyone seems to have a different take on solutions. Some don’t like having anyone around very often, they would prefer to do the work themselves. Others have a difficult time finding and hanging on to good help, it’s always a compromise between what you want to happen and what you can get to happen. It’s not at all easy finding someone, finding someone you can trust is even harder and finding someone who consistently wants to work is very hard.

I’m in the camp that could happily share the house with full time help. I’d be fine out in the north with a couple of live in helpers, which is how the local rich live. I am willing to let some of my expectations and privacy go in the interests of clean floors and not having to personally clean toilets and I am also willing to keep asking for the important things to be done until it starts happening. I don’t feel the need to be friends with my employees but I am concerned about them and try to help when I can. It’s a balance that some can manage and others find difficult. It can be a minefield and I’ve stepped on a couple of mines in the past, I’m not making light of the complexities.

Having your house run smoothly is important, it can make your life so much easier and more enjoyable and if it isn’t working right it can add all kinds of tension and stress. It’s probably the first place that most expats come up against the cultural differences between their lives in the US or Canada and life here in Mexico. It’s not the same as having a cleaning service come in once or twice a week and clean your house as in the north, there are different expectations, different requirements and a different relationship. It’s not better or worse, just different.

12 comments to the dog days of summer

  • One reason I rent a very small place is to ab=void the problems of upkeep. The maid comes in for two hours each Friday morning and manages to keep the interior of the house running perfectly. But I still leave when she is there. I feel as if I had reverted to an 8-year-old boy being told to go out to play while Mom cleans the house.

  • Jan Baines

    OMG….the yard (and pool) look fabulous!

  • Very hard to distance yourself from people who come into your home. It’s hard for me to say no when I know the solutions sometimes are very easy and I can help them. We haven’t had anyone for over three years now except for help with the yard.

  • Your home, yard and pool are simply beautiful. I’m glad you enjoy them.

  • jeanie

    Thank you for giving me something else to to think about. I am in a really pissy mood with smoke coming out of my ears. I’m looking at your yard thinking….Aaaahhhh.

  • Connie

    Well, I do not blame you for not wanting to leave your home. It is stunning and I am happy that you enjoy it so much.

  • Ron

    Hi Jonna,

    I am so glad you are posting again. Your house is lovely

    On the help thing, since Kathy is going blind and since I am the Spanish speaker I might be dealing with it more than she is. We look forward to having some paid help. I grew up with live-in maids in Brasil and we do not want one in Merida.

    We also look forward to having a pool, but first we will need to find a house to rent with a pool as of around the first of May, 2013 :)

    Say hey to Mimi and our other acquaintances down there!!


    Ron y Kathy

  • Joanne

    We have someone, we trust her and it’s always a treat to have a clean house. But I don’t like the complexities of dealing with it all. I’m doing better at keeping a friendly working relationship and not being her friend. If I could hire a cleaning service and not have to deal with someone first hand it would be perfect.

  • Hi Jonna!

    I’m like you, lounging around reading and doing the occasional chore. I love summer! I just wish I had your gorgeous pond and pool.

    We have just had a help transition and it is super tricky to navigate for me. Trying to see if she wanted more work, and would she want to try to do more on the day she’s usually here or would she like to come another day, etc etc – sometimes these conversations are like pulling teeth. Seems like she is scared to tell me what she feels sometimes. But I know that’s part of this whole cultural thing that I don’t understand. I think we have it figured out though, finally.

    I hate being here when she’s working though, I feel like a lazybones. Wish I didn’t.

    Take care and say hey to Mimi!

  • Amy B

    I’ve never hired a maid, but if my schedule gets any busier it would be nice to just relax instead of looking at the windows that need to be washed. I recommended a maid service (thru clients) to our neighbors, Michael & Rick, and their house is immaculate! Now I’m jealous but still a control freak when it comes to my turf.

    Sounds like you have a “to-do” list like mine: I’ll have 12 things, complete 8, and add 20!!!!

    Best advice from a close friend when it comes to employees: Be Friendly, Don’t be Friends.

  • I love that last picture of your yard.

    Here in Cancun, we have a housekeeper come in every Saturday. She’s worked for my husband’s family for years and even has a key to our house. If we could afford it and if her schedule weren’t full, I’d love for her to come by 2 or 3 days a week!

  • Well, I started to write a whole thing on the maid/housekeeper/gardener thing and decided not to enter that minefield with my unorthodox views.

    Suffice to say that I have the same people who have worked for me for 11 years. They have keys. They make my life so enjoyable because I can do the things I enjoy and don’t have to do the things I don’t. They are happy – me too.

    Your house looks absolutely fabulous. Enjoy, you worked hard to get to that point. Glad to see you posting again too.