Welcome to Mexico!
By Victoria Schmidt
Republished By Popular Request
It seems to me I spend most of my time looking for things. Big things, little things, it doesn’t seem to matter. This is difficult to admit for a person as organized as I am. We’ve had a lot of changes in our home this year. Construction above us, and next door to us, and in our back yard has us constantly shifting things around. We cleaned out our bodega and stored everything in our garage under tarps. When that part of construction was completed, we had to re-organize our garage. Have you ever put something where you just knew you would find it? Then when you need it you have no idea where it is?
We’ve lost power cords, pet food tops, trays, mixer blades, measuring spoons, car keys, a power drill, odd socks, file folders. Well, you get the idea. Now some of this can be explained. Reorganizing has its pros and cons. My husband has a little trouble with his memory, so we have a morning ritual of looking for things like shoes, wallet, glasses and cell phone. I keep telling him that a uterus is not a tracking device, but I am usually the one who finds things. In fact, I don’t even have to look to be able to tell him where he left the item he is searching for. He thinks it is a secret talent. Maybe it is just that I know his habits, or I used to.
We play hide and seek with our maid all the time. She has definite ideas about where things go, and frankly, we still haven’t figured out her “system”. I really try to put everything where it should be before she arrives, but we all know about good intentions… And the construction has made her job more difficult. More dust, shifting things from one location to the other, well, frankly, she’s just not happy about it at all. Her comments remind me of the movie The Agony and the Ecstasy. When Michael Angelo and the Pope were working in the Sistine Chapel, the Pope would walk through screaming up to Michael Angelo “When will you make an end!?” “When it is finished!” Angelo would retort.
We couldn’t ask for a better maid. She works hard. But I’d really like to figure out how her mind works. An example would be my crockpot. The heating section was found in the food pantry, the ceramic portion was found in one cupboard, and the lid in another cupboard. I look at and simply shake my head. How?? Why?? There is also the war of the “directions.” She likes everything all lined up in a straight row or in a stack. I like things on the diagonal. But it wasn’t her fault we couldn’t find the serving tray. It took us a year to find that I had taken it to an open house at a friend’s and left it there. Some of the tools were found after the reorganizing of the garage. Tonight I found the missing beater for the mixer. Of course, I wasn’t looking for it. I find that the real trick to finding something that has been misplaced, is to look for something else.
When things are lost, we don’t automatically think someone took them. We ask people if they have seen the item. Ever loan a book to a friend, and forget you loaned it out? And some days our home feels like grand central station with so many people coming in and out. This morning, for example we had six different people here by 10:00 a.m. Sometimes it isn’t much of mystery how things get misplaced.
I’ve had people warn me about having Mexicans in my home. “Oh, maids are OK, but not to be trusted” they say, “and be cautious about repair people” etc. But frankly, these are our friends who have become family. And in all the time we’ve lived here, the only time we have caught someone stealing from us it was an American!