Cleaning House

In Uruguay it is common practice to hire a maid to come clean the house once a week. A good maid, one that cleans well and also won’t steal anything, costs around 500 pesos or about $25US. They will come to your house at the appointed time, maybe even early, and clean for a couple hours. Some maids will only come once a week and will not come if you ask them to come every other week; their reasoning being that it will take too long for them to clean up the mess you’ve made in two weeks as opposed to one.

Raul is a bit protective of his house and requested that we get a maid to come and clean. He prefers she come once a week, but she could come every other week if we really wanted, and she agreed. So we decided we would appease the house owner, which is never a bad thing, and arranged for Moni (the maid) to come and clean. Raul told us she was “100% trust”.

Moni showed up 10 minutes early. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but we happened to be out buying cell phones and were on plan to arrive just in time to meet her. We didn’t even think she would be early, as lots of things here seem to run on Montevideo time. Luckily Maria, our lovely neighbor in the house, knew her and kept her company until we arrived.

Moni promptly set to work with the kitchen, but not before asking which of us was going to pay her. The maids here will apparently wash dishes and take out the trash. We had been amassing a hefty little collection of empty 6L water bottles that she readily disposed of. Luckily she didn’t toss the two that Matt decided to fill up with water and use as weights. She then came to us with an almost empty bottle of some unlabeled cleaning liquid and said one of two things; that she needed more and she would bring it next time OR that she needed more and we should buy more for her for next time. I guess we’ll find out next time she comes and we’ll just be ready to dash to the store for her.

Other things that Moni did included; mopping all the floors, vacuuming the carpet, sweeping the upstairs, cleaning both of the bathrooms, and sweeping the stairs. I think the vacuum itself was a bit too big to vacuum the stairs so she sprayed the stairs with a water bottle and then swept each stair with a broom. I’m kind of unclear on the role of the water bottle, but she obviously has done it before and it works so I wasn’t about to ask. As she did all this work we tried to stay out of her way. She would come and tell us that she was about to do the upstairs and we would all come downstairs and vice versa.

Moni also asked if we wanted her to take the sheets off our bed to clean and change them. Since we don’t have another set, we said no. Apparently in Montevideo, if you are renting long-term you are expected to bring your own sheets and towels. Luckily Raul left us a set of sheets for each of the beds and said we should get our own at some point. I think we may just make sure that they are clean before we leave.

Maids here may also take things to be washed and brought back the following week. We are missing some of the kitchen rags we were using to dry dishes etc. so we hope they ended up with her!

I must say, she did a great job with the house, although I really didn’t think it was that dirty to begin with. Regardless, Moni will be back next week for more cleaning.



La Lavandería

So, it seems most houses around here don’t have a washer and dryer, and The Little House is no exception. There aren’t places to do your own laundry either. You take your clothes to a lavandería and if you’re organized enough to get them there in the morning, they’ll be done in the evening. I think we’ve seen numerous such establishments in our limited time here, but luckily for our decision making process Raul recommended one that he used.

We (or at least I) seem to assume everything here is going to be hard because we are still learning the language, but as it turns out getting clothes washed is pretty easy. This morning Randi and Kress dropped the clothes off and without too much trouble got a number (11) and were told they would be ready this evening at 7pm. Easy as pie.

Randi and Kress headed off to play Ultimate and I stayed behind for a meeting at work and just as I started making dinner about 8pm realized that I had forgotten. Luckily, we’re in Uruguay and the Lavandería is open until all hours of the night. When I got there with our laundry bags and the ticket our clothes were in fact ready and packed into 6 bags about the size of a pillow each, to ensure that the folding they had done wasn’t lost in transport. Incidentally, their ticket book was on 25 and washers and dryers were still running so there was plenty of action after our clothes were dropped off.

Stacks of clothes

After convincing the husband and wife team that the clothes would in fact fit in the bags (I trusted this was the case since Randi and Kress had transported the clothes this morning in the same bags) they relinquished our laundry and accepted my payment.

It seemed that was the test, after which, we were best friends. The guy behind the counter started asking me a few questions. Apparently, I hadn’t mangled the previous conversation enough to convince him that I was, perhaps, not the best target for conversation. He learned a bit about where I was from, or at least I think I communicated it pretty well. Upon learning I was from the US, he complemented my Spanish. I responded that I was just learning and he said, “Obviously, but it’s much better than my English.” I beamed and ducked out on a high note.