Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Maid of Orleans

Vivre? Les serviteurs feront cala pour nous.
-Philipe Auguste Villers, De L'Isle-Adam

I often wonder, why it is that I cannot for the life of me keep the simplest of this worlds necessities, a Maid.
I suppose it is a bit daunting to be cleaning all alone in rooms filled with - um, interesting things, shall we say- The unusual "Cabinet of Curiosities", the glorious to some, disturbing to others sacred and profane furnishings of Mt. Varnum and certainly at Chez Moose.
The look has certainly progressed over the years from the opulent "Delusions of Grand Ma-ma" style and into a more "19th century bordello meets the private apartments at the Vatican with a soupcon of Addams Family" vibe.
I have had many a housekeeper run screaming into the bright of day just because, "Dios mio, the paintings eyes, they move!"- or their obnoxious wariness around the countless crucifixes and suffering carved saints, (rescued from monasteries around the world thank you very much) -that tired old and sometimes hysteric complaint about the lovely -and beautifully dentured mind you- collection of two thousand year old human skulls leering at them while they Swiffer the joint, or their reluctance to enjoy the true artisan-ship of the pieces we have amassed over the years, like the life-size 17th century severed head of John the Baptist that rests in a gilded tray on an end table, next to the reliquary collection. The Spanish ones.
I so envy Mazeppa, her girl, Cabeza Cacahuete, is a real gem, truly the Maid of (New) Orleans, she is encouraged to clean the place while wearing some of Mazeppas most precious, and may I say, historic, jewelry. The image of her running the Meila while wearing "Chucks" (she adorably calls them her "Tenis") on her feet and the Grand Arch Duchesses tiara on her head always makes me smile.
What happened?
Until recently a prosperous family employed a housekeeper to superintend the general domestic establishment: a butler to take charge of the dining room, the pantry and parlor floor; footmen to answer the door and assist in serving the table; a valet and ladies maid to attend the personal needs of the master and mistress of the house; parlor maids, kitchen maids, and chambermaids do the cleaning; a gardener to tend the grounds; a cook to prepare meals; a chauffeur to drive the cars; and perhaps a governess and a nurse if there are children.
Today all of these functions are combined to the single person of the cleaning lady who comes in at least once a week. What she does is called "A little dusting."
Among our modern, yet unwritten, rules are that before the cleaning lady arrives, it is necessary to vacuum and "straighten up" the entire house, because she works for other friends of yours and you certainly do not want her to tell them how you really live.
Be especially careful about hiding drug paraphernalia, sex toys or the stray trick/amoureux from the night before.
It is perfectly proper for you to ask your cleaning lady to iron, wash windows, polish silver, do the grocery shopping and clean up after your incontinent dog and/or Grandmother.
You can also ask her to jump through burning rings of fire with a cold leg of mutton in her mouth while lip-syncing to Edith-fucking-Piaf for all the good it will do you. She is going to "Dust a little" if that. (Usually the trick they use is to walk around and move the paintings slightly askew as to appear as if they were dusted, nay, waxed and buffed by the innocent and hardworking hands of a Christian Saint)
It is also quite proper for you to yell, at said cleaning lady, and allow your children and or your tricks/amoureux to do the same, threaten to report her to immigration - or DEA, and give her a lot of condescending advice about what to do with her hair, skin, drunkard husband, thug son or pregnant out of wedlock daughter, (who steals "Tenis" for her "because she works at Lady Foot Locker") for the cleaning lady is someone who not only cleans up after your lazy ass, she also violates your personal space, so it's not bad manners to treat her poorly. she will understand. (and she will reciprocate by not considering it bad manners to "dust heavily", breaking all of your Great-Grandmothers wedding china or steal from you to bring her salary up to approximately minimum wage.)

Mexican Mad Woman
2 oz 1800® Select Silver - 100 Proof Tequila
2 oz cranberry juice
1 oz orange juice
1 dash lime juice
Shake over ice or blend. Garnish with an orange slice.

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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man