I’d rather think of myself as Cinderella than a maid. I guess it’s easier to romanticize these long days of washing, mopping, wiping and dusting, deep in the hills of Southern Spain. Jeannette and Poli are expecting their first renters on Friday morning – they’re coming from Germany and paying what I expect to be pretty penny to stay in the guesthouse. This means a few things, none of which boost my spirits. First, I have to pack up and move to the spare room in the main house. Can’t we just inform the German renters that the guesthouse comes with an American girl? I was looking forward to settling in for more than a week and having my own space. Dang. More importantly, the guesthouse must be cleaned from floor to ceiling. And this is no small task, particularly with Jeannette leading the charge. She expects nothing less than immaculate. Renting out their properties (the guesthouse, a few other houses interspersed in and around Cutar) is their main source of income, so “everything must be perfect”.
I am the last WWOOFer they’re accepting until June and I’m afraid that makes me their official spring cleaner. I spent the morning sweeping, mopping and wiping down the insides of closets and windowsills. Organic farming? Not exactly. To be fair, Jeannette did email me before I came to let me know that some cleaning would be involved, but I wasn’t quite expecting this. I cleaned their house for about four hours yesterday and the next two days I will spend at the guesthouse, cleaning up after all the WWOOFers who came before me. The kitchen is the biggest task because; following Jeannette’s orders, the cupboards need to be emptied of their contents, cleaned, and then reorganized.
Music is just about all that is fueling me through these cleaningchemicalsoaked hours. I listened to Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast, Fleet Foxes and Aretha Franklin on my iPod yesterday while I swept their porch of dead leaves and shriveled lemons. Before Max left we exchanged music (lucky for me, Max has excellent taste in music), so I listened to my new “Musica de Max” playlist last night before bed. When Poli is around, he plays M80 (“EmmAaaay Ochenta!”) radio, nonstop 80s classic hits – The Police, Madonna, Fine Young Cannibals, Dire Straights. Today when I was cleaning the bathroom and Poli was mending a cracked wall, I played music off of my computer because the radio was nothing but static. Poli asked if I had Black Sabbath. “No”, I said, “pero tengo The Black Crows.” I made a quick playlist of songs I hoped he’d like and we powered through until lunch.
I told Jeannette that I enjoy being outside. I suggested that I clean before lunch and then do whatever is necessary outside in the afternoon. This idea seemed to go over okay. Yesterday she showed me how to water the vegetable garden and pick fresh lettuce for our salad. In the afternoon, I took a pick axe to the earth just above the vegetable garden and carved a flat footpath for easy access. It was my first time using a pick axe and it was damn satisfying. The path looks good and they’ll have it forever, courtesy of WWOOF Spring Cleaner 2009.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day and there might not be time for outside tasks with all the guesthouse grime looming over our heads. There’s not much worse than cleaning up a mess I didn’t make. It’s true that I can get serious satisfaction out of cleaning. I could go so far to say that I enjoy cleaning, but that joy is hinged on reaping the benefits later. Right now, I want to leave. I didn’t sign up for this. But, Friday is around the bend. I’m counting on it bringing new opportunities to learn and a fresh perspective. If it doesn’t then I’m going to hideout with the Germans and hitch the next ride to Malaga.