Innovative cleaning

Cleaning. Not a very sexy topic.

But it is however something we all have to do. Making someone to or doing it ourselves.

A friend who has worked here for years has to leave for a few months this winter. Her guesthouse is closing for 3 months. Her hospitable qualities won’t allow for other employment anywhere else and her age is also a factor.

Something to talk about during our quarterly lunch in Coimbra

To go and look for employment in Portugal is madness. A waste of time. The only employment is as a waitress on the Praça da Republica. With an average wage of 1.50 euros per hour.

For every thing else you need to get a degree, and a licença and especially have the right age. And the right face.

“Look, I’m too old for this”, she says with almost a roguish smile. “I’ll go to the homecountry, to work in care or something alike –  everyone knows how to clean.”

“Hold on, wait a moment, I don’t agree ” I exclaim, while thinking about several volunteers that have passed by during the past 16 years.

“There was a portuguese boy” I recall,  “who didn’t have much experience in cleaning.” The memory starts to become more lively as we go on talking – he was a very friendly boy who had a tyrannical father – he once talked about that after dinner.

At that time I didn’t have much experience with portuguese volunteers

Every culture is slightly different. Here, boys still are “real boys” – meaning they never do chores around the house. Naturally Tiago didn’t say this, so I didn’t realize this was the case.

In the summer we have to clean a lot. Sweeping, mopping – kitchens and bathrooms have to shine, well made beds and clean terraces.

And then there are the toilets in need to be cleaned

Tiago was tasked with cleaning the toilet in the bathhouse. He got a bucket, a bottle of lava tudo and a cloth, and he had no idea how to use all that.

But that is in hindsight.

He probably thought that the best thing to do was to empty the bucket of hot water all over the toilet and than that would clean most of it. Which isn’t a bad idea. Only a whole bucket is quite a lot. And then he thought he would be thorough and threw another bucket of hot water, because it was not really quite clean.

And then all that water got trapped in that small room. He had closed the door well, ’cause he felt that it was quite an original way of dealing with it.

He spent the next few hours trying to mop it all up.

That toilet never was as clean as it was then. Ok, it took a few hours, and it is not a recommendable method, but it did work.

We never discussed it. I do not know what his motivation was. I just guessed about this scenario.

I heard about timing in homecare

To save money. You get 10 minutes to clean a toilet, 7.5 minutes to put on some-ones stockings, and 13.56 to do a kitchen.

Which idiot invented this, nobody knows. I immediately see scenes of stressed home carers who can scarcely put their bike away, pushing their elderly down just to be able to come in in time and to provide that clean toilet. On the way back quickly put on their special stockings, because the old person did not even have the opportunity to rise again.

And wham! Next stop!

On to the next eighty-years-old to be left with a clean toilet in 3 minutes 14 seconds. Like the Olympics ….

No wonder you are all so stressed up north. Why don’t you pass here, it’s so more relaxed. You can have a good laugh about all this nonsense during a nice lunch on a sunny terrace.