Monday, September 10, 2012

Introducing the cobbler's elf. . .

This is Ayten - the sweet Turkish grandma lady who comes and works magic in my house every Thursday.  I haven't had someone come and clean since Geoff was in medical school and I had a baby and two toddlers.  It was wonderful then and it's no less so now. Having every room of my entire house clean AT THE SAME TIME is like a miracle. And being able to teach school, grocery shop and generally get things done WHILE this is being accomplished is beyond fabulous!

Ayten washes all the laundry - including the bed linens, and she irons. She also cleans the kitchen, wipes out my frig, cleans my stove drip pans, cleans the bathrooms and the showers and sweeps and mops the whole house. (I would hire her just for that.) But best of all - she cooks. Always at the beginning of the day so she can thoroughly clean the kitchen afterward. So far she has made rice pilav - which is this amazing version of Rice-A-Roni, you know, rice and short little pasta sticks seasoned with lots of chicken bullion. She has also made chicken tava which is a baked dish with potatoes, onions, tomatoes and chicken thighs.  I asked her if chicken breasts were okay to get for this dish. She grabbed her upper leg and said, "I think this is better for you." Hee hee. So I bought the thighs.

Last week she made two kinds of yufka. I had a hard time figuring what I needed to buy for this one as I had no clue what yufka was or the right cheese to buy. So in the end I gave her some lira and she bought the ingredients. Yufka is a thin dough like huge tortillas. She made one kind by rolling up the turkish white cheese inside the tufka and then frying them. Those are called cigarette yufka. The other kind she made with chopped fresh spinach and ground beef layered between the yufka and baked. Both were so delicious. I had found some of the pomegranate syrup that the Turks put on salads with oil and had her toss a salad of fresh tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce with it. That was Evan's birthday dinner.  This week she is making stuffed eggplant and peppers. Eventually I want to help her cook so I can learn to make these dishes too. But for now, its just so great to be relieved of cooking duties once a week.

She speaks broken English (again, much better than my Turkish). Most of the time its okay but we've had a few small issues. I can not figure out what kind of scrubbies she wants me to buy to clean the drip pans with and don't know how to tell her that housing will give me a new set when we are ready to move out so don't stress too much about them.  I've bought three types of scrubbies already and none of them are right. Also, I can't seem to communicate that those nubby dryer balls are supposed to go in the dryer. When I try she keeps talking about checking the children's pockets before she washes. But neither are very important so it's fine.

She loves Rory especially. When I asked if I could take her picture she immediately grabbed Rory and put him up on the counter next to her to be in the picture. Its actually useful because you can see how tiny she is. And no, she doesn't clean in those clothes. She keeps a set of cleaning clothes and shoes here at the house but she does always keep a scarf around her hair.

And yes, I do that crazy thing where you run around the house picking up because the maid is coming and she might think you are a slob! But in the end it's a good thing. I want her to be able to clean surfaces not spend her time picking things up off of those surfaces. And no, the magic doesn't last all week between her visits. (sigh) But it certainly gives me a huge leg up on trying to keep on top of the mess and chaos.

I wish everyone could have an Ayten.  I wish you could have one.

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