A Trim

Yesterday Theo trimmed the bougainvillea hedge the serves as our front wall. There used to be a lemon tree just about where the ladder is standing, but it died during the last dry season. Now this view from the dining room table is of only the hedge. And occasionally a man in blue.

I’m still getting used to sharing the house with Theo every day. It was easy to adjust to having him work for us when we were gone for the majority of the day because he would do inside work while we were gone. Now, I’m inside almost all day every day. He isn’t sure when to clean. I’m not sure when to cook. I don’t want to look lazy when I just play with Ellie Jo all day, but then I remind myself that he’s worked for families who employed a cook in addition to a gardener and housekeeper. At least I do cook.

When I lived in Togo, our houseworker, Da Emily, was so sweet but she had a few opinions about household matters. She was upset for a while that I made my own bed every morning. She shooed me out of the kitchen when I took it upon myself to wash the breakfast dishes. The worst was when she discovered some rotting vegetables in the trash and she realized that we hadn’t eaten everything we’d requested from the market. Ooops.

Two weeks ago I asked Theo to buy two heads of broccoli at the market. I used one head right away. The other just sat in the fridge. Robin went to Nairobi. I barely cooked. The broccoli started to turn yellow. I thought I might still cook it, but when Theo brought back the market shopping last week I hid the broccoli in a bag in our room. I didn’t want him to see I hadn’t used it yet. Then I stuck it back in the fridge. Two days ago I realized that I wasn’t going to use such an old vegetable. I didn’t want to put it in the trash. I took it to the garden after Theo left for the day and left it to decay behind the brush pile.

Pathetic. He’s worked for us for two years. I’m pretty sure he’s never had a problem with what I throw away.

So, while Theo trims the hedge and goes about his work, I neurotically shuttle vegetables around the house. So much for being a well-adjusted housewife.


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