life’s little luxuries
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 19, 2008
H gave up a great deal when he agreed to move back to the US with me. Of course, he was born and raised largely in the states, but he’s lived in Lebanon for a long time – and it shows.
I recognized this from the beginning, but had been easing my conscience by telling myself that perhaps New York’s constant abundance of pizza-by-the-slice was making up for his Lebanon losses. After all, I did listen to him spend an entire subway ride waxing rhapsodic about the merits of particular pizzerias – places that all seem to be named after their owners, like Vinnie’s or Sal’s or the several ending in -ini or -aldi.
But last night I realized that all the pizza in the world might not be able to make up for one very serious lack.
It all started with laundry. Thursday is our change-the-sheets-and-towels day. So while I washed the dinner dishes, H went down the street to pick up our clean linens and have an after-pizza cigarette. (Last night we compromised: I finished off the zucchini casserole I made for Monday’s dinner, H had “a slice”, and I made a spinach salad for both of us. It was a win-win situation: I was happy to have the casserole dish back, and H was happy to have pizza.)
When he returned, he took out our clean sheets and began making the bed. Meanwhile, I finished washing the dishes and began tidying up our living room.
I finished doing that, sat down at the table, turned on my laptop and began checking email.
After about fifteen minutes, the idea of lying across a freshly made bed and doing the crossword puzzle began to sound very appealing. But I could still hear bed-making noises coming from the bedroom, so I waited. While I waited, I checked a few news sites, looked at the weather for Friday, and listened for the sounds of bed-is-made silence.
After another five minutes of bed-making sounds, I decided to check and see how things were progressing. I walked into our bedroom and found H smoothing out … the bottom, fitted sheet.
Which was on sideways.
I don’t understand why they make these sheets so tight, H said to me, frowning.
I think its on sideways, babe, I said. There were big poufs of extra sheet material along the short side of the bed, while the sheet could barely stretch to reach both corners of the long side.
Well, H said. I’m not doing this again.
So I took off the fitted sheet, rotated it 90 degrees, and put it back on the bed, and H very graciously did the rest.
When he had finished, I lay down on the bed with my crossword, and he flopped down next to me. As I worked through the clues (you can tell I don’t eat meat by the fact that I couldn’t figure out what a six-letter word for “deli meat”, starting with “t”, might be), I heard him start softly reciting women’s names.
Nalente, H said, Thank you. Shashila and Leila, he continued, thank you. And Shamma – I never thanked you enough.
I tried not to laugh. I know those names: they are the names of the women who have worked as housekeepers for H’s parents, and who kept his apartment in order as well. By moving to New York, H has suddenly had to start being his own maid – and, as he noted, housework is hard.
I think H loves the pizza here, but I’m sure that every Thursday he’ll be wishing that we were back in Lebanon 🙂 .
(sheets from one of my favorite off-price online shops: overstock.com)