May is just blasting through this year's calendar with all kinds of wind, storms, rain, and fanfare. I find it difficult again to really focus on any one aspect of the month, to really progress toward my own goals, to see a lot of improvement...
Until last Friday.
And actually, I woke up to help around here and see my son off to his job, and I actually thought... "Will I manage to accomplish anything? Or... since it is Friday, will I do that thing where you just wait until Monday to actually start living, dieting, cleaning, whatevering." Nope. I started (and accomplished and finished) Friday. My phone rang with the generic Game of Thrones Ringtone (a whole different rant if you are one of the GOT fans who followed the show all these years to the eighth season of questions).
It was Laura, a thirty-something Amish girl from a farm about an hour from here. She and I had been talking about doing some work up at the other house where the break-in had happened. She remarked her day's work had been a "no-show" and that she had the phone (they don't own one but borrow a cell phone from someone). She wondered if we could make an appointment to work. And then the aurora of possible dreams hit. I heard myself say as I sat there in my nightgown, "I could come get you today, and we could work here."
So in a matter of minutes I was on the road, the back roads to LaPlata and picking up three Amish unmarried sisters who said they would come and help me clean. The day was simply wonderful. Simply wonderful.
We laughed and reminisced about my parents first thing. They had actually been to my house when my parents were alive, and they were excited to help me clean. They talked about their memories of my mom and dad and the candy, stops at McDonald's and other kind things they recalled about them. Of course, they then had me at hello.
Their names were Laura, Millie, and Lizzie. And I loved the day I spent with them. I learned about their travels, which are basically extensive. They hire drivers and take vacations, and best of all, these three sisters attend a "Single Girls' Reunion" every single summer that is held somewhere in the USA for Amish women between the ages of 18 and .... no upper limit. They said they have women in their 80's. The only requirement is the woman cannot have ever been married. So... they have been to Niagara Falls, to Pennsylvania, to the Western Four-Corners, to the Canadian borders, to Ohio... and they were looking forward to this summer's trip. I asked what they do at these get-togethers, and they said they sing, play games, talk about recipes, do handwork, go for walks, eat great food prepared by the local Amish, bring in supplies and vegetables to share... Doesn't that sound wonderful?
And then when we arrived, they began by cleaning out my car as they got out of it, bringing in things and stepping into my kitchen ready and anxious to work. I opened up my cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, flipped open the everyday towel drawer, hauled out the Fabuloso... and they grabbed my mop, broom, scrub brush, and dustpan. Oh. My. Goodness. Two of them just started the process of cleaning to the "bone." I told them to pretend like it was their own home and they were cleaning for a season or something special. Oh, those lovely women! They basically rediscovered the wood grain in things long since polished over, they wiped ceilings, and scrubbed floors, shined windows from every vantage and surface. They shook curtains and offered to come back and finish another day after working seven hours X three... 21 hours of non-stop Amish cleaning was miraculous. I fixed them soft tacos and garlic green beans, and you would have thought I fixed a feast. I made them some chocolate chip cookies for a little afternoon break, and they gave me a sweet compliment. "We can tell that you clean." I was so grateful to hear that... and then Laura, the eldest, said, "Not in your dad's room or the South bathroom (my son's), but in here."------.. You know Amish don't allow that prideful stuff... I laughed so hard.
They never stopped working; they never stopped laughing and smiling, never stopped singing songs about god and the glory of his future kingdom, never stopped telling me how much fun they were having. I worked with them, but honestly... I did very little compared to what they turned out. Once Laura saw I was having some kind of a muscle cramp from sitting about five of the seven on the roll around office chair that is my way of working and navigating my home... It was mid-afternoon. She told me to go lie down and they would keep working. I told her, "Oh, no way! If I did that my mother would get up our of her grave at Mt. Salem Church about two miles away and walk over here and slap me to death." Oh, the look on their faces!!!!
I have to mention the Miracle. In my dad's room were nothing but totes. I had sold a few pieces of furniture, and I still have a few shelves and cabinets full of beautiful dolls, but basically the whole room was about shoulder high with totes full of holiday decor, doll clothes, other stuff too confusing to sort... I had gone in there countless times and worked, pulled out totes, put away totes, and yet... there were still more. I have two closets in there with the cavernous shelves that I can't access.... your basic stalemate. I told Laura... "Just do the best you can." Uh... I helped decide a few things and their destinies (keep, sell, donate, pitch), and then I went off to make lunch, make cookies, clean my laundry room, do laundry... Basically I threw her under the bus, out to the wolves... just do something. That girl! She emptied the closets, hung a whole rack of clothes I had on a rolling rack instead of utilizing my mom's closet for myself...., then took out all the closet shelves that were no earthly good anyway and stacked them against the walls of the closet. Then she sorted the totes by holiday and stowed all but 3 in the closets. Then she scrubbed and mopped the floors, washed the walls, dusted the furniture and brushed or washed the dolls and stuff sitting around. I kept blabbering about the Miracle, and she kept laughing and insisting she had the most fun of any of them... No, they all thought they had! From the one who had removed every single storm window and screen to wash and scrub, to the one who had lugged all the boxes I wanted to donate to the car...
Anyway. they cleaned two bathrooms, a bedroom, two closets, a living room, my dad's former bedroom which had become a no-man's land, a hallway, my front porch and walk, 16 windows, and a little of the kitchen. And by cleaned... I mean the kind of cleaning I used to do, the kind my mom and dad and grammas did twice a year... the big clean.
A little after five, I paid them the best money I have spent in absolutely years (My only better money spent was whatever it cost to have my only child).... and took them home.
The end of the story is that I was too wound up to sleep Friday night, but Saturday dawned very gray and rainy, and I... well, full confession, I was totally exhausted. Barring a few forages in for coffee, a bit of left-over pizza, and a peek at the weather, I basically um.... Well, I was shocked to discover it was 5:45 that night... Please don't tell my Amish friends I slept the next day! I would not be shocked to hear they built a barn on Saturday!
I can't wait to save up and get them again for the rest of this house and to work up at the other place. They said they couldn't wait to come back. How cool is that?
Whimsy and Hugs!