By far the most difficult adjustment I have made since moving to Lagos is getting used to having a steward in the house. The staff house we are staying in comes equipped with a “steward” or male house – keeper. Let’s call him Rob. Rob lives in quarters attached to the house during the week and goes home to his family on the weekend. He will be accompanying us to our new apartment, if I don’t scare the poor man off.
Don’t get me wrong, handing over a pile of washing and ironing and not having to scrub bathrooms or cook meals every night is fantastic. That part is easy and I have taken to it like a lady on Downton Abbey. Rob is also a much better cook than me, which has not gone unnoticed. When I suggested to Jeff that maybe I should prepare the occasional meal he visibly flinched.
I am not and have never been a morning person. Jeff is used to me staggering down the stairs half asleep, fluffy robe held together with a safety pin, looking like I have a marmoset perched on my head. Conversation is limited to snorts, even after Rob has poured my tea and I’ve helped myself to a handful of cheerios straight from the box. Often I crawl back to bed after Jeff has left for work and wake several hours later with no memory of the morning whatsoever. Subjecting another innocent human being to my morning persona is bordering on staff abuse.
Having a young man working around the house has put paid to many of the simple pleasures I enjoyed living on my own. These included but were not limited to; spending an entire day in my robe watching Toddlers and Tiaras, sucking condensed milk out the tube, singing (badly) along with my iPod and aimlessly wandering around naked. Most days I would seamlessly combine all these activities in my own amateur version of performance art.
When Jeff and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary last Friday, I sent Rob home early because we were going out for dinner. Like an eight year old whose parents have inexplicitly disappeared, I spent a happy afternoon watching back-to-back episodes of “Embarrassing Bodies”, eating cake frosting and testing which of my “Wonderbras” actually lives up to its promise (something that’s been on my to-do list for months).
Sunday night is a flurry of activity as I clean the kitchen (how did that cake mix get on the ceiling?) and hide all the broken stuff in the bin. In the past month I’ve broken 2 wine glasses, 2 drinking glasses and a baking dish. Years of owning a dishwasher have destroyed my ability to wash and stack dishes without breaking them.
We all have our secret single behaviour and a lot of my friends in Australia clean up before their cleaning service arrives so I know I’m not alone in this. Am I?