Daily Prompt: Odd Couple

Does a messy home (or office) make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?

Cleaning

This was the cleaning session I had on the coat rack. One of those things I do from time to time. Amazing the rubbish you collect.

Hey, I am Swiss (at least I have a Swiss passport). We invented cleaning it seems. That was the impression I had when I arrived in this land of mountains, crisp snowy landscapes, cows and banks. People hung their bed covers and cushions out of the window every morning to air them out. I was impressed, not that I have ever gone to such lengths. It seemed to me that every Swiss housewife was remaking the beds completely every day.

A mess in the office never really bothered me when I was a working woman. Most of the people in my surroundings sort of shook their heads and found “however does she find the stuff on her desk when she needs it”. That is the devious cunning I had. Of course I loved chaos, I am chaotic, I grew up with chaos, but it was an organised chaos.

One of my mum’s talents (and she did not have many) was not being the housewife of the year. She did her best, but it seems that in her family bringing a meal on the table was the first commandment. The rest just had to take care of itself. Not going into details, but I had no chance at the beginning of becoming the ideal housewife. Cleaning seemed to be an event that happened once a year, generally good Friday. My dad would take me out to London for the day and mum would clean floors and windows. I think it was more an escape than a day’s outing.

Anyhow to continue. I always found what I needed on the desktop in the office, it might have looked like a mess, but it was an organised mess. Home was a little bit different. When the kids (there were four at one time) were at home, you just did what you could. As they grew up and left home things got better. I was then working a full time job, so did what I could at home. I wanted cleanliness, I wanted order, but you cannot have everything. Mr. Swiss did his fifty percent.

Eventually we bought our own place. It was a large appartment in the country and it was in the raw condition when we bought it, it was completely new, so we could organise the fittings ourselves and that was a big advantage. I really looked at easy cleaning. I did not want curtains on the windows, I did not want fitted carpet – two things that I hated and for me a source of dirt and dust. Eventually we planned and had our appartment organised to meet our requirements.

My new neighbour worked in a local drug store where there sold all sorts of cleaning mechanisms. This was ideal, and after a talk with her, my final decisions were made, and I have never regretted them since. Yes at home I like it to be clean and tidy. I found a super system for cleaning. Just a drop of liquid in water, with the right clothes, no rinsing necessary, it was ideal. I have a plan for cleaning – I can see you shaking your heads and thinking this woman is crazy, but it works. If you clean regularly and not when you get round to it, the cleaning work is reduced. I have a list, kitchen, bathroom, shower, windows which need most work. If you do it once a week, it is no longer work, because you do not have to do it in detail. It just needs a refresher and brush up. If I clean windows, I clean the frames at the same time. I go over the floors every day, at least half. Mr. Swiss does the other half. First of all with the vacuum cleaner, then the dust brush and afterwards with a mop with just hot water. I reduce the use of cleaning liquids as much as possible, water on its own does the job just as well if done regularly.  I have stone tile flooring in most of the rooms (otherwise wood) so no problem. Everything keeps clean that way. I have no sticky places especially not in the kitchen as I hate it when you put your fingers on a tile and they stick to it.

This is the basic work, and I still have free afternoons and evenings, just a matter of planning and logistic I suppose.

There is something else that bothered Mr. Swiss and myself. On life’s journey you collect junk. Luckily the Swiss system allows you to get rid of the junk to the state. We have a collection twice a year where you can throw out all the funiture you no longer need. In the town you can even throw it out once a month, but the villages are not so well served. It is our motto to live as if you are going to move once a month. That way it works.

For the first time our lives are rubbish free. It did take 44 years of married life, but we have achieved it. A couple of weeks ago Mr. Swiss returned two old computers to the supermarket. They accept all sorts of electric rubbish and get rid of it for you. We have a newspaper collection once a month, a garden collection once every two weeks.

The kids survived, I did not put them in the rubbish collection. One is still at home, but being autistic he is the perfect houseman. My other son was the university son. He has the best solution, he has a cleaning lady once a week.

Today is Easter Sunday, so it was a relaxing day, no cleaning. Just a matter of organisation. Company can call any time – no problem. You can even keep your shoes on (but not your hat).

Daily Prompt: Odd Couple

Daily Prompt: Five a Day

You’ve being exiled to a private island, and your captors will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?

Vegetable mixture

I think the ideas for the daily prompt are running out, but nevertheless I will try to complete this one.

It is a matter of how it is meant. I get five foods per day? I now have the decision to put something together that will comply with my diabetes, perhaps just stuff I like, or let’s get it nice and balanced and healthy. One way or the other this will get boring.

If I really want to go for it, I would have a rack of lamb in a nice buttery herby sauce (is that two items already?) served with potatoes fried in some way or the other, could also be röschti or croquette (I think that makes three) and a nice vegetable, like brussel sprouts or perhaps asparagus poached in butter. I think this would be five. If not I would have a dessert. Definitely something with whipped cream – an apple tarte tatin perhaps.

If no-one really knows what I am talking about here, then you will find the ingredients somewhere on the Internet. I live in Switzerland and eat Swiss mainly, although I am quite partial to the french cuisine and Italian cucina (you know spaghetti, pesto and all that jazz). Just do not serve me any tripe, I think that is the only thing I do not eat.

I then asked my feline family what they thought would be a good choice.

The chief feline Nera cat said “fresh bird, even chicken or a Spring mouse. You know Mrs. Human the Spring mice are much more tender than the ones wandering around in Autumn.”

“A good idea” said Tabby, her litter sister “but I really like blue tits, especially the ones from Mrs. Human’s bird house. They are nice and fat and plenty of meat on the bones.”

“If you ask me” joined in Fluffy “a nice plate of tuna fish does nicely. As a blind cat (what’s blind?) I cannot catch the game so well any more. Just give a human a tin operner and point the way to the cupboard where the tuna fish is kept.”

And then all three felines spoke in unison “but no more vitamin packed pellets. They are boring and it doesn’t matter what flavour you choose Mrs. Human, it all tastes the same. We like to have variation in our diets.”

“Something else Mrs. Human”said Nera “we felines would prefer to be exiled in the corn chambers somewhere in Egypt where our honourable leader Bast originated. The place that was teaming with mice. She really knew how to do it, and do not forget we were then worshipped as the gods we are. Mrs. Human are you sure this prompt reads correctly? I think the challenge should be “The felines have exiled the humans to a private island, and they will only supply you with five foods. What do you pick?” in which case your choice is limited Mrs. Human.”

“How do you mean Nera?”

“You get a packet of vitamin tablets and glucose sweets to keep you going. That will do – see we have already reduced the choice to two foods. If we felines can survive on vitamine pellets and a bowl of water, then the humans can certainly survive on our choice.”

Fluffy and Nera

Daily Prompt: Five a Day

Daily Prompt: Trading Places

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex for a day? What do you think life would be like?

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No, I have never wondered and never wanted to. The advantage with being in the older years and no longer a working woman is that you have time. Time for a midday sleep after lunch when the WordPress Daily Prompt arrives on my computer at 13.00 hours (1 o’clock p.m.), meaning that I can sort of think about it during the hour or so that I relax. Sometimes I actually sleep and sometimes just have a mind wandering session. Today was both. Luckily when I awoke I did not have any facial growth whatsoever and my voice was normally loud and piercing in high tones as usual. It had not broken during my sleep and fallen two octaves lower, so everything is fine.

As you can see from the photo, a moustache would not suit me and I really do not intend to start shaving every day, not wanting to go into other biological differences in details (you know like putting the toilet seat up etc.), which I do not wish to discuss here. I am happy to belong to the female species. When I told my male counterpart about this challenge he just laughed and to be quite honest I could not imagine him in lipstick or high heels, we are both happy as we are.

I would also mention that Switzerland has become quite female friendly since I have been living here. When I arrived 46 years ago, women did not even have the right to vote. There were no female members of parliament, and it was a dream for them to partake in politics. However  in 1971 the men gave up and let the women in (or was it because I arrived). Just imagine today we even have a Swiss government with a majority of female ministers now and again. I would add here that we are very democratic. We have basically 7 ministers that are re-elected or newly elected every year at the beginning of December. The ministers belong to the same parties, 2 socialists, 2 conservatives, 2 liberal and 1 christian party. That is the so-called magic formula, although it might be changed according to the distribution of thought in the population. One of these ministers is elected as president, but he/she only resides for a year and the following December a new president is selected from the ministers. Note “he/she”. This only exists since 1971, it used to be only he. We have even had a female majority of ministers.

The men are even losing their master status. Some companies, and even government departments, have decided that women should be equally treated. It is often the fact that new people are employed because they are female to show the equality. Although I must say I am not very happy about this. I still believe that it is the quality of the work that counts, whether male or female and not just because of the gender.

So what do I have to win becoming a man. Nothing, I remain a woman and am even allowed to lead my country to success. And life – well it would continue as usual. Perhaps there might be a reduction in the population. We know the disadvantages of “man flu” already and men becoming pregnant and giving birth – I am not sure about that one, but who knows, miracles do happen.

Daily Prompt: Trading Places

Daily Prompt: Happy happy joy joy

We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

Jasmine Hochzeit

I am not the crying type, not my thing really. Of course if I read something it could sometimes give me wet eyes, especially if it is about an animal (usually cat or dog) and there are also films which can move me, but I am not the romantic type. Tears of pain and sadness come naturally to anyone I would think.

I can be happy and share the joy on certain occasions, as the photo at my daughter’s wedding reception a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful time, plenty to drink, plenty of good food and good company as well as good music. We had a wonderful time. In the photo we have Mr. Swiss (my other half) on the left, daughter in the middle and me on the right. If we cried it was more tears of laughter, which can also qualify as joy.

And to prove the joy, we now have photos of us together – good memories of a special occasion.

Jasmine Hochzeit

Daily Prompt: Happy happy joy joy

Blogger Creative Challenge 244: Attention to Detail

Solothurn Clock

The clock had struck eleven some time ago. The tourist was visiting the town of Solothurn in Switzerland for the first time. She decided to have lunch at twelve. It was a sensible time, but she had a problem. The clock does not strike twelve in Solothurn.

A strange town. There is no midday and no midnight. Does the day have one hour less?

If you ever visit Solothurn, do not arrange to meet you friends at 12 o’clock. The will probably not arrive. Better to arrange to meet them in another town.

They just do not pay attention to such trivial details in the town of Solothurn. Or perhaps the clock manufacturer did not have enough golden numbers in “1” and “2” for the dial. After all gold is expensive.

On the other hand, they just might have spaced out the hours with a different system. Yes, of course, twelve hours were fit into eleven. Oh the genius of the Solothurn population.

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Daily Prompt: Judgement Day

If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

Fluffy

The problem being that my books, favourite or otherwise, do not have covers any more. They did, although I must admit I never judged a book by its cover. Today the books are restricted and condensed to a handy little gadget called Kindle. You know the sales hit that Amazon brought to us readers. No more problems with looking for space for your books, everything nicely condensed in a flat electronic device, so small that you can put it in your handbag, or take it with you in your pocket (a large pocket). So condensed that the covers are restricted to some sort of black and white image undefinable as to what it should represent. No more inviting colours, even the blood is grey on the murder book cover.

So I now just download my books. Classics are all free in any case, but who reads classics? Funnily enough I do. I sort of catch up from time to time on what I missed out at school. My husband introduced me to the German classics some time ago, so my literature is now completed with books from Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Günther Grass and a few others (in German language of course), all nicely downloaded on my Kindle. However, the Kindle is a bit restricted in size, so I now have the Kindle app on my iPad which is larger. Nothing better than curling up in the evening with a good book, I mean electronic reading device.

I am no longer able to judge my books by their covers, as they do not have covers any more. Transferring this saying to human beings, I do not judge them by their covers either. You might think that boy is an idiot because he is wearing torn blue jeans and a t-shirt with stupid words, but who knows, he might be the best in the school. Look at me. A golden oldie who wears jeans and comfortable shoes, glasses and no make up (cannot be bothered). Who would think that a computerised blogger is hidden under my ancient appearance. You just have to scratch under the surface. The same with books, read them and decide.

Daily Prompt: Judgement Day