Much has changed from one year ago. That is how long the maid has been here. She had taken over most of the housekeeping and cooking chores. Over the months, we have an unwritten list of daily tasks that she is to get done. She does not need much prompting. This apartment is now spick and span except for the mess that I created on my workspace and the sofa beside me.
I am by nature a disorganised person. My things are strewn all over the place. Tidying is futile. They will become a jumble again in no time. Still, I can find something that I need from under a pile of papers and books. I thrive in such chaos. Tidy up everything and I will have a hard time looking for the items that I want. The maid knows it and leave that heap be.
She may be a good housekeeper but her cooking skills leave much to be desired. I am not complaining though. For the remuneration that she is getting, I do not expect her to cook like a chef. She needs to be guided every step of the way from the cutting of the ingredients to the amount of seasoning to use. She has improved from when she first came but still likes to add more salt and other seasonings than necessary.
The heavy rain woke me up this morning. The clock showed 9.25am. It was time to get up anyway. I decided to skip breakfast and got her to prepare lunch. Rummaging through the fridge, we came up with the remaining of the okra that was bought two weeks ago, a bundle of kangkung and a piece of belly pork from the freezer. The menu for the day would be stir-fried kangkung with okra and stir-fried pork in turmeric.
She got all the ingredients ready and arranged them nicely on the kitchen counter. I would usually tell her what I wanted and she would cook it with her own ingenuity and from what I had instructed her previous times. Today was one day I would stay in the kitchen and watch her cook from the beginning till the end.
When she was cutting the onions I wondered how I was going to manage my meals when she leaves for home in one year’s time. Her culinary quotient may be lacking but I have had the benefit of eating home-cooked food since she came. I thought about how long it was going to take me to finish cutting the onions which took her less than one minute.
Living independently by myself is one aspiration I have had for a long time. I thought I could manage. I can, to a certain extent. The kitchen counter height was built to suit my requirements. An unkempt apartment is the least of my worries. There is a washing machine for my laundry although I dislike hanging and collecting them. Washing dishes and cooking utensils is not a big problem.
The one major obstacle to living alone is my meals. My lack of hand dexterity impedes my ability to cook anything but the simplest dishes that needs little preparation. Eating catered food everyday is out of the question as I am on a strict diet. As I ran those thoughts through my mind, I began to appreciate how much she had assuaged my disabilities.
I can get another maid when she leaves but that is not what I have in mind. I genuinely want to see how far I can make it living with minimal assistance. For the tasks that I cannot perform like changing bed sheets and other more laborious chores, I can get someone to come and do it on a fortnightly basis. This needs plenty of planning. I should start taking over the cooking from her soon if I want be to well prepared before she departs. I wonder if I can cook better tasting food than her.