Friday, January 30, 2009

What's the big deal with maids?

Recently I hired a maid for the first time. This seems like a very sensible move to me. She'll come into the house every other week and clean the bathroom, kitchen, vacuum the floors etc. All the basic cleaning stuff that otherwise gets done much less often - basically only when the mould starts growing around the bathroom sick, or the colour of the carpet changes. In fact I'm surprised I haven't done this before now it comes to think of it.

So why do I feel a little bit guilty about it. Why, for example, am I hiding it from my mother (well not mentioning it at least). I use lots of other time saving devices. This morning I put a load of laundry into my brand-new washer-dryer, and when I get home it will be "cupboard dry" according to the instructions (although admittedly this gives me some pause each time I do it after having read last year the washing machine flood "adventures" of Mother of All Scientists - at least we don't live in a 3rd floor condo... ). I also have an iRobot Roomba - which rocks (well when the battery isn't old and worn out and lasts only 15 minutes - another thing I have recently sorted out), and I'm recently very much enjoying the pre-prepared vegetables that are so ubiquitous here.

As pointed out by Veronica in her article "I Have a Maid! What Professions are more important than others?", I wouldn't blink an eyelid at hiring a professional to cut my hair or change the oil in my car or do numerous other things I really could learn to do myself given time. I also spend close to half my salary paying other people to look after my child - so paying someone to clean my house seems very reasonable.

So what's the big deal about hiring a maid?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Great Blogs

The people at the American Astronomical Society Committee for the Status of Women recently started (well restarted) a new blog, which so far has been pretty interesting reading.

I've also recently been following The Motherlode at the New York Times.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kids and germs

How is it that kids always manage to get sick at the worst possible times? I think this is a classical complaint of parents, especially the working kind, but I still can't get over it. Our son is almost never sick, and when he is, he has lightning-fevers that last never more than 24 hours or so, and then he's back to normal. So I know I shouldn't complain too much, but it's how he "picks" these moments to get ill... it's usually when:
(a) one of us is out of town,
(b) one of us has a major deadline at work, like a telescope proposal to turn in, or some experiment time in the lab,
(c) we have to travel and/or have major commitments as a family,
(d) two or more of the above.

I think this time is especially ironic. After two weeks of Christmas vacations where we did not much else than relax at home, all three of us, it's today on the eve of our going back to work/kindergarden that Chatton comes down with chicken pox... talk about great timing. This means 7 to 10 days at home. What a way to start the new year at work, there goes one of my new year resolutions already!