Making the Bed
It’s a wonderful world—maid service every week. On Wednesdays Maria cleaned my Cottage. Then I moved to the Lodge. Nadia, my new housekeeper, stopped by to introduce herself and look around. I told her I had washed my own sheets in the past and would continue to do so in my new digs. I also told her I would leave the fresh sheets out. I never thought to tell Nadia that I change sheets every other week. Since the sheet episode, which I am about to explain, I embarrassingly think I may be the only resident that doesn’t change sheets weekly. It’s no big deal, just a habit that goes back a long, long time.
The first cleaning went well. When I returned from playing bridge my apartment was very tidy and my bed was fresh with the dirty sheets in the washer waiting for me to wash. Next week I went off and left no sheets. I came back to find an unmade bed and the used sheets rolled up in a ball on a chair in the bedroom.
I must admit, my response was like a spoiled brat. Why didn’t she make my bed? What am I supposed to do? There was a message on the phone from the Director of Housekeeping, “Your housekeeper couldn’t find the fresh sheets so she didn’t know what to do. Call me before 3 PM.”
It was now 4 PM and I called but no one answered. I left a message complaining about how unhappy I was. Where was I coming from? I had been making beds for over 50 years. Somehow my new king size bed with the 16 inch mattress seemed a bit overwhelming and I had never made it myself. Another attack of widowhood helplessness.
It wasn’t long before the Housekeeping Director returned my call; I reminded her of my every other week changing plan; she sent a maid to make my bed—which she did with great ease and which would have taken me forever to do.
And then something unexpected happened. Nadia quit. Maria asked to leave the Cottages and work in the Lodge. And Maria got assigned to me. She knows just how I like things.
One Saturday I decided to try out my new oven. Since living in this retirement community and having a meal plan, I seldom cook. However there is nothing like homemade brownies for gifts and for ones own snacking.
I had just put the brownies into the oven to bake and was cleaning up the kitchen when my cutting board, pressed glass, fell. Fell and shattered into a million shards all over the kitchen floor. I was devastated. In an earlier life I would have called to Bob who would have lovingly found the broom and dust pan and cleaned up for me. He was so kind in rescuing me from disaster.
In my move to the Lodge, I had left my broom and dustpan behind; assuming any of that kind of work could be done with my dust buster.
Something had to be done. There was not one area in the kitchen that I could put my feet. I have no memory of how I got out of the kitchen so fast when the crash came. I called the front desk. “Bonita, my kitchen floor is covered with glass and I don’t own a broom,” I admitted.
“Don’t worry Mrs. Fridstein, I’ll get you help.” It was in less than ten minutes when Lenny arrived with his broom. The view of what was awaiting him surprised him. I also think the tantalizing baking smell intrigued him. First he went for a box to dump the swept up glass, but then after he began, he decided he needed more, so off he went to find a vacuum. There were even pieces of glass in the living room carpet.
What a relief. How wonderful that even on a Saturday morning there would be someone available to rescue me. Tipping is not allowed. The residents give generous holiday cash gifts to all the salaried staff. “Can I give you a brownie when they finish cooking?” I asked Lenny seeking some way to reward his help. With a big smile he said, “Yes.”
Lenny left; my brownies had five more minutes of cooking time. I finished cleaning up the kitchen. I reflected; this is a good place to live.
If I choose to be lazy, meals can still be sent to my apartment from the dining room for a nominal fee. And if I choose to really indulge myself, a full breakfast can be eaten in the dining room for $5.00.
I awoke one morning not feeling too well. I had been planning to go to King Supers to restock my larder. And I was really low since I had purposely reduced my pantry staples for the move. So feeling sick and having no comfort food available was not great. The Lodge policy to the rescue. If you are not well, call the Wellness Nurse and she will arrange food from the dining room to be sent to your apartment. I did that for two days; recovered, went to the grocery store and vowed not to let myself run so low again.
Written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist specializing in child development. Margery currently lives in a continuing care retirement community outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her senior living experience in the monthly series, “The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.”