What do I do

What do I do, oh what do I do
The sun shines so bright and there’s house work to do
The dishes aren’t done and the floor is not mopped
And I want to go to the coffee shop

I don’t see the papers that need to be filed
The bills to be paid can wait just a while
The sun shines so bright and it’s lovely outside
I know what to do – I’ve just got to get out

I call up my friend, say I’ll meet her for tea
Or coffee and cake at Java Bean
We talk and we laugh and we have a nice time
Now, it’s eight in the evening, but I’m in the mood

To wash the dishes and mop the floor
To do all the things that need to be done

I’ve had a nice day and I did it my way
I’m happy to work at the end of the day

What 2013 has taught me

As 2013 comes to a close, I finally realise that I am not wonder woman, and it’s quite ok

This past year has been a year of change – new opportunities, new challenges and a year of goodbyes to some very special people, who were an important part of my life. Life can be so short and I need time to enjoy it – my family, friends and job – I want it all – I want it all – I want it all – and I want it now .. Freddie Mercury had the right idea.

Someday, when the years have gone by, I will look back at what I have done, and hope that it will be with a smile in my heart, knowing I did the things that made me happy and gave me joy. And with affection for the people who loved me and made it all possible.

 

On finding an imbalance between work and home

I am learning that there is no such thing as balancing home and work, but just different kinds of imbalance. You get more stuff done at home, and you have less resources to focus on your work – it’s as simple as that! These wonderful multi-tasting women who do it all, that I read about seem unreal! It’s just so free-ing, to realise, after years of trying to do everything, that there’s no way to succeed. So I am now striving to find an imbalance that works for me and my family

 

Maid in India

I have fond memories of the maid and cook we had before we moved house. I found it easier to deal with leaving my friends, but missed the house help terribly.  After moving, it took time to get help at home. The maid I got was really very honest, and nice – she would turn up either when I had just woken up, or when I was leaving for work, and the new cook took 3 hours daily to cook a dal and 2 veggies (that takes me 45 minutes on a bad day). So, when I finally ended up doing it all AND paying for it and figured that i could just do it all and not pay for it!  I do sometimes dream of having a maid or a cook, but right now am finding, that it’s less stressful without them. At least this way the house work gets shared, since everyone knows there’s no help at home.

 

Coping Techniques

  • If something can wait, just leave it be for another day – procrastinating is an art and it is well worth learning

  • Keep a couple of hours a week to deal with pending stuff

  • Spring Clean and give away unused stuff regularly, it reduces the time taken to clean up at home and getting rid of junk somehow let’s good energy into a home

  • Keep the vacuum cleaner and mop easily reachable, so small spills can be taken care of quickly

  • Look around – you will see a lot of other women in their 40s, like you, trying to do it all and not succeeding, and you will feel much better, when you know you’re not alone

  • Be an imperfectionist at home – it is better to be an average housekeeper who is relaxed, than an amazing one who is always upset that something at home has not been done

  • When things get too much, sit down with a cup of chai, put your feet up and think of something else – this takes practise, but works. You will feel much better after a little while and will be to handle it all when you’re done

 

Is it important to do everything for everyone else in the family, or let them learn to be self-reliant

Is the woman who does everything for everyone wonderful, or is it the woman who teaches her family to look after themselves and be less dependent on having help to do their work? I am sure every family has different thoughts about this. It is worth thinking about.

While it is nice to have help with the home chores, it is also quite a relief to know that the family can survive comfortably even without it, when necessary. I do think people who do work a little bit at home, keep much better health than those who don’t.

 

There’s a time for work and a time to rest

There’s a time and place for everything under the sun, and for me, this is the time to do my own house work. I know that when life thinks I really need a break, the most amazing maid and cook will come knocking at my door (like it happened when we were moving house earlier) and help will just come my way. Until then, it is important for me to accept that i have no house help, be flexible and do my best and simply leave the rest. At least that way, I’m still smiling and relaxed at the end of a busy, busy day.

How to organise your cupboard quickly

I have this fairly new and innovative way of organising my cupboard these days.

I used to be very neat – folded my things neatly and my cupboard looked really nice and tidy, and i continued like this when I started running my own home. But today, I know better and am very proud of my new system of arranging my cupboard and therefore feel the need to write about it.

The washing is always put away quick and I can find things easily. Of course there are days that I just keep all the washed clothes on the bed until they get magically put away, or I need to sleep and am forced to put them away myself.

This is my method :

  • Use each shelf as a section – different sections for different types of clothes
  • Throw all clothes in without folding
  • Hang up Ironed clothes and keep clothes that need ironing in a particular place in your cupboard
  • Once in a way when things start falling out, iron and re-organise
  • Do not worry about how it looks as long as you can find things

Have a cup of chai and read a chapter of a book in the time that you save

We have a keyboard at home – why should we buy a piano?

Good playing technique is learned, when students sit at the piano in a relaxed posture, and an instrument with weighted keys helps them learn this posture.

When doing a repetitive task with their hands, like practising, students who use bad playing technique :

  1. Make a piece look hard even if it’s easy
  2. Limit what they’re capable of learning, as the playing gets difficult
  3. Piano practise involves repetitive action and students with bad playing habits can and do injure themselves

The difference between lower priced keyboards, and the digital pianos is that digital pianos have weighted keys – not with the same quality of touch response as an acoustic piano, but most students can cope, upto Grade 4.

There’s a lot you just can’t hear and a lot of effects that the pianist just can’t get on a digital piano, as compared to an acoustic piano – the touch sensitivity of the keys is very very different on an acoustic piano. My students who’ve bought acoustic pianos, after using a digital for many years say “When you play on an acoustic piano, you feel the music in your heart”

A piano teacher will always recommend an acoustic piano. If parents choose otherwise, whether due to budget or space constraints, they need to know that their child will need to be more attentive, in order to avoid developing bad playing habits.

My experience has been that children who have chosen to learn the piano, and get the parental support they need, continue learning.

So what determines the choice of instrument is this – whether the parents understand what support their child needs, and are willing and able to commit to this long term.

 

To all my Teachers

Thank you,

For teaching me with love and patience. For believing in me on the days that I did not believe in myself. For giving me confidence to try even when it meant risking failure. For picking me up after a fall, and teaching me how to accept failure and move on.

Thank you also, to those of you who went out of your way to make things difficult for me. I look back and realise that I needed the obstacles you threw in my path – either by chance or by design, to make me realise that I had the ability to go over some of them on my own. And to learn to go around at those I couldn’t go over.

I feel blessed to have been taught by you all.

Our adventures with an IFB Neptune DX dishwasher

We purchased an IFB Neptune DX dishwasher, through Vijay Sales, Khargar, last year, as our previous dishwasher was old and no longer usable. I had a couple of friends who had IFB dishwashers and were very happy with their performance and I convinced my husband that it would be better than our previous brand Siemens, as the Siemens technicians would take very long to arrive, even though when they did, their work was excellent.

3 IFB machines and a 11 months later, we purchased a Siemens dishwasher, which we use daily, with no problems at all.

So we now are the proud owners of 2 dishwashers

  • A Siemens machine which runs

  • An IFB machine which does not (fortunately we have got rid of the tiny little cockroaches which IFB sent back along with the machine when they took it for repair)

This is our story . . .

A video of our IFB Neptune DX Dishwasher in action – mostly audio, with a visual at the end

Machine Number 1

Our new dish washer arrived on the 7th February 2012 and the piece had visible damage to the body. So, on our request, IFB gave us a new machine, within 48 hours, and this was installed at our residence.

Machine Number 2

This one worked well for almost 1  month and then started to give an F5 error, and stop mid cycle. We recorded this and showed it to Vijay Sales and the IFB technician, as the error would not happen every day.

We made many complaints as the machine would run normally when the technician visited, and they were not able to assess the problem just by looking at the recording. We also spoke to Mr Abhishek Sharma of IFB and the customer care at Vijay Sales, Khargar.

The IFB technician said that the water supply to our building had grit and particles in it, so we needed a filter, which they installed for us at the cost of Rs 2500/-

They also advised us to change the flexible water inlet connection we had to a metal pipe, even though the water pressure was high, which we did.

They then advised us to change the drainage outlet, even though the existing outlet was as per manual specifications.
So we changed the drainage outlet as per the technicians instructions

Finally, on April 19th, the IFB technician accepted that the machine had failed.

Machine Number 3

So, end April 2012, the third machine arrived. On 23rd July, 2012, it failed with the same error.

We filed a complaint and also spoke to Mr Kevit Patil and Mr K Rajendra both from IFB. A senior engineer visited and replaced the pump in the machine.

However, the machine did not start working, and the engineer said that the replacement pump was defective

Finally, on 11 November 2012, IFB took the machine for repair, after an assurance from Mr Kevit Patil that the machine would be delivered and installed at the same time, to avoid further inconvenience. In fact we especially requested delivery and installation at the same time, as we were unable to get further leave from work to be home, and IFB had inconvenienced us a lot already, for their many many visits.

On December 30 2013, after a reminder to Mr Kevit Patil via email and calling and demanding that the machine be returned, only then, did the company deliver the machine back, with filter broken, the cutlery tray missing and in such dirty condition that we had to treat the kitchen for cockroaches as tiny cockroaches kept coming out of the machine. Also, the engineer did not turn up for installation of the machine.

Through this whole one year, IFB has not visited as per our convenience morning or late evening, but only at 4 pm, which meant that one of us had to take leave each time. Also, we have had the stress of repeatedly following up to get any progress as Mr. Kevit Patil would often not accept calls or have his phone switched off. Since we could not longer bear this or take further leave for more repair work, we finally purchased a Siemens dishwasher and since then life has been much much easier, as it works!

We have filed a complaint with the Consumer Guidance Society of India, however, there has not been any response from them.