Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When I’m Cleaning Windows

I have no idea what the elected members of a school’s Parents and Guardians Association do in other countries but here in Greece it ranges from bugger all to bugger me. As luck would have it our school’s PGA is turning out to be one where the members require not only free time and good will but also a large jar of Vaseline and a soft cushion.

Over the Easter holidays we were asked, by the headmistress, if we could possibly do something about the curtains. Fools that we are, flushed with the success of a recent fundraising event we nodded and smiled in dumb acquiescence little suspecting what was in store for us. On reflection we really can’t blame anyone but ourselves, the headmistress must have known what a bunch of pushovers we were having seen us dancing through the streets of Egaleo dressed as cups tables and, in my case, a three tier cake whilst escorting half the schools 112 children to a fancy dress parade, anyway I digress let’s get on with this story.

Before school broke up we did an inspection of the offending drapes to see what "doing something about them" would entail. At this point our amiable smiles became noticeably less pronounced because when you take a good look at curtains your eyes tend to take in other details besides the actual fabric, for example windows. The windows were filthy and, as is the wont of school windows rather large and numerous. It would appear that due to a local council cock-up the cleaners have not been paid for several months, ergo they have not been doing any cleaning beyond keeping toilets usable and floors swept.

Do any of you know of a self-respecting housewife who is capable of hanging clean curtains at dirty windows? If such women exist I am mercifully unacquainted with them. To cut a long story short we had blithely agreed to spend three days of our Easter holidays doing somebody else’s job for no money and little thanks. Last Friday my friend Tina, who is also President of the PGA, called at my house that we might go together to undertake this mammoth task .It was a fairly good litmus test of how the day was due to proceed that she then made me change my clothes THREE TIMES, apparently I wasn’t scruffy enough, eventually having finished my Mrs. Mop does windows fashion parade we collected dusters buckets and assorted children and set off on the short walk to our ultimate destination.

WHY OH WHY DIDN’T WE GAG THE CHILDREN? As we perambulated along the road our kids shouted out to every single sprog along the way and by the time we got to the school gates we looked like particularly perturbed pied pipers of suburbia. This caused another hiatus in the operation whilst we made umpteen phone calls to the mothers of children who had come along to watch the entertainment. Needless to say none of the aforementioned mothers fell over themselves to offer a helping hand, secure in the knowledge that the miraculous maids of their PGA could easily supervise thirty kids from the top of a wobbly ladder.

Ah yes, the ladder. Tell me pray, How it is possible to have a ladder on which all four legs are different lengths. One wobbly leg is not such a problem but what we had here was an implement which only a break dancing circus freak on stilts would appreciate. Tina climbed up to test it, I think she reached the third rung before deciding that she was far too afraid of heights to contemplate the fourth. By this time we had been joined by Irene who, not having had the benefit of Tina’s wardrobe advice, had turned up in an almost floor length skirt and high heeled boots. My turn on the ladder! It was not fun. Imagine a monkey disco dancing on top of a Florida palm tree in a hurricane and you just about have the right mental image for how I must have looked. I can’t say that Tina’s constant litany of “I’m holding it.” Accompanied by Irene’s “you’ve missed a bit.” did anything to improve the situation.

Getting the first set of curtains down was a lot easier, and quicker, than expected, falling off the ladder was a foregone conclusion Tarzan would have been proud of me and if swinging in the classroom isn’t already a song title it should be. I can’t tell you how touched I was by the concern of my dear friends. Irene was practically incapacitated by the humor of the situation as Tina pronounced in concerned tones, “Now we need new curtain hooks”. I need not have fretted though revenge would soon be mine. There is nothing quite so cheering, having been the unwilling star of an unanticipated stunt, as seeing somebody else get theirs. I was therefore positively gleeful when Irene decided that she would show me how things ought to be done. I have already mentioned that this lady was not really dressed for the occasion but undaunted by inappropriate attire she airily tucked her skirt into her knickers and proceeded to climb. I would not have dreamt of telling her as she ascended those unstable steps that there was a whole bevy of bewildered boys peering through the window panes following her progress.

I won’t keep you any longer, though we still had a couple of days worth of work in front of us it would be unkind of me to make you endure the entire debacle and I’m not sure that I can go through the whole episode a second time, not even on paper. Suffice it to say that we now have freshly laundered curtains, at sparkly clean windows, through which the sun is shining on the very dusty classrooms!


puerileuwaite said...

Well, if it's any consolation, no longer shall I go to Amsterdam to peer at the ladies through those windows. They are not nearly as entertaining.

Dan said...

Did you notice me peering through the windows with those boys, watching Irene's progress. If there are skirts tucked in knickers, I'm there! :)

Great story! And I just love how you English use the term "cock-up". Love it! :)

Matt-Man said...

I think I would have had quite a few things to say after the "you've missed a bit" quote!! Cheers Cathy...

Bitter & Twisted said...

You do know that windows need cleanng about once a month at the very most, don't you?

Bitter & Twisted said...

I should have actually said "the very least" but I'm drunk. LoL

lime said...

ain't that how it always seems to go....

Anonymous said...

dressed as a 3 tier cake? I hope there are photos of this great event.
Cathy the 3 tier cake, I've got to see this.:)

You wore me out just reading the event of the drapes and window washing.whew!

Queenie said...

What would we do without folks like you????????
One day you will be rewarded, honest!!!!!

val said...

Are you sure you are not a closet stand-up comedian? That's one of the funniest stories I've ever read!

Oops, sorry - female solidarity and empathy to you sister!

cathy said...

puerileuwaite, It's so nice when you are the first to comment, I don't have to scroll down to see how to spell your name.

Dan,I'll have to see what other amusing English expressions I can find to entertain you!!

matt man, What? A nice polite chap like yourself!

bitter & twisted, looks like you got yourself in a bit of a twist there!

Lime, Ain't it just!

top cat, you go for another rest chubby cheeks and I'll catch up with you later.

Queenie, yep the whole neighbourhood will turn out for my funeral.

val, just wait for the day when I tell the story of MY big fat Greek wedding.

limpy99 said...

That's the last time I complain about oru school's parent organization. At least they limit themsleves to bake sales.

ann said...

oh those were the days my friend
... on the school pta
I thought they'd never end
but something you need to know
your children will grow
and you can wave it all goodbye
pass it on to another idiot, with a big cheesey smile

I'm sure you've earned lotsa brownie points

are we the only ones who say *cock up*

Anonymous said...

I had to click on your new profile pic to see your eye better.
eye Love it!:)
profile views were at 666 so I came back and it's 668 now.:)
you owe me one.

did I tell you I'd like to be your pupil?

Tina said...

We should have t- shirts made saying : I SURVIVED THE PGA CURTAIN HANGING DAY...what an experience to live through!!! lol

Logophile said...

omg, Cathy, tht is some great stuff.
Too funny
Would you bring your friends to come do my windows?
I'll provide the children

Malnurtured Snay said...

Ew, they bugger you? I hope they use a lot of grease at least!

Travis said...

I laughed - I hope that was ok.

I was doing ok in sympathy with you until the part where you fell off the ladder and the other lady tucked her skirt in her knickers.


G-Man said...

The Eyes Have IT!!

FYI, do you realize that you have all three of these words in the same post...


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That's a wonderful tale! Most enjoyable reading, but probably less enjoyable experiencing.

Tina said...

Hey Cathy!!! I'm inviting you to come play "Name that Famous Line"...

cathy said...

limpy99,Greece is a law unto itself in these matters.

Ann,That's the least of my troubles! lol.

TC, 666 is my fav # ( evil laughter)Come to teacher!

Tina fuck the T shirt, I want a medal!

logophile, Will you sing to me?

G-Man said...

Morning Cathy,
Nice following....It don't take long does it?
*wink* Told Ya!

MONA said...

cathy, This is such a great post, & such a well described event.:)
Monkey doing disco on the top of a palm tree in a hurricane...Orignal, better than any metaphysical conciet!

BTWN Cathy, do you see paragrahs at my blog. I seem to have lost them.[ the nightengale effect I guess] :(

Logophile said...

Cathy, I will definitely sing.
I will even take requests.
I've finally finished writing interview questions and your 5 are posted on my blog.

Queenie said...

Cathy I'm sorry, I've tagged you. Hope you don't mind (blame akelamalu). have a look on my blog.

puerileuwaite said...

Hey! I noticed that your eye matches the one on my dollar bill. What do I win?

cathy said...

where was I up to?

snay, congratulations for being the first to mention anal sex. I was (of course) being metaphorical.

travis so the circus and the monkey didn't do anything for you?
Never mind I'll try harder next time.

g-man, er yes, I wrote it.

ss nick,It had its moments.

tina been there done that and don't offer me any more bloody T shirts!

mona, I couldn't agree more. It is better than ANY metaphysical conceit.I'm glad somebody appreciated that monkey.

logophile,I'll be right over

queenie, I forgive you.

puerileuwaite, congratulations you have just won a video clip.It's on its way!

Enemy of the Republic said...

I actually didn't realize you were in Greece. Wow. Awesome. Need any visitors to crash at your place and eat all your food?

spoon said...

Yes, with clean windows you're bound to start seeing dirt everywhere and what self-respecting person can let that go...He he. I think next weekend, you'll be doing classrooms! thx for stopping by - love your blog.

MyUtopia said...

Wow! That sucks!

Groovy Lady said...

That sounds about right. Once the powers that be in the school find out you are not only available but willing to help, you get all the dirty jobs.

I finally drew the line with my 3rd child and limited my accessibility to crafts and field trips. After 6 years with my older two, I figured it was someone else's turn. :D