Harmonious cohabitation…Sharing the load…

This is our house in Campanario, high on a hill, as are most homes here.  We took this photo as we walked down the steep road in front of it.  Here’s the link to the listing on HomeAway.com: http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p6596390

Every Thursday morning Judite, Gina’s sister-in-law, arrives to clean the house for three hours at a rate of US $20.40, EU $15.  This rate is comparable to what we’ve paid in other countries.  In the US, the cost was three to four times more for the same amount of work and hours.

This rose is growing in front of our house on a narrow stone planter box.

We’ve had cleaning help since the beginning of our travels, as we did back in the US.  For me, having the weekly help keeps me from feeling as if I have to be cleaning constantly.  Instead, we are able to enjoy our lives as we maintain a relatively tidy household each day.

A neighborhood walk resulted in seeing many gorgeous flowers including this pink rose in full bloom.

The odd part of having a weekly cleaner is the necessity to prepare for their visit.  What?  Clean for the cleaning help?  Yes, it’s true.  Each Thursday morning before Judite arrives, we take the sheets and pillowcases off of the bed to be replaced by last week’s clean and folded batch which we’d prepared.

There are four goats living on the hill next door appearing to be a mom, dad and two babies.  Every morning we step outside and do a loud “baa” to which she responds in a louder “baa” as she looks our way. 

Then, we run around the house gathering dirty towels to be washed, empty trashes and clear away all of our computer and equipment clutter that accumulated over the week.  In essence, we clean in preparation for the arrival of the cleaning lady.

The look at it like this:  If we do these smaller tasks, it frees up her time to do the heavy work such as the scrubbing and cleaning floors and bathrooms (there are three here, all of which we use) window washing, etc.  It has always made sense to me.

Even imperfection has a certain beauty.

Tom laughed at me years ago, when he watched me run around preparing for the arrival of the weekly helper for many years, our dear Teresa in Minnesota.  Now, he gets it.  Then again, don’t newly retired people come to many new understandings once they are home together all day in the throes of daily household upkeep?

I practically had to get on my knees and shoot upward when this flower was drooping toward the ground.

A few days ago, I complimented Tom on handling 50% of the daily household tasks.  I suppose I shouldn’t be complimenting him on a task that is to be expected in a household of two who “should” be sharing equally in the responsibilities.

Although we’re quite a distance from the ocean, its fun to watch the boats from afar.

He compliments me on the work that I do including the cooking of the meals after which he cleans up and does all of the dishes.  The rest we share, never a part of any spoken “to do” list but more as we’ve fallen into step in a natural way over these almost 20 months since he retired. 

Do our bird enthusiasts from Jersey, UK know what type of bird this is? 

I do the laundry hanging the small stuff.  He hangs the big items with me.  He handles the trash,  the recyclables and makes the bed while I do the restocking of toilet paper, paper towels and putting laundry away.  The natural separation of tasks took this spontaneous evolution that literally never requires one of us asking the other to “do their part.” 

The end result of never having to ask or remind is simple: harmony.  Without it, life could be frustrating ultimately resulting in resentment and anger which we avoid like the plague.

Red is a predominant color in flowers on the island of Madeira.

Recently, someone mentioned we should write a book about our travels.  Perhaps, someday, we may.  My retort to that comment was that instead of writing a book about traveling, we could write a book entitled, “How a retired couple can harmoniously and happily travel the world.”

There are many topics upon which we could disagree.  We don’t. We choose harmony.  We may not always agree.  We’ve learned to listen and hear out each other’s objections, rationalizations and valid arguments on a point.  We reconsider.  We coalesce. We unite.

Water flows down this hill but not everyday.

The only way in which the complexity of traveling the world can work lies in the willingness to let go of one’s ego always striving for the best solution for the couple and for the ultimate happiness and joy in all of our experiences. 

We are excited to share tomorrow’s post when as we writing today, a situation occurred in our area that sent us reeling with delight!  Please stop back!

Photo from one year ago today, June 5, 2013:

This is the outdoor spot on the Norwegian Spirit where we sat every morning after breakfast as we posted for the day.  We were on our way on a Mediterranean cruise.  The ship wasn’t our favorite but we met a lot of wonderful people and had a great time.  For the ship’s itinerary and our boarding procedures, please click here.

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