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Posts tagged ‘spanish’

Spring or any other type of cleaning

My goal on Saturday was to tidy up my room. By tidy up, I mean all of my clothes seemed to have exploded from my drawers and were now lying on my floor. And anywhere not covered by clothes was filled with papers. It’s embarrassing to say how messy I am, but I had four beer bottles hidden in my room. It might have been fun if they were full, but it was like a sad and disappointing scavenger hunt when they’re not. I used to think I was a complete slob and I probably still am. To some degree though, I think some of my behavior can now be explained by the ADHD.

It seems like it takes me years to get a room clean, or it would if I followed through. I’ll try for a second but I can’t continue so I turn the TV on to help me. Then a small corner of my room gets cleaned and I end up watching a whole season of Arrested Development in a day. Or I just can’t figure out how to organize and then anything else will happen, and I will devote all my attention to that fascinating thing and forget about cleaning. Or there are moments when I get focused and in the zone and almost my whole room and bathroom get cleaned until I get burned out and have no will to clean at all for the next few weeks and then everything has gotten messy once again.

I’m not averse to being neat. I’ve always been able to clean when I’m being paid to. When I’ve cleaned at various jobs the only choice was to clean or be terribly bored, but there’s too many distractions at home. One tip I read was to spend ten minutes a day doing the tough jobs that you can never get done. This is good in theory but once I get busy it’s hard to keep it up every day.

So I had the whole on Saturday to get things clean. I managed to wash all my clothes. There’s still some that need to be folded but I managed to get most of them. I even got rid of some clothes I never wear anymore, like the t-shirt from sixth grade that I still had even though I can’t even pretend it fits me anymore. The season of TV I watched this time was Black Books, which isn’t terrible considering the season is only six episodes. My family was also cleaning and getting rid of stuff because they’re moving soon. Well I guess we’re all moving but they’re going to a smaller town where my dad got a job at and I’m staying here and mooching off friends and family as much as possible.

We were all making progress. Me in my room, my mom packing items, and my dad was using some fancy carpet washing/cleaning thingy. My father finished cleaning his office while I went into the laundry room to switch out a load of darks. Some stuff from his office had been moved into the laundry room. There was a trashcan on top of an office chair and the broom was across the chair in front of the trashcan. I started rolling the chair back into his office and somehow the broom fell down and got caught into the legs of the chair and the trashcan went pitching forward. Normally there’s just papers in the trashcan but because of the intensive carpet cleaning there was a huge mound of gray dust that embedded itself into the still drying carpet.

So it seems even when I take a step forward, I still end up making a mess. But on the bright side, I did get the opportunity to learn how to use a carpet cleaner thingy on Saturday.

Aspiration: I’ve been trying to learn Spanish so I need to pick that up again.

Are you a neat freak? Or do you dread cleaning? Either way, any tips?


Safety Seals

Today three generations of Mexican women, well two Mexican women and one half Mexican technically, sat in a living room and tried to say dificil, meaning difficult. And it was. My mom sometimes pretends to be a patient for a local hospital and this time they asked her to do a role in Spanish. She’s unsure of her ability, though to me she is fluent. Anytime I ask her what something means she can tell me and she can just start speaking in full Spanish sentences with ease, something I wish I could do. I can stumble through simple phrases though I usually butcher conjugation and put everything into the order it would be in English, not Spanish. I’m also awkward about speaking it because my mom says my accent is always off.  She was worried about her pronunciation too so she went to her aunt, my great aunts house to make sure she could say things correctly. I tagged along because I try to visit once a week but I’d been falling behind.

My aunt is in her eighties, she’s the sweetest person I’ve ever known, forgets stuff often, smiles a lot, is a  breast cancer survivor and always remarks how long its been since I’ve seen her, even if I saw her yesterday. She always tells me to forgive her because her house is a mess, it never is, and tells me to eat anything I can find. I used to go over to her house in the summers and they’d fill up a tiny pool for me and I’d use their swing set and play nintendo. She always forgets that I haven’t drank pop or eaten meat for years but then when I remind her she remembers they bought veggie burgers for anytime I stop by. We’re always happy to see each other. Basically, she’s my favorite person in the world, tied with my grandmother.

We visited with her and then my mom started going over what she had to say. My aunt grew up speaking Spanish whereas me and my mom didn’t but she says she’s forgotten a lot of it because she has no one to speak it to. Her and my uncle don’t have conversations with each other in Spanish anymore. But as he laughed at the three of us trying to figure out sixty and seventy, which was sesentna and which was setenta, I figured he still recalled a lot, he just never talks much and it was probably more entertaining to watch us stumble through it.

I wish I could speak Spanish. I know what I’ve learned in class. I can understand a little when people talk and I can usually pick up the gist of things if I’m reading. My aunt used to speak to me a little in Spanish as I grew up,  she’d say the names of objects and sing in Spanish, and there was some phrase she always said about going to a dance, but she had four children who were not interested  in learning it so she didn’t teach it to me or any of the grandkids. One of her grandchildren is majoring in it and he’s like in Spanish 23 or something ridiculous and is supposed to be fluent but no one in our family has actually heard him speak it. But I like trying to talk to her in Spanish, she gets so excited whenever I get anything right and then she gets into it and starts rattling off Spanish and I try to figure  it out, and then she gets excited again whenever I do.  

Today we were doing alright. Then my mom got to dificil and she couldn’t say it . She was determined and we must have spent close to at least twenty or thirty minutes on it. She kept trying but it’s like a lot of words in English.  The most memorable one is cinnamon apples, but there are lots of them. Integrated is another. She just can’t get them right. The only way she can say words like those is if she breaks them up and slowly goes over each part. So she could say de fi sil but all together it came out defyiseal. I’d get it right half the time and butcher it the rest and then my aunt would say listen to Nicole and I’d do it wrong and my mom would copy that. Then my aunt would hear us say it so many times that she got confused and would have to pause before she could say it right. We stopped for a minute then my mom tried again and aunt looked at her and said, “Safety seal?” We stopped being productive around this time. We just kept saying the word, then trying to move on but coming back to it. Saying it over and over and confusing each other and laughing all the way through it. Somewhere along the line my uncle fell asleep but we just carried on, cackling over pronunciation and laughing over the words we couldn’t figure out.

My aunt grew up speaking Spanish but got c’s in her classes. She says the sheet my mom had to study, like her class was thought of by white people, or those trying to teach American Spanish. She just kept saying everything how she was raised to. That’s a stubborn side of her I’ve never really seen though I’ve heard the story several times.

As I was leaving and we hugged she told me as she always does to be a good girl. And she also watches as I walk out the door and she stays at the window just like she did when I was little, watching until I drive away, I used to make faces and she’d wave and make them back.

So I’m not sure I improved any at Spanish today but I could translate most of the page and it was one of the most entertaining lessons I had.

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