My mother had to leave town to go take care of her sick mother in our hometown, while I stayed back with my dad to look after my grandfather who stays with us. I have been holding fort for a little less than a week now, with my mom away. My father takes care of coffee early morning, because I cannot make half as good filter coffee as my mom, and my grandfather will not settle for any less. Then I take over, my father's lunch box has to be made, there's water to be collected, laundry to be done, and cooking. All morning, my granddad has to be given his light breakfast, milk, etc. interspersed with a zillion medications all at the right times. I always thought I had done a pretty good job cooking and taking care of my house as a student for the past six years. But when a house has to be run keeping in mind the preferences, habits and activities of people other than oneself, it's not that simple any more. I never realized what a pain it is to cook without running water. I had no clue how frustrating it was to run a single load of laundry in the washing machine with several intermittent power outages, and very limited space to then dry those clothes. I simply cannot tolerate my mother's maid, her skipping work every alternate day, her slipshod jobs, and her brazenness in the face of it all. I don't know how my mom figured out how to exactly cook to match my grandpa's tastes, it is quite a mystery to me. My grandfather was once the supervisor of catering services in the railways. Needless to say, he is very exacting in terms of how food has to be cooked and let alone the sabzis I make, even the rice I cook does not match up to his expectations. My aunt lives down the street from us and has been sending some food across as "back-up plans" to my cooking, which I resort to unfailingly.
My mom returns today. Her welcome back gift from me is a clean house, an empty laundry basket and the dinner cooked for tonight. And of course loads of appreciation. I have no clue how you do it mom, I'm glad you're back, please take over now! :p