slumberhouse NORNE

Guadalupe screamed at me from the bathroom, “ROSA! ROSA! Joo need a chower!”

I pay this woman $140 for 3 hours every two weeks to clean my studio apartment and to remind me that I need to clean myself as well.

She’s caught on to the clues that I haven’t bathed: the deodorant that’s been sitting on the bathroom shelf for weeks – lid off but protective film strip still on, the hair-drawing-less subway tiles, the missing soap scraps, the unused Lush glitter bath bombs.

“Joo reach enough, Rosa. Pay jor water beel.”

She’s caught on to the fact that I’ve been wearing perfume. I answered the door this morning to, “Joo smell like el bosque.”

“What’s ‘el bosque’?” “It’s what joo smell like.”

Guadalupe calls me the Spanish version of my middle name – something I never requested. It started the first week: I wrote her a check and gave it to her. She took it, looked at it, and asked me for cash instead. My full name is on the check. At that point, she chose which part of it she’d use.

Today when I gave Guadalupe her cash, she told me my bathroom mirror was completely covered in flecks of food. Flossing has been a goal of mine. My dentist hygienist said I need to “floss like a boss” and it’s a habit I’ve been working hard to develop. I did a good job this morning, I must say.

Guadalupe thought I had taken down the mirror and put up a Pollock. I laughed until my bladder couldn’t handle it. I had to excuse myself to go the bathroom. The references that woman makes sometimes surprises me.”Flosseen is good for joo, Rosa. I watched a bideo.” (Guadalupe also cleans at the dentist office I go to. That’s how we met.)

She scraped the food particles off with the razor blade she found on top of her “tip.” I always leave my blades on top of large bills. It inspires me to make money. My bad I guess. I’ve been trying to quit anyway.

“Qweet flosseen o qweet teepeen?” “Tipping.” “No, no, no!” “Alright, alright. You’re worth the occasional nosebleed.” “Las rosas son rojas.”

One of the things the hygienist suggested was to pair flossing with a habit that was already developed. I’m going to ease into flossing by doing it every two weeks – every time Guadalupe comes over. She can keep her “tip.”

This is going to turn into a very expensive habit.

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