Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Picasso meets Putzfrau*

Saturday morning I had to go to school.

I foolishly volunteered to help with the 'renovation' of Jasmine's classroom**.

Fortunately it wasn't a hideously early start, only 11am, but I can think of pleasanter ways to spend a weekend morning.

The majority of the classrooms 'belong' to a class for three years, so it seems to be the thing for the class to put their stamp on the room, a sweet idea, but then the incoming class has to either live with the bileous yellow and slime green of the outgoing class or nag their teacher/parents into doing something about it.

The children were allowed to choose the colour that we had to paint (they weren't allowed to help) which is why I guess we ended up painting over bileous yellow (the vomity green was allowed to stay as it was only on one wall and most of that wall is window).

But just because the children had the choice didn't mean the parents were silent on the matter.

Oh no, these are German parents, they have a (very vocal) opinion about everything. The emails were quite amusing (that's if I understood them correctly!) One mother was concerned that the 'mint' colour favoured by the children was rather 'psychedilic' when combined with the blue floor. Then there was the mother who invoked the F word, feng shui...she was ok with the light blue and mint suggested by the children, but thought that maybe lilac could be introduced as well. She was keen however to retain the existing bileous yellow because "Feng shui experts say that yellow represents the earth and thus generates heat and a feeling of home"...The next mother to email the group pooh poohed both Fung shui and psychodelic concerns, stating clearly (and concisely, shall have to try and befriend her) that surely as the children get to spend most of the time there, then as long as they are happy with the colour choice, fine.

So after weeks of debate finally it was the day of reckonning and everyone turned up in appropriate clothing (I had wisely taken the precaution of buying a disposable overall, having used them before when I painted the kitchen, others had 'proper' work overalls) apart from the one mom who seemed to think a pink fluffy sweater, jeans and Uggs were ideal. The tasks soon became divided by sexuality, as the women took to cleaning windows and the men to unscrewing stuff and filling in holes, afterall the surfaces have to be prepared before the child friendly colours can be applied.

I'm not sure when, or even if, the windows were last cleaned but the dirt on the frames was so ingrained that it could only be shifted by special sponge style dirt erasers, I managed to drop one out of the window, oops (we were on the second floor, that didn't get retrieved) and with three huge windows to clean we got through two packs of six of these fancy erasers. By the time we had finished the windows the menfolk had taken over the painting and the first coat was done.

I was there for two hours, long enough to have done my bit and certainly long enough for my slothenly weekend inclinations, wont have to do that again anyway!

* Putzfrau = cleaning lady
** bear this in mind the next time you're complaining about the cuts in education, bet you don't have to clean and paint your kid's classroom?

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