Saturday, January 31, 2004

Fie, Plumbers, Fie!

I spent nine hours cleaning my apartment today.

Okay, that's a big lie; let's try again...

Nine hours elapsed between the time I started cleaning my apartment today and the time I finished. In between I converted a tape to CD, instant messaged quite a bit, ran to the store to buy a new mop (which I suppose counts as part of the cleaning process), ate an entire box of Entenmann's oatmeal raisin cookies (purchased along with the mop), wrote half of my next blog post, went to the gym (necessary after the cookies), and complained to anyone who'd listen about how long it was taking me to clean.

Still, I had to mop the living room and bathroom floors three times each to get up all the plaster dust left by the plumbers, and then I Swiffered (actually Clorox ReadyMopped, but that doesn't make a good verb) for good measure. Since I was too exhausted to clean up right away last night when I got home like I should have, the dust had been tracked onto the couch, and somehow my desk chair (which I don't tend put my feet on) so I spray cleaned the fabric there. The grit in my kitchen sink (lord knows what that even is or why it's there, as all the work was being done in the bathroom) fought me for half an hour, moving around the basin with great tenacity, before I finally got it all down the drain (where it will no doubt clog the pipes, requiring more plumbers -- let's hope it screws things up for my downstairs neighbors, whose leaky ceiling caused all this mess in the first place). There was plaster (not dust, actual hardened plaster) in a bowl -- one of my favorites and the last one from a set that has all been broken over the years. What the hell? I get that this apartment belongs to someone else, but all the stuff in it is mine, and my monthly rent check entitles me to a useable shower and toxin-free floors, and I just wish these people had had some respect. I also wish I'd known they were coming back -- I knew some work was being done on Thursday and had at least been able to move everything from on, around, and under my bathroom sink, but I didn't know there was a second round coming Friday and so I put everything away!

Any solace I'd found in knowing that I really ought to be cleaning anyway (as proven by the many things besides plaster dust I swept up, including a month's worth of sand and salt tracked in from the slushy streets) went out the window the first time I changed the water in the mop bucket. I may be messy, but I never leave anything on the floor that can't be picked up in one round.

The silver lining of a new bathroom floor has also faded to black. The old floor was made of dingy, closely-spaced hexagonal tiles, and what I never realized before was how well it hid dirt. I suppose to an outsider it looked dirty even when it was clean, but to me, knowing it had this effect, it looked clean even when it was dirty. The new tiles are blindingly white, with fairly large grouty spaces between them, and now I know that any tiny speck of dirt on them is all mine. Even as I cleaned the dust up, I watched in horror as the mop shed little black bits on it. I dread the mildew that is sure to form between the tiles no matter what I do. Why anyone in New York City would want anything white is completely beyond me.

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