Thursday, August 29, 2013

coming clean

One of the side effects to the spate of break-ins this spring was that there were a lot people in my house.  Obviously, that's implied in the name of the crime, but not just the thief.  My host family, neighbors and the police also spent a lot of time in my house, which was... messy.  Yeah, let's go with messy.  It sounds better than shitstorm.

I am not naturally a tidy or organized person.  I like living in a clean space, but actually cleaning is really boring and there are all sorts of storage issues in my apartment (mainly, there's not any) and yeah, basically, the only times my apartment has been properly clean since I moved in a year and half ago has been when I've had someone spending the night, and even then, I tend to toss all the random crap from my living room into my bedroom and shut the door, so my bedroom is always especially messy. 

After the first break-in, when it took me forever to determine what had been taken since I couldn’t tell if something was missing or just lost in the clutter, I started (slowly) unfucking my habitat, one room at the time.  (I spent the week before the second break-in taking everything out of my kitchen and scrubbing all the things.  Progress was being made!)  It's not like I can't take care of my house; I just don't, and normally I don't really care, but it was a bit embarrassing when all of a sudden, my trashed-out house was full of Moroccan housewives judging me.

The evening after the second break-in, my downstairs neighbors came to check on me and said she would come over the next day to move some furniture.  Or something.  I don’t know, it was in Arabic and it was late, which isn’t a great combination for comprehension.

The next afternoon, she knocked on my door and asked, “Do you have a rag to scrub the floor with?" as soon as I opened the door.

"Um, I have a squeegee?" I told her. 

She sent her son to go find a rag and the appropriate buckets (mine weren't the right size?), and told me she was going to clean my bedroom.

"That's okay," I assured her.  "You really don't have to," I said, but she didn't listen, and over the next two hours, her son, one of her daughters and she picked up all the crap in my bedroom (which involved her eleven year old son holding a bunch of my dirty underwear *facepalm*), threw away all the trash (which involved me running after them saying, “No wait, that’s not trash.”), removed the rug so she could scrub the floor by hand (which I have never done and, let’s be honest, will never do) and rearranged the furniture (I'm not sure why).  Then she took all the furniture out of my living room so she could mop that floor.  (I'd like to point out that my living room was actually clean.  Okay, so I had thrown most of the junk into my bedroom.  And I hadn’t mopped it in ages, but it was clean, dammit.)  Then she moved on to the kitchen, which as previously mentioned, actually was clean.  (Also, there were a half dozen liquor bottles hidden in the corner by my dishes and I REALLY couldn't let her see those, so as she mopped my kitchen floor, I wedged myself in the corner and bodily blocked my shame.)

Three hours later, my apartment had been cleaned from floor the ceiling.  It was simultaneously incredible kind because the mess, especially the bedroom, was overwhelming, but also incredible embarrassing because she was, in the kindest way possible, judging the hell out of me.  I had to keep excusing myself to another room so I could claw at my hair and wish I could call someone to flail at. 

I spent the next two weeks going through my now clean apartment and actually organizing everything.  I threw away a bunch more stuff, shoved even more stuff in my suitcase to deal with when I leave and finally hung up some artwork (okay, cut-up calendars) in my bedroom.  I also tackled (and conquered) the absolute mountain of dirty laundry (and when you have to wash it by hand in a bucket with a washboard, laundry takes a bit longer), and by the end of June, my apartment was well and truly clean for the first time possible ever.

That was two months ago (almost three, if you count from the original cleaning date) and my apartment is still clean.  I mean, I haven’t mopped the floors and I’ve only washed my sheets once, so it isn’t clean by my neighbor’s standards, but I wake up every morning to a clean kitchen, a clutter free living room and I sweep my floors every other day (thank you, dust storms), which is pretty damn spotless by my standards.

Maybe I’m finally maturing?

Anyways, now that I no longer have to ashamed of people seeing my apartment, here's a tour of my house.

The video’s actually from the end of June (I’ve been meaning to make this post for a while).  Since then, I’ve bought a fan and my wall of cards has turned the corner and is marching towards the next window.

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