Friday, August 31, 2007

Cleaning frenzy

Cathy has just started going back to school. No classes with kids yet, just the usual pre-school stuff that teachers have to go through each year. As you can imagine, it's filling her with unbelievable joy. Then again, she was starting to go a little crazy. The previous 10 days involved either boredom or completely gutting the apartment. So I think she's actually a touch happy to be back in school.

I’m did my small part in the gutting of the Chateau, but let us be honest, it was mostly Hurricane Cathy tearing through the place. After being away for the better part of seven weeks, she came back and declared that a purging of the place was necessary. For the record, I’m behaving like FEMA during Katrina – staying out of the way until the cries for help become too desperate, and angry, to ignore.

First up were the closets. We had new clothing from our recent adventures down south. Since we have limited space, things had to go. So about seven bags (admittedly small bags) of clothing were donated to a shelter. Two boxes full of magazines went out to the trash. Several boxes of food that we’ve horribly over-ordered on in previous sealifts have been donated to a food bank. I guess we really didn’t need quite that many cans of corn or that much instant soup.

Hell, even the DVDs have been organized into alphabetical order. I have created a database of what DVDs we have, since it’s getting confusing trying to remember them all. There was a moment when we looked at each other, after having spent the better part of an evening organizing and cataloging our more than 200 movies (we haven't gotten to the TV shows yet) and realized that this was the highlight of our evening.

I think we quietly wept for our total lack of life.

But the final piece was renting the steam cleaner.

I don’t get steam cleaners. Never have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an idiot. I understand what they’re for. I’ve just never understood why people, especially women, seem to love the damn things so much.

The steam cleaner seems to produce a two-pronged effect. The first is the obvious joy that the carpets are now clean. “See how much cleaner they are now that I’ve used the steam cleaner?”

I confess I have rarely, if ever, noticed a difference in the colour or cleanliness of the carpet unless they were truly disgusting in the first place. Sometimes I wonder if steam cleaners actually work or if the entire device is simply a machine that turns water brown and leaves the carpet damp for several hours.

The second reaction is a mixture of glee and revulsion over just how much filth the steam cleaner has sucked from the carpets. “Look at the colour of the water! It’s disgusting!” And never have you heard those words said with such happiness.

I can understand the joy of knowing that filth is no longer in the carpet. However, it’s also been tempered with me by the knowledge that for months, or possibly years, the place was that dirty to begin with. At what point is this knowledge a good thing? Does anybody else get a skin-crawling feeling when looking at that brown water? I like to think I’m a reasonably tidy person, but looking at the water from a steam cleaner makes me feel like I’ve been living a dirt bag for months.

Anyway, the apartment is now in spic and span shape. It is clean, organized and less cluttered than before. It won’t last, of course. But for right now, the little place is about as good as it gets.


Kara and Matt said...

You two want to come and do my place next? No carpet, but I am sure I could find other things that need to be cleaned!

Anonymous said...

Well Craig! I sat down to read the blogs, after spending the afternoon steam cleaning the downstairs carpet. Yes really! It's my wife's birthday, and she wanted, yes you've guessed it, a STEAM CLEANER! I didn't think it was a very romantic gift but she was thrilled, and spent yesterday afternoon doing the upstairs carpets.

Today, at her behest, I had to experience the same joy. I can't say it had the same effect on me. It was too much like hard work for a sunday. It smells pretty good in here now though, and the carpets do look nice and clean.

I must say though, the coincidence between your blog posting and my weekend is rather spooky!