A clean break

DD and I are bloody exhausted. We should be: we have been cleaning her new basement suite from top to bottom for the past three days. And there is still some more to do.

The problem may be that the previous tenant did not clean. Or perhaps the tenant before him did not clean, as we were told that he hadn’t actually lived there very long before moving on. Or else the landlady’s cleanliness standards are not terribly high, so she always thinks that the suite is just fine as is and hasn’t ever required any previous tenant to clean properly before leaving. Or maybe, since the suite is in a basement of a house that was constructed in the 1940s or even before that, the nature of such a basement is that it just is somewhat dirty. Or quite possibly, DD and I have incredibly high expectations in terms of cleanliness so absolutely nothing would suffice in our lofty opinions.

All of the above are likely scenarios.

When we first came to look at the place, it was extremely cluttered with the current tennant’s clothing and possessions. Even the landlady seemed to be rather astonished that it was so messy. It was hard to tell what shape the actual apartment was in, with all that stuff everywhere. And it was rather dark, even considering that it’s a basement (honestly, you really can use higher than 15 watt lightbulbs in most light fixtures!). Still, DD loved the location, it’s a good size for one person, and there’s an actual (if minuscule) kitchen, complete with a full-sized dishwasher, instead of the tiny bar fridge and hotplate that are often found in basement suites. The price wasn’t too bad, considering that it’s fully furnished and equipped, so she pulled out her chequebook and handed the landlady a deposit for half a month’s rent.

And since she took possession on the first of the month, we have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned some more. We had to move a lot of furniture and vacuum up what looked like years of dirt. We thoroughly cleaned the fridge, washed every single dish and utensil in the kitchen, and scrubbed every cabinet inside and out with disinfectant. We did the same in the bathroom. We wiped down or dusted every surface we could everywhere in the place. We disinfected all doorknobs and light switches. We washed windows, for heaven’s sake!

The floor in the suite is that old-fashioned, uneven cement that is typical in older homes. Fortunately, the basement is of normal height; many houses of that vintage have only six-foot basement ceilings, rather than the eight-foot that we are now used to, but this one does not. (If it had I doubt DD would have taken the suite. I know I would have tried to talk her out of it!) This cement floor is mostly covered by various types of carpets, often three or four layers, for some reason. It looks tacky, and DD has decided that she cannot live with it like that, so we are pulling them all up, vacuuming underneath and in all corners, and rearranging them (the ones in good condition, at least) so it looks better. I even bought a sizeable black area rug for DD’s bedroom, to replace the three different area rugs currently in there.

This is all a very big job. And it also goes to show that the landlady really hasn’t paid much attention to that suite in years. Oh, she’s very nice and has immediately sorted anything that DD has mentioned to her (like the broken lampshade, the other lamp that doesn’t work at all, the door that is very persnickety to lock …), but it would have been much better if she actually kept on top of things the whole time she’s rented that suite out. We have already thrown out two garbage bags of broken things and stuff like old tape or expired foods, and we know that it doesn’t matter because she honestly has no idea what is actually in that suite. All I know is that I want DD to start out with a nice clean, functional place. What she does with it after that is totally up to her – but I doubt she would ever let it get to the state it was in when she took possession of it. I’ve trained her far too well!

Another thing that DD has spoken to the landlady about is the hide-a-bed couch. It is a behemoth, probably thirty years old, and it is not in good shape. It is stained and smelly and not very comfortable any more. DD showed the stains to her, and said that first of all, it was far too big for the space, second of all, it was well past its prime, and third of all, if she could get it out of there, DD would be willing to purchase her own smaller couch that she would take with her when she left. The landlady seemed to take all that quite seriously, and said she’d see what she could do. We’re not sure what that means yet, but time will tell.

Another day or so, and I think we’ll have the place ready for DD to move her clothing and personal stuff in there.

And then she’ll be gone and I’ll be an empty nester … an empty nester with a new aversion to cleaning, no doubt.


6 responses to “A clean break

  1. Um, I wouldn’t mind hiring a cleaning lady….

    • I’ll let you know my availability as soon as I can. You’d be okay with paying my airfare back and forth from Vancouver to Montréal, right?

  2. All I can say, dear, is better thee than me. I got weary just reading your blog item and all that you two had to do to get it shipshape and then I got grossed out by the hideabed couch and I don’t want to know what the stains are. Yes, she should get rid of it. On the other hand, I’m sure she’ll be happy there and you will be free to be you whatever that looks like.

    • I’m now thinking that if this teaching thing doesn’t work out for me, I can always hire myself out as a cleaner. I will charge top dollar, because I now have lots and lots of experience and am VERY, VERY good at it!

  3. It also seems DD is very capable of taking care of, and standing up for. her self.
    The landlady may start charging more rent for an immaculate apartment apartment to the next person.

    But, really —– “a deposit for half a month’s rent.”?!
    I’ve never gotten anyplace for less than 2 month’s deposit – first and last!

    • Maybe that’s a BC thing, half a month’s rent, because every time I have rented a place, that’s what the deposit has been. However, an Ontario resident such as yourself would probably CHOKE if I told you what she’s paying per month, so I guess that’s the trade-off.