Sunday, 23 June 2013

Squeaky clean


This week I survived the scrupulous eye of the 'on-site inspection manager'. A heavily perfumed lady, dispatched by our relocation firm, who came to check out our appartment.

Not only did she personally inspect every nook and cranny of our living quarters, to see if there was any (hidden) damage, or - God forbid - grime, she was also sent round the representatives of two cleaning firms to give us a quote. And she demanded that I stayed home for this ordeal. I desperately tried to leave her a key somewhere, but she was having non of it.
Although I hastely removed dirty underwear, stinking bathmaths, wet towels, at least ten pairs of shoes, old newspapers and children's bicycles from our living room before the cleaning experts were to arrive, I still wasn't very confident that the appartment would pass the test.
The inspection lady, Diane, is the first to arrive. Within ten minutes she manages to show me spots, marks and dents that I have never noticed before. She strongly feels the entrance of our kitchen could do with one or two coats of paint to get rid of black fingermarks and she turns out to be very worried about a weird stain on the tiled floor, that surely wasn't there last time I checked.
Diane clearly is also very unimpressed with the way that I clean the fifty or so square meters of windows, whereas I am actually still really pleased with myself for actually having cleaned them at all, albeit only once in the two years we have been living in the appartment.
 'Children', I offer by way of and excuse for the myriad of fingermarks that cover the omnipresent glass.  'I know all about that', she replies with a halfhearted smile . But clearly she doesn't. Her children are probably extremely well behaved as all Swiss children seem to be. They tidy their rooms without being asked, never spill there food and always take of their shoes before entering the house.
Although having Diane around is akward enough,  the real embarassment doesn't start until cleaning expert number one starts having a nosey. He opens cupboards and drawers, lifts toilet seats and manages to just about catch a jumble of clothes that I had only stuffed in that very morning.
Cleaning expert number two takes the whole inspection saga a very unwelcome step further by scraping dirt from the inside of my oven with his bare hands. They come out black (now there is a surprise), so I hastily provide soap and a towel. Both of which he politely refuses, since he first needs to check my extractor fan. Again with his bare hands.
Oh dear. The good thing though is that my landlady is never going to see the greasy smears in my kitchen. Before you are even allowed to move house in Switzerland a professional cleaning company comes in to dettol the whole place. I bet those cleaning guys will provide quotes for at least a couple of thousand Swiss franks to make my house look all shiny and new.
If truth be told, I love a clean and tidy house. I positively thrive in a sparkling clean and visualy calm space. I don't even mind to thouroughly spring clean to get the house in it's desired state; it is the maintaining of the afore mentioned state that I struggle with. A cleaning lady would actually be fantastic. Except for the fact that every cleaning lady that ever worked for me, walked all over me and more or less stopped cleaning after they found out what a pushover I am. 
So after moving to the Netherlands, this is what I'll do. Instead of inviting potential cleaners to come round my messy house where I will sit looking scruffy and a bit overwhelmed, I will spring clean for three days before I even let them come near my house. 'This is how I like it', is all I am going to say, looking immaculate and I guess, a little smug. Hopefully I will find someone, preferably born and raised in squeaky clean Switzerland, to take the bait.