a little cameo

Life in Colombia and everything that goes with it

An awkward evening

Today was move-in day to our new apartment.

The excitement of the day was quickly dashed when we landed in a filthy dirty apartment where it was clear that even the floors hadn’t been swept. We had half expected this to happen given the state it was in two evenings earlier, but it was still mighty disappointing.

Adding to our frustration, Alicia, the professional cleaner we had asked to come and do a comprehensive clean with her team said our apartment should be immaculate when we move in and was telling us about our rights. She also said it would cost $600 to clean. This amount seemed a little exorbitant, but there was five odd years of grime and dust caked all over the place.

Dusty fans

The fans hadn’t been dusted in forever and the carpets hadn’t even been vacuumed properly. Shelves had dust piled up on them and the bathroom doors hadn’t been swept behind. Not to mention a really bizarre patch of hairs stuck to the wall above the bathroom door. And let’s not mention the balconies (yes, plural, we have two tiny balconies with fantastic views), alth0ugh I do want to mention the pair of spy binoculars left out on the loft balcony. That was kinda creepy.

The loft needs a wipe

We called our landlord, who turned up somewhat unexpectedly not long after. He asked us to point out what needed doing and then said he didn’t like the start we’d gotten off to and was offering us the option to back out of the lease. Which is not what we wanted. We just wanted to have a clean start, I mean we were prepared to do some cleaning of things to our own standards, but just not a whole apartment.

I felt sick. I don’t like confrontation and I didn’t want us to be getting off onto a bad start. Our landlord said he would see if someone would come and do the bits and pieces we’d discussed that day. So we moved a few things and then decided we would at least clean our wardrobes out so we could unpack. This made the sick feeling go away.

None of this was ours...

The landlord called to say someone would be coming around to clean at 7pm. We joked that it would be him rocking up, and we needn’t have, because that’s exactly what happened. He came in, alone, wearing rubber gloves and singing along to his iPod saying “I’m going to put Alicia out of business” with a little showbiz kind of turn.

It was one of the most awkward 2.5 hours of my life. We sat around on our computers throwing meaningful looks at each other, while he got down on his hands and knees to give the skirting boards a wipe. We emailed each other in order to communicate. I felt a combination of annoyance, pity and violation.

Eventually he left, saying he’d be back in 2 days to clean up the balconies. Some things on our list had been done, but others like cleaning out the kitchen and bathroom cupboards and mopping the floors didn’t even get touched. So after he left, Gin and I got busy in the bathrooms and kitchen, using up half a 1L bottle of 4-in-1 cleaner in the process.

Tomorrow morning we have steam cleaners coming in, at our request and expense, to clean the carpets properly. Gin had thrown all the curtains in the wash earlier in the afternoon too as a way to rid the place of a stale cigarette smell. I think after tomorrow, things will be a whole lot nicer, more homely and definitely cleaner. So here’s cheers to a truckload of cleaning products and a bit of elbow grease. Happy housewarming.

PS Other than the general lack of cleanliness, our apartment is Amazing. With a capital A. And we Love it. With a capital L.

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