I live in an apartment where the previous occupants must never have cleaned. It is easy to draw this conclusion based on the grime covering nearly everything, the sort of grime that requires years to accumulate. Now, I completely accept that I am tidier than a lot of people. I have higher standards than others when it comes to dust and whatnot. I do not say this with any sense of superiority, but only to point out that I know I am pickier than a lot of people. But seriously, the filth in this apartment takes the cake. Even Boyfriend, who probably dusts twice a year, has been appalled at just how disgustingly filthy this place is.
Getting the apartment clean, and getting us unpacked and settled has been slow going. As we have moved in, we have had to clean each place before putting anything away. We left the rugs for each room for last. The floors were so grimy the mop would catch on the goo in the first couple of runs over it. Vacuum, then mop, rinse, mop, rinse, mop, rinse, sometimes six or seven times before we would get to clean wood. Needless to say it has been slow going.
The windows easily qualify as the most dirty part of the apartment. The outsides were so unclean, it was difficult to see through them near the edges. The sills inside were so black with grime and filth that rags used to wipe them would be completely black. I don’t mean a bit of dirt, but actually black as if they had been wiped through soot.
The other day I set out to try and clean these windows. We had wiped down the inside in an effort to allow some natural light, but the outsides were so disgustingly filthy, with streaks of black grime, that every day appeared to be cloudy, even in bright sun.
We live on the fourth floor. The windows in our bedroom are next to a fire escape, so I figured I could climb out there, although the prospect was not exactly appealing. The living room windows, however, were another matter. There is nothing between them and the cement below except air. I decided I would reach outside with a mop and keep at it. I did this, bringing the mop in every few seconds to rinse the soot-like blackness from the mop’s edge. Then I reached out and up as far as I could in an effort to remove some of the streakiness. The result was far from perfect, but a vast improvement.
In the meantime, Boyfriend had gone down to the basement to dump some recycling, then to the mailbox to pick up our mail. He was gone a bit longer than I would have expected, but I was busy and did not really pay much attention. A few minutes later, he came into the apartment, walked into the living room, and popped the bottom window down, exposing the outer face. He then clicked some buttons on the top pane and lowered it. Voilà! Access to the outside of the windows!
It turns out he met a neighbor while checking the mail, a nice man who had welcomed us to the building the day we were moving in. He saw Boyfriend and asked him how we were settling in. Boyfriend mentioned the windows and wondered aloud whether the management company ever cleaned the outside, and the neighbor showed him how we could do it ourselves.
We are finally settlling in for real. The windows in the living room and our bedroom are so clean, you can’t tell there is glass there. Milla’s room and the kitchen are on slate for this week. Curtains are up in the living room and our bedroom as well. The rugs are on the floor. There are only three boxes left, two of which are full of donation items we’re trying to figure out how to get rid of. Overall, it seems our little home is coming together.