Ahhhh… it’s moving day. Again. Quelle Surprise!
Himself, Toddler (Formerly known as Baby) and Dog have whizzed off in the car.
I say whizzed, they’re behind the removals lorry, so it was more of a bumble.
After the huge fuss of, “Byeeeee,” ’s, “See you soon.”’s and “Love you!” ’s that were exchanged on their departure I had gone inside and returned to the front garden ten minutes later with some rubbish to see them still indicating to turn left behind the lorry that was now having trouble manoeuvring around the sharp corner at the top of the road.
“Byeeeee!”, “Love you!”
Ok. Go now.
This march out was going to be very different. I wasn’t going to the next quarter … yet. I was doing my very first march out clean.
I’m not even going to begin to explain why. Lets just say the idea started with too much Prosecco and ended with too much pride.
Closing the front door of our Puddle* quarter I stood in the living room and marvelled at the silence. Blissful.
The silence and the DIRT. My goodness, for someone who waxes lyrical in most posts about her obsession with Shake ’n Vac and calls herself a housewife!
Dog’s hair, His hair, my hair, the stickiness, the cobwebs, the scuff marks, the grease, the dust.
Echoing room after echoing room my ‘to do’ list grew.
Sitting at the bottom of our stair case I pulled out the most important piece of my cleaning equipment, Himself’s hip flask, and began procrastinating.
After procrastinating by topping up the hip flask (with very old, left over rum that wasn’t worth packing that had come with strict instructions to ONLY be used in emergencies), eating half a chicken and bacon sandwich, e-mailing my mother in South Africa and checking the weather forecast in Croatia I stood up, selected an empowering Whitney Houston playlist and marched up the stairs with a steam cleaner, four cans of furniture polish, dust cloths, bleach, a hoover, eight scouring pads, a step ladder, a bucket, a feather duster, a french maid outfit … Sorry, sorry, wrong post, and began in the smallest bedroom to the opening bars of, “I Will Always Love You.”
For 36 out of the 48 hours that I had given myself to complete this task I ate the other half of the chicken and bacon sandwich, discovered a hair dye stain (mahogany brown) on our bedroom carpet that I had hidden from Himself with a well placed rug, wiped down walls, dusted light fittings, door frames and skirting boards. Choreographed ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’ Scrubbed window frames, mopped ceilings, scraped the grouting, polished mirrors, bleached toilets, de-fluffed air vents and radiators. Emptied 5 tubes of Shake ’n Vac – Lilly of the Valley. Couldn’t breathe. Went to the shop looking for a hip flask re-fill, finding out the hard way that Prosecco doesn’t work in this case. This is the only case. Too many bubbles, not enough time.
Hoovered the same carpets a hundred and thirty eight times. Waaaaay too much Shake ’n Vac.
Filled picture hook holes with polyfiller and newspaper (naughty!) Painted over them with Magnolia coloured paint – Satin, not the free tester pot Matte. I washed windows, watched it rain, washed windows again, buffed taps and scoured plug holes.
Look, I’m not going to lie, you’re supposed to wash and iron ALL of the curtains. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Fabreze’d the curtains, swabbed the floors, baby-sat the neighbours kids, erased the scuff marks on the walls, picked at a toffee that had melted under the fridge for twelve months, burned a million calories and four hours of my life scrubbing the oven to mirror reflecting standards. Did a wee. Buffed the letterbox, mopped the porch entrance. Swept out the garage, sprayed the bins, broke a dimmer switch. Buried a dimmer switch in the far corner of the back garden.
I was just piling the last of empty furniture polish tins and twenty three soaking, blackened polishing cloths onto a pile in the front garden when the housing officer arrived at 12:30.
I knew he was going to be a little pickle when he smirked upon seeing me, a spouse. A spouse who had thought she could achieve a march out cleaning ‘pass’ to the same exacting standards as the MOD contracted company that he worked for. The company that had quoted £380 to manage the march out clean.
In all honesty, he could have smirked because I looked, and probably smelt, appalling.
He could have smirked due to a medically confirmed condition.
Maybe he was remembering the god awful fart that had escaped him that morning at the breakfast table and successfully convinced the Sheself that it was the dog.
Strolling through the kitchen, in blue plastic shoe covers, opening all of the cupboards and the oven he slid a pristine white glove over his pale, clammy hand (I’m being bitter now, I have no evidence that it was clammy. Git) and whisked his finger tips delicately over their surfaces.
“Fail!” He announced, delightedly.
He practically danced on the spot as he pointed at a dog hair in a cupboard and a spot of carbon on the the grill elements.
Parading around the house with a clipboard he swiped at the walls, door frames and window hinges. Licking the floors, the toilet bowls and the window sills, ticking little boxes each time.
“I’ll be back in an hour.” He says sternly to me.
I look at him blankly.
“You have an hour to sort this place out.”
“My train leaves in an hour,” I squeak.
“Shall I put you down for a full house clean then… £380.00 was it?”
He left. Pinching the bridge of my nose in an attempt not to cry, I fumble through the pile in the front garden, searching for a clean-ish cloth. Nothing.
Standing in the middle of the house with the check list of things that need rectifying I begin removing items of clothing.
As I chuck my now sodden jumper and my ONLY pair of socks onto the pile of fabrics that have now cleaned the quarter he reverses back into the driveway, his hazards flashing with an air of importance.
He smirks. This time is is definitely because I am now barefoot, in a t-shirt, in the middle of February on the Scottish border.
I am sitting on a Virgin train bound for middle England, seat 40E, it is an aisle seat.
I had made it with 90 seconds to spare.
I am still enveloped in a dust ridden t-shirt, a pair of black and white aztec print trousers. They are tucked into a pair of brown suede boots.
My hair is scraped back into a top knot, my hairline has allowed for a large, natural bald spot to appear on the left hand side of my head. I have absolutely no make up on, bags under my eyes and three huge spots on my chin. I am not exaggerating, they are huge and throbbing.
My dry, cracked hands clasp a miniature bottle of Rosė and a plastic cup of ice from the catering trolley. My March Out paper stamped with a ‘Pass’ is clamped between my lips.
I must look incredibly attractive to the majority of the bold, loud suits that surround me as we whizz through the snow laden countryside in the dying light of the end of winter.
The young girl next to me is pretending that she is not next to me. She has plugged herself into her phone and drifted off into a very disappointed sleep.
To be fair to her, I am trying to avoid eye contact with anyone if I can help it.
I had smiled at the young man on the opposite side of the aisle when he had caught my eye as he unwrapped his cheese and ham panini. Forgetting my appearance i had mouthed, in my usual candidly social manner, that it looked incredibly yummy. I think … no, I know, he thought that I wanted him to give me the panini. He had glanced apologetically at the sandwich and then at me and went ahead and ate it while awkwardly staring out of the window and taking a very fake phone call.
It was as I was remembering that I wasn’t wearing any socks that a passenger approached from the end of the carriage on her way to the toilets. Discreetly placing a pound coin on my table and patted my shoulder as she continued past.
A few hours later and I am curled achingly on our sofa in our new quarter, my dry cracked hands clasping a cheese laden slice of pizza and a sparkling flute of Prosecco.
I am watching Himself pack his kit up. He is off to Spain.
For a while.
Until next time xoxo
*Puddle. Not its actual name. Not an actual village. Villages have pubs. There is no pub.