I left my previous post with the final thought that we had one week to pack up our 3700 square foot house and move it into an 1800 square foot house. An interesting enterprise, to be sure, made all the more difficult by the fact that our new home was absolutely disgusting. There were cobwebs hanging from the ceilings, between the blinds, and in between the panes of the windows. There was even an empty bird’s nest inside one of the windows! The blinds had years’ worth of build up on them. Dust bunnies littered the floors. Bathroom drawers sported stray hairs and long-forgotten fingernail clippings. The place literally smelled like something had died and been left to rot.
I stood in the middle of my new home, fighting the urge to flee, or at least to vomit, and thought, What have we done?
You see, when we took our little tour, the electricity was turned off, so we weren’t able to see the dirt and grime that had built up. And the smell wasn’t there. I swear. The smell. was. not. there.
Regardless,we just assumed that any cleaning that needed to be done would be taken care of before we moved in. That’s what landlords do, right?
So, here I stood in my new home, afraid to touch anything, not sure where to start, fearing that anything we moved into the house would be contaminated by God-only-knew-what.
Ultimately, I cried, “uncle,” and called the landlord. I explained the level of awfulness and asked that they have someone come clean. Which they did. Which made the house clean enough that I could at least stand to set foot in it. But it was still really gross.
I thank God frequently for my wonderful mother-in-law, but this was a time in my life when she came through like never before (well, except maybe when she hopped on a plane and moved into my house for a month, so that she could take care of my kids, my husband, and my home while I was in the hospital on bedrest.) She and my father-in-law drove all the way from southern Alabama to help with the move – unasked – and, when she saw the filth in the house, she got to work. While I wiped down shelves and cleaned out drawers, she mopped and re-mopped the floors, drying them by hand to get up still more dirt. As I put down shelf liners and slowly began to unpack boxes, she packed up the old house or watched four-year-old Boo, or both. After working all day on one of my homes or the other, she made dinner for our family and had it ready and waiting at just the right time.
That woman is amazing.
Between removing the bird’s nest and using copious amounts of Pine Sol, plus burning Scentsy warmers for hours on end, the smell finally dissipated. The rest is a work in progress. Last weekend, I cleaned the kitchen window and had to repeat the process three times before the cloth came back clean. Removing the built-up grime on those blinds took a solid hour of scrubbing. Soon, I’ll tackle the windows and blinds in the family room. With any luck, by the time the baby arrives in February, I’ll feel like any dirt that exists in the house is, at least, our family’s dirt.
Regardless, in those first five days, we turned the grossest-house-ever into the-house-whose-floors-I-still-don’t-want-the-kids-rolling-around-on-but-at-least-I-don’t-feel-like-we-have-to-wear-our-shoes-in-the-house.
And that was one hell of an accomplishment.
But did I mention the yard?