Thursday, July 26, 2007

Virtual Tour of My Apartment

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps. The government maintains no official position on the cleanliness or messiness of my apartment.

So I know I mentioned to some of you and in my last post the cleaning spree I went on upon moving into my new place almost three weeks ago. Once again not to take any thing away from the previous tennant or say he had "unclean" living habits, or anything - whatever - as long as he was happy. I'm just posting the before and after photos so you can see the results of my two-weeks work at carpet beating and scrubbing, new toliet seat installing, dusting, and furtiture rearranging - all this to take this place - and make it mine!

this is the opposite side of the front door - you try to get blogger to put your pictures in an order but what can you do?!
Like most Romanian apartments my refrigerator is in the hallway. This was the first thing you saw when you walked in the door.
this is the bedroom
also the bedroom complete with a lot of fake flowers but the door goes to a balcony so I can't complain.

was the living room set up

Ok, it won't let me write where I want, but this was the kitchen. All the dishes were clean when I moved in. Note the broken cabinet doors and the carpet - in the kitchen....

What the hell is this? That's right. This is the painting that was on the wall, painted by my landlord or my landlord's father of a Polar bear eating a guy - look at it closely - if you dare.


And now bask in the cleanliness and the girliness of the way I rearranged things. Notice no halway carpet anymore.

A fresh table cloth in here made a lot of difference. Also I took down those broken cabinet doors.

The kitchen began feeling cleaner as soon as I washed the curtains. The curtain in here doubles as a mosquito net since the kitchen is the only big window without a screen. I'm really lucky to have a kitchen of this size - with counter space. A nice big clean kitchen - complete with plants - makes me happy!

not a lot different in the bedroom other than i moved my stuff in, dusted and made the bed.
my new living room arrangement. This huge carpet, and the smaller carpet in the bedroom are the ones I beat and washed by hand on the balcony. The others - I threw away.

A picture of my computer showing me The Daily Show!

A picture of my incredibly awkward bathroom with half a meter of space between the sink and the washing mashine, and giant pipes with paint peeling off them in the shower. But hey, it works so I'm not complaining. I know there's no before picture to compare the bathroom to, and this is a hard bathroom to clean and have it look clean. I'm not saying the bathroom was dirty when I moved it because it wasn't. I'm saying the toliet seat was broken. So I bought a new one. Periwinkle blue. That thing on the sink is my Peace Corps water filter.

So what do you think of my apartment?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fac curat (I clean!)

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps.

Somehow my blog never seems as cool as I want it to be -I wanted to write this post when I was finished cleaning and settling in to my new apartment and post the before and after pictures, but as I still have the windows to do, and I'm hoping some guests at my Peace Corps apartment warming party will take things the former tennant left me off of my hands - those pictures will have to wait until after the weekend.

A few quick words about the former tennant (in case any of you readers who stumble accross this know him). I'm not intending to disrespect his living style in any way. He told me (he is an American and another Peace Corps volunteer who recently returned to the US) that he liked things "man clean" that is clean on the surface, but not nessecarily undereneath or behind. He wasn't thorough about his cleaning habits - and that's fine because from what I've been told about other male PCVs and their bathrooms his apartment was better than most in it's degree of cleanliness. Honestly.
Really, he's a good guy and I can say nothing against him.

But it's amazing the quanitity of dirt a person can live with for two years. I moved in on July 9th and spent 3 days that week cleaning nonstop. I've finally got things to about where I wanted them - but that said I've been planning this Cleaning (and I use the captial) for months. I think it's because after living with two different hosts for 5 months it's time for me to mark out a space of my own, and to really claim my territory I need to scrub it within an inch of it's life. Or maybe it's because in my two months on site so far I've accomplished absolutely nothing for my organization and I just wanted to take on a project where hard work would produce tangible results.

So I swept the floors (about four times.) Don't think dust bunnies, think dust Stegasauruses. At first I was thinking I would move all the furniture and sweep behind and under it. Some of that I managed, but the furniture for communist bloc style apartments is meant to go up against a wall and never be moved and I could potentially kill myself trying - so as far as my broom fits under the peices that I'm sure haven't been moved in 40 years, I swept.

I dusted, and mopped (the wood floors too. Twice.) I cleaned the fridge, scoured the oven and washed the curtains. I bought and installed a new toliet seat and I killed most of the mold in the bathroom. (I originally intended to scrub the floors with a brush but I now think that would be less effective than mopping them. However I don't think my mop was intended to work this hard because after I mopped the wood floor in the living room twice because I wasn't satisfied it was clean I started finding peices of my aparently suicidal mop on the floor.)

Then I beat the rugs. Oh yes, I beat them. A vacuum cleaner is an extravagance a Peace Corps volunteer can't afford and besides the cheap ones about 200 lei that I could splurge on, I'm told break rather quickly. So the big rug I beat for almost two hours. (Two of the rugs I decided weren't worth the trouble and I put them in the hallway and the landlord took them away) but the other two I beat the hell out them and then I washed them on the balcony last Saturday morning using carpet shampoo, a scrub brush and a special pour-water-off-the-balcony-onto-the-carpet-and-hope-the-downstairs-neighbors-don't-notice technique. (I'll probably never wrestle a wet carpet of that size alone again. I don't know how much it weighs wet but keeping it from falling off the balcony into the mud I created below was a task!)

Some things I learned about rug beating (other than it's a pain in the ass): 1)You'll never get all the dust off the rug so you have to give yourself a time limit like I'm beating this rug for 1 hour and that's it. 2) If you're not careful on the downward swing your nuckles make contact with the carpet. It takes about two times to break the skin off. If you don't adjust after that you will bloody your kuckles. I haven't figured out how to avoid the blisters from holding the baton.

After that I scrubbed the bathroom with tea tree oil, vinegar and baking soda - my favorite all natural earth friendly cleaning products. Low environmental impact - gaurenteed to disinfect your wounds all while stinging a great deal, but hey, I didn't get an infection!

As I said, now I have the windows to do and then I'm having guests over for a apartment-warming party slash rummage sale benefiting the Gender and Development committe. Soon I'll post the pictures of my new place and then I'll fill you in on what else I've been doing in June and July!