I woke up this morning feeling happy — the sun was shining, and I was finally going to get my money back from the plumber. It was going to be a glorious day! But then I remembered — this is the UK, and things aren’t easy like that. I called the plumber yesterday and he said he would bring my money over “Tomorrow morning,” which would be this morning. I didn’t win the argument with Ted, so I was only going to get a portion of my money back, but I’ll take that. I can usually make a convincing argument through email or even voicemail, but I’m not the cussing-out, yell-til-I-get-my-way type. Plus, this was an argument that was hard to win — we have been living here almost a year, and it was my food that blocked the pipe. Ted did agree to pay to fix the disposal and for the pipe part that the plumber bought.
I anxiously awaited for the doorbell or for a magical envelope to fall through my mail slot all morning, but nothing happened. 11 a.m. passed, which is when the morning is over according to McDonald’s, and then noon rolled around, which is the universal “no longer morning” time. I waited until 3 p.m. to call the plumber. He said something I couldn’t understand, then said “morning.” “Tomorrow morning?” I asked. “Yes, I will come by with the money tomorrow morning,” he confirmed, and then spoke two sentences I did not understand a word of. I’m serious, I would have gotten more if he had been speaking Chinese. From his tone it seemed like he was apologizing and explaining that he has a lot on his mind, but he also could have been talking about the weather. I have no idea. So here’s hoping he comes with my money tomorrow and it’s more than £30. (I really should start studying English English on top of my Chinese.)
When I was discussing this whole ridiculous situation with Stephen I asked him about just taking the money out of the rent. He reminded me something that slipped my mind — we put down a hefty deposit on this place. So much for the “So what, what are they going to do?” attitude. But it also reminded me of something else — I really need to clean this place up, or we’re going to lose a lot more than £130.
You see, I’m not really the best cleaner. My mom is an avid cleaner — she has a weekly schedule and sticks with it. I told myself I was going to do that in this new flat. But the problem I have with regular cleaning is that it’s not satisfying — the best part of cleaning is seeing how much nicer everything looks and rediscovering the object’s original color. You don’t get that when you clean the bathroom every week. So, unfortunately, I sometimes let the bathroom get a little grimy before I break down and clean it. It also doesn’t help that all of our bathrooms are marble — ceiling to floor marble, which is impossible to clean. The en-suite bathroom is the worst. Not only is the entire counter marble, but the faucet (I’m sorry “tap”) is such that you have to twist both temperature nozzles with your wet hands, ensuring you get water all over the counter each time. And for whatever reason, nothing in that bathrooms ever dries — not the towels, the floor mat or the counter, which means the standing water starts to turn the marble yellow. It’s disgusting. So today I decided to pretend that we were moving out and tried to restore the bathroom to a state that would give us our deposit back. While at the grocery store this week I picked up a bottle of Bar Keepers Friend — “the original and best stain remover and multi-surface cleaner.” The bottle told me it was OK to use on marble, even though googling it told me it wasn’t. At this point I decided the marble was already shot, so I couldn’t do much worse.
In short, Bar Keepers Friend is now my best friend. That stuff removed some hard water stains on the tub that I thought would be there forever. It also helped me remove the mold from the wall (gross, I know. I’m honestly embarrassed to call that bathroom my own sometimes. I’m almost glad I forgot to take a picture of it. Just imagine a whole wall of marble covered in tiny black mold spots.) I spent almost an hour and a half cleaning that bathroom. I wouldn’t call it spotless now, but I’d call it much less embarrassing. Here are a couple before and after shots:
I have no idea what that button does. There are "jets" in the tub, but I don't think they work. They just create nasty stains. Seriously, gold fixtures and marble? Whoever designed this bathroom never thought about cleaning it.
After all that cleaning I was spent, but I was also on a roll. I went into the kitchen to empty my nasty water bucket, but ended up cleaning the stovetop and the sink. I was about to clean the kitchen floor when I decided I’d much rather eat cereal out of the box and watch The Inbetweeners. I’m glad the bathroom and part of the kitchen are clean, and I’ll promise to bring you out more often, Bar Keepers Friend.
(No, the makers of Bar Keepers Friend did not endorse this post. But if the makers of Bar Keepers Friend are reading this, I’d be happy to accept compensation!)