Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Buddha Oversees Our Bad Housekeeping

Dave and I barely left the house yesterday. We walked up to Homebase (our big-box home and garden retailer) to get some flowerpots shortly after lunch, and Dave seized the moment to buy still more plants for the garden. He got a tomato plant and some annuals for the hanging baskets, which is fine.

We didn't take Olga specifically because we were afraid the dog-walker would arrive while we were gone. But then, as the afternoon wore on and 3 o'clock became 4:30, we began thinking the dog-walker wouldn't come at all. And then we realized -- it's Easter Monday. A holiday. Hence, no dog-walker.

Don't worry -- Olga still got her walk. I took her out myself.

So now our rescued lavender plant is trimmed up and repotted, as is a rescued yucca that we keep indoors. (I haven't specifically photographed it to show you, but you can see it behind Olga in the second photo here. I found it next to some trash cans at a house down the street.)

We took a taxi back from Homebase, since we were lugging big flowerpots, and when we pulled into the driveway we met one of our Russian neighbors from upstairs. She asked us about a chimney in the corner of the house and whether we ever used it. We had no idea what she was talking about, so I asked her to come inside and show us where it is. Turns out there's a chimney flue in our bathroom, of all places -- but it has been so altered over time that it doesn't resemble a chimney anymore. So no, we don't use it. Apparently they're going to do some renovations upstairs (great!) and they want to remove that flue. We told them to call the landlord!

This apartment has been chopped up and reconfigured so many times that it scarcely resembles its original layout. And none of the fireplaces work, as far as we know.

Anyway, as the neighbor came inside, I suddenly saw our flat with objective eyes -- the unmade bed, the muddy dog footprints on the floor, the breakfast dishes in the kitchen, the unscrubbed bathrooms. The veils of warmth and homeyness fell away, and I thought, Jesus, what slobs we are!

I spent the evening cleaning.

(Photos: Buddha on our bedroom mantelpiece with my two bracelets, which I wear occasionally. A friend from the Zendo I attended in New York gave me the one with the skulls, and the brown glass one I bought in Singapore.)


  1. You are a star! I'm sitting here reading blogs while my cleaner is upstairs cleaning and I made the children empty and load the dishwasher. Ha! But now I will be good and fold the washing and wash up the leftover dishes by hand. Honest. As soon as I post this.

  2. It is always an "Oh crap" moment when an unexpected visitor comes in here...I never feel like my house is clean enough!

  3. The clarity of the bracelet picture proves that you have a super camera Steve. It is surprising that the Russian neighbour hadn't considered getting in touch with the landlord about structural changes Is the landlord Ukrainian?

  4. Oh dear no. No renovations upstairs! That would be horrible!
    I love that bracelet.
    And I remember a friend of mine a long time ago saying that when someone came over, it was as if suddenly all of the spider webs had been lit by neon.
    Yep. That's how it is.

  5. sheesh, you a bad housekeeper? hahahahaha. you want to see slobs in action, come to my house.

    we had an old brick flue in the wall in our bedroom in the city house. the wood burning stove that they used for heat was attached to it originally. in the attic, there was a date written in the crumbly cement...late 1870s.

    never heard of Easter Monday being a holiday.

  6. I know that feeling. I had to have the cable guy over last Friday and I dusted and and tidied up before he got there. As soon as he was in the apartment and had moved a piece of furniture, I saw the spots I missed. Oh well, I'm sure he's seen worse.

  7. This happens to me on a regular basis! I loved how you put it, though.

    Boo on the reno upstairs. That should be "fun".

  8. This is called getting you mind cleared up in a hurry when someone else sees your junk!