Cleaning I must confess, is a chore that has fallen down my list of priorities this past year. Please don’t misunderstand me, I DO clean a bit, (enough so nobody gets ill!) but I don’t have time to do the weekly “deep clean” that I actually used to quite enjoy pre-children.
There’s a lot to be said for the therapeutic benefits of having a sparkling clean house and shiny floors – even if it only lasts five minutes. I gave me a certain sense of achievement that now I can only glimpse when I’ve grabbed 10 minutes to clean the bathroom and toilet or put away a bit of laundry.
I think my cleaning obsession comes from my maternal Grandmother Nanny Pat. Her house is absolutely sparkling, always has been. She has glittery, clean, clear worktops and a bathroom that Kim and Aggie would be in awe of. Clean beds, clean carpets and clean windows. (Not only that, but she makes amazing roast dinners and trifles for pudding!)This has rubbed off on my mum and was passed on to me, but appears to have become somewhat diluted!
Anyway, I digress. Thursday was a particularly miserable day for me. It started with a two hour stint of being up with the baby in the night, this was followed by rain pouring through a hole in the roof and to really make my day a £325 bill to fix the car (again) – Bugger!
This was not what is required just after Christmas and before two birthdays. But hey, that’s life.
So it was safe to say that I was feeling fairly close to the edge on Thursday, tired and fed up. Stuck in the house on a rainy day with two bored children who wouldn’t let me do ANYTHING! The house was an absolute state and was taunting me with its “Oh look at this job you need to do – don’t be silly, you can’t actually do it!”
My mum had been over earlier in the week and had brought with her a steam cleaner for me to road test on my grubby floors. She had told me about the wonders of cleaning with steam and how it would bring my floors up a treat. Nanny Pat swears by hers so it must be good! And not only does it do floors, it also has loads of attachments to clean taps, sinks, tiles, grout, toilets, carpets, ovens and windows. WOW!
The wondrous steam cleaner had been stood on my dirty kitchen floor for two days and by 4pm on that rainy afternoon I was in serious need of some therapy. My husband kept looking at me and my tear stained face with the best look of concern he could muster. Alcohol was out of the question, I’m doing dry January with Louise. I couldn’t do online shopping after my extortionate garage bill, so there was only one thing that would help. Cleaning!
“Please can I finish cleaning the kitchen floor and have a go with the magical steam cleaner?” I sobbed. His ‘whatever floats your boat’ look said it all, but he obligingly took the children upstairs to play.
Right, let’s see what this steam cleaner can do. I filled the cleaner carefully with water as instructed by my mother and off I went! Oh the POWER of steam! I blasted dirt out of the corners of the kitchen, from under the cupboards, round the draining board, off the taps (they were bad) and I steamed the floor! I was in steam cleaning heaven. My floor looked cleaner than it had ever been. The children and husband were still quiet, so I took the opportunity to clean the bathroom, which is just next to the kitchen.
Again I went for the taps, the sink, the handles, the toilet. Things got very hot and steamy in there! I was on my hands and knees having a whale of a time blasting the dirt from under the bath panel when suddenly I heard PSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHTS!!!!
It was coming from the kitchen. ‘Why is the washing machine making that noise?’ I wondered. I went to see what was going on.
OH MY LIFE! I walked into the kitchen to see water pouring out of the cupboard under the sink (from the top and bottom on the doors!) It looked like a scene from a ridiculous film which is maybe called “When plumbing attacks!” I was waiting for a shark to come blasting through the cupboard doors!
Realising I should probably do something and stop making up nonsense about films, I tried to turn the water off. No luck. I ran to the stairs and shouted “HELP! There’s a flood!!”
Husband came charging downstairs, baby in his arms, passed me said small person and managed to turn the water off. Ahhhhh, my hero!
One of the advantages of living in such an old house is that nothing is level. The kitchen floor slopes towards the back door and so all of the water headed that way and pooled by the door step. This made the clear up operation fairly minimal. I stepped away from the chaos I’d created in the kitchen and went to look after the other chaos I’d created in the living room…I mean the children!
My husband seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to clean out the cupboard under the sink. Apparently it had been bothering him for a while, so I left him to his bit of cleaning therapy! After the clear up my husband said to me
“Did you steam the kitchen taps?”
“The pipe on the hot tap seems to have expanded and blown off the fixing.”
“Oh.” (See my naughty face!)
“But the pipe was rusty!”
“So it’s not my fault then?” (Phew!)
“I will fix it tomorrow.” I love that man!
Well, the fixing has been easier said than done let me tell you. Bits of pipe have rusted on to bolts and so he couldn’t get them off, we’ve both wrestled with taps and pipes, bought a new spanner, it still wouldn’t budge. And after some hours my husband disappeared to his shed (as he often does) and returned… with an angle grinder!
“We’re gonna need a new tap!” he said. BRRRRRMMMMMMMM went the angle grinder! Off came the tap!
During this process we also discovered that the water had leaked behind the cupboards and into the extension lead where the cooker and washing machine are plugged in. This tripped all of the electrics in the house repeatedly until I realised what it was. So now we need to get a new lead and get behind the cupboards to dry it all out.
At this precise moment in time I have no taps, no washing machine (a growing mountain of washing), we are filling the kettle and the washing up bowl in the bath and I have no cooker! Thank goodness my husband is a very ‘handy man’ and my brother is a plumber! He’s gone to buy me a new tap as a Christmas present and fit it today so normal service can resume!
So the moral of this story everyone, is don’t clean too much. Sometimes it’s only the dirt that holds it all together!
Ps. My floor is filthy again!