Buyer’s Remorse!

Prior to leaving Zambia I had arranged (at great cost) to have the house cleaned top to bottom – walls, ceilings, windows, floors, cabinets scrubbed, bathrooms, closets/drawers, etc.  I can’t stand to live in a dirty house and knew that if it was dirty when I arrived, I’d stay up all night cleaning.  Well, when I arrived Robert our handyman from Lansing, who is chinking and sealing the houses and garage for us (and he’s doing a great job – it looks beautiful!)  said, “you hired someone to clean the house?” I said yes.  He said, “oh, you’re not going to be happy,” and he was right.  The good news is that the smell of cigarette smoke was pretty much gone but the bad news is that the kitchen cabinets were sticky and crusty, the oven had food still baked onto it, the drawers were full of crumbs and the detritus of other persons’ lives, and there were dead bees all over the floor.

Robert said the housecleaner came by herself and spent the whole day cleaning the walls and ceiling, but nothing else.  (Which means she got paid on par with a rock star if the payment was broke down into an hourly wage.)

On top of it, the yard was completely overgrown, covered with weeds, and in some places it was hard to see the concrete given the weed cover.

Most of the window cranks didn’t work (and/or the windows wouldn’t close unless someone went outside and beat them with a hammer).   The refrigerator was stinky and the paint inside it was peeling.  The dishwasher wouldn’t turn off and the lights just kept blinking.  It all seemed overwhelming – I don’t know anyone here yet, so much work to do, and all I wanted to do was take a hot shower but we have no hot water (and a warning on the hot water heater not to touch anything if you didn’t know what you were doing or risk explosions).  At this point I began to have serious (serious!) buyer’s remorse.  Why did we buy a place with such a large yard? We should have built new so everything could be how we wanted.

So what did I do?  I dug out the sheets, quilt and pillows I had packed, made the bed (the owner left a bed for us) and curled up in a fetal position.  Two hours later I got up and started making a list of what needed to be done and it really didn’t seem that bad.  (And Robert kept emphasizing how well built the house was, how it was airtight and hence the window issue, etc.)  Most of the things that needed fixing will take time and elbow grease but are nothing major.  Everything’s better after sleep, right?

I hadn’t really slept much in the past three days so went to bed at 9.30 pm and woke up wide awake at 4 am (that’s 10 am in Lusaka, I slept in!).  Boy, the old saying, “everything’s better in the morning” is SO TRUE!  I went on our back deck and the stars put on a spectacular show.  It’s inky black where we are so I could see every star.

Then, the sun began to rise.  OMG – it was gorgeous.  I could see that with 2-3 days work almost all of the weeds could be pulled.  The yard has such potential and the views are great.

The doggies are settling in well.  No wild animals, not even squirrels, but Coco likes to pretend she’s hunting lions in the savannah and run through the meadows.



About Kimm X Jayne

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9 Responses to Buyer’s Remorse!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh how beautiful Kimm! See you soon.
    Love Bridge

  2. Maureen Witte says:

    Glad things are looking better in the morning…!

  3. Natalie says:

    Hello. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. It’s so helpful to me as we consider a job offer in Lusaka, and your detailed info about how to move with a dog is epecially appreciated. We would be arriving in the new year, just as you are moving back to the States I believe. We are currently in Oregon. I’m wondering if it would be possible to communicate with you about a few specific questions I have. We have until the end of the month to decide whether we’d like to pursue this job, but I’m having very little luck (aside from your blog) finding practical information about living in Lusaka. Thank you!

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      Sure – I’d be happy to answer any questions, though I’m on an extended visit to the U.S. right now until November. However, if you send me your email I can put you in touch with two people living there now – one with four kids school-age and one with a baby. In a nutshell I can tell you it’s very safe, somewhat boring, and pretty easy living. There are frequent power outages but they are usually short term (and you can try to find a rental place with a generator – you wouldn’t even notice then). It’s VERY expensive to buy any non-local goods (think appliances, clothes, car parts) so if possible bring what you need along (although due to the 220v issue you’ll end up having to buy some things I”m sure). Good luck!

  4. Natalie says:

    Thanks so much! I appreciate your willingness to help and would love to ask you a few questions as well as connect with the people you mentioned. I’m a researcher by nature (and former profession) and am not satisfied with what I’m able to find out on my own here. The organization would be sending us to an office that is all Zambian at this point, so no American-perspective contacts there. We are a family of five, including our 2 elementary-aged children and a dear old cavalier spaniel. My email address is Thanks!

  5. Glad to hear you made it safely. Have fun making it home!

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