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.