Sunday, February 28, 2010
The Futility of Window Washing
We moved into the Gingerbread House in autumn last year and promptly set about removing 40 years of, ahem, decorating left behind by the previous owner. The previous owner, who has variously been called a number of names, all along the spectrum of RUDE to EXTRAORDINARILY RUDE, had a problem with naked surfaces. Every square inch - yes, read that again: Every. Square. Inch of this house was covered in layers of wallpaper, on top of tiles, on top of cork tiles, topped off with another layer of sixties-style wallpaper. We chucked out full containers of rubbish, sacks and sacks of styrofoam ceiling tiles and swathes of net curtains yellowed and waxy with nicotine.
The upshot of this little rant (aside from looking for a little sympathy) is that by the time we made the house barely habitable, we were exhausted and worn-out from hammering and plastering and pulling and dragging and hoovering up the fine dust left behind by the builders and plumbers, we were just happy to have a roof over our heads that didn't leak (except it did. But more about that another time.) This meant that we didn't have the physical energy or the mental wherewithal for the niceties of interior decoration, like clean windows, or even curtains for that matter.
Anyway, who needs curtains when you've got dirty windows? And who notices how dirty a window is in winter, when you've only got an hour of daylight every day? Wonderful. The Gingerbread Husband even went so far as to suggest that the dirt was actually providing an extra layer of insulation, which sounded perfectly plausible to me. Then, suddenly, spring arrived yesterday and we realised with horror how filthy our windows were. Of course, we tried to ignore them, but as the sun shifted, the dirty streaks on the windows threw shadows across the floor and finally Mother Nature shamed us into being better housekeepers.
Three hours later, our windows were done - sort of. Our windows are double-glazed windows, so when you're finished cleaning the inside and out, you open up the double panes and clean the insides of each of them. No matter how much you rub and scrub, there's always a streak somewhere and because each window has a double pane of glass, there are essentially four potential streak-bearing culprits. It's exhausting, a true Sysiphus task, as the Germans would say.
To make matters worse, the weather today is the worst weather you can imagine after a session of window-washing: there's a storm brewing and a frisky wind is whipping up leaves and rubbish along the street, making tumbleweeds of dirt and dust fly across the church square. I went out for a walk to take some photos and came back with twigs lodged in my hair, spitting dirt out of my mouth and with a stray plastic bag tangled around my foot. My lovely (nearly-)clean windows are about to battered by dirty, lashing rain. What a waste. My only consolation is that our house is modestly equipped with windows - it could have been so much worse, as the photo of the house around the corner shows:
Phew. I feel so much better now.
Posted by The Gingerbread Lady at 5:13 PM