Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Season’s Greeting…Season’s Cleaning

It started with a rat . . . . A rat visited us last Christmas, too, came up through the drain in our bathroom, but I caught that one.  This is a relative that lives in the ceiling and ate its way through a couple of wires, thus darkening our kitchen.  Since we needed to call an electrician, we thought, well, what else can the electrician do?  The boys ceiling fan needed fixed or replaced and my wife has been hinting (for years) that our living room is too dull, so when the electrician arrived we asked for a quote on some down lights. 

While shifting furniture to make room for the electrician and his ladder, I noticed a lot of dust; then the electrician created a mess under each down light, so I furiously swept and mopped the living room and the dining room for good measure (the kitchen, too).  Just in time for some Christ­mas carolers from my wife’s village in Quop. 

After wishing us a Merry Christmas, the carolers left and moved onto the next house, and my wife hinted at the next project . . . . We really needed to do something with our wall that separated our property from the neighbors.  The lower half was fine, but the upper metal grille was rusty and looked horrible.  We had it painted two years ago by a contractor friend.  His bid was rather unfriendly, so we asked the contractor who recently completed the back wall at my sister-in-law’s house.  We’re glad we did. 

Impressed with their work, I got the idea of turning our upstairs balcony that we rarely use into a separate room for our exercise equipment, since keeping fit is one of our resolutions for 2015 (as is running a second marathon).  After doing some furious tape measuring, I could see the possibilities, so I got a quote.  It was reasonable if we opted not to knock out the wall separating it from the master bedroom since that would affect the ceiling, the floor and substantially increase the cost.  We’ll remove the door and shift the existing window out to the balcony and leave the windowless space empty, giving the balcony room a sense of spacious­ness and making it easier for my wife and me to talk while the other works out.  (Good for encouragement!)

As soon as they finished plastering the back wall (and the front, too, since we were at it), they got to work on the balcony.  Initially I had agreed to paint the back and front walls to save on costs, but the more we talked to the contractors about that, we thought it might be wiser to let the experts do that, since they knew how to seal it properly before painting (something I never considered) so the paint won’t come off during the first torrential downpour.  (We live in the tropics.)  Besides, my wife wasn’t convinced that I would get around to it as quickly as she wanted it done.  While we were at it (famous last words), we had them paint the side walls, too.

While rearranging some furniture in our master bedroom so nothing got damaged, my wife noticed that our ceiling fan was dusty.  Once we started cleaning that, it naturally led to other things that were equally dusty like our floor, our curtains, so before you know it, she has me vacuuming the curtains in every room of the house including the living room drapes, some­thing we haven’t done in years.  Who has time to vacuum curtains?

In the midst of vacuuming, my wife asked me what I wanted to do with the door that they removed from the balcony.  Knowing it’d come in handy the moment we tossed it, I thought of storing it in the back room where we do our laundry.  But first I had to move every­thing out so it wouldn’t be in the way of everything else.  Then I swept, dusted, mopped and tossed stuff; while I was at it, I did some serious rearranging to make it more pleasing to the eye.     

Once the balcony room is ready, we’ll call the electrician again to add an outlet and replace the light.  Before he comes we’ll take another look around the place to see if anything else needs repaired or replaced.  In the meantime, we’re taking down the Christmas decorations, but before putting it back into storage, I’ll clean out that storage room, too, since it’s looking fairly cluttered . . . . That happens when you have children, boys especially.

Hopefully, that will be the end of this year’s Season’s Cleaning, so I can finally relax and get back to revising my novel . . . . But already my wife is eyeing the boy’s room and subtly remind­ing me about my promise to paint it.  So for 2015, I see more work in my future, though I’ll probably procrastinate until another Christmas rat comes around . . . . By the way, when I was a kid, they were called Christmas mice, but everything back then was smaller.

Now on New Year’s Day, when many people around the world, including our neighbors, wake up with a hangover, we’ll be waking up to a clean, uncluttered house with a new exercise room and freshly painted outer walls . . . . Not a bad way to start the New Year.

And how is your own Season’s Cleaning coming along?  Good luck with that, or perhaps wait until next year . . . . Cheers.
              —Borneo Expat Writer 

*Links to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, Trois autres Malaisie.  Thanks!