Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cleaning up

My good friend P is still away, traveling across North America. She occasionally stops by the blog to catch up on my news, so you'll forgive me if I take this opportunity to say how much I miss her. Much more than I thought I would. But I can't begrudge her a single day away. And by all accounts she's having a wonderful time. I know this because I am following her progress on her travel-blog. So she's reading my news and I'm reading hers - both courtesy of blogspot. We need never meet face to face again.

While she is away, her cleaner has been working for me at my flat. It seemed the obvious solution. P retains her cleaner while she's gone, the cleaner keeps earning without having to find a new job and I get the use of a cleaner for three months. Everyone's a winner.

Having a cleaner is a new experience for me. And I don't mind admitting that I am loving it. It always struck me as a bit extravagant. An unnecessary luxury for someone who lives in a small flat and works part time. But I'm only sorry now that I didn't get one sooner. It's marvellous. Every Monday I come home from work and it's like a little angel has visited the flat. The carpets are hoovered, the bath is spotless, the furniture is polished, the laundry is ironed.

It does take a little getting used to. On the morning after her first visit I wanted to wear a pair of brown linen trousers that I had worn a few days previously and had left hanging over the back of a chair. I searched everywhere for them. They weren't in the laundry box, they weren't hanging on the clothes horse, they weren't in the pile of clothes lying on the floor. They were nowhere to be found. I wondered for a moment if the cleaner had taken them home. Well, you do hear stories. Finally, I gave up and decided to wear something else and so opened the wardrobe for something clean. And there were my brown linen trousers. The cleaner had (quite rightly) hung them up in the wardrobe. But the wardrobe was the last place I thought of to look. Wardrobes are for clean clothes. Once something has been worn it is flung over a chair or folded at the end of the bed and then just sort of stays there til it needs washing.

It's been the same with my post. The post arrives while the cleaner is still in the flat. I tend to leave the post scattered randomly around the flat, (opening letters and putting them down wherever I happen to be at the time). But the cleaner put all the letters in a single pile on the dresser. Perfectly sensible. But far too organized for me. So I didn't even notice they were there. As a result, I failed to open bills sent by BT, Orange, British Gas, Three Valleys Water and Powergen. By the time I received the red reminders I had missed the deadline and was starting to panic.

So last night I sat down and paid up for various utilities and services. (No take-aways for me til pay day.) Luckily I was able to pay most of the bills over the phone. Except for the BT bill (How ridiculous is that? The only utility you can't pay for over the phone is BT?) So, utterly skint but (thankfully) now out of debt I then got a call from the Polish builder. He has prepared a quote for the bathroom. (Just the bathroom. He's going to quote me for the kitchen separately.) He should have asked me sit down before giving me the quote. I won't give you the exact figure but let me put it this way. It had four digits, and the first digit was a 7! What kind of madness is that? Seven grand for a bathroom that's so small you can't brush your teeth in front of the mirror without closing the door and moving the towel rack out of the way. So it looks like I'm going to have to find a plan B for the kitchen/bathroom redesign. I could try to save up by economizing. Get rid of unnecessary expenses and luxuries. Maybe I should get rid of the cleaner? No, that would be madness.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like to me u need someone to quote you happy. Perhaps i can help, my names John, i've a white van and do odd jobs. I'm not sure if i could do your job great justice but i'd happily quote you. I've been on TV actually, you may have seen me - the programme was builders from hell. Let me stop by and give ur b/room the once over u never know u may even smile. John

5:27 pm  

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