On a gorgeous July afternoon this week, with the mountains crisp on the Bern horizon and all its people bobbing in the Aare River, I answered my husband’s eager plea to check out his handiwork.
He held in his palm the drain of the bathroom sink, now devoid of hair and goo and twinkling as if straight off the hardware store shelf.
“Ooooh, nice work,” I praised.
We went to the kitchen sink faucet, where I had spent a half hour with sponge, cleaning product, toothbrush and screwdriver scrubbing and chiseling away hard water deposits from its silver seams.
“It looks like new!” Tim approved.
While the rest of the country basked in summer weather this week and readied for the holiday weekend, we went through the veritable meat grinder that is moving house in Switzerland.
And if I don’t become a tidier person during my time here, it’s not because Switzerland didn’t try.
To be fair, I am not a neat freak. I do the basics, but the shiny distractions of work and friends and the great outdoors have traditionally kept me from conducting a thorough spring cleaning. And when I move, I am usually horrified by what has grown beneath my dresser.
We had been warned about how immaculate things must be when moving out of a rental in Switzerland. That there is no such thing as average wear-and-tear. And an oven test with white gloves may not be a farce.
We certainly could have done as Swiss friends advised and did themselves: hire someone else to do it, a service that can cost well over 1,000 Swiss francs. But with a tight timetable we opted to clean it ourselves.
And so there we were on a sunny day employing a vast variety of decalcification products. What hides in the water here is not a bit of minerals. It’s the magnetic urge to form the Caves of Lascaux.
I had cleaned sinks before, but never gone through the balancing act of chiseling chalky residue out of faucet seams without scratching the stainless steel.
Nor had I, as my hubby did this week, taken apart shower doors to scrub the rails, where calc if left alone for another year or two would form stalactites.
This week, we will change the faucet filters and gaskets. We will wipe down the internal mechanics of the toilet. We will, however, balk at cleaning the inside of the double-pane windows from our circa 1920s building.
I believe our new apartment is worth it. It’s spacious, surrounded by lots of green. Neighbors linger outside with wine in the evenings while children frolic.
But believe me, time will be set aside to ensure this place is immaculate.