Friday, March 13, 2009

Everybody MOP!

I am in a mood. And if I vent to The Spouse, I feel bad for making him listen to me bitch, and he'll feel all responsible and guilty and that's not the point.

It's not just an expat thing (although my complaints are uniquely expat today, I think). But a male/female thing. Women know that the proper procedure is to
1. listen while I complain,
2. nod compassionately,
3. and then take me shopping.

Men want to fix things, and often there's nothing to be done anyhow except let me ride out the storm.

So you have to listen to my petty whining instead.

My mood came about because of the following:
1. The cat peed on the rug in the dining room a few days ago. (It was Cat-O, and I don't know what happened. He seemed distressed and embarrassed.)
2. Baboo's cello teacher spilled her cup of coffee on the living room rug on Wednesday.
3. I am ovulating as only someone who soon will no longer ovulate can ovulate. Think of that last, giant, black and hairy fly of autumn that will not die. This is what is happening to my reproductive system today. I am PMS Poster Child 2009.

Like the cat, Cello Teacher was also embarrassed by her accident. I laughed it off at the time and, because Skittles rushed to help clean it up, did not even see where it landed until today. There it was. A big, brown, coffee stain on the rug.

This and the prospect of trying to arrange for someone to come and clean my rugs professionally, coupled with the mystery of why I suddenly do not have long distance telephone service today, is not making for an I Heart Moscow feeling.

Okay, I filled a bucket with warm water and some laundry soap. I scrubbed at the coffee stain and it came right up. Easy-peasy when you have polyester rugs.

But then I was on a cleaning rampage. Which led to mopping. Which led to this entry.

Maybe how I mop is interesting. In the US, I had one of those giant, industrial mop buckets. It had wheels. And a detachable bucket I used to hoist into my utility sink in the laundry room to fill and dump. It also had a wringer that attached to the side of the bucket. The whole thing was the size of a Mini Cooper, but, damn, it worked.

The Eastern European method is slightly different.

I clean my own house here in Moscow. Many expats hire someone. I have done this in the past. But the size of my apartment (maybe 110m2) makes paying someone to clean while I sit on the couch and eat bonbons seem inappropriate. Further, I was intimidated by the last cleaning professional I used (I think it was in 2003) . . . a one-time offer, paid for by a sympathetic friend, who thought I could use a treat.

Except that her cleaning lady didn't like my million dollar Dyson vacuum and thought I should buy another, easier-to-use vacuum.

In her defense, I had, at the time, misplaced all the attachments. So vacuuming the couch meant lifting the entire machine up on the cushions and having at it. At least this is what I always did.

She seemed to think that was above and beyond the scope of her job description.

As I said, the attachments somehow re-emerged since then, and I no longer vacuum furniture this way. But the handle pinches, and I just don't want to have to defend my choice of vacuum to anyone! It is a sore point with me.

But I digress.

I was explaining how I mop.

It is the Slovak method, which is a variation on a technique I saw in Argentina (where I did not mop my own floors, but instead paid someone else more than it would cost me now for a similar size apartment while I sat on my couch in Buenos Aires and ate bonbons). There they used a squeegee instead of a broom. But I'm getting ahead of the story.

First, you assemble your equipment: bucket with soapy water, gloves, broom, specially-purchased piece of yellow terrycloth-like fabric designed for cleaning floors, and a clothespin.

You put the cloth in the bucket, wring it out, and lay it on the floor like this:

Fold the cloth over the broom:

Now, this part is optional. But I like to clip it in place with a clothespin to keep the cloth in place. I clip the pin on my shirt sleeve while I am rinsing and wringing out the cloth.

Rinse and repeat as needed.

And there you go. Mopping, Eastern European style.


Anonymous said...

That's AWESOME. You just blew my mind. You should submit it to life hackers. That could become a viral masterpiece.

I'm going to hotlink this to the Parallax Brief, or something.

Susan said...

This is a great post. Havent we all felt the way you do.
I guess the mopping system in Russia is why my daughters mother in law was so impressed with my self wringing mop, which doesnt work that well either.
I truly feel your pain.
In Greece they use really short brooms. Whats up with that??
Anyway, great post:)

Tina in CT said...

No wringer mops there? Time to leave the City.

valentina said...

Ah we have the Swiffer here which squirts cleaner and it sprays across the floor and then you mop with a flexible thing that holds a disposable pad velcroed onto the end. It is very user friendly and works fine but I am not sure how ecologically sound it is. The pads are expensive to replace and so is the liquid which you just plug in a bottle of onto the handle, but it is VERY CONVENIENT, doesn't take up much room in the broom closet and really is great for hard to reach places.

I am spoiled and have a house keeper come every other week. She cleans the hardwood kitchen floor by hand with windex and a towel. And as I don't have a family it is sufficient to keep it clean around here except for occasional kitty cat paw prints around the cat food station which I can merely wipe away...

But I have 2 tile baths and a marble foyer and back foyer and laundry room which she swiffers and it is speedy. Maybe you could take one back with you? But it would take a whole suitcase to take the liquid cleaner and pads...

The Arabs use the same mop system you use. The women in Beirut had to mop everyday because of the dust from shelling. My Palestinian friend Huda, you remember her I'm sure, used to used a damp rag and bend over and swipe it from side to side. This was Palestinian exercise for women she said! She was slim too!
Jeez, I can't imagine that on my back let alone my knees!!! But she was young! Half our ages!

Seems you have adopted the most efficient system and the rag can be thrown into the washer...I also have a laundry room sink for which I am eternally grateful...As I am for all the space I have for living here and not in an apartment... But this is your Russian adventure and we are all grateful for your sharing it with us, even the mundane tasks which are curiosities to your dear readers! So thanks! xov

Tami said...

You just took me back to Ukraine this time last year. I would sit and wait to visit my daughter in the orphanage's waiting room. It was cold and wet and the poor security guardess spent most of her time mopping the floor the same way you are describing.
Ahhh...memories. ;>)
BTW - I have a little something for you on my blog today...a little bloggy love. I know I haven't been reading very long, but I wanted to pass this on to you. ;>)

M.Kerkmann said...

Mopping at your place sounds similar to my mopping experience in Germany. They had collectible terry-cloth towels even... Crazy.

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