by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Life, the Universe, and Everything”

The Epic Study Spring-Cleaning Ordeal of 2011: Not All Is Hyperbole

Posted 31 August 2011 in by Catriona

While documenting the epic study spring-cleaning ordeal of 2011, I’ve made mention, on occasion, of my spare room now looking as though a disreputable secondhand bookstore had exploded in it.

And I thought to myself, “Hmm. What if people think I’m being hyperbolic? If only there were some way to demonstrate that such a description is not merely hyperbole!”

It’s not hyperbole.

I cannot wait until this marking is finished and I have time to start moving these books back into their rightful home.

The Epic Study Spring-Cleaning Ordeal of 2011: The Slow Re-build

Posted 28 August 2011 in by Catriona

So.

The carpet cleaner has come and done his best to remove the mould from carpets that should probably have just been stripped up and killed with fire. (And, incidentally, the carpet cleaner also loudly bemoaned modern morality, insulted the music I was playing while I was working, and said “Who cares?” when I explained what I did for a living. He also left me to move all the furniture myself after I corrected his assumption about my boss’s gender, which is fine, and called me a “brave girl” as he watched me drag a bookcase down the hallway, which is not fine.)

Leaving all that aside, though, the end result is that we can start moving stuff back into the study. Or we will be able to once my marking is out of the way, which means (practically speaking) we still won’t be able to get into the spare room for at least another week.

But we’ve moved the books out of the living room, so at least one room in the house isn’t littered with academic debris.

So now I can work at my desk again, loomed over by shelves of Victorian and Edwardian novels, just like a real nineteenth-century scholar:

Of course, until Nick has a chance to pop some picture hooks up for me, everything’s still in a state of “propped up wherever there’s a space”:

And the majority of the study looks like this, which is neat but not particularly useful:

Still, it’s better than a completely empty, mouldy room.

Slightly better, anyway.

The Epic Study Spring-Cleaning Ordeal of 2011: The Breathing Space

Posted 17 August 2011 in by Catriona

So, obviously, finding new life in the study carpet put a bit of a crimp in our plans to have everything back on the shelves and a lovely, sweet-smelling new work space by the end of the weekend.

And I was so looking forward to it: I love my little house, and try hard to make it both comfortable and attractive, and I’m so sick of spending all my days and half my nights in the ugliest, least comfortable room in the house.

I had grand plans. New curtains. A few pictures. A hot-pink plastic cuckoo clock. You know: the usual.

And then the mould. And the waiting for the real-estate agent to get a plumber out to us. Then the news that the whole shower has to be ripped out (goodbye, late ’50s fiberglass shell), but that we have to wait a week before we can have the carpet cleaned and get back into the study.

So now we live in a labyrinth of Victorian novels, video games, and manuscript notes. The spare room looks as though a bookshop exploded in it.

But in the interim, at least I’ve stripped the study back to the bare essentials, waiting until I can actually get the new curtains, the pictures, the cuckoo clock up on the walls and start filling the shelves again:

At least this much is certain: when I spring clean, I do it thoroughly.

The Epic Study Spring-Cleaning Ordeal of 2011: The Prequel

Posted 16 August 2011 in by Catriona

So, as anyone who is also connected to me in any of numerous forms of social networking already knows, we embarked on a thorough spring cleaning of the house a fortnight ago.

Since we can only clean on the weekends, we’re only two rooms through the process. (Luckily, this is a tiny house.)

This past weekend was dedicated to the study, a room that, as you can see, radically needed a thorough spring cleaning:

(Note that I have chosen to present the photographs in black-and-white form, to make them look “arty” rather than “squalid”.)

And all was progressing just beautifully, despite various complaints from Nick, until we discovered, after moving a bookcase, that the shower had apparently been leaking directly through the wall for some time, creating new life in the fertile ground of an ancient rental-house carpet.

It was at roughly that point that the spring cleaning passed from “annual chore” to “epic adventure” …

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