Did I forget everything that needed to be done before we moved here? Um, no. I think the last time I didn't really need to do very much. And this time round I was thinking it would be the same. Sell stuff, book flights, wait on removal men turning up. But I was forgetting that things are quite different when you don't own the house you are leaving. I was lucky in our old house because the house had been completely revamped just as we moved in, and condition-wise it was pretty excellent. And although I had to clean the place from top to bottom after the furniture left revealing my secret dusty-fluff shame, the kids were still at 'Practitioner' level in filth-making, and not at 'Expert'. 'Expert' level has only been achieved here.
So where to start?
Well, I am not sure whether there is such a thing as 'normal wear and tear' here. The rule seems to be in Germany that you should return the apartment to pristine perfection when you leave. After 2.5 years, well, let's say that it looks 'lived in'. Those of you who have been with me for the long haul may recall that the plane had barely landed on the runway before the kids embarked on a spate of destruction mostly aimed at walls and doorstops. As memory serves we had been in the temporary accommodation a day before I discovered that they had coloured in most of the walls in one of the rooms with all their Crayola crayons.
Orla has revived this particular pet hate of mine from time to time; once when she learned how to write her name (yet couldn't work out how I knew it was her!), and during particularly 'creative' phases when she's been unable to stop her little crayon holding hands from reaching toward the great white canvas of our walls. Most of these marks have remained on the walls because the memory of the hours of scrubbing I had to put in at the temporary accommodation was still too raw. (Or, I'm lazy). Other areas have chocolatey finger prints and so on.
Anyway, yesterday evening we had a visit from my most favourite relocation agent, Heidi. And given that it was Halloween she came with a message that chilled me to my very core. "You're going to have to paint the walls."
|Even clipart me would have to stand on top of the wardrobe to paint over the hard-to-reach crayon marks near the ceiling.|
Can you see the problem? I have never known walls like these. I love the height, the feeling of space, but my god, the prospect of either having to paint this whole apartment, or pay someone else to, is a frightening thought. So last night we cracked open the Cif and the baby wipes, which as you may also recall was the technique I used to amazing effect in the temporary accommodation. It works brilliantly, but it can take a long time. We worked on some of the worst bits last night and I think managed to achieve an excellent job, but it may take a good week or two to just work our way round the whole place cleaning from floor to child level.
In other exciting cleaning news, I purchased a new grout pen and silicon sealant yesterday. I managed to re-do the sealant around the shower and bath while the dinner cooked, and I simply cannot wait to get stuck in with my grout pen later today. Kill. Me. Now.
I'm delaying taking down all the pictures until next week when I have to skillfully fill the holes and make it look like they've never been there because otherwise I think I might burst from excitement.