Friday, October 14, 2011

Cleaning the apartment

Not a very scintillating topic I know, but it is different here.  First of all, I realized how attached I am to the products I use at home.  I wanted plain old cleanser to clean the porcelain sinks in the bathroom, maybe not ecologically sound but that's what I wanted. Ajax and Comet, my products of choice, were not on the shelf.  Nothing looked familiar.  Finally I found a tall, oval shaped container that looked like cleanser.  Vim? Never heard of it.  That was literally all they had.  One type of cleanser?  How can that be in a country that has over 200 types of pasta?   Ok. As it turns out, Vim looks the same coming out of the can, probably cleans the same, but still I miss my product names.  How conditioned am I by product marketing and placement?  A lot!!

Next about cleaning these floors. As you may recall, the stones on the floors are about 300 years old to match the age of the apartment and the tiles on the ceiling.  They were cleaned with an acid wash then sealed and then a wax was put over them.  (they don't looked like my idea of waxed, but anyway). Since I am supposed to be writing, it now seems like it is time to clean the floors. There was an argument between Mani and Simone about whether or not to get a water vac.  Mani said "no, the best way is to use a mop." Unfortunately the Milanese and I gave in to him.  Mani is very proud of the floors and doesn't want us to do anything to mess them up.  So off I went to look for a mop and pail and detergent to do the floors myself.

 Remember in the old days when we cleaned the floors and we had two pails attached together, one for dirty water and one for clean water?  Whatever happened to those pails, and that system of washing floors?   Naturally, the two bucket system still lives in Umbria. Mani was over and I showed him the product I had to clean the floors.  It looked like the Spick and Span box so I was immediately drawn to it.  It is really weird, when I see a product that looks familiar, it is like greeting an old friend in the market.  I sweep it up and put it in the basket before the Stoic One can ask me what I am going to do with it.  Mani took one look at the Spick and Span box (I was showing off because he thinks I don't do anything since I don't cook or do the laundry)  and tells me to throw it away immediately.  I thought he was going to fall over into a dead heap.  Yikes!  Italians never throw anything away.  He told me to go find his wife immediately and she would take me to a store to buy the right product.  

So, I go to a store with Barbara, Manuele's wife.  The store is called Mark Color.  Have I mentioned that Italians use a lot of English that makes no sense? I told her I had the two bucket system with the drain thingy over one bucket.  She approved of that purchase.   Next, I started looking for a normal floor mop.  You know the kind with the sponge on the end, and the metal fastener that goes over the sponge and squeezes the water out?  Okay, I finally find this type of mop stuck back in a dusty corner, and Barbara shakes her head at me. "Per le finestre" she says...for the windows....(They use the floor mops for the windows?) She gently leads me over to an entire wall of mops, one of which you see below.  It is made up of strips of cleaning fabric. It looks like an octopus. Why is this better than the other mop, I ask knowing this type of question is futile.  Because, she replies, that mop is for the windows and this mop is for the floors.  She then shows me some product I never heard of and I buy it and we leave.

After all of that, I was exhausted and had to take my afternoon siesta.

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