Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fuzzy Pictures

Or...Why I need to clean my own house.

On Thursday I received an email from guests who wanted to check in the next day - yesterday. Usually I hire someone to come in and do a full cleaning before guests arrive. I do the day-to-day cleaning but when I was working it was too much to do it all.

I have taken the time to show the cleaning lady how to set up the guest room, and asked her to make sure she also checked the screens and wiped down all the surfaces in the kitchenette. After she was done I'd go behind her and finish the setup - little details she missed or didn't get quite right. I felt like the proverbial mother-in-law performing the white glove test. Yes, I'm particular.

My cleaning lady has learned that just doing floors and bathrooms is not going to cut it, but unless I specifically ask her to do something else in the rest of the house (i.e., clean under the counters), that's all she does. She doesn't see the dust on the tops of the fan control boxes. She doesn't see the fingerprints on the lightswitch panels. She didn't notice the dust on the stair railings. She is short - she sees floors and she certainly does a great job in that department.

When I do my day-to-day cleaning I sometimes come across something that I can't believe my cleaning lady never noticed. And I clean it myself.

Now of course, I'm not working, and since this was short notice, I decided to do the cleaning and setup. Armed with my bucket of Fabuloso and a rag, I started wiping down the surfaces. Everything was going along normally until I decided to wipe down the picture frames over the bed.

The pictures came in a set I bought at Costco in Canada and hauled down here - only to discover they had the same set at the Costco in Cancun (and we bought the second set for Capi's Apartment). The pictures have been on the wall almost a year.

So I stood on the bed and wiped down the frames. I noticed the white mats had some spots - spots I'd thought were on the glass but now I could see they are actually on the frame. Tiny insects?

I got closer to the picture to get a good look. No, it wasn't tiny insects, it was tiny specks of mold. And then I saw a large spot of white fuzz, growing like jellyfish tentacles over the front of the picture.

The other pictures have similar issues, although the last one actually has green fuzz. I wonder how long those pictures have looked like that? Unless one gets up close and personal, the fuzz isn't noticeable. If I hadn't done my own cleaning, I probably would not have known about the mold until the pictures were too far gone.

We had a hurricane blow by a couple of weeks ago. After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, the new metal fixtures in the bathrooms were pitted - all the extra humidity and salt that permeated the room. Perhaps the humidity from Hurricane IDA caused this latest problem with the fuzz?

I debated about opening the frames and trying to clean the pictures, but decided I might make a mess of it and then the room would be bare. These guests are only here for a couple of days, so once they leave I'll see what I can do about my fuzzy pictures. I am hoping they can be restored, as they are pretty and perfect for the room.

Home maintenance here is a lot more intense than it was in Canada. There is always something needing a good cleaning, or a good sweeping, or a good painting. And now I guess I need to figure out how to have framed photos here without them growing into fuzzy living works of art. One has to be resourceful in order to live here - add de-fuzzing pictures as another required skill.


Islagringo said...

Amen Sister! Maintaining a house here is totally different from NOB and comes with its' own set of peculiarities.

jeanie said...

I understand what you and Wayne are saying with the moisture and the heat but we are noticing a big difference just moving to Crystal Beach. All of my ornamental clay pots are covered in green mold as is the block garage. I don't know what to do about it or how to prevent it. Dang Sue! We never had this in St. Kitts!

Life's a Beach! said...

I think the humidity in the week leading up to Ida was over the top. We had moss growing on everything in Seattle, but never mold in picture frames!

Bennie said...

I've never had to deal with fuzz growing on pictures way up North in South Carolina. This is a new one.