What I wouldn’t give for a good mop…
It is true that, while you can get most things here, as long as it doesn’t have to do with dogs, there are a few exceptions. The selection of mops at the “mall” was dismal. I got what appeared to be the high end one but it has turned out to be most peculiar kind of mop.
At first glance, you see a flat top with what is clearly a flat mop head attached at both ends, but not in the middle. Why, you might ask?
Well, because the top of the thing has a switch which, upon clicking it, causes the thing to collapses in half on itself, leaving the mop part hanging down folded in half. Now it took me awhile to understand the logic of the design which is that the mop head folds to half its side so that you can rinse the mop head out in a regular sized bucket, as opposed to having to get a wider container as I had to do in Nepal.
So far so good, you say, actually maybe kind of brilliant, Well, here’s the reality, when the mop head gets wet, it gets looser and so whenever you try to mop it rolls over on itself under the mop head and you can’t clean anything. The only way to get it to mop is to hold the handle almost directly upright, press down lightly so that the mop head stays flat to the floor and then pull, or push, depending upon your preference. In other words, you have to coax the thing along every time you use it. Gone are the days of simply sweeping through the house with a good mop.
Dushanbe has a fair amount of particulates in the air. Not as much as Kathmandu, and the air is deceptively clear when you are outside walking around but, leave your windows open as I do, and only after a few days there is sheen of gray over everything, furniture, floor, presumably on the furniture but you can’t see it. So frequent mopping is part of the package and that is before you have puppies who aren’t house-trained.
Now in all fairness, this house came with a vacuum cleaner, something which I never had in Rwanda or Nepal and which happily picks up a lot of stuff in fairly short order. Of course, every time I get it out, the puppies get hysterical. One especially also loves the mop, chasing and pulling on it around as I try gingerly to keep the thing flat. Cleaning the apartment is a bit like running an obstacle course. At night, I dream of my long purple mop in Kathmandu, I am already plotting how to get a mop onto my flight when I travel back from the U.S. in January. Of course, by then I won’t have any puppies after whom I will need to clean up every day.
There are other challenges to my living situation. For example, the handle on the front door was put on backwards. No big deal you might think but they have these doors with inset locks and no handle on the outside so no one can break in. There is supposed to be a handle on the inside with which one can open the door. In my case, the handle was put on backwards resulting in the only handle being on the outside of the door. I think it was done this way because it, like all the other handles on the doors in my apartment, it is not a round knob, but is a lever that your push down to open the door, and the lever was too long to attach on the insade for both doors that open to the right and to the left but, rather that simply order a handle with the right orientation, they drilled two holes in what was a beautiful wooden door to affix a handle on the inside. Of course, you still can’t open the door with it, but you can pull it shut from the inside. The two bolts for this new handle are now showing on the exterior of the door, on an otherwise brand-new door. They look tacky, to say the least.
Since the lock on the inside of the house was meant to be on the outside, it can only be opened with the key on the inside, so you have to keep the keys in the door in order to get out. But this is not all, should you be unfortunate enough to leave your keys on the outside of the door, and pull it shut from the inside, there is absolutely no way to get out. My landlady’s daughter did this with me one day and she had to call out the window to an absolute strangers and ask him to come upstairs and open the door for us from the outside with the keys that were hanging there. Had I done it to myself, I am not sure what I would have done. Waited until my neighbor got home and called them, I suppose. But this happened before I knew my neighors. Of course, she denied shutting the door when we had turned back in to get something, but since the door needs to be forceably pulled shut (hence the tackey bolts on the interior handle installed for this purpose, she clearly had a hand in our entrapment. All I could think was
What is there is a fire and I can’t find my keys? Without the keys, I am, in fact, imprisoned in my own home. In the U.S., I am quite sure that this would be a serious building code violation of some sort. Forget having smoke alarms, how about just having an exterior door from the inside that I can open without a set of keys?
It’s the little convenience in life that I miss the most here … a mop that mops and a door that opens. Since when is that too much to ask?