I wasn’t going to write about this, so as not to cause our dear friends-turned-landlords Matt and April any misgivings about my ability to keep house in a fashion that will not cause permanent damage to the resale value of the beautiful home we are renting from them. To that end, I will start with the following reassuring facts:
a) I learned my lesson*.
b) After all was said and done (and scrubbed and polished), the floor was as good as new, the linoleum perfectly restored to the pristine beauty of its installation day twenty years ago. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Eighties off of it, but that’s not my fault.)
That’s what it was. A sinister, skulking denizen of evil, spawned in the unseen underworld of our seemingly innocuous laundry room.
Moving, especially with the help of friends, is an exercise in vulnerability. There’s all your stuff, turned out of its hidden drawers and cupboards and piled unceremoniously into boxes and bags for quick and dirty transport. Under the couch, a legion of dust bunnies has formed guerrilla ranks, taking cover beneath years worth of lost toys and misplaced socks. All the nooks and crannies that you carelessly neglected in your harried housecleaning regimen have become, minus the usual camouflage of furniture and household paraphernalia, glaring offenses that make you squirm with embarrassment.
Which brings me to the discovery of the Lint Monster.
I wasn’t there when our friends moved the washer and dryer, but I heard about it–the shock, the awe, the shrinking back in fear. I was at the new house, supervising the placement of boxes, when they arrived to discharge the second trailer load, still shaking their heads in amazement at the state of our laundry room floor. It was only later, when I went back with Paul to clean the apartment, that I saw it for myself.
And it wasn’t pretty.
At some point in the last few years, there must have been a leak or a spill. Maybe it was laundry detergent, or one of the many cleaners I keep on the shelf above the appliances; I’m not sure. Whatever it was, it attracted lint. Lots of it. Layers and layers of lint accumulating over the passing months had formed a sort of primordial sediment in the dark environs beneath the washer, a soup that might have had Darwin on his hands and knees searching for emerging signs of life. Like the Blob, it had swallowed up everything in its path as it crept across the floor–pennies, paper clips, bits of paper and torn kleenex. I tried not to think of what it looked like as I pondered how in the world I was going to clean it up.
In the end, it took a scraper, a roll of paper towels, a half a dozen rags, and bucket after bucket of soapy water to do the job. While Paul vacuumed the apartment, dusted the baseboards, wiped down the walls, washed the windows, and cleaned the slider tracks, I engaged in pitched combat with the Lint Monster.
I won, but it was a close thing.
I’m just glad no one else was around when we moved the refrigerator.
*Every so often, you should move your major appliances and check to make sure there are no super-intelligent microbial societies emerging from the detritus underneath them. Housekeeping 101.