Oh the dust!
I really don't know how to explain it if you have not lived in this part of the world, but cleaning here is truly a whole 'nuther (I said that just to bug Jason, he swears it's not a usable phrase...) monster. But I don't want to get into all that now. Just take my word for it. So, back to the dust. It's EVERYWHERE. I mean we pretty much live in the middle of the desert. (not dessert although I could get into that...). Houses here for the most part don't have AC. Although it gets into the low 100's for a bit in the summer there is literally no humidity (which is mostly awesome- more on that later) so it cools down to the 70s at night. Quite pleasant. But because of the no AC thing, we pretty much leave our windows open all the time. We do have screens THANK THE LORD, but it's still quite dusty. The cleaning schedule I have worked out right now between the girls and I has us vaccuuming and dusting 3x/week and there are still days you can right your name on a table top just hours after wiping it down with Pledge.
Ok, so I'm rambling on about cleaning and the dust and I was going to tell you about today's project- all the info above was somewhat relevant in case you're wondering. We have a long balcony off of our kitchen that extends down the side of our apt about halfway down the living room. It's a decent size as far as balconies go. Sadly, it can't be the green haven like I had on our balcony in Lebanon that you can see here. It has to be functional. It's where our dryer lives during the summer (we had to bring it in last winter because when it rains this entire balcony stays wet which is quite annoying). So, yeah, I had a dryer in my living room. Lovely. Anyway, the balcony is home to my dryer and clothes drying rack (since we try not to use the dryer much due to the cost of electricity). I have big windows in the kitchen and living room looking onto the balcony and before we left for the summer, I had some beautiful flowers to add just a little green. A dear friend babysat them for me all summer and I keep forgetting to get them back from her. So all that to say, today I decided to thoroughly scrub down the balcony because the dust has truly been threatening to carry it off. And sense it's plant-less right now, it's kind of a blank slate.
I had a very eager helper who has just gone from 2 to 1 daytime naps so we are looking for exciting activities to get us through the morning. She was very happy to strip down to her diaper and help "keen up" with the "wa wa".
(sorry the light in above picture is so bad. It's from my kitchen going out onto the balcony)
So when you walk out onto the balcony and look right this is what you see...
My clothes drying rack usually goes in the space in front of the dryer, and there are usually flowers in the window. The white shelf is something we had built to cover our huge bottles of drinking water. We have 4 delivered each week and they won't fit in the house but it's not good for them to be in direct sunlight so they slide under this little shelf. Also our extra gas bottles for the stove are under there. Can you see the rectangular imprint on top of the white shelf from the planter I just moved? Oh the dust!
Turn left coming out the kitchen door and this is what you see.
I'm currently using the plant box to hold scooters and a pogo stick because I got tired of finding them all over the balcony all the time. They are hard to prop up against the wall- go rolling everywhere so this keep them in place. We would like to eventually get a narrow balcony table and high stools so we can have a place to sit out here but that's kind of low on the priority list at this point...
Here's my kitchen window also shown above with my herbs. Right now I have basil, mint and rosemary and they're in pots that they girls helped me paint several years ago.
We are actually looking into closing this balcony in before the rainy season starts (mid November?). We can have glass windows put in so we could still open it up when we wanted, but we would also have the ability to completely close it off if needed and still have it as a functional space. Last winter, there was literally water out here almost all the time between December and March and when there wasn't water there was muddy gunk. Because, yeah, have I mentioned the dust?
Anyway, today Anabelle and I tackled the balcony. Here's the dust pile from about one square foot of sweeping. It's this really fine powder that sticks to everything.
And see the walls up there? I also have to sweep them down pretty well because they are constantly flaking off and dusty and if the clothes hanging out to dry brush up against them it ain't pretty (for me since I"m the one who does the laundry- again...)
So the cleaning process involved sweeping the dust, wiping down all the window sills and ledges and tops of anything and then pretty much throwing water all over the balcony and using a squeegy style mop to push the water to the floor drain in the far corner.
My little helper was thrilled!
Doing her "happy dance" in the "wa wa"
And, the finished product...
(I know, I know, you totally can't tell a difference but believe me when I tell you that it's SO much cleaner. Hopefully will have more pictures in weeks to come when I add some green to the very white/light brown palette!)