The house was spotless: the walls gleamed whitely in the morning sun, the floors shone so brightly it hurt to look at them and even the rusty metalwork in the ancient kitchen had been restored to its former glory – well almost. We weren’t miracle workers. We were ready for the handover with the landlord – or were we?
“There’s a mark on the curtain. Must be from your kids…”
“Nooo…it was there beforehand. And here’s a picture.” Dutifully show picture of stained curtain before we moved in.
“That hose – the one behind the toilet. It’s not working. You broke it.”
“No – it wasn’t working when we moved in. You had plumbers in for six months and they couldn’t fix it. You turned off the water supply and told us not to use it.”
And so it went on. Full of importance, the landlord strode around with her list of things that were broken before we moved in. We argued that it’s not our job as tenants to renovate her house for her. Our agent provided proof to support our claims. Her husband tried to explain to her the “wear and tear” clause in the rental agreement in rather heated Mandarin. I suspect he was slightly embarrassed by her behaviour.
Anyway, after a rather spectacular argument in front of a prospective tenant over an oven light that had never worked, we conceded $45 for its repair. She was happy with her victory and we were simply relieved it was all over.
And we were free, leaving me some time to read Friday’s school newsletters. I skimmed through the articles, looked at the photos, glossed over the notice of the head lice outbreak…
I didn’t think too much more about it until the kids were in the bath that night. Although the only time the kids had been scratching their heads was when I asked them where their library books were, I thought I’d do a quick check, just to be sure.
So, expecting nothing, I idly ruffled the hair of the kid who was first in the bath. Imagine my horror when I saw a few creepy crawlies jumping about happily in their hairy little playground. Ewww. I checked the next child, and the next… and then I had a flashback to a week ago, when I was packing up the kids bathroom.
Remember those moments when you look at an item and think, “No, won’t need that. We’re only in the serviced apartment for a couple of weeks…” Well, I did that with the head lice kit. I always had one in the cupboard for times like this. I remember holding it my hot little hand, looking at it for the longest time before deciding not to pack it. And now I was kicking myself for not bringing it with me.
Hubby was dispatched to the shops for whatever he could get to kill the little blighters while I raced about stripping pillows and trying to keep the one, unaffected child out of range of the other two.
Unfortunately, the bamboo comb and treatment shampoo wasn’t a patch on the metal one that was sailing the high seas to Australia. So, my first evening free of packing was spent doing what I’d done all morning – nitpicking!