Despite this, I've discovered from the occasional chat with other building dwellers that our place is the largest size they have. Every third floor (second, fifth, eighth and eleventh levels) has one our size that stretches across the entire length and allows pretty decent views of the Saleve and Jura mountains from both sides. "Plus, you have a maids' door," Anne said to me.
A maid's door?
She's right. Taking care to snap this photo with keys safely in my hand, I'd almost forgotten about our second door. It's the one on the right - closest to the gorgeous matchy-matchy lift door. Nothing but the best of burnt seventies' brown sugar for our external furnishings.
"And don't forget what was constructed for the housekeeper inside," she said, pointing to the tiny room next to the guest toilet. This windowless, power point-less room measures 1.5 by 2.5 metres.
We use it as our indoor storage space. My two nanna carts, LC's and Sapphire's scooters, unused winter quilts, art supplies and a dodgy IKEA desk chair have been shoved there out of the way. "Well, if you had a live-in housekeeper, that's where she would have to sleep."
No wonder Milly and I see so many nervous and tired-looking Philippino and Malaysian women entering the foyer as we're exiting for Milly's first whizzer of the day at 7:00am. They all stop and greet Milly, who rushes up to greet them with a wildly wagging tail. "I miss dogs," one said wistfully the other day. "My kids look after mine in Manila for me."
It seems that these days no-one has live-in domestics; or not that I'd noticed anyway. Then again, Guillaime upstairs has a cleaner visit every single week day. Considering that it's just him and his wife in their two bedroom/one bathroom apartment (ours is 3br/2 br), it's a genuine struggle to imagine just what kind of detailed tidying up is required so regularly. From the hoovering, scraping and clanging sounds overhead, Guillaime's debris keeps her occupied for least three hours. Is he a messy eater who then defecates on the floor? Does the always-stunning Mrs G let everything hang out once the front door's closed behind her, grinding dropped blobs of her Chanel Double Perfection Lumiere foundation into the gaps in the parquetry...? Are they against wardrobes and discard clothes like dead skin cells? Are dishes frisbees? If so, they keep pretty quiet when it's not anyone's birthday.....
Our 'Maids' Entry' door has been permanently locked ever since we moved in, and is usually hidden by a rack full of damp washing, a handful of doggy doo bags dangling from the handle and the three designated recycling containers lined up in a row. Lotto win fantasies see this door get removed forever and a decent pantry installed instead.
If we were the type of people who had a maid, then she'd apparently only be given a key to the side door and this is what she'd be greeted with: laundry and kitchen. After all, why look at the comfortable bedrooms or living areas (with spectacular views) unless you're in there to spruce, dust and polish?
If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering what the point of this entry is, apart from showing you how hideous our doors, floors and tiled walls are and that it might prove best not to visit Guillaime's place until after the cleaner's worked her magic.
Well, I was walking Milly in the Parc de Trembley this morning when I spied what initially looked like a rather cute scene. Mum, dressed in a power suit with a sleek leather briefcase slung across her chest, was sharing a ride on a scooter with her toddler. Bent nearly double, she was gripping the handlebars tight, calling out, "Wheee! Wheeeeee!", using one leg to propel them faster and faster forward. The child was giggling with glee. Sweet, right?
For the first few seconds, yes, until their companion was revealed, coming up behind, huffing and puffing to keep up the pace. Dressed not in workout gear but a rather formal uniform was (presumably) the nanny, forced to run alongside until Mum had reached the enormous UIT building and handed her both the scooter and the child.
The nanny was not giggling with glee, and I sincerely hoped that she was at least paid enough to afford to live in a place of her own.