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When last I wrote, I was telling you about getting ready to move to the apartment. I was confessing a bit of nervousness about driving the rental car and mentioned a small plumbing problem in the master bath. We had been assured that water was still in the pipes and we could take a bath and use the other toilet. I wrote about how we had wearied of hotel life and was ready to reconnect with our things that we had watched being sealed into a container many weeks earlier.

So, imagine our surprise when we found out that there was no cold water in the pipes. Warm water yes, but not cold. As in, flush the toilet w buckets of water. But the plumber was on the way we were assured. Meanwhile, our real estate agent talked urgently with the landlord’s real estate agent and the landlord talked and I kept leaving the room because I just found the whole thing very frustrating, disappointing, and anxiety raising. Our stuff was on its way from the shipper’s warehouse. The parking spots had already been posted to be clear for Saturday morning at 8 a.m. We figured we had a couple of options:  go find another apartment (nothing is on the market at the moment), move in anyway, or call the movers and take another month in the hotel. We weren’t sure if we could get to the movers in time. Plus, the plumber was coming on Friday so it would all be better very soon. Except for that huge hole in the master bath and the non-working shower. Or the faucet not installed in the kitchen sink. We doubled down our bet and said, let’s go back to the hotel and let our stuff show up on Saturday.

By the way, the hotel has already sold our room for the weekend because we all thought we were moving out. The only room they have left is a tiny little room, which doesn’t work well since we take turns snoring each other out of the bed around 2 a.m.

Meanwhile, we had some stuff we had been acquiring in anticipation of moving in out in the rental car. Beloved set to loading up the elevator (about the size of a phone booth. Seriously. Remember those?) when he learned a very important lesson about our elevator. Rather than doors that slide from the side, the inner doors of the elevator fold up on either side – about four inches deep. And if you load stuff in front of those inner doors and then close the outer door, the outer door locks and the elevator refuses to move because the inner door can’t close.

So, to review:  Its now about 2 in the afternoon. Our stuff is stuck in the elevator and we’re kind out of luck for a place to sleep that night that will work for us anxious people.

It gets better. The house manager is no where to be found. And it can cost up to 1,000 euro to get an elevator repair guy out to work on the box. This is where the landlord springs into action. There’s a small tool that can unlock the outer door. Only he doesn’t own it. And then Beloved and Landlord set off in a grand bonding adventure that crosses language barriers as well as the city till they find a 30 euro tool that pops the door in 5 seconds. Meanwhile, I’m off at the hotel negotiating a discount on the other room they have left which is the grand suite and allows night wandering.

I get back to the apartment before they get back with the cool tool. i unload the car with the second round of stuff and then prepare to back out of the driveway when I see an ambulance pulling into the driveway behind me. Although I keep the car in reverse, I realize that the ambulance is not prepared to pull out of the driveway in order to let me out. “hmm,” thinks I, “maybe the ambulance has more urgent business then I do,” and so I set the break and get out of the car. No, they aren’t rushing the gurney into the apartment, which is a good thing since the elevator is still broken at this point with our stuff. Instead, an older woman gets out and the crew starts wheeling an older man up to the door in a wheelchair. He looks like he’s fresh sprung from the hospital or something.

“Are you kidding me,” I’m thinking to myself, knowing full well that the elevator is stuck. “Um, the elevator is stuck,” I said. “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t worry,” the driver said, “its not your fault.”

“um,” as I kick the snow, “yes it is.”

So, I come back the next day because the TV was being delivered and I learned that no, the plumber has not yet shown up. Nor does the plumber return phone calls. But he’s going to be there on Saturday.  Okay, whatever.

On Saturday the movers showed up which was a grand and glorious day. Also busy. Also, they didn’t get the memo where they were going to unpack everything for us and take the boxes away. Furthermore, they also had awesome skills at kill-the-elevator which meant that Beloved’s new tool and skill set proved to be very useful. Meanwhile, guess who still isn’t showing up? 1 p.m. on Monday. 

The house looked great with our stuff half unpacked. We went back to the hotel on Saturday night, made dinner and I fell asleep by 9:30 a.m. and slept through to 8 a.m.  Hard sleep. I was groggy when I woke up and groggy after two cups of coffee. I think I was very ready to have stuff off the Panama Canal tour. We talked to our agent and decided running water was overrated. We have camping in the wilderness skills and so we cleared out the hotel room (keeping the keys, just in case) and spent Sunday night in the apartment. It was great! We ate at a local restaurant and walked home holding hands, enchanted by the house, by the neighborhood, if not by the plumber. Who was going to come on Mondayat 1 p.m.

At noon, I answered the door to the landlord who was keeping vigil on this guy. At 2 p.m. I was on the phone with my agent. “What does it take to get someone to show up?”  At 3:45 p.m., the landlord (who had decided he liked waiting on the doorstep or just went to drag the plumber out of whatever bar he was occupying) came back in the door, elderly plumber guy in tow. First the kitchen sink. then the guest room toilet. Then the bathtub and voila – a working washer and a working dishwasher to boot. There’s still a huge hole in the master bath and a need to disappear for a week in January while all that gets fixed (assuming the plumber can keep track of time) but we are here now. And it makes a difference when I get on the tram or walk around the neighborhood.

Fantastic. We live here now. And we know how to fix the elevator when it gets jammed up with stuff. 

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