Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The evil electricians, part X

Thursday: A guy from the construction company calls me and tells me that they are gonna come next week and Fix Everything - am I gonna be home? I ask him when. He says that they are gonna be at Tero's place Monday at 8 and gonna call me Monday morning and come sometime on Monday.


9:30: An electricity inspector comes and inspects electricity. He thinks that all the wiring of all three ceiling lamps should be replaced and some wiring added in the kitchen.

10:00: Where are the electricians?

10:30: Where the fuck are the electricians?

11:00: Where the fuck are the electricians?

11:30: Where the fuck are the fucking electricians? Gonna rape them with a Cristmas tree if they show up.

12:00: The plan to rape them with a Christmas tree fails for two logistical reasons: 1) no electricians, and 2) no Christmas tree.

12:30: The plan to find them by phone also fails, for one logistical reason: no electricians.

13:00: The plan to find somebody by phone succeeds. Somebody (the same somebody who called me on Thursday) says they have been in the building. I say this doesn't help much. He says they are gonna be here the first thing Tuesday morning at 8.

13:07: I bugger off to work.

19:30: I am back from work with a vague feeling that I should move my stuff out of their way. The problem is that their way is pretty much everywhere.


0:00: Bugger all. Gotta bugger off to bed. Didn't get any sleep last night.

1:00: Woke up to a nightmare about the electricians.

2:00: Woke up to another nightmare about the electricians.

7:30: Woke up to the alarm clock. Considered beating the electricians over the head with it.

8:00: Shower, pants and tea all located. Waiting for the electricians.

8:30: Where the hell are the electricians?

8:55: The doorbell! Hurrah!

A colorful character walks in and stares at my ceiling in a "what the fuck way".

Me: Are you an electrician?
Him: No, I am a painter.
Me: Huh? Öööö...
Him: Supposed to paint over their work...
Me: Can't paint the holes...
Him: That would take special skills... but where are they?
Me: Wondered about it myself...
Him: I'll call them.

With that the Picasso disappeared and was never heard from again.

9:20: Called the somebody again.

Me: They were supposed to be there at 8 and didn't show up!
Somebody: A painter was there.
Me: I know.
Somebody: Did he get the keys?
Me: No. Don't you have the keys?
Somebody: We sorta do...
Me: Gonna leave the security lock open.
Somebody: They are gonna be there eventually.

10:15: Finally at work.

10:17: The phone rings.

The electrician: We are here and we can't get in!
Me: Don't you have the keys?
The electrician: None of them work, the housing company doesn't have your keys.
Me (making a mental note to disembowel whoever lost my keys and make them pay for the lock replacement - not necessarily in this order): I can be there in half an hour.
The electrician: That's too late! I can't just wait for you! Can't we set up a time later in the afternoon?
Me: Sure, whatever, just tell me when.
The electrician: Sometime after 16?
Another electrician in the background: Are you talking to Vera?
The first electrician: Yes.
The other electrician in the background: Wrong apartment, she lives downstairs.
The first electrician (to me): Oops, forget it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A girl who was interested in politics

Somebody just implied to me that there must have been something wrong with me if at 16 I was more interested in free elections than in a prince on a white horse. She did not know that this was also the case at 10. I was gonna tell her off, along the lines of "takes all kinds to make a world", and then started wondering whether the above was in fact a sign that something was wrong with the country.

(Yes, I know that something was wrong with the country. OK, make it "almost everything". I am just wondering whether my interest in politics was a symptom of that.)

I sort of know where the woman who thinks something was wrong with me is coming from. She is also from the Soviet Union, a few years older than me. During our childhood everything was full of politics. Newspapers were full of politics (much more so than in the West at any point that I remember), and so was the TV. We had all kinds of politics (just a figure of speech - it was just one kind of politics) shoved down our throats from morning till night, politics before class, politics during class, politics after class, etc. Everything we did was interpreted as political statement. Personal was very much political, whether one wanted it or not.

Under those circumstances quite a lot of people became very strongly apolitical, in a "just leave me in peace to live my sex life and wear whatever I want, I am not interested in politics". At the time I wondered whether the leaders realized that their attempt to make everyone interested in their politics had the result opposite of the intended; nowadays, older and even more cynical, I wonder whether this was in fact the intended effect.

Anyway, this reaction is barely comprehensible to me now, and was even less comprehensible at the time. My personal is usually not very political, but it is quite clear to me that if the powers that be have chosen to lecture me on the style of my shirt, the personal has become the political whether I want it or not.

The funny thing was that pretty much everyone I knew understood that if a bully comes up to you in the street and expresses desire to punch you in the nose because he is offended by your makeup the thing to do was not to explain that the makeup was not intended as a personal offense to him - he knows it as well as you do - but to hit hard and/or run fast. But I felt fairly alone with the idea that the same is the case for the governments. Although, obviously, this was not the kind of thing I could easily discuss with my classmates, so I was pretty much limited to listening.

Yes, I also wished to be left in peace, I just realized that it was not gonna happen, or in any case not by leaving *them* in peace.

I remember the day that Brezhnev died. I was 11, and sat in class wondering whether the next guy was gonna be some new version of Stalin, and the possible implications of it. Nobody, including myself, ever mentioned this possibility out loud, but the general feeling that our lives depend on who the new guy will be was there. How can one not be interested in politics under those circumstances?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The great flood saga continues...

Friday, 18:00: Three wise men and a disgruntled Virgin Mary. OK, I would be even more disgruntled if I were a Middle Eastern girl with a newborn baby wondering how to explain to her family and friends that she is still a virgin in the face of rather overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The three wise men totally look like movie characters. The builder (aka "wall-breaker") looks like a smaller and more comical version of Victor Le Nettoyeur, the plumber looks like a British gentleman, and the electrician looks so ancient that I keep wanting to ask him what he'd done for a living before the electricity was invented. He is incredibly grumpy, too.

18:30: The ill-tempered electrician informs me that the morning plumber is still in the hospital, that all such accidents are reported to the electric safety officials and that they would surely like to see me and my apartment.

The builder wonders what the fuck, and does that wire in front of his nose still have electricity in it? It sure does. They try to find out experimentally what each of the fuses and switches do in spite of the fact that I know pretty well what they do, and am trying to tell them. What the fuck?

18:45: After 15 minutes of trying they figure out what I kept telling them from the very beginning, namely that all the lights in the apartment are on one single fuse. What the fuck, wonders the builder. The electrician explains that the system is ancient, and look who is talking!

18:50: the electrician decided to rip the lamp switch out of the wall, and now it's his turn to ask what the fuck. Apparently I have illegal wiring in my wall. The good thing is that I have an alibi: it was put in before I was born, in the sixties, and was illegal back then, too. The electrician swears profusely about the fucking Estonians, and occasionally apologizes to the ladies present (which are, apparently, me, a least if you use the word "lady" loosely enough). I find it weird, because there wasn't a lot of Estonians here in the sixties, and besides the electrician should probably be apologizing to the builder, who appears to be an Estonian (fucking or otherwise).

19:00: The three wise men decided to break the ceiling.

19:30: Now there is a huge hole in what's left from the ceiling, and still no source of leakage uncovered. The three wise men want to get into Tero's apartment but don't have a key.

Negotiations ensue. I tell Tero that they want to get in. Tero tells me that he is out for the evening, and what the fuck, the superintendent and the humidity measuring guy told him that the leak is definitely not in his apartment. I tell the same to the three wise men. The three wise men are convinced that the leak is in Tero's apartment, and have a unanimous opinion as to where the humidity measuring guy can insert his humidity measuring device.

20:00: The three wise men decide to continue at 10 in the morning. They go home, and leave me some scary-looking tools. I run to the store for cleaning supplies. The apartment is a concrete-covered ruin.

21:00: One can actually walk in the apartment with a fear of a major foot injury. And I sort of have a toilet. Which doesn't flush.

21:10: Ville and Leena come over and take me outside to eat, which is nice.

Saturday, 03:00: Fuck, it's raining again!

03:30: Shit, I can't breathe! Gotta open the window.

07:00: Brr!

08:00: BRRRRR!!!!!!

09:00: Antihistamines, pseudoephedrine, salbutamol and a glass of calvados - the breakfast of a true lady. Hyvin menee...

10:00: No three wise men yet.

10:30: Where the fuck are the three wise men?

11:00: Judging from the horrible sounds, apparently they are upstairs.

11:30: The builder came to get his tools.

12:00: The horrible sounds continue, I keep expecting the builder to fall through my ceiling.

13:30: Hurrah! The hole in the pipe has been located, and it is in Tero's apartment.

14:00: The wise men leave until Monday. I have a working toilet again, which is nice. Tero doesn't. My apartment is cold and the air is unpleasant.

Monday: The plumber(s) came and fixed the pipe. Now Tero can use his bathroom too and it's not raining in my place. Happy happy joy joy!

I still have huge holes in the wall and the ceiling, and no light in the hall. Tero has an even bigger hole in the floor. But hey, the new pipe!

Tuesday: Situation unchanged, gonna be fixed real soon now.

Friday, December 09, 2011


22:40: Back home from nice beers with coworkers! Whee!

00:20: What the hell is that sound?

00:21: Shit, it's raining!

00:22: Shit, it's raining inside!

00:23: Shit, the rain is brown! Shit?

00:24: Gotta wake up Tero, the neighbor upstairs. Tero! TEEEROO! Open the door!

00:26: Shit, do I have a bucket? Do they sell buckets in 24-hour Alepa?

00:28: Bucket located and installed under the rain.

00:30: Calling Tero. Still no response. Left a message. Tero, Tero, why hast thou forsaken me and possibly a fair amount of water as well?

00:33: Calling the maintenance guy. He sounds as drunk as, well, me, and I can't really blame him. They are gonna be here in half an hour. Maybe.

00:37: Hurrah, Tero woke up and called me! No water anywhere in his apartment though.

00:40: Tero is here and looking pessimistic. We are wondering what the fuck.

00:45: Tero goes back home to sleep, asks to be awakened when the maintenance guy comes.

01:05: The maintenance guy (not the one who answered the phone but another, sober one) naturally comes right when I am in the toilet. Pulling the pants up and running to open the door. He stands for a while looking at the ceiling and wondering what the fuck.

01:10: The maintenance guys goes and gets Tero. They stand for a while looking at the ceiling and wondering what the fuck.

01:11: More water coming out of the ceiling lamp. We are wondering what the fuck.

01:12: The water comes out from the same hole as the lamp's cables. What the fuck?

01:13: I figure it might be a good idea to turn off the lamp.

01:14: The maintenance guy figures it might be a good idea to summon a real plumber.

01:15: Tero figures it might be a good idea to go to bed while he still can.

01:16: Shit! Now I have water coming out of two places, and only one bucket.

01:20: An Ikea bag does work as a bucket, and pretty well in fact.

01:40: The plumber arrives, looks at the ceiling and says "what the fuck?"

01:41: The plumber puts his hand in the lamp cable hole and says "ouch".

01:42: The plumber turns off all the electricity.

01:43: Being alone at night in total darkness with two plumbers is not nearly as much fun as porn movies say.

01:50: The plumbers wake up Tero again.

01:55: Much turning off and on the water and flushing ensues.

02:00: They dismantle parts of the ceiling, and keep wondering what the fuck.

02:10: The electricity is back on.

02:45: They are gone. They promise to come back in the morning and tell me that the rain will stop for the night. The whole staircase is out of water and toilets don't work. Nice surprise for everyone in the morning.

07-something: Someone is in the apartment. I wake up jump out of my room naked. A plumber screams "eek" and disappears.

08-something: There is a whole bunch of them, and they are all saying "what the fuck". I alternate between trying to sleep and trying to look decent, failing at both.

10:15: The superintendent calls and asks me to stay home, he'll be here in two hours.

11:00: Most plumbers ran away, one remains.

11:30: The plumber sticks his hand into the wel lamp cable hole, gets a shock and falls off the ladder, screaming. I say "what the fuck".

12:00: The plumber needs to go to a hospital, tells me he'll be back and not to piss in the toilet.

13:00: parts of the ceiling fall off.

14:00: The superintendent shows up and starts running around, waving his hands, screaming "what the fuck" and flushing everyone's toilets. He keeps at it for an hour. He finds that the right toilet belongs to the 4th floor neighbor, and now it really starts to rain. The plumber is still in the hospital.

16:00: The superintendent come back with a humidity measuring guy. The guy says that the whole wall between the hall and the toilet is fucked, what the fuck. They invite a wall-breaker. I have to empty a bookcase.

17:00: The wall-breaker arrives and starts breaking the wall. He totally looks like he'd escaped from some gangster movie.

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011