Sunday, October 5, 2008

But if it happens again...........

The unpacking process was/is so hideous that I can’t talk about it yet. I will address this subject when the wounds are not so raw.

Commencing the first weekend we were here we have bought oodles of stuff from Interio which is store that seems to have lots of things that we like the look of. Nothing has ever been delivered because nothing is ever in stock – bits have to come from far flung places and be assembled by the little elves in the Vienna Woods before delivery can take place. The elves work on Austrian time and have generous leave conditions.

We thought that there might be a frequent buyer scheme and that you had to reach a certain threshold of purchases before they would deliver anything - so we kept buying and buying thinking that one day we will reach the magic number and our ship will come in. This weekend we thought we had lucked in and heard that some bits and pieces were to be delivered. We were not sure what they were because we saw them a while ago and had forgotten completely what we had bought – and indeed why we had bought them.

Delivery was to take place between 9 and 10 (Austrian time) so at 10.45 I called Interio to enquire after the fate of our delivery. After negotiating my way past the first person who answered the telephone I was put on hold. This consisted of what could have been someone saying Herzlich Wilkommen with their head in a bucket of water, followed by a few bars of a Mozart concerto played backwards at high speed and then what could have been the sounds of a Kodiak Bear having its toes cut off one by one with secateurs – it was hard to tell. This went on for some time – but at least they don’t give you this rubbish about valuing your call – they don’t want your call and would prefer that you go and stick your head up a dead bear’s bum rather than bother them with the trivialities of your miserable furniture-less life.

I explained to the delivery person (#1) the nature of my predicament and after some more bear torturing was informed that the delivery man had been to the house and had rung the doorbell and called us but that no one answered so he had gone home. I thought about this for a minute and then concluded that as it was 11.00 he probably did mean home. The poor man had started at 8.00 AM and would have been exhausted.

I explained that neither the doorbell or my phone had rung - and negotiated my way around the delivery guy’s disbelief. I was stunned to receive another delivery slot on Monday – I had expected late 2009. Clearly another customer had died suddenly that morning and I had drawn their slot out of a hat.

15 minutes later I had a call from delivery man #2 saying that they had tried to deliver my furniture but that I had not answered my door or phone. After patiently explaining that neither doorbell or phone had rung I told delivery guy #2 that I had already spoken to delivery guy #1and had arranged a delivery for Monday. This elicited a stunned silence followed by lengthy questioning about the nature of the earlier conversation and confirmation of every detail. Delivery guy #2 had obviously not received the SMS about the tragic customer death and my subsequent and very fortunate lottery win.

15 minutes later delivery guy #2 called again (on the phone that the delivery man – now home munching his lunch – could not call). He said that because I had not answered my door or Handy I was to be charged another €40 for the delivery. This was in effect a fine for not answering a doorbell and a telephone that did not ring.

I had been in Austria a month and one day so I know how these things work. I expressed surprise at the leniency being shown to me for my heinous crime and suggested that they were being far to generous. Perhaps a fine of 500 Euros might be more appropriate I suggested – after all – I said – if you let me get away with this there will be a whole raft of people out there not answering doorbells that don’t ring.

That will not be necessary – he informed me. We are being lenient because you are a first offender– but if this happens again……………

Well I can just imagine what this will mean. Probably a good beating followed by a stint in the stocks at Stephansplatz. I will certainly keep my ears peeled on Monday because the chances of another Interio customer dying at short notice are very remote indeed. These hardy souls hang on with their last breath and just will not expire until that sofa – ordered by Grandpa Gunter in 1974 – comes through the door. Fortunately the 30 year fashion cycle means that Interio clients are always at the cutting edge of home fashion.

I couldn’t get Bill’s usual meat so ended up by buying something the origin of which I was unable to determine. I am pretty sure it was from a four footed animal but I have no idea which part.
Bill responded very badly and vomited continuously for 9 hours – commencing at 12:00 AM. It took us a while to work out what it was but we reckoned eventually that it must been the meat because every time Bill had some – which he did after vomiting up the previous lot – he would vomit again. It’s hard to make rational decisions at 2:00 AM but after I threw the meat away Bill continued to vomit - but mainly concentrated on trying to bring up his stomach lining.
Bill is not really a class vomiter and is not a match for some of the cats we have had in the past. Lettuce for example was world class and could consistently projectile vomit more than 2 metres. Her record without wind assistance but from a sideboard was 3.2 metres (onto a woollen rug so there was no slide advantage – she could have squeezed another 4 centimetres from a polished floor). If they had cat Olympics Lettuce would have been certain medallist.

Cats don’t want to vomit where they have already vomited and like to have fresh spots. These were getting hard to find by 8:00 and Bill was starting to fade and lose focus. Fatigue and dehydration were taking their toll and - as I was following him around with a mop and bucket - I was able to nudge him in the direction of some places he had missed.

He eventually collapsed on a pile of cardboard cartons and emerged refreshed much later in the day ready for his dinner.

His food of choice is now corn fed turkey breast cut into very small pieces. The illustration seems to indicate that the farmer and his wife feed the turkeys by hand and then they all sit around the fire at night but I’m sure this doesn’t happen. You’d need a lounge room the size of ours to do that.

Cate had finally discovered why she has not received her new Blackberry Bold. The model is not yet available in Austria. Why would they order a model that is not available I hear you ask. because it is the only one that works in Korea. But if I don’t have it……..

We are still trying to do a work around for Cate’s home internet connection. We had a top consultant here for 6 hours over two days but even he was unable to crack the code Cate’s company uses to prevent their most senior employees from accessing emails or the internet.
The fallback position is the landline but this relies on the good graces and commitment of Austria Telecom and we have heard that he is going on leave for a month to visit his sick grandmother in Graz.

This could be a real bummer as last time he did this he turned off the phones in Vienna and took the key with him. Anyway it’s hard not to wish that the old girl would croak so that he can start whittling down the waiting list. We have heard that we have a slot for 2011 but are hoping for another Black Death to move us up (we had our shots is Sydney before we left). We also hear that the Telco man moonlights as the delivery man for Interio.

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