Monday, October 6, 2008

Which one is the washing machine?

The Nicholas Dattner table slid into the apartment without a murmur. The moving guys trundled it in and dumped it – undid their straps and moved on. Was that heavy? I enquired. Not really said hulk #1 – it was OK. Hulk #2 grunted and did 20 push ups. For those who don't know about Nicholas Dattner - he makes very serious tables indeed. Ours is made from a single piece of timber from an old wool store in Australia. The timber is more than 100 years old. The table weighs more than 150 kilos.

These guys are amazing – this is a seriously heavy table – and they did not raise a sweat bringing it up 5 flights of stairs.

After the removalists leave the real fun starts. You find the boxes marked ‘study’ in the bedroom and boxes marked ‘kitchen’ in the lounge room. The really, really heavy ones are always in the wrong place. My most important acquisition before leaving Sydney was to buy a portable trolley so that I could move boxes around without lifting. Of course I had to find the trolley first and it was in one of the last boxes we opened on the day.

You find that the man who packed the bookshelves in Sydney has not packed the brackets with the shelves. He has put these somewhere else in another box – where they probably fitted quite neatly. This box is in the storage room downstairs hidden under one of 60 cartons of books. The Sydney man has carefully packed up the TV, DVD Player and Bose system but has put all the cords into one box and it takes an hour to sort them out. The man in Sydney managed to remove the non-removable shades on our lounge room lamp. I am not sure how he did this – but they sure as hell are not going to go back on and the lamp has to be banished to the trash room.

The container in which the goods were shipped must have been very hot because some of our things melted. Bits and pieces with rubbery parts have been welded together – the office shredder now looks like an installation at the Tate Modern.

Some snails survived the trip attached to the watering can. These must be Republican snails to survive temperatures that can melt rubber. We have put them on the terrace to see how they go in the cold. It could be a chilly winter for all Republicans.

During Bills vomiting marathon he managed to fairly well cover Cate’s frog pyjamas - which are her favourites and at home she is rarely out of them. Knowing that she would need clean PJs for the night she ventured into what passes for the laundry and – after staring at the machinery for a while – asked me ‘which one is the washing machine?’ Well we have been here only a month and to her credit we were in our previous house for 3 years before she had to ask me how to use the dishwasher. But there is no need for her to know these things – that is why she keeps me in considerable luxury in a penthouse apartment in Wien – and I am not complaining.

I have negotiated the right to employ a cleaner using my allowance. Now I don’t actually get an allowance but Cate has no idea what anything costs so I steal what I need from the housekeeping money. This manages to keep me in fine style indeed and I have enough to buy a salami semmel and a coke from Anker for lunch each day and a Sacher Torte on religious feast days.

I went to Bauhaus to attempt to buy some adaptors for our power points. I took one with me so that the helpful shop assistants would know exactly what I wanted. They wear shirts which say something like ‘I am here to help you’ on the back of them. I am not sure who this message is for but it certainly excluded me. The first man waved me in the general direction of Bratislava and grunted ‘Elektro’. The second man also grunted this word – or something similar but pointed towards Prague. The third man said all I needed to know ‘nein’. I was lucky to escape without a beating.

The furniture from Interio was finally delivered at 1.30 PM. It was due at 10:00 AM and at 10:30 a man rang me and asked me what time I would like it delivered. I made no attempt at either humour or sarcasm as I already have a yellow card from Interio and don't want to get a red card and miss the next buying season. We settled on 1:00 and he was almost on time.

When you are buying furniture and the salesperson says ‘I can give you a reduced rate for delivery if you help the delivery man when he arrives’ the default answer should be no. In a moment of insanity last month we said yes. Party time arrived today when I met the man at the truck and he opened this van which was stuffed full of boxes. You are a busy man today I joked – which ones are mine. All of them he said.

There were 28 boxes – some very heavy indeed – and 8 of which did not fit into the elevator because they were too tall. I had to carry these suckers up four flights of stairs while delivery man did the other 20 boxes. It would have been six flights from the front entrance but I have learned my lesson and deliveries now come to the back door.

While panting, sweating and heaving up the stairs I tried really hard to remember what we had bought. Perhaps in a drunken stupor we had bought the full sized replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza together with the matching sphinxes.

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