Anyway maybe the people who knew nothing about the air con apparently did something because it is reasonably cool even in really hot weather now and the cats are a bit more relaxed – or as relaxed as you can be when you get locked out of the apartment - which I have done to both of them on separate occasions in the last few days. Monika for an hour or so and Sissi for about four hours last Saturday.
This is not really a problem as after they have done their exploring they wait patiently outside the door to be let back in but it is a bit disconcerting when the one who rings the doorbell to facilitate this process is Frau Katzenjammer - who must really think I am a complete nincompoop that I cannot keep control of two cats.
The problem is that whenever I go out to do something like shopping - and then come back inside - Sissi is waiting when I come back home and hurtles out the door as soon as I open it.
She always comes back inside after she has explored outside near the elevator - and perhaps a couple of floors down - but Monika has also become much braver of late and has also started exploring - and if I forget to check it is possible for me to close the door without making sure that Monika is also inside.
I know to you this seems impossible but it is a big apartment and sometimes I see that the door is open and absent-mindedly close it without thinking that there could be a cat or cats outside and without actually doing a thorough search of the apartment to make sure that there are two cats in attendance. I promise to be more careful in future.
Anyway – a week prior to the air con saga the dishwasher (geschirrspüler) had expired. It would start dishwashing but never stopped. It just kept whirring away hour after hour so I had to turn it off. Rozalin did her thing and a day or two after I got back the man from Siemens came and delivered his verdict. Kaputt! He said it would cost more to fix than to get a new one - so we will need get a new one.
This is to be arranged by the owner of the apartment. Miraculously - he will pay. I am suspicious because he has never paid for anything else and under Austrian real estate law he is not really required to pay for anything. Once a tenant signs a lease in Austria on an apartment like ours the landlord usually retires to the Costa del Sol and just sits in the sun and drinks champagne.
There are a couple of procedural issues to be followed before anything happens. As none of my children is under the age of 6 - I am not required to surrender them to the owner but I do have to sacrifice a goat on the terrace at midnight on Friday and cook the owner a pair of geese at Weichnachten.
The timing of course is another matter. At some stage a man will come to measure the existing dishwasher. He will go away and deliver this information to another man and one day in the future – no doubt after we are long gone – the new tenants will get a new dishwasher.
In the interim I am washing up using a nice pair of yellow rubber gloves. I had forgotten how much fun it was to wash up dishes without a dishwasher. I do this mainly with cold water as our kitchen sink is serviced by a teensy little water heater which holds about 10 liters of hot water.
But the purpose of dishwashing by hand is not to get dishes clean – it is to appear to get dishes clean – and I can do this nicely. All the germs are spread evenly over each and every dish an utensil.
I would not mind so much about the dishwasher except that the SKY box and the steam iron have gone out in sympathy.
On the bright side I have learned how to make pies - and it is dead easy!