Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Annual Wien Motorway Ant Census

I have finally reached the stage where most of our mountain of stuff is in a suitable place in the house – or is out of sight. I have sorted through the masses of paperwork that accumulated during the three months we were without our files and folders and administrative thingies and I have created lots of new files, folders and boxes with labels. This is what I do best.

There is an absolute mountain of stuff in the store room downstairs next to the bicycle room. The bicycle room is called the Haus Allgemein Raum but when John was here (his German is not terrific) he dubbed it the House of the German Kings – which I think is great – and that’s what we call it too.
I shudder to think what we would do if we did not have this space. In fact I wonder where we put all this stuff in our tiny house in Sydney (now I remember – in lots of boxes under the roof). But why did we bring it?
The Nicholas Dattner is shown in the photo.

When we were unpacking we used three boxes – the one we were unpacking, the one we were using for the packing paper, and one that we used to throw unwanted stuff into. In many cases the entire contents of boxes we brought from Sydney went straight into the trash bin. We really should have had a major cleanup before we left Sydney but it is difficult with Cate because she loses focus. Start her on a massive box of prehistoric stuff from her childhood and she will become totally absorbed in her dinosaur book from first grade – and it’s game over.
I on the other had am absolutely ruthless and will throw away anything – useful or not. But I can’t explain why I threw away the cups and saucers from our good dinner set.

This morning - for the first time – we arrived at the garage just before someone else who wanted to get their car out. I had to bring the car down on the hoist to the turntable and – being watched and under pressure – did what anyone else would do under the circumstances – backed into this dude’s car.

He took it very well as – between racking sobs – I explained that I was a complete fool who should not be in charge of a tricycle let alone a 60 tonne monolith and that in any case you could barely see the scratch on the numberplate of his big, black, shiny BMW. He shrugged his shoulders and said that he had heard from Interio that I was a trouble maker and that this was strike two. However, he was going to recommend a good behaviour bond rather than deportation.

I thought I had acquired enough power adaptors so that we could plug our Australian appliances into the European two pin outlets – but not so. These have become the most precious commodity in the apartment. We are getting a nice mix of Australian and European appliances and there are multiple outlet power boards at most power points – but there is always a time when an adaptor must be produced quickly. I now carry one on a chain around my neck so that I am not caught short.

The city was missing again this morning when we got up. A thick blanket of mist (I don’t know what they call it here) had covered the city and we could only see as far as the trees of Stadtpark. It is starting to get cooler – except in the studies upstairs where it is always hot. I have realised that the hot/cold buttons and the thermostat mean absolutely nothing. The air conditioner does exactly what it wants to do based on what it thinks the weather is like outside.
Unfortunately it seems to think that the weather outside is freezing – so is always pumping hot air into the studies.
I have a gigantic fan that I acquired from Saturn (the store not the planet) and this has three settings. Gale, Hurricane and Perfect Storm. On the lowest setting I have to strap myself into my seat and hang onto the desk to stop myself from being blown clear across the apartment into Cate’s study. On the highest setting you would find me naked in Bratislava.

In a massive leap of faith I have arranged for our rental desks and chairs to be collected on Friday morning. This is on the basis that Interio is supposed to deliver our new desks and chairs on the same day. I live in Wien, I am an optimist.

We went to SCS on yet another (and we hope final) shopping expedition on Saturday and planned on being home early so that we could go to the markets in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse. We hopped on to the A2 and after about 10 minutes encountered a massive traffic jam. It took us nearly 90 minutes to get to the cause. Three lanes had been channelled into one and we finally saw why. There were a number of workmen in brightly coloured jackets smoking and staring at the road. Other workmen had clipboards and were making notes. Clearly we had stumbled upon the Annual Wien Motorway Ant Census. So we (and many thousands of others) didn’t make it to where they were going on Saturday – but we can take comfort in the knowledge that the authorities now know how many ants are using the motorway at peak hour on Saturday.

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