When it rains, it pours.
Several weeks ago Jim noticed a leaking pipe in one of our bathrooms. (The same bathroom that inspired this post months ago.) We had thought that with all that was done at THAT time that there shouldn’t be any problems for a long time. Part of the reality of life here is that if our flat causes any damage to the property below us, we are responsible. BUT if the problem lies between floors, then we are not to blame and so the expense to repair doesn’t fall on us.
We called the zhek (the flat superintendent), but were unable to reach him. For days. Finally Jim and his assistant Igor walked over to his office to get instructions about what to do. He promised to come take a look after 9 the next day. Well, that leaves things wide open!! After 9, but no deadline on the other end. So after a couple of days had come and gone, they returned to the office. The zhek then did actually come, took a look, and we asked him to speak with a friend of ours about our options for repair. Alfred tried for several days to reach him by phone only to eventually learn that the zhek is on an extended holiday. Okay, then. We continue to wrap towels while we consider what we should do…
Meanwhile a belt in the dryer snapped so that it no longer spins. Jim was able to take the dryer apart and pull out the frayed belt but he had no idea where to find a replacement belt nor did he know how to put it back in! Sooo, we again contacted Alfred who had no time to check us out. Jim took digital photos of the belt, close-ups of any distinguishing marks, and we sent them to Alfred. He spent a day or two looking for a similar belt, but to no avail. His last resort was a store where he could order it…but that would be a 2-month wait. Ugh.
And then, the day before yesterday we had a visit from the energy folks here. It seems that we have not been paying enough for electricity for the past 5 years. We have paid exactly what the bills says, and according to the meter, but we actually have TWO meters. We knew this, but we were told that when the two apartments were joined together as one (before we bought this place) that only one meter would be used to read both sides. Month after month for the past 5 years we have paid our bill on time, and have allowed men from the energy office to enter to read the meter as well. (They are supposed to have a representative check the numbers once every six months. Their job at this time, also, is to be sure that the seal is on the meter.) Well, THIS time when the representatives came they questioned why there was only one meter. And why there was no seal on the meter. Jim explained our situation and then he and Igor went to the energy office. Apparently the registration numbers on our meters do not match the numbers on record in the office. Yikes! Fortunately Jim has filed away all the documents that we were given when we purchased this flat, and one of these papers was a documents signed by both us and the energy office confirming the numbers that are indeed on our meters. Whew!
As of today, still no decision on the pipes.
Alfred has indeed found a belt and will be here sometime today to install it.
Jim has paid a fee to the energy company to cover the past 5 years. Ouch! Not as bad as it could have been, I guess. They will NOT charge us for the new meter that will be installed to cover the second half of our flat, and they did not fine us for no seals on the meters. The meter should be up and running by week’s end.
And still the normal routines of ministry continue. With the office here at home…boxes of supplies for when a new office is found. And Jeanne and Kolya will be arriving on Saturday with the last of the things that they would like us to hang onto until they know where they will be living. (For more adventures of Jeanne and Kolya, please go to her blog razom.)
Houseguests this weekend — we are so looking forward to meeting Wayne’s wife and daughter. Hopefully our disarray won’t be too disturbing…