Chills, spills, and no-frills

The weather is turning a bit chilly here. I actually look forward to chillier temperatures, but not everyone is in agreement! I much prefer snow as opposed to cold rain…brighter, cheerier in my humble opinion. So bring on the chill.

Kyiv has central heating. City-wide. Typically the heat comes on October 15 and is turned off April 15. This year is not following suit. Someone told me that the heat will not come on until the temperature has been at a certain low point for several days running. Well, apparently, we have hit that point.

I heard what sounded like rain outside our window, but as I looked from my chair through the uncurtained stationary windows located above the balcony windows, I couldn’t see any rain. It seemed odd to hear rain but not see it. So, Jim opened one of the curtained balcony windows to get a better look. We immediately heard the sound of water hitting metal snow guards. A sure sound of rain.

When Jim said that it wasn’t rain but a gushing pipe, Jeanne and I dashed to the window to see for ourselves. The rain gutter at the top of the building across the courtyard (…more like a parking lot) was separating at a seam spilling torrents of brown water to the pavement below. It seems that the hot water (Why brown? Who knows?!) was beginning to flow into these buildings to generate the heat.

We rejoiced at the beginning trickles we heard within our radiators. But then suddenly needed a towel as our radiator began leaking that awful brown water. Fortunately both Jim and Kolya were home and knew just what to do! Jeanne and I specialize in moving objects quickly out of the way of water leaks, and we can locate towels in a hurry, but we weren’t sure how to handle the leak itself! The water to that radiator is now turned off, and the men will check into what needs to be done later.

Meanwhile, Kolya is continuing to build a custom-designed shafa (storage unit) in our entry-way. Now that Jim’s office has officially moved to our flat, we are using both entrances. One for friends. One for business. Previously the second entrance had been closed off by suitcases and other boxes. Now we need to look presentable from both sides, and this beautiful shafa will do the trick. We’ve wanted to have a storage unit in this location for several years, but it always seemed like a frill, not really necessary.

But nothing is simple here. Though Kolya purchased doors with hinges included, the actual hinges will not allow the doors to close flush with the unit. Go figure. He and Jeanne are now at a different market trying to find hinges that will work. Why not just exchange the ones we have? Well, it takes over an hour each way just to get to the home supplies store. It makes more sense to simply buy ones locally, a 5-block walk, than to take that much time for a simple exchange. Hopefully Kolya will be able to use the hinges for future projects!

Such is the first half of a Saturday in beautiful downtown Kyiv.



  1. *L* You’re right. . . nothing is simple. . .

    And the brown water. . . ewwww. Thankfully our heat always came on right on time, no probs, when we were in Kyiv.

    You know what I miss? The heat in the bathroom going through external pipes that warmed my towels. That was fabulous, and something that should be adopted in the states.

  2. Hi You!!! Missed you and glad to see all is well. I hadn’t heard anything through the grapevine so i knew nothing horrid had happened to you, but I’m still relieved to see your words back on this page…
    Big hugs!

  3. TulipGirl: I’m sure you know that you CAN get hot-water-heated towel racks in the states. For a price! Here, it’s just part of the plumbing!

    kibbe: It’s good to be back. And it was SO MUCH FUN actually TALKING to you a few weeks ago. What a treat!! Hugs back to you and yours.

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