Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dear So and So

Last week I had one of those situations where you write a letter & then burn it. Or rather the cyber equivalent, you write an email & then press delete.
It was a situation that really upset & hurt me & left both my husband & I perplexed & dumbfounded. We just felt shabbily treated. And it was over such a small thing. The trouble with situations like this is you can't say anything & so it doesn't get dealt with, so it forever changes your perception of that relationship.
So anyway it got me thinking about those Dear So & So letters Kat introduced over at her blog 3bedroom bungalow. And I decided I would write a few of these to express my frustrations at other (but less personal) circumstances we live in & ones which are responsible for my comparative silence over this Autumn.
Dear Landlord,
Please, please could you take our advice, honed in the fires of bitter experience (to date 7 electrical items destroyed by power surges), & buy yourself a surge protector for the modem we share?

To lose one modem, I grant, is unfortunate, to lose two is careless, but to lose 3 to power surges, in the space of a few months & do you not see a teensy bit of a pattern emerging?

Oh & while we are on the subject, could you also get an electrician to mend our (& your) electrical safety cut-out circuit, so that a.) we are safe & b.) when all these power cuts happen we could actually use the generator which has sat idle for 4 months now tantalising us with its hefty, useless back-up bulk.

I know, I know, the damage was caused in our fault & we were cavalier, I admit, to plug things into sockets with such 'gay abandon', without any consideration of the consequences of doing such a thing, but it was a guest of ours who wanted to charge his mobile phone &, well, silly us, we said “Go right ahead. Use our electricity. Enjoy!”

Whilst I have your attention, do you think you could also fix our blind (broken since we moved in 3 yrs ago), our daughter's window, the oven (the fan has broken & is burning everything I cook), oh & when you light a fire in your sitting room 2 floors below, the smoke climbs up to the third floor & instead of carrying on up, it seeps out into our sitting room, filling it with smoke, to the point where you can't sit in there.

However, we have found a solution to this; we light the wood burner whenever you have a fire & all the smoke goes up the chimney. This is not an unpleasant solution, & I know how you like to find 'home made' solutions, but, as you can imagine, it rather limits my daily activities. I have not, to date, found a stoker to keep the home fires burning,whilst I go about my daily life.

Ever Patient Paradise.

Dear Internet Provider Number 1.

I know you are facing large hurdles in getting Albania 'online' but really, is stringing our internet cable across the street from our tree to a pole on the other side really the most sensible solution?

Because there is building work on both sides of us, there are a lot of concrete lorries, cranes etc. passing by. Twice now a lorry has driven through our internet wire severing it. Fortunately our landlord has a (rapidly dwindling) roll of insulating tape & he has made the pole higher but there is a limit to how high he can go.

I admit sometimes our internet problems have been down to the landlord's modem breaking, but you could come & help a bit sooner & better still not just shrug & say you don't know what the problem is. It's all very nice speaking to you every day on the phone, but I am not phoning for a chat, I mean, really I don't even speak to my husband on a daily basis on the phone. But if I did he would soon get the message that something needed attention, so why don't you?

2 ½ months is a long time to be without internet. I have unavoidably developed a '40 a day Balkan Passive Smoking' habit as a result of resorting to internet caf├ęs. Please sort it out.

A Gradually Losing Patience Paradise.

Dear Internet Provider Number 2

How can we be 20 metres short of being able to be connected to your provider? Don't you want our business?

A Perplexed Paradise.

Dear Internet Provider Number 3.

Thank you, thank you for getting us online, though please refer to my letter to Internet Provider Number 1 to see that I really do not think this 'high wire' stuff is a good idea. I See you have installed a new wire.... from our ROOF terrace, 4 floors up, across our courtyard, over the road beyond the houses opposite to the apartment block one road over. I realise I know very little about these things but it does seem a tad...... precarious. Though I admit, I wish I had been here to see you set it up...

It's a shame with all the power cuts I am still not getting internet very regularly.
But thank you for your efforts which, as well as acrobatic, have been better than other providers.

An Increasingly Wearied Paradise.

Dear Electricity Board,

A small tip. Invest more money in infrastructure. Winters are wet, the country is covered in high mountains & large rivers. Hydro electric is the way to go. One of the few things Hoxha got right. But it needs upgrading badly, it can't cope with today's power needs.

I know things have improved a lot & I know it's a difficult job, though I have also heard your board is the most corrupt company in Albania, but we'll gloss over that for the moment.

Our electricity supply has actually got more erratic over the last 3 years. Could you possibly send someone to look at our antiquated little substation because every time it rains, I mean EVERY time it rains, our power goes off, & stays off. For a long time. And our generator doesn't work because our landlord has not fixed the fused circuit that connects the generator, which was fused when our friend plugged his mobile phone into one of our sockets. But I digress & it's hardly an electrifying tale (except perhaps for our friend who had a narrow escape..)

And so the flat is cold, gloomy, with no heating (except the smoking wood burner) & 2 gas rings for cooking. Oh & the electric gates don't work of course, so I have to park up the road & carry all the shopping & my school bag up the road, across our flooded sewagey courtyard & up 3 flights of stairs.
SO I would really appreciate it. Maybe it's something as simple as a hole in the roof ? Could you just take a peek?

A Powerless Paradise.

Dear God,

We have had a beautiful warm colourful Autumn this year, for which I am truly grateful. Thank you, it's been lovely.

I know Mediterranean climates have wet winters & actually I don't mind the rain too much (as long as I have a warm, well lit flat to be in....) I love the mountain-ricocheting thunderstorms too.

But the trouble is rain here means several things:
Power cuts – floods - sewage drains overflowing in our courtyard - lots of mud on the unmade up roads - & no internet often (even when there IS power). And traffic worse than usual & crazier than usual. I mean yesterday cars were driving on pavements to beat the queues....

So you see I was just wondering.... obviously I am not asking you to move mountains (though of course, I know you could.) or to shift the rain shadow, alter an entire climate, but how about sending just a little bit less? It seems we get a month's quota in a day. And then the same again the next day. It's like a Mediterranean Monsoon.

Alternatively perhaps, my son's suggestion, could you make it colder so it fell as snow?? (& then there'd be no school, & we could make use of the mountains by toboganning & maybe even 'crosscity' skiing instead of using the car.) But I'm not convinced because we'd still have power cuts from overload, so I'd still be cold, internet-less, light-less & have to get by on stove-top pasta

A Precipitation Averse Paradise.


nappy valley girl said...

Wow, you certainly have a lot to rant about. Get it out there, girl! How frustrating about the internet - and of course your power. You must have to have a lot of patience to live in Albania. I think I'd be foaming at the mouth by now......hope things improve soon.

Inaie said...

Albania? somehow just went totally off my list of possible places to live.

Thank you for helping

come to the Middle East - no rain ( at all!), no mountains ( at all).. no lots of other stuff too...

Potty Mummy said...

Crickey you have a lot to put up with - hope you get a trip back home to blighty and central heating soon...x

deola said...

love this post!

Iota said...

Ah, the perfect post. A real life rant and whinge, executed with enough detail that we can feel your pain, but shot through with humour, irony, abandon, and some marvelous language ("mountain-ricocheting thunderstorms" - wonderful). Perfect - though I know that's no consolation, as you sit in your 40-a-day fug to read the comments.

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