The NYCMT was wondering about our drying arrangements and I'm happy to report that the dryer only took some rough kicking and shaking, and decided to cooperate again. It's also getting warmer and soon we can use our clothes lines again.
NYCMT was also wondering about the furnace in the shed in the garden. Well, things are different here in Armenia. In fact, one of the hallmarks of everything former Communist can be found here as well: a plethora of pipes of all sizes running into and out of houses, along streets, through gardens, up bridges, down hills, over streets, in the most awkward and strange places.
Like this! This is a picture of the heating shed. The house in the background is the neighbor's. See that black pipe making its brave way to the right, relying entirely on structural integrity vs. gravity?
That's the water carrying heating pipe that comes out of our bedroom radiator. It's also losing its insulation a bit in the middle part, although you can't really see that in this picture. I'm almost sure that this pipe carries the colder water back to the heater. The pipe carrying the hot water into the house - I haven't found that one yet. It's around. Somewhere.
This morning, as I dressed the boys, Alan took a hand puppet, told David to pull up a chair, and staged a little play for him. It was a complicated story involving a very evil person (aka hand puppet) and I admired Alan's imagination. At the same time, though, I was a little disturbed by the fact that the hand puppet spoke English with a very strong, Hollywood-like German accent. --- David came to me this afternoon and said, "I want to read two books to you." He's three, and he can not read. I said, "Good! Come sit here." He sat down next to me, opened his first book, and flipped through without saying a word. "Didn't you say you were going to read the books to me?" "But Mommy, I am reading them to you qui-e-t-ly!" --- Jacob sees a laundry basket full of laundry. He walks over, pulls all the laundry out, crawls into the basket and says happily, "Vroom, vroom."
I don't think that my views are much of a secret. I've been slapping them into the faces of my readers, want or not. How I then got onto the mailing list of the UK-based "LifeLeague" sincerely baffled me. At first, I didn't heed it much, trashed the email and forgot about it. Since my email program doesn't show pictures until I tell it it's OK to do so, I didn't get to enjoy the photos of aborted fetuses that were part of the newsletter.
Today, I got the third newsletter in as many days. I got annoyed, more so when I noticed that the "unsubscribe" button didn't work, so I wrote them an admittedly sharp email:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I've been receiving unsolicited emails from you. On top of landing on a
mailing list without agreeing to it, the link to unsubscribe from it
doesn't work. I am quite bothered by this intrusion into my privacy.
Furthermore, I fail to see why you would send me any of your mailings in
the first place. I am a Public Health professional, pro-choice, a
Unitarian Universalist and could not be further removed from your way of
thinking. Also, as a German national, I'm very offended by your
misrepresentational and misleading reporting of the case of a German
home-schooled child. In Germany, home-schooling is illegal. If you do
something illegal in a country, you have to suffer the consequences. If
you don't want to deal with the laws, you have to move somewhere else.
Your choice of sources is biased and bigot.
[Yes, I know. Bigoted.]
Please remove me from your list effective immediately.
Seen from this perspective, it just isn't all that important that my dryer died today. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. Zen attitude. You know - be centered and enjoy hanging the wash out in the cold every day. Find your middle, live in the moment.
Maybe if you're single and live in the tropics. But not with three little boys in ice and slush and mud. No.
We are trying to find a repairman for the dryer. However, seeing as they don't even sell dryers in this country, our chances are, at best, slim.
Only 315 days to go.
(I'm already using way too many italics. This can't end good.)
[The guy with the dim view was Raymond Chandler, by the way. Bravo, I say.]
First I thought I should show you some pictures of all the cute crafts we made for the kids' friends and teachers. Then I thought that was too cutsey and frilly for you. So here's my Valentine candy for you:
I wrote yesterday how the electricity mysteriously stopped working in the heating shed, and most of the upstairs rooms. The electrician couldn't come to fix the problem yesterday, so he came today, at noon. He brought with him two other men. None could bring himself to smile at me or my nanny. The electrician did not bring any tools with him, and had to borrow mine. I am quite sure that he came to fix something, so why no tools? Maybe his power ring had just unexpectedly run out of charges, I don't know. While the master electrician (or the slave, no way to tell) checked the upstairs to make sure that there was no electricity (there wasn't), the helpers stood around in the hallway, doing nothing. After ten minutes or so, the electrician patched the lines temporarily (with my tools), and told us he'd come back tomorrow to complete the job. Why did he not bring any tools, and why did he not do the job today? Why did he bring bodyguards along when I'm really very non-threatening? I really can't answer that.
I was at the supermarket yesterday and among other things, I bought ten boxes of milk. I usually don't take all the ten boxes out of the cart at the checkout, but rather hand the cashier one box and tell her that I have nine more in the cart. That works in just about every country, and it works more often than not here too. But there was a problem yesterday. I had ten boxes, right? They looked like this:
A long discussion in Armenian ensued of which I understood as much as this: We have to take all the milks out as they are different and have to be rung up seperately. I said, no, they are all the same. Same milk, same price. - No, no. Different milks. See, here? The cashier turned the milks around. - See? Different. What can you say. I said nothing, and she rung the milks up seperately, five of the kind with the Omega-3 ad on the back, and 5 with the PhysiCal ad on the back. Same price. Same article number (I checked). I don't know. Sometimes, I'm just dumbfounded.
I mean, come on. What did you expect? It's still 2007, after all.
I noticed the house getting cooler around 4 pm. I went outside to restart the heater, again. For, like, the fourth time today. However, the little "restart me now or you'll freeze to death" button didn't glow. Neither did the power button.
Yeah, well. We are, apparently, the only people in Yerevan with an entire house on a single electrical phase. And this phase decided it just didn't like to do the job of two or three. Without any breakers out of place, we lack electricity in the upper hallway, bathroom, and master bedroom. And in the shed outside. Don't ask me why those four rooms are on one line. I cannot explain the mysteries of Armenian electrical stringing to you.
It's too late in the day to get an electrician here today. So the heating guy, who is not an electrician, is re-stringing some lines, to take the power out of the living room, and directing it into the shed outside, in order to get the heater going again. Is that safe? I guess not. It's also still well below freezing in the night. We still have snow outside. The question of safety is a relative one.
I guess we won't see any BSG episodes tonight. Frack.