Saturday, September 23, 2006
Happy Birthday to Daddy!
I turned 28 yesterday. With each new birthday, I seem to anticipate it less and less, and then when it comes, it doesn't fail to disappoint. That is, since I don't realize it's coming up, when it turns out just like any other day, it seems only natural. Also, I figure I'm saving up for 30, cause that one's supposed to be pretty big, right?
I have to admit, I bought myself my own birthday present this year in the form of an on-line subscription to ESPN's Gameplan Package (a wide array of college football games in streaming video every week, and any-time access to the archived videos after the live games).
I also got a nice present yesterday in the form of boatloads of furniture delivered from Ikea to our new apartment. Of course, this being Spain, that didn't come without its own hassles.
Here was the bind in which we found ourselves this week: our stuff was stuck in customs and we couldn't get it released until they received a letter from my firm that indicated I was employed and had an address in Spain. Well, the partner here didn't want to sign the letter until I had signed the contract for our apartment because the experience of several attorneys in the housing market here has been that housing options often fall through at the last minute. So, I had to sign the contract and start paying rent before we could even move in. Well, turns out, the owners of the apartment weren't really ready to sign either, because they wanted to do some repairs on the wood flooring. There are some gaps between slats in a few rooms due to slip-shod work. So basically, they asked me to refrain from moving in our furniture until after Wednesday or Thursday because that's when they were planning on doing the construction. Well, that was fine with me, because we didn't have stuff anyway, but I was suspicious they didn't actually have the work scheduled yet, and I have been well-informed that Spanish construction companies are notorious for not showing up on time, if ever.
As a matter of fact, my suspicions were correct, and when the Ikea movers showed up yesterday, the building concierge came and got in Eryka's face and told her she couldn't have the movers put our stuff in until the construction was done, and the workers wouldn't be coming until Monday. He said we could just put it all in another apartment until the movers were done. Now this was particularly frustrating for a couple of reasons: first, we were already paying rent, and felt we had every right to enjoy the use of our apartment; second, we had paid extra to have our Ikea stuff delivered AND assembled - now if you've ever assembled ONE Ikea chest of drawers, you know how frustrating that can be - imagine assembling 15-20 different items, without a power drill or any other tools whatsoever.
So I called Eryka just as the exchange with the concierge was taking place, and argued with the guy on the phone for ten minutes before recruiting my secretary to help me go give a talking to the crazy man. By the time we showed up (it's really only a 2 minute walk from my office), Eryka had ignored the guy and just told the Ikea movers to get to work, he wasn't around, and when he finally came by, he was slightly more subdued than he had been on the phone and admitted that we could move our stuff in and the workers would just have to work around us. But can you imagine how frustrating it was ? Especially for Eryka with 2 kids, no Spanish, and boxes and boxes of furniture piling up outside the door. Oh, and don't let me forget that she had run out of minutes on her cell phone (cell phone plans here are a discussion for another time), and she couldn't make outgoing calls, only receive incoming.
This is the couch we're going to get if our landlords ever let us move in. It's not IKEA, which means we get to pick the fabrics (Eryka has some nice colors in mind) and we don't have to put it together!
There's good news at the end of the day - our things from the states cleared customs, are on their way to Madrid, and are scheduled for delivery on Monday. So, the workers might finally show up to fix the floors that day, but I'm not counting on it. Either way, we're moving our stuff in, and I don't care if there are gaps in the floor.