Monday, January 23, 2012

Awkward Emergencies...

A few weeks ago, my friend Kendra had a blog post about awkward moments.

Click here to read it because it is super funny. 

But, on that note...I have to add one of my own that JUST happened but it was so uncomfortably awkward that it warrants immediately writing about it.

I was just finishing up some school work and went into my kitchen to make some tea when I noticed that my kitchen sink was completely full with dark blue water. Like that color. It was close to 9 pm and I wasn't sure what to do. So, I did what I always do in house emergencies...I called my mom. She suggested plunging so I tried. But, the water just kept getting higher and I was freaking out. I turned off the washing machine just in case it was that. (By the way, washing machines in Germany are often in the kitchen. Mine is directly next to the kitchen sink and was well into hour two of one load. Yes, you read that correctly...hour two for one load.)

Next, I called my friend Keith because he has lived in Germany for 7 years and knows what to do in most situations. He told me to go get my Hausmeister (which is like a building superintendent). As I was talking to him the water started getting higher and higher. I was taking my coffee pot and filling it with icky blue water (it was the first large receptacle I could think to grab) and then dumping it in the toilet so that I wouldn't have water spilling all over my kitchen.

I scrambled to put on my shoes and started to run out the door. BUT WAIT! I can't just run out the door. I have no idea how to say BLUE WATER IS FILLING UP MY KITCHEN SINK! IT IS STARTING TO OVERFLOW EVERYWHERE in German. I can get as far as Ich habe ein gross problem....I have a big problem...and then I can't explain the actual problem. So, while I can hear the water starting to go down the side of the cabinet, I was trying to google translate and write down as fast as I could so I would be able to explain when I got to his door.

The Hausmeister lives in the building next door. So, I ran (after waiting in my super slow takes a full minute to go down 7 flights...I should have taken the stairs!) to the building next door in my complex where my Hausmeister lives. I rang his buzzer and of course the minute he says hello, I start speaking French. HA! My brain went right to it. I couldn't even remember to say "Herr Hausmeister," I said, "Monsieur Hausmeister."

So, I waited about two minutes for him to come to the door and showed him my quickly scribbled note. He's in his late 70s- I would guess- so was probably not really prepared to suddenly run next door. We went to my building and entered the elevator. Now, here's where it was super awkward. It is a tiny elevator, it is slow, and I can only say things in German like Was kostet der Drucker? which means "How much does the printer cost?" which  unfortunately was not the right sentence for this situation! We both just awkwardly stared at the wall of the elevator until I tried to act out what was happening in my apartment with my arms and very broken German. that helped.

The water had gone down a little bit when we got into my apartment (YAY) but he was able to plunge it enough to get it to go down. I opened the stopped washing machine and took out the soaking wet clothes, and what do you water filled the bottom of the washer. Something plumbing-wise is backed up between the washer and the sink. But, why the hell was the water blue? I was washing nothing blue except for a pair of old jeans that I had washed like 50 times.

So, now my soaking wet clothes are hanging on the line on the balcony. And, given Germany's damp climate, they'll be dry sometime next week. I was being proactive and washing my favorite jeans tonight so that they'd be dry by the weekend. Yes, that is the kind of pre-planning one must do when one doesn't own a dryer in a damp climate. Once they stop dripping I can hang them next to the radiator (which, btw, was not working until this morning when it miraculously decided to work and heated the room up to a billion degrees...Celsius...this is Germany!) and they'll dry in like two days instead of five.

But, through all this, (all this, as if I have just been through a trauma...I'm a bit dramatic), the thing that i like the best is that I can call a landlord to fix things. I do not have to try to deal with it on my own. It made me, once again, glad that I no longer own a home. I just don't think I am cut out for home ownership...too many things go wrong that I don't know how to manage. I love that I can call someone tomorrow and have someone else pay to have things fixed. Delightful.

So, there it is. My awkward, google-translated "emergency." I'm laughing to myself about what a dumb-ass I am at German as I write this. I wonder how long it will take in my brain until French is not my automatic go-to foreign language?

Well, until then, at least I've got google translate.

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