Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's starting to get ugly...

Day 7: Unpacking and fixing

Today is our seventh day in the house and repairs are soon under way. The wasps and bees will soon be history…Henri, the bee guy, is on his way to relieve us of our unwanted charges.

Later today the dishwasher should be delivered…hurrah, my first since leaving the US. After the refrigerator fiasco with DEFY, we popped for the extra money for the Bosch…we’ve had one service call on the Bosch washer in its almost seven years with us and the service was swift and sure: no calls in five years now. DEFY would have been cheaper in the initial outlay, but if the fridge is any indication of their build quality (we KNOW it is an indication of their service quality) it would be penny-wise but pound-foolish to buy one of their appliances again.

The dog house is delayed until later in the week, as is the pool repair, but today Manie, a professional handyman, should pitch up and take a look at the myriad of little things that need attention, from doors that won’t stay closed to a malfunctioning curtain rod to sticking drawers to a broken drawer slider.

We still don’t have telephone service and, therefore, no internet. Seems that we actually have to present a physical presence at the telephone company offices to place an order for service, even though the house has a phone line already installed…nothing like convenience to the customer, ya know? Small wonder more and more people are eschewing the phone company in favour of cell phones and wireless internet providers. Cell phone companies are in every mall, large and small, and the wireless internet guys come to you with their product and service. In a time when companies are seeking ways to boost their business, Telkom seems bent on diminishing theirs with crappy service and forcing customers to go through hoops. We will be considering the change to wireless…and the people who moved into Hell House are already wireless. That’s the way the world is moving anyway, and Telkom is giving South Africans a huge push in that direction with their cavalier attitude towards the convenience of the customers and their service delivery (it takes a personal visit to the phone company and then WEEKS of waiting to get your phone service turned on here, even if the house is already wired, as opposed to a single phone call and just HOURS for the service to be turned on in Silicon Valley).

So, Hubby is off to Telkom, to see if he can get our phone and internet turned on while I wait for the bee guy, the handyman, and my new dishwasher. While I wait, Thandiswe and I continue to unpack boxes, trying to figure out new places for all the old stuff. Soon the cottage will be empty and we’ll begin advertising it…the next phase of the move in will be getting tenants!

11 am
The previous owner did not pay his electricity account for the last three months and somehow the payment the attorneys were supposed to make to clear the account is lost in transit because Eskom just showed up and cut off the power for non-payment. Joy. When this happened at Hell House, it took 23 hours to get the account restored. We may be in for a dark night and more take out food.

5 pm
The power is back on, after Hubby made a trip to the electric company and made a fuss. He transferred the electricity account to our name but it seems the previous owner neglected to pay his bill for rather a long time since his past due balance was R107,000…yup, six figures!! Now, Hell House was shut off for a past due account of R3300, which probably represented between two and three months arrears, so you have to wonder how long Mr. Seller went without paying his electric bill!! According to the electric company, Mr. Seller went into their office last week and paid R50K to keep the lights on, so his complaint to Hubby that Eskom “overcharged” him would seem a bit hollow…who pays fifty thousand bucks in such a situation?

The bees are gone. Another mark against Mr. Seller here…Henri, the bee guy, says the nest has been there a very long time and it was a very big nest. The seller told us back in March, when we viewed the house for the first time, that the irrigation system was not working, so we expected a non-functional irrigation system. What he didn’t tell us was that it was not working because there was a big bee swarm inside the utility box that houses the valves and controls!! That I consider to be a definite deception on his part…Henri spent two hours here wearing a bee suit and carrying around a smoker, collecting what he termed “killer bees.” This is Africa, after all, and these are African honey bees. He also said this swarm was super aggressive: Thandiswe was standing well away from the box when Henri went to examine it and a bee flew right at her and stung her on the face!

But they are gone now, along with their cousins the wasps and with any luck they will find a happy home with Henri in Pretoria. He carried away a big wooden box full of bees…with their “lovely queen”…and two big black bags full of honey and honey comb. Thank goodness they are all gone, and I wish Henri luck with them!

We are making headway with the unpacking. Hubby’s wardrobe is pretty much liberated, a good portion of mine found and hung in the closet, and today we pretty much unpacked the dining room, including the liquor cabinet and the wine stash. The parts I really want to tackle…the study and my sewing/craft area…will just have to wait until the necessary stuff is addressed.

Manie and I crossed wires and so he will be here tomorrow morning…just as well, since we found three more things to add to the list, a door that won’t lock, a window that won’t close, and a problem with the dishwasher…no place to drain it! Another deception on the part of the seller, since there was a dishwasher in the kitchen when we viewed the house and there is a tap to fill it and a plug in the wall to plug it in, but no drain!!

Poor Yorkie is having a fit…Hubby put up the second baby gate today so we can open the patio door for ventilation but she cannot sneak out into the patio. Until the pool is repaired and cleaned, I don’t want her out there…I need to take her in the pool and teach her how to get out if she ends up there accidentally and today the water is a lovely lime green with white foam spread across the surface like so much lace…not exactly something I am keen on leaping into, Yorkie in hand.

We are awaiting take away food yet again, the order placed before the power was restored. I tried cooking breakfast this morning, but it was not as successful as I would have liked since the stovetop seems to have a mind of its own and no markings on the knobs to tell me if the thing is hot, cold, or in-between. The ceramic stove top is made by DEFY as was the one at Hell House, so I assumed that the heating was done essentially the same way…the furthest you can turn the knob away from “off” is the hottest…it appears, however, that turning it all the way to the end of its travel actually shuts it off again! The soft boiled eggs first turned out raw (insufficient heat to the pan) then turned out hard cooked (too much heat). This is going to be a steep learning curve. The oven, however, seems to work and the bagels I baked the other morning came out quite nicely.

So, today rolls to a close with yet more evidence of deception and mean-spiritedness on the part of the seller, a triumph over the forces of nature as the bee swarm was relocated without sending me to the hospital, and another dozen or so boxes emptied and flattened.

Tomorrow we resume.

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