(More) Infrastructure Problems

I have had several infrastructure problems in the past, a year later should be no different. The past week, I’ve been confronted with a tsunami of problems. Thankfully, they have all be resolved now.

The city has been repairing the water pipes. To do this, they periodically have to shut down the water to parts of the city. They, of course, don’t notify the part of the city affected. Thus, I wake up every so often without water for 24+ hours. Not really they way you want to start your day.

Last week, I also lost power (shortly after getting my water back, getting more bang for my buck). I woke up to the sound of my heater shutting off. I thought that it had overheated and a safety mechanism had kicked in. Not so. Thinking it was like my water problem (and would return shortly), I toughed it out. The next day, I was still without power. I let my colleagues know. It turns out that the woman in the municipality had left two weeks prior and had been replaced with a new lady…who forgot to pay my power bill. My colleague apologized profusely (I kept saying it was no problem), my power was back by the time I returned home.

Another problem was my kitchen sink. I had used my washing machine and the faucet in the sink started to leak. I tried turning the knobs to shut the water off. Nothing worked. I wound up having to shut the water off to my entire apartment. This problem mysteriously solved itself.

As troublesome as these problems have been, none of them, separately or together, match my fridge.

After I returned home from the US, my fridge door fell off. Yep. Fell freaking off. And nearly hit me in the head. So I had to shut it off and defrost it (which kinda flooded my apartment). I notified my colleagues of this problem, who sent someone to my apartment to check it out. The following day, workmen came. My land lady came as well. I wasn’t too thrilled, given the last time she came to my apartment to fix a problem. (She, by the way, was horrified by my apartment. I hid behind the excuse of “I just got home from the US and am still unpacking”. Which, by the way, doesn’t explain why there was half eaten toast in the kitchen from breakfast.  (don’t judge) I digress…).

The inital solution was to shove folded cardboard under one of the hinges. I wasn’t too pleased with his. A few days later, they returned to take the fridge. This time I had cleaned my kitchen and living room (and made sure they didn’t go into my bedroom).

I spent most of last week and this week without a fridge. I’ve used this to my advantage since I “have to” go out to eat, which has given me a chance do a lot of reading. This has been a nice change of pace since I rarely go out to eat any more.

Yesterday, I received my new fridge. It was an extra fridge at the At-Risk Children’s Center. This turned out to be the start of several problems. First, they had painted it for me. A very nice touch. However, the painted they used is sticky (maybe a latex type?) which makes the door stick and it’s now covered in finger prints. This in itself isn’t a big deal, but it just anded onto other problems. Like not having any legs. That’s a problem; the whole fridge wobbles. To fix this problem they asked for….folded cardboard! This won’t work since there needs to be at least an inch or two of clearance. I wasn’t happy about this “solution”. My annoyance grew to genuine frustration when one of the guys left and came back with a rock. Yes. A rock. It seems a bit silly now, but then I was getting pretty angry (though I didn’t say anything). I wanted a permanent solution and this wasn’t helping.

The guys started to leave. One of them asked me for something to drink. I reached for a glass to get him some tap water. “No. I want beer”. Bare in mind, it was 8am and I had been without a fridge for over a week. “Um…I don’t have any beer.” “Then give me rakia” “I don’t have any rakia” I retold this story to another PCV who incredulously asked me why I didn’t have any rakia. Of course I had rakia (what apartment in Bulgaria doesn’t!?). I wasn’t about to give any to a guy who just put a rock under my fridge, nevertheless demanded it from me.

My problems got worse when I was given the shelves (I had to pick them up from the Center). When I went to put them in, I discovered you have to have the door wide open. The door hit the wall, forcing me to upset the delicate balance of cardboard and rock to install them. I struggled alone to rebalance my fridge. This this lead me to run through all the curse words I know in English and Bulgarian. I also threw in a few kicks. I was not a happy camper.

Thankfully, all of my problems have been resolved. I was given some wood boards, which has firmly balanced my fridge. Kinda. But it works for now.

Also, if I don’t make it out of Bulgaria alive, my kitchen is the culprit.


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