Friday, June 24, 2005

Hot water free

Our hot water heater is on vacation. Not a long one we hope, but in the meantime our bathtime mix is two fully boiling kettles to 1 minute tap water.

To try to recall the heater to its sense of duty, I arranged for it to meet a repair person. I say this with a certain pride, because as matchmaker I discussed plumbing with three people who don’t speak English, and while my Czech vocabulary for fruits and vegetables is quite extensive (and just ask me animal and tree names) I really am limited when it comes to talking about mechanics.

Luckily everyone I spoke with seemed to understand what I meant by “tick tick tick whoosh kaput“, and by the third phone call I had picked up some quite useful terms to bandy about along with the sound impressions (kotel = kettle means hot water heater). I was really on a roll, describing the kotel and its personality to the company dispatcher, agreeing to a 5 hour window during which someone just might show up, even considering extending our chat to the weather, so I could keep imagining I was conversational in another language.

Then the dispatcher started to speak about a box that would be attending. And I was lost. I told her, “No I need box, already I fine with box, only have grimey tick tick.“ But it did no good, she kept insisting on the importance of this box. With visions of an extra heating unit cluttering our hallway, I began to get desperate until finally our babysitter intervened. In moments an agreement was reached - Mr. Box, the heating repair man, would appear tomorrow, sometime.

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