Saturday, January 12th

A frustrating week has finally ended. Hallelujah.

Activity in Strangely Park itself has been quiet again, the weather and time of year keeping people indoors or away skiing. Mrs Fitness was seen jogging the streets of Mochina East. Oleg has been busy in the latter part of the week clearing snow with his plywood and broom-handle gadget. Hagrid was in our apartment thrashing around in the “cleaning cupboard” trying to read our water meter. A very Potteresque sight, Hagrid in a small closet, torch in hand fighting with the ironing board.

The street lights are playing up again. For most of the time they work well, triggered by a light sensor but recently they have been switching themselves on and off at all kinds of strange times and with no particular pattern to it. They’ll come on for 5 minutes and then off again. Half of them will come on the other half not. Last night we had all off and one on followed by all on and a different one off. Hagrid and a Munchkin were down there yesterday looking at the one nearest to us. Is there no end to Hagrid’s talents?

The good weather last weekend prompted us to call for the experts to come and inspect the roof. Unfortunately the best time they could organise was Friday morning. Wednesday it covered the roof in snow and showed no signs of clearing by Friday so the visit was cancelled. We now wait for extreme cold weather to do thermal imaging of the walls followed by spring for the rest. We have a deadline of the end of May.

The new security company, as predicted earlier, have now reached the bottom of the service level trough like all their predecessors. All the good staff have moved on to lull other new clients into a false sense of security while we are left with the rejects. I’m back to having to explain that “I live here!” every time I approach the gate or to play the game of who presses the ’open’ button first. Normal behaviour is I arrive at the gate, nothing happens. I press the open button on the remote, the gate starts opening but not enough to drive through. The security guy finally presses his button, the gate starts closing. I wait. Security guy comes out to see who is driving the car he has seen many times before and whose registration number is on his list. I tell him I’m a resident. He still has no clue but opens the gate anyway.

Now to the number one cause of heart failure in Poland. I hate typing these letters but I must, TPSA, the national telecoms provider now rebranded as Orange, the colour you go just before your heart gives out. They warranted a call from me and got one. After a 15 minute wait:

“Can I have your telephone number for identification please?”

“We don’t have one. You were not able to get it to work so we gave up trying.”

“I see. So give me the obionekanobi number then.”

“I don’t see that on my contract. I have many numbers here but no obionekanobi number.”

“It’s 12 numbers long.”

“I have one but it’s called the ohmygod number. Is that it?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

(Numbers exchanged)

“How can we help you?”

“I used to have a contract for a 6Mbps connection and after some considerable effort it was okay. Then you upgraded us to a cheaper contract for faster speed of 10Mbps and the connection is diabolical again. We can’t watch any video in less than an hour and the average speed when tested is only just over 1Gb so it is not faster but considerably slower!”

“So it is more than 1Mbps speed?”

“Yes, just.”

“Well that is acceptable. The contract is up to 10Mbps but anything above 1Mbps is within acceptable tolerances.”

“You’re joking right? (silence) Well, it is not within my tolerances and is considerably worse than we have already enjoyed here so are you going to do anything about it or am I once more on the hunt for another supplier?”

“We can write a ticket for the technical team to improve it.”

“Please do that.”

“You should hear from them early next week because now it is the weekend and nothing will happen until Monday. Hopefully it will improve.”

Here we go again.

Further frustration at the bank this week. I won’t bore with the history other than to say one part of the bank writes us letters asking for information. We send the information to the part of the bank we know, the branch, but it doesn’t seem to get to the people writing the letters. The people writing letters is most likely a euphemism for a computer somewhere. The computer has no name, face, phone number or address. Eventually a real human called to explain exactly what I should do, which involves delivering a letter to the computer, via a branch.

I write the letter and go to the branch. There are three staff not busy behind the counter and two sitting in booths who are tied up. I ask the counter lady to accept a letter I need to deliver to one of their computers. She says she can’t do that and I must wait for the busy people to finish. I wait 25 minutes and then start getting agitated with the counter lady again. She insist there is nothing she can do. I wait eventually 45 minutes and sit with one of the busy people. He asks for my passport, which I do not carry with me. I explain I simply need him to be the postbox to their computer and don’t see why passports or other complications are needed. He tries to call the computer. The computer does not answer. He finally gets the point, stamps and signs my copy and takes his copy to the internal post tray. All in all an hour of my life gone trying to deliver a letter to a computer. It’s a good thing I don’t have suicidal tendencies.

The final frustration, paying for Offspring’s ballet lessons. Beloved leaves me a note saying pay them 105 zlots. I’d normally transfer this but today I’m in there so I go to the counter to pay. They want me to pay 185 zlots which covers until the end of February. I assume they know what they are doing and pay it. I get home to find there has been a long exchange of emails on this because Offspring is not attending one of the extra lessons, acrobatics to be precise so it should be 105 and not 185. Now Beloved needs to get involved in more emails to make sure they credit us the 80 zlots next time around. Yet more incompetence in a week so surrounded by incompetence as to make it a strong candidate for the most incompetent week this century!

For the rest of this weekend, everyone outside my family can just go screw themselves.

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One thought on “Saturday, January 12th

  1. Ello. Dis am Orangutan, formahly knowen as Zimbabwe Telecom. We are now more customah-facin’ an’ usah-friendly wid de lovely new logo. But de internet am still full and all de lines to Harare are still engaged.

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