The Vacuum

Found this in the drafts folder while cleaning up & thought I would post it….

Ok….the previous post was not our last, but this might be.

Throughout our stay, we were watched closely and evaluated daily. One theme that seemed to re-occur was “you Americans are so clever, you can do anything”. A few quick stories and then you decide who was being clever.


The Desk

When Carol arrived at her office, the only desk (everyone worked at tables) had three drawers down the left-hand side but one of the panels that held the draws in place had pulled away and no longer supported the drawers. The drawers just sat on top of each other and only the top on was used as it was too difficult to get to the lower drawers. What was needed was some glue, take the drawers out and push the panel back into place with some glue on the dowels.

This was explained several times, but the response was “We need to get a carpenter to do that, but we have no money”. End of story, not my job.

Finally, we decided to fix the desk ourselves. We set the date for Criss to come to the office and help with the repair. Helping turned out to be doing while the office staff left the room when the work began. Once finished, they returned and while surprised it actually was back together, they were obviously not comfortable with us making the repair. (Only later did we learn the last person to touch something is responsible and therefore, never try anything unless you want to be blamed for all future problems.)

The Vacuum

When we moved into our apartment, there was a vacuum in the closet that had been used without a bag. After a day of disassembly and cleaning, Criss got the vacuum to work. The next step was to find a bag, so off to the appliance stores that sell the vacuum cleaners. Not a singe store that sold vacuum cleaners sold the bags. Baffled by this marketing, but not defeated, we continued our quest for vacuum cleaner bags.

As we asked for bags, the store owners would nod knowingly and say check here or there. We are convinced they had no clue, but were just trying to be helpful. Finally, as we were heading home, we passed an old, dusty repair shop with 3 old men inside drinking raki and watching soccer. Against all reason, we checked in and sure enough the store had bags.

We used the vacuum for 3 months and returned for another bag.  Not a bag in the shop.  So the quest continued and finally at a kitchen shop, they had a box of bags.  We bought several.

Vacuuming life continued as normal and the landlord observed that we had repaired the vacuum and was impressed.  Then one day, the oldest daughter asked if she could borrow the vacuum for only 1 day.  Sure, after all it was theirs.  1 week later, still no vacuum we asked about it.  Of course, no one knew anything about it and they would have to ask their mother.  Another week passed and we asked again when mom was around.  “Oh, it is at our beach apartment and we are using it there” was the reply to our request about it.  End of story, no offer to return it.

We are still puzzeled about this as we mop.

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