Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eating Chilli With an Old Friend

She's back from her exile in Karlsruhe, actually she's been back for more than a month, but her move and her company's move, which prompted hers back to the Berlin she left to take the job a few years back, had so monopolized our dear friend's time and energy that we had not yet been able to get together, until yesterday.

And that was to help her with one tiny aspect of her move, getting her old or her new second-hand computer up and running before the telephone company comes on Thursday to hook up her phone and dsl connection. You'd think it'd be easy, but, as she confirmed with various stories as examples, it turned out to be typical of the whole move, her company's and hers.

The old computer had gotten some quirks and she couldn't resolve them, so first move files to a usb stick. OK. Then start up the new second-hand one from some friend: American profiles on that one prevented it from operating properly with her German keyboard, and it didn't have some programs she had on the other. So, fix it, open the cd drawer to alter the profile and guess what. The drawer just won't open. Makes it as useful as the proverbial screen-doored submarine!

All right: clean up the old one. All done, super, then virus check: clean. Then make sure it has a socket for a LAN cable so she can use it for the DSL connection. Surprise: it's so old it doesn't have such a socket! So today she's off to buy a new computer, which was not in the plan, but now proves necessary.

Anyhow, she had made an enormous pot of chilli for Detlef & me for coming to fix her computer, and we got to eat it anyway and heard the stories to prove that this little problem was really only minor.

(The following are mere pithy summaries)

Since July her 2-year-old fridge has been heating instead of cooling. Under guarantee still, it was serviced several times by the company to no avail. Then not being able to fix it, they refused to replace it. The whole thing is going to court, even though her guarantee is iron-clad and the lawyer says it's an open and shut case. He costs nothing, cause she has legal insurance. The fridge company has left her without a fridge for nearly half a year and she had to bring it to Berlin with her even though she is to have a new one in her place here, cause the lawyer told her to.

Her firm has dispensed with wall and evidently with any facilitating of work in the new headquarters here. There's a central printer-copy-fax-scanner-machine for her "community" of more than 30 staff members of all echelons sitting cheek and jowl with aisles through the desks instead of corridors, and you have to run to it and log in for it to print whatever you sent to it, wait, then go back to your desk. But the coffee machines are good, all agree: they even make latte macchiato!

Nothing has arrived yet, though it was all ordered months ago for October 1, no oven, range, sink, counter tops, washer, dryer, dishwasher, new fridge. Every call produces a new promise of coming soon, now by the end of November.

The landlord of her old apartment, given plenty of notice but apparently unable to rent the place anew, is now playing games about her deposit even though she's paid double rent for October and November. Now a lawyer has to go with her to turn in the keys and do a walk-through with her to ensure that she gets her deposit back. Till now that landlord had always claimed that there'd never be a problem about anything, just don't worry.

The only thing that make's her life possible is that she can use her former husband's place just around the corner until hers is finally completed as he's out of town and won't be back til early January.

So we wish her an end to these on-going sagas by Christmas so she can finally enjoy getting moved back to Berlin by the same company she had to leave it for. She surely deserves some peace of mind now....

And the chilli was as good as ever; plus she had brought me more of those special French notebooks with the unique ruled paper that you can only get there. (Karlsruhe is only a stone's throw from la RF.)

And we now believe she's back, cause we saw her, talked with her, and ate a meal she cooked and we are truly glad we can now get to see our dear friend more often.
So give her a break everybody, she's the best cook in Berlin and has a sense of fair play that is a gift to all who know her. She deserves fairness, too!

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