So yeah, I know I’ve been complaining about how HOT it is here, and how we can only somewhat cool down the living room in this house. Then yesterday, on the longest – and also hottest – day of of the year, the gas water heater conked out. And while you might think it’s quite nice to take a cool shower after coming in from a power walk (and it is) it’s another thing not to be able to take a proper shower in the morning with at least warm water. Not to mention we’re now boiling water to do the washing up. And still no word on when this will be repaired…
I’ve tried, I really have. But basically every encounter with my landlords over the past year or so has ended up being an incredibly stressful exercise in frustration. From the beginning they didn’t seem inclined to do basic repairs, but the first real confrontation started with the now infamous “split scenario” which began here and ended up becoming a full-on disaster here. Later on they refused to replace the (very old!) oven after the door fell off, telling me to buy new one and then “take it with you when you leave”. Nice. Presumably I shouldn’t let the door hit me on the way out. Other reasonable requests for repairs have also gone ignored.
I’m so sorry now I ever agreed to the “quick fix” split solution as they have used this against me ever since … “but it’s what you wanted Shawn!”. Well, no. It wasn’t. And they know that. I had actually wanted the option of a split in the living room so I didn’t have to always heat/cool the entire apartment. I didn’t foresee that agreeing to the split last summer would mean they would take this as not having to repair or replace the central system, which died in July. Blah blah… it kept going on.
Later on I signed a new contract for a year, at a higher rent, thinking that it would at least give me time to find somewhere else. But when things started heating up here (+45º!) it meant that we were reduced to living in two rooms as the inadequate split just barely keeps the living room below 28º even when left on all day. This means that Peter can’t even be in his room upstairs for more than 5 minutes, and now has to sleep on the sofa. And my room next to the living room is also an oven. So I tried one last ditch attempt to set things right here. I arranged a meeting with the landlords, myself and Peter… and a bilingual friend who would help make sure that nothing got “lost in translation”. But in the end this didn’t help, because two days later I received notice that I would be getting the heave-ho after the present contract runs out in February. You see, the landlords seem to think they could be getting LOTS MORE MONEY from this property. They even spoke about AirBnB-ing it. Boy are they in for a surprise.
And so… I am once again house hunting. Luckily I have a few months to find somewhere that I hope will feel like home. But already seeing places with – for example – that bathroom up there, gives me hope. That bathroom is twice the size of the dark and cramped “under the stairs” room I’ve put up with for 6.5 years.
Meanwhile, the hot water heater stopped working yesterday. Oh joy. Still waiting to hear if that is going to be repaired…
Here’s Luna having a Sunbeam Moment this morning. She’s come a long way from the super scrawny kitten I first saw in that poster. At the time I thought she was only a few weeks old, but it turned out she was more like 3-4 months old, and so I chose this day in June to be her “official” birthday.
Happy Birthday loony Luna!
Can you believe that this is the first time EVER that I’ve had pizza delivered to my house? When I first came to Sevilla and lived near the cathedral there used to be a nice pizza place that I would occasionally call, wait ten minutes, and then go pick up. And when I first moved to my present apartment (February 2011) I discovered another good place just a few minutes walk away. Same deal, call in and pick up. But then awhile ago I saw that the La Mia Tana restaurant on my street was offering free delivery, so what the heck. It seemed like the perfect solution for a lazy Saturday night at home.
To be honest, I probably only have pizza 2-3 times a year, but the novelty of ordering food and having it brought to my door was, well, novel. Pretty tasty too.
I almost never want STUFF anymore, unless it’s practical stuff like new sheets or something I want/need for the kitchen that will enhance my day-to-day life (like the new oven). But this is totally impractical – a huge white vase with little pig heads all over it. I don’t even know where I’d put it. But I want it. Kind of like when I wanted that massive dragonfly sculpture or the lily chair. Or that new sofa that I will never buy because the cats would rip it to shreds within a week. Likewise I will probably not buy this vase.
But never mind. I am keeping track of all the STUFF I haven’t bought this year because that means when I splash out on a new iPhone 8 this September then it will end up being free. Logic.
It was touch and go there for about 24 hours as I wrestled with the notion of taking in Pinza, this tiny 3 week old kitten found in the street by my friend Elena, outside La Azotea where she works. I mean, I knew that I shouldn’t, and really possibly couldn’t, since I’ve always said that having 4 cats would be that slippery slope to officially being a Mad Cat Woman (waves to @sledpress!). I was also thinking that while this apartment is actually big enough to house another cat, my next one might not be. Anyhow, I was steeling myself and checking Elena’s instagram regularly for updates. And then finally I saw this photo of Elena holding Pinza, wishing her well in her new home. Phew!
When I moved to my present apartment in 2011 things were bad enough. I remember looking at so many dumps, so that when I found this place I didn’t hesitate, even though it was considerably more than what I had been paying. A couple of years later I found out it was considerably more than what most people were paying, plus I had the serious problem of the bar noise in the street, and so the landlords put the rent down until this past February. Now it’s back up to not quite what I was originally paying, but it seems a fair price all things considered.
I haven’t seriously considered moving, in spite of the street noise, but now it looks like I won’t have any choice. Things with the landlady have become so stressful that it’s really affecting my sense of well-being here, and the state of the apartment worsens every month. She is refusing to pay for repairs on things like the central heating, or repay me for the oven I bought in December, or replace other basic standard equipment that has broken down over the past year or so. I mean, this is bound to happen after living somewhere for over 6 years. Things will need to be repaired, replaced and maintained, but the landlady doesn’t see it this way. So this morning I sent her an email saying that these things need to be addressed as they are in our contract, but I am dreading the next meeting with her. And in any case, I am sure that once the (now annual) contract comes up for renewal in February, she will say she doesn’t want to renew. And I won’t have anything to say about that. Meanwhile she will refuse to repair things.
Anyhow, I’d been casually looking around since the last Landlady Episode in February, but I think it’s time to start looking in ernest. At first I thought that within nine months I am bound to find somewhere else I like, but now I’m not so sure. The more I look around, the more I see that most housing in the centre has now been converted to holiday apartment and AirBnB rentals. And while I can understand that home owners can make more money this way, it is also destroying the sense of neighbourhood in the, um, neighbourhoods. A few years ago this was mostly apparent in the barrio Santa Cruz where I used to live. But now it’s spread to pretty much the entire Casco Antiguo, the central area within the old city walls, which is actually quite big. So it’s not looking very promising.
I remember not wanting to leave my old place in barrio Santa Cruz, but it turned out that moving to the Alfalfa to a larger apartment that had – or used to have – central heating and air-con, turned out to be a move for the better. Now I am feeling the same way, that I don’t want to leave, that I’ll never find anywhere I like as much… but you never know. Wish me luck!