The First Night in a New Flat; or, The Horror, the Horror

The First Night in a New Flat; or, The Horror, the Horror

The first night in a new flat is much less fun than publicity suggests. Stock images represent this life situation as a cheerful young couple sitting on a scrubbed floor, wearing clean clothes and drinking wine while leaning against an occasional paper box. This is so very wrong. The actual experience involves boot prints, cardboard shreds, dirt and dust and bruises and cuts. As an extra, appliance malfunctions, thermal discomfort and bug attacks may be included. The ordeal is not entirely unhumorous, but hysteria along with hilarity may creep in.

The drama queen that I am, I welcomed the first minutes spent alone in my new rented flat with a hysterical seizure. I was so bloody relieved to be finally left alone that I sat on the filthy floor and either cried or laughed or both, as I couldn’t decide for one. I grew soon bored though, and as tissue supplies weren’t unpacked yet – nothing was unpacked yet – I quit the nonsense and proceeded to deal with practicalities. First, unpack the FIRST AID box and fish out coffee. Second, remove packaging material from a brand new kettle and put the kettle on. Third, find an unsmashed mug for the coffee.

Then I lost the count of steps. In the haze of exhaustion, I changed into yoga trousers and a pair of old flats and embarked on the mission to drive the occupants of the unit below me mad by shuffling and reshuffling boxes and tappity-tapping on my low but noisy heels late into the night. The place was freezing, which wasn’t much of an issue earlier in the heat of the heavy-weight box lifting. The floor heating was operated by three sophisticated thermostats, all of which I now set to the sensible 22°C, though the lowest liveable temperature for me is 26°C, as I’m a cold-blooded lizard.

Several hours later, still nothing was happening heating-ways, and I started to fear I might die here of exposure. Desperate times require desperate measures, I thought and unpacked a small electric heater that I was saving as the last resort. I plugged it in, and nothing happened. It apparently expired quietly during the transport and no amount of coaching and kicking made it work again. I dragged it angrily in the litter bin by its tail – the plug. Meanwhile, the thermostat temperature had been set to its maximum, 35°C. And guess what was happening. Nothing.

I retired to the bathroom, finding comfort in the knowledge that at least there was an electric ladder, so I could sleep curled up under the sink and soak in the warmth. The ladder, however, wasn’t working. What a surprise. I soon figured out that the problem wasn’t in the ladder but in the socket and, as I’m a smartass lady, I used one of my Ikea extensions for the plug to reach a socket across the room. There was a slight inconvenience in that the stretched cord created a knee-height obstacle for me to jump over. Or to forget it, stumble on it and tear it forcefully out of the socket.

The ladder soon heated up a little. A little turned out to be the most it could do. Reconciled with my frosty fate, I returned to the room – the place is a bedsit, hence one room – and to cheer myself up, I waged a war against an invasion of lacewings. These flying bugs are significantly uglier than their stupidly cute name suggests, and they were creeping on me from all directions. I sucked half of an army with a vacuum cleaner and butchered the remaining forces with my bare hands. Protected by a thick paper towel, of course, as I eschew bugs. Eschew is not to be confused with chew.

On the chewing note, I recalled I had eaten nothing the whole day. Time to make some Asian noodles. As I was attempting to relocate the food from the bowl in my mouth, I noticed I was shaking ridiculously. I can’t say that I didn’t spook myself a little. A lot. I concluded that it was fatigue as much as cold, finished the painful meagre meal and decided to take some serious measures. Because this is Eastern Europe, I unsealed the BOOZE box and prescribed myself some slivovitz. Some more. Finally I climbed in bed wrapped up like in Irkutsk, with the slivovitz bottle resting on my bedside table. Cheers.

55 thoughts on “The First Night in a New Flat; or, The Horror, the Horror

  1. Oh Mara due to your eloquent and quirky description of “the horror, the horror” I am laughing with you not at you in your predicament! I do hope your heating issues have been resolved and I congratulate you on your stoicism through this whole affair and hope the worst is behind you xx

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    1. Thank you, I’m happy to make you laugh because that’s the idea 😀 I’m actually thrilled whenever something nasty happens to me because I have quality blogging material… Yes, all is solved now and I’m no more in risk of dying of exposure. I wish I were as stoical as you suggest – I was at times very hysterical in fact…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for reading, it’s my pleasure to entertain you 😉 I’m afraid my first morning was almost as nasty as my first night, fortunately, I didn’t have a mirror yet to check whether I’m bleary eyed or not, but I suspect I was. Fortunately, since then my mornings have improved immensely 🙂

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading, I’m glad to make you giggle 🙂 I’m giggling now too because my heating is fixed, the place is settled in, and I’m enjoying myself a lot. It was worth the few bugs to start with…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Moving and unpacking is always horrendous. I’m sorry you had to add hypothermia to the usual stressors though. I hope the booze warned you up a bit and that things improved.

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    1. Thank you for commiserating with me, you know best… I was never more grateful for a bottle of good booze, I slept sound and was even warm-ish in the night… Slivovitz surpasses floor heating. Especially when the latter doesn’t work. Now all is fine, fortunately, and I’m having a great time in my new home 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you a lot for reading and commiserating! Yes, all issues are fixed now, and I should have added this to my post – but I’m keeping you in suspense for my next Sunday’s installment of my divorcing and moving house story… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m struck by the need to unpack the first aid kit and the coffee first. How exactly do you make your coffee? I’ve stopped drinking the stuff (I can drink either too much or none, so I switched to tea years ago), but I don’t remember needing first aid afterwards when I did drink it. Maybe I stopped just in time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your hilarious comment! I didn’t put it quite clearly: the first aid kit IS the coffee… Good on you to have switched to tea. I love the look and smell of tea, yet hate the taste. So coffee and slivovitz for me, possibly together too 😉

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        1. You might have been reading too quickly or under the influence of slivovitz. Ha. 😉 Of course, this essential beverage is also part of my first aid kit…

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  4. This is hilarious! Chuckling.
    Well, I know you survived to say the story, and most likely solved the heating issue.
    Just a quick question though: where does the bottle of slivovitz live now? Lol
    Loved this piece.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s my pleasure to make you llbs. Or even lol. Or, in the best case, lmao. Yes, you have a point, I lived to tell the story, which suggests that I had the good luck of having all issues fixed and all (most) bugs killed, and now I’m enjoying a peaceful living. The bottle of slivovitz? Are you trying me? It’s been a month now, so what would you expect for it to happen but to be drunk by now…? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I love that your first aid kit contains coffee. We really are soulmates 😉
    I got up this morning (Monday) to discover no milk in the house. Disaster.
    Ah the horrors of unpacking alone, I hear ya! I hope you settle in happily soon! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe 🙂 Your running out of milk reminds me of my current aggravated situation, as I just woke up from a nap to discover there was no wine in the house. Tragedy. I might need to resort to slivovitz again…

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Heheheh…. I was about to say this was my second dry day, but mum asked me to check a bottle of wine for her tonight….LOL.

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  6. Oh what a great read! 😀 I’ve so been there! When we moved in here, to this apartment, it was the other way around … it was so hot, we didn’t know what to do! All the radiators were turned off, we opened the windows … no bed, only an inflatable mattress that didn’t hold the air LOL.

    Anyway, the shaking; you were probably low in blood sugar, not having eaten all day.

    I’ve only had slivovitz once in my whole life, and that was a Thursday at work (!!!). One of the sales guys always had a bottle in his desk drawer, and we’d had a little ‘outing’ the night before *smiles*.

    Hope things are shaping up there by now!

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    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your equally horrifying experience, Rebekah! It’s funny that flats seem to be either too cold or too hot! Your (not really) inflatable mattress sounds awful. At least I had a regular bed!

      I do hope you liked your first slivovitz experience; that sounds like my soulmate, the guy who keeps slivovitz in his desk drawer! It’s the last resort and cure for everything. That’s at least what we natives here believe 😉

      Yep, all is good here now, heating and sockets working fine and I’m enjoying my new home. Thank you for your good wishes!

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  7. First aid kit with coffee 😉
    Just want to say what my late father once told when I had two consecutive miscarriages and I was on the brink of depression or desperation, “You are privileged to be alive. You are alive because He wants you to make your life beautiful.”
    Mara, the yesterday is a lesson, today is bright and sunny and tomorrow will take care of itself !! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. Yet I am glad that you chose to share it here. Of course, your father was right, we are privileged to be alive and we had better cherish it. Thank you again and best wishes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now that you’ve moved to a new place, and have had your coffee! I wish you strength in – unpacking and getting those lacewings! Decorating should be exciting – something to look forward to!

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    1. Thank you very much for your well wishes! The lacewing army is mostly defeated, though some occasional guerillas still appear. And decorating is the best thing about moving, you are right! Thank you for stopping by and reading, and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliantly written Mara. I’m a cold-blooded lizard too and now I’m just waiting for my new flat to be ready so that I can move in. I’m not looking forward to the process, but I’m looking forward to the point where I’m finally settled in the new place and all the boxes are unpacked.
    (I also realize that it’ll probably never happen, and that 4 years from now I’ll still have unpacked boxes stored away in the basement somewhere…)

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    1. Thank you, Cardinal, that means a lot coming from a fellow sufferer stricken by moving house. It’s also a comfort to see that I’m not the only cold-blooded lizard around. I wonder if I will have to take a loan when my bill for the heating comes.

      I wish you a smooth move and no malfunctions of any kind. It’s a huge relief to be settled in, finally, and start actually living in one’s new home. I’m OCD and hyperorganised, hence all boxes have been long unpacked… Also, I don’t have a basement.

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  10. I had a real tour on your blog and i can see it is my fault for not being included in your life… Oops. Hope we have more time and will to chat and connect while the winter is finally going away… 😉

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