Wednesday, October 19

Italian Census - My personal household inventory

This week mailboxes were stuffed with large white envelopes, taking the census of our countrymen.  It provoked a stir on the web for people with anxiety asking how to fill it out correctly, and if a coffee stained it was it now invalid, and other sundry items.  As for me, I took my own little census of my household--and, while I usually try to keep my rants to myself, I thought I'd share the pain...
- The heat doesn't go on in the house until November 15th, so I need to start revving up the space heaters from the basement.  Luckily, there is a 'pity clause' and if it truly grows cold here, the heat will go on.  Now if I just changed my 50 yr old windows & doors, well...there would be a minor blip in the global warming statistics.
- My bed is in the wrong place because the outlets on that side of the room don't work.  This, after spending thousands on redoing all the electrical wiring in the apartment to correct that very problem.
- I finally have consistent hot water (happily provided by Vaillant, the only name in water heaters) after years hearing from the plumber that the constant shutting down of the heater was due to the hard water of Rome.  So why is it that my neighbor, purportedly using the same water has never had a day run cold?
- After switching from Wind/Infostrada over to Vodafone Station for my home, I can no longer receive calls, and when I can make them, no one on the other end can hear me.  Calls to Vodafone prove useless, and although we don't have to pay for the customer "service" hotline, you're forced to listen to Iron Maiden covers at ear-shattering decibel levels until they come on the line.  They offered to come out to check the line for $50.  Why I didn't follow the old adage, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'...is beyond me.  I've now asked to switch back to Infostrada, costing me over $100 in total switching fees - read the fine print (the govt passed a law to stop this practice, so, like the bank credit card cos., you're not charged a fee for switching, but another for administrative purposes...)
- Some of the shutters don't roll up properly, after having them newly installed.  The guy who installed him said he'd come fix them but I'd have to pay another 70 euro ($100) to have him check out the problem.  
- I moved the refrigerator slightly only to discover that the painters didn't bother to paint the wall behind it, so now I have a two-toned kitchen Luckily, it's now all the rage...
- I have a virtual pigeon coop on my balcony, but when I went to wash it down, a neighbor across the way shouted she would report me to the police for splashing water on the balcony below.  Talk about a ficanaso!  I now have to sponge-bath my balcony...
- A screw came loose in the shower, sending liters of water into the apartment below.  The insurance fortunately will cover it - but only half the cost of repainting. I suppose, I was half-responsible for turning water on in the shower in the first place.
- My top-of-the-line vacuum cleaner kept going on & off.  After bringing it in for repair, it got a new motor and a $225 price tag to go along with it.  And it still keeps going on & off.
- My brand new kitchen stools made from plastic have oxidized inside, leaving them foggy in appearance.  Naturally, it happened after the 30 days had expired.
- My surround sound stereo system has never worked.  Trony refused repeatedly to exchange it, saying it was my fault.  Admittedly, there may be some truth in this (I am electronically challenged), but, in the meantime sounds emanate only from two speakers.
- Visiting Americans, clearly not used to apartment living, ended up spilling wine on my freshly painted wall, breaking an expensive painting, and leaving muddy footprints all on a wall where the stools are.  I've had to ship luggage to two of them who managed to break the key in the tricky door lock  the day of departure.  I'm starting to rethink my 'barefoot at home' position...maybe I should do as the Italians do and force guests to wear slippers...or, not have guests at all.

Friends have suggested that my customer service issues occur because I am a woman...(ignoring that 80% of household purchase decisions are made by my very category), but instead, I think I need to invest in some serious feng shui experts.

And then, of course, there is the flip side: items I had lovingly installed or gifted from good friends, coming from persons with whom I had developed personal relationships, and who were often quite magnanimous in their TLC, has been nothing short of stupendous.  Except my bathroom tiles which never meet at 90 degree angles.  But hey, you can't have tutto!


I just might bring back my Business Weak reports on the disservice of the week - in the hopes that someday, a PR hack will take notice...

5 comments:

Tiffany Parks said...

Brillliant! I appreciate the way you make note of all the crappy things that can and do go wrong in this maddening country, but without actually complaining about them. It's refreshing! I can relate on so many levels. LOL line: "now I have to sponge-bath my balcony"

Dave514 said...

Francesca:
All very nice and amusing and yet you have failed the true Italian test. It only goes to show that you're still not fully assimilated.

Italians have devised many ways in which to get revenge such as making an intricate pavement dog poop obstacle course, driving with great glee like raving maniacs, walking pairs down the street, then suddenly stopping to make some inane point so you run into them. I'm sure with your creative genius you can come up with some novel ideas.

Davide

Francesca Maggi said...

I will tell you that when the butt-ugly building across the way (with apologies to butts) cut down our beautiful, majestic, 57 yr old and 5 story high pine tree, 3 days before Christmas no less, a woman nearby went out & bought a tiny pine just for symbolic purposes & placed it between the adjacent properties in order to diminish our collective depression (it's one of my first blog entries)...

Another neighbor from our same bldg told her she was trespassing & would have her reported if she didn't move it immediately. I still can't get over it. And, true to form, the building that chopped down the tree, never replanted a replacement (by law).

Tiffany-this was my biggest rant ever...but, will try to collect myself in the spirit of Bella Figura...

Anonymous said...

That was good. You know how to make me laugh. Look on the bright side, you will never lack for topics to write about living in this country.

Kay said...

About to tackle "thinking about" doing my census papers I randomly typed in Italian census and my search engine delivered me here!

I shall very much enjoy exploring further... AFTER I've tackled the monster!

Delighted to find your blog!