February 16, 2011
A Chain of German Service Transactions, in search of heat without too much CO
The Gemeinde (town hall) sent us the biannual heating inspectors last week. They dutifully inspected our oil heater, and pronounced it (in German of course) "nicht gut" (not good). Too much carbon monoxide. Ok, I agree, that sounds bad for sure.
So I had to call the oil heater servicing company and ask them (in German) to come. This morning the guy came and took a look. He told us (in German) he can't fix it until the chimney sweep comes and cleans out the chimney of the heater.
So I had to call the nice chimney sweep's wife (also his administrative assistant) and try to explain (in German) what the problem was. However, at this point, the heater guy has left and we discover that the heater is no longer working properly (every few minutes it tries to start up again and isn't successful). I try to describe the problem (in German) but am unfortunately left speechless. Lacking in vocabulary. The lovely lady generously offers to call the heating service people and coordinate directly with them. Bless you, chimney sweep's wife!
She then calls me back and says her husband will come by today "gegen" 1pm (pretty sure this means "approximately" but just to confuse me, it literally means "against") to check that the heater is working (because the heater service people claim they left it working...they should listen to it now), but doesn't have time actually to clean it until tomorrow at "halb elf" (half an elf? No, 10:30am - whenever someone tells me on the phone a time with the "halb" in it, I literally have to write that down as they said it, and work it out later...is it 10:30, 11:30, or 12:30? I can't get it straight under pressure. I know it doesn't refer to the actual hour they mention, but I can never remember in the stress of the moment if it's the hour before or after it. For the record, it means "half an hour UNTIL" the number they say, so it's the opposite from England, where "half eleven" means "half an hour PAST" eleven). Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this.
So now I sit here listening to the ailing heater, and thankful for the kind-hearted Swiss-German woman who was just on the other end of the phone, speaking her best high German and not making any snide remarks about how bad my best version of that is. We'll get this all sorted out at some point. Hopefully, as she said, before we "frieren" (freeze).
February 16, 2011 | Permalink