Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Dishwasher

Our year did start a little bit on a sour note. After we came home from our trip we had received mail from our ongoing 'Marchewski' saga. (Note names have been slightly changed).

Marchewski is the man that lives below us. He is what the Germans call 'a messy'. He has a disheveled appearance and you don't particularly want to be in the elevator with him or after him. Just imagine Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, only less friendly and about 40 years older. From my understanding his apartment is a complete nightmare and stinks to high heavens. Everything that can be off about him is... he doesn't have a doorknob, his mail box is bashed to hell, and he often doesn't have keys so he buzzes late in the night to be let in. (Sorry, but I don't let him in).

We came to know Marchewski all the way back in 2006. Soon after our wedding we decided to purchase a dishwasher. It was my first meeting with the International Women's Club and Stefan was studying for his CFA exam. Late in the day after my meeting, lunch, and then tea at one woman's home, I received a phone call. Our dishwasher had been delivered and Stefan decided he was the handy man that was going to install it. It just so happens that there was an older piece on the sink that broke causing our apartment to get flooded in no time.

Stefan told me how he put his thumb over the water, which I envision to look like a cartoon. The water, of course, kept coming - leaving him drenched and unsure of how to turn off the water. Needless to say, several firemen, an electrical man, and the apartment janitor were all here to help.

Next on the list was Marchewski. Stefan had to go down and profusely apologize for his electricity being shorted out due to the water. One would think this was simple and life would go on. We paid to have his apartment checked out (the man doing so covered his nose the entire time according to Stefan). The firefighters commented that his apartment completely stunk and they had seen a lot in their day, but it was horrid down there. On really warm days I occasionally think I can smell it wafting up from the balcony.

Marchewski, it turns out, is also a lawyer. He has a required sign out front of our apartment, however I am sure he is unable to conduct business in his pit. We live in a really nice and desired part of town, and I still can't for the life of me figure out how this man can live here.

Today we received a letter from his lawyer friend, stating that we still owed him for 320 euros, including the hours he was unable to work and the food that spoiled in his fridge in the 3 hours the electricity was out. The home owner's association continually told us not to pay him, because he loves to file small claims that aren't worth the battle and people pay up. They also said they would take care of things. We are now stuck in the middle. It's difficult because even though it's not much money, I don't want him to think that now that he's gotten something from us that it's an easy solution to paying his next month's rent.

So this post goes out to Marchewski... rotten teeth, tattered suit, and stench that doesn't leave. I hope 2008 brings him some happiness so he can quit harassing us for something that happened over a year ago that the home owner's association was supposed to take care of.

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