Monday, 2 June 2008

The Modern Girl's Guide to Dealing with Emergencies. Part III: Moving House.

Over the past five or six years, I don't think I've spent more than about eight months in any one place. Until I came to Kraków that is.

It's surprising how much stuff one person can accumulate in just fourteen short months.

On Saturday morning, after the goodbye party, I woke up early and stared in despair at the six bags and one cardboard box on my bedroom floor.

They stared back at me and didn't show any signs of getting smaller.

The day was scheduled with military precision: at 2pm I had to collect the keys for the tourist apartment we were renting. At 2.30pm a friend would come to pick up the tv. At 3pm my landlord would come and collect the keys from me.

In between all that, somehow, I had to get my six cases and one box across two streets and up four flights of stairs. The mercury was rising... 28 degrees C.

I decided it was as good a time as any to call a truce with Car Guy.

At twenty to two I got a call:
- Running a few minutes late but I'm running, now.

I walked to the bank to get the money for the apartment. When I got back, he was already standing by my front door.
Time check: five to two. I decided I could delay slightly on picking up the keys.

We started to load the car. By 2.25 it was full and we drove across Dietla to the new place.
- Stay there for a second. I said.

On the other side of the gate, the apartment's housekeeper was there with the keys to meet me.
- Have a look around and check that everything's ok.
she said
- No, no, I'm sure it's fine, really...
I was anxious to get back to the car and back on schedule.
- Here's your room, look... and this will be your parent's room. There are two bathrooms. What about the alarm. Do you want to know how to set the alarm?
- Uh... yes... maybe... no...
- And let's go over the keys again.

Finally, I locked the door behind me and fled down the stairs, all four flights of them, since we were on the second floor.

Thirteen minutes to three: My phone beeped. It was TV Girl.
- I'm on my way! Just collecting the next set of keys. With you in two seconds, really!

Ten minutes to three:
- Don't you want me to unload your stuff? said Car Guy
- No time for that! The landlord's coming at three and we have to go back to let TV Girl in for the television!
We jumped into the car and sped away.

Then things started to happen all at once:

Four minutes to three: we arrive back at the flat. TV Girl and friend are waiting in the shade on the other side of the gate. My flatmate's brother is waiting upstairs to collect her art things and her share of the deposit. We go in, TV Girl's friend picks up the TV and my flatmate's brother picks up the art portfolio.

Two minutes past three: Car Guy, my flatmate's brother and I are standing in the hallway, looking at our shoes, waiting for the landlord.

Three minutes past three: I decide to clear out my kitchen cupboards, and try to offload all my leftover spaghetti, rice, sardines and so on onto Car Guy:

- Uhh... are you sure? I mean, yes, absolutely, but... don't you want to eat over the next few days?
I pointed out that my parents would be here, and added a bottle of olive oil to the rather unstable pile in his arms.

-Greeeat! It's been years since I was paid in food!

A moment later:

- Absolutely! I love Marmite!

(I have never before heard this phrase uttered by a non-Brit).

Twelve minutes past three: doorbell rings and the Landlord comes up the stairs.

Instantly, all three of us are on Our Best Behaviour.

- Czy Pan chce cos do picia? I say, simpering (I really wanted that deposit in one piece). Not that we had anything in the flat other than water and most of a litre of Zubrówka left over from the party last night.

Quarter to four: Landlord is finally satisfied. All the keys are there. The TV cable is disconnected. He hasn't noticed where my blu-tack took flakes of plaster off the wall.
We leave the flat.


Five to four: Car Guy and I arrive back at the tourist apartment. We're close to caramelisation inside the hot car, so we decide to get on with the move as quickly as possible.

We get through the gate ok, but stop short on the other side.
- What is it? says Car Guy, sounding slightly muffled behind 15 kilos of book-filled cardboard box.
- Nothing. I say 'But suddenly I can't remember which staircase it's on'.

Of course it was on the third staircase.

Me, Car Guy, a 15 kilo cardboard box, two wheelie cases and a rucksack crossed and re-crossed the courtyard three times.
We were stared at with mild curiosity by various neighbours from their various balconies.

- What floor? asked Car Guy, once inside.
- Uh... second... I said, in a very small voice.

We marched grimly up four flights of stairs.

I opened the door...

- Ooh! This is cool!

Four fifteen: Me, Car Guy, one cardboard box and six cases are all inside a Very, Very Posh Flat indeed. We all look uncomfortable and are trying not to get grubby fingerprints on the surfaces.

Four thirty: Car Guy leaves. I subject him to an extremely awkward hug with lots of elbows and then send him off back down the four flights of stairs.

I sit on my own in the middle of the flat and hug myself and think: I made it!

For now...


Anonymous said...

Did you get home ok? We miss you already! Karolina

pinolona said...

I miss you too!
I got back fine.
I hate England, it's cold and wet and nasty and I'm already looking at flights back to Krakow.
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