Wolly Days

Monday, I had to bite the bullet and head off to the shopping center in Lund, to find a winter jacket for “Kitty”.  When I buy jackets for my children, I buy them big, so they have lots to grow in, because to a low-income family, winter jackets and snowsuits are a BIG investment. “Boo” thrash his jackets so “Gubby” can’t inherit them, which is very, very sad, since “Gubby” is a very careful child. His jackets can not be inherited, since the child who was supposed to receive them, never came about or rather ended up in the cemetery before she was born for real.

“Kitty” has refused to wear the big jacket I bought for him last year, this year, and Sunday I ordered him to put it on, to show what was wrong with it. He insists on wearing hoodies under it, BIG hoodies, and yes, I could see it looking tight then. But more over, his arms have grown enormously this past year. So, I decided to go get a size 170 cl jacket for him, which is for 16 years, and since he turns 13 in December, he should be able to wear it for a while. My limit was set to 399:- (£35/€41/$43). Not a penny more. And this was almost impossible, but I managed to find a nice petrol coloured one at Lindex, one of the three biggest clothing chains in Sweden, which I usually avoid, because I do not approve of their clothing for children above 6 years of age.

Not true to colour at all. Camel is the colour!

Not true to colour at all. Camel is the colour!

That done, my boys nagged to go to the toy shop BR, which was not something I wanted to do. Why? Since “Kitty” does not understand that I am not buying ANYTHING for him before Christmas! But, I sent them down there on their own, under strict orders to behave. I had to head to H&M, for tights, since F. had stolen my expensive shape ups. She who looks like she is 12, with a figure of a fish finger. Without my shape ups, no way I will put on a skirt or a dress. My C-section bag of a stomach, is one of my heart aches and deep sorrows. So to steal those, is just a spit in my face. As usual. While searching for tights for her, I noticed this beige knitted, over sized sweater for myself and I grabbed it, not having tried it and not being convinced that camel is my colour. Having sent the boys to a shop by themselves, with their autism, means grabbing things fast and running to them as quickly as you can.

Of course “Kitty” had a temper tantrum leaving the toy shop, since I would not buy him a Nerf rifle for 199:- (£17.41/€20.40/$22). It did not matter that I told him that Christmas is in one month, that I had just bought him a jacket for 399:-. He exploded when he saw that I had bought a sweater for myself. And I got angry because I told him that if I bought HIM a Nerf rifle for 199:- then I had to buy one for “Boo” and one for “Gubby” as well, and then we must bag Christmas all together. I also wheezed at him that “Tomten” has bought all things already. “Boo”, who is not going to make the goals for third grade, who is so way behind in Math that one wants to cry, then says “If one wishes for something that expensive, then one only receives ONE Christmas present!”. He might not be able to do Math in school or read, BUT he understands some things perfectly! Since I want to keep it a secret, who makes and buys the Christmas presents, for “Boo” and “Gubby”, I did not want to discuss it further nor tell “Boo” that HE is smart and has understood matters perfectly. But “Kitty” sat all the way home, telling them all he would do with the rifle he is receiving for Christmas. And made me feel awful, since I really was honest. I am done with his shopping. IF I buy that rifle, what do I do with the things I have already bought? I got angry with him, when he continued all evening, telling his dad about it. I asked him if he no longer wishes for the expensive gamer’s T-shirt he sent me pictures of. Oh, yes, he wants that too. He doesn’t care if the others get any gifts, as long as he gets EVERYTHING he wants. An attitude I have a difficult time accepting.

Tuesday, at 10:00, the ventilation man arrived. Our “gemensamhetsförening” (will I ever find out what this is in English? Neighbour Association?) decided a couple of months ago, that we were all going to go together and hire this company to check all our houses for ventilation. It gets cheaper that way. They gave us little notice, but we had cleared a way to most of the vents. When he arrived though, he also needed to get to the furnace. I have begged my husband to clear out the wash room for months, I have gone on laundry strike because no woman should have to do laundry in a room where she can not move and where she might break her neck on things, hanging up the laundry, but he insists on using the room as a garbage dump. For things he does not want to throw away, for things which should be taken to the city dump, which he is too lazy to do. Taking them out to the car and drive there seems to be just too much of an ordeal for him. But the washroom is also home for his plastic bag collection! He will not throw away plastic bags. He collects them in there. HUGE bags full of plastic bags. Just like his mother! I call it plastic-mania. Now, I had to stand there with the shame and try to move everything to the right side of the room, so the poor service man could go in and get to the furnace, on the left side. And still he was attacked by boxes and food garbage bags my husband has stored on top of the furnace, where one should not put anything! I felt SO ashamed and stood and apologized throughout.

After he had left, the house kept going colder and colder. But I thought, “we live in a wood house and perhaps the temperature is dropping outside and I have hypothyroid, so I am always cold, so it can’t be anything but me and not getting the right medicine for my disease”. When the children got home, it was freezing but noone said anything. I did complain to my husband though that the radiators were stone cold and he went around airing them. That is when people started screaming in the shower, saying that there was no hot water, blaming “Boo” for having taken it all, since he had showered first. THEN I started to get really suspicious. Since we are so many people, we have to put the furnace on extra much hot water. What if the boiler had been set back to normal, when the ventilation man had turned it off and then on? So my husband went in there with me in hot pursuit and what did we find? A dead panel. It usually tells you with a number, what is wrong, but it was solid black! My husband looked in the water-damaged yellow manual that can hardly be opened, since it has been soaked and have dried in that manner.

There was nothing to do, except letting people take freezing cold showers and in the morning, I stood and boiled three big pots of water and also filled the electric water kettle, to heat water. With much hassle, I took a “shower” by pouring one pot with hot water in a dough bowl and mixing it with cold water from the shower. And then I took a small pot and filled it from the bowl, pouring it over my head. I don’t know, but I never feel clean having showered this way! And then, when done, I put on the sweater I had not decided on whether to keep or not, it not being my colour really. But at that moment, I could not have cared less. As long as it was warm, I cared naught. It has wool in it and alpaca. Good enough. All the others escape this awful house every day, but I am stuck here and my prison was on an antarctic level all day!

To preserve energy or should I say heat, I just got on thick wool socks after dropping the children, and then crawled under a blanket in my armchair, where I hassled the toy shop BR all day, for messing up entirely. (I tried to order some Lego from them Friday 18th, when Lego was 25% off. They are the only ones who have a specific set I can not afford for “Gubby”. But it is the only thing he wants for Christmas. With the 25%, I decided that it was within reach. But the page just kept spinning, after I pushed the pay page, and I never received a confirmation e-mail that the order had gone through. So, I wrote several e-mails to them, then was on the chat for an hour and the person finally said, no order was registered, one box was left in town, so me on to the phone and reserved it, and I had to waste petrol going to buy it. Then Tuesday, the box arrived in the post! The thing which customer service said was never ordered and was out of stock anyway! And no return label included! So, hours of e-mails and then on to the chat again, since no way I am going to pay for their mess up and pay that postage! And still no confirmation e-mail!)

In the afternoon, the boss of the ventilation man, showed up and he could not make heads or tails of what was going on. But we saw him do one thing, which he is not supposed to do, and that was turning one button from off to on. It is supposed to stand on OFF! He told us to phone, IVT, which is the makers of the boiler, the ones my husband had phoned earlier in the day, who said they knew nothing and wanted to do nothing. Now, my husband got back on the phone with the IVT people, who told us to phone the on call service after 16:00. Which my husband did. He was first in queue, the voice said. For one hour, for two hours… The on call ends at 20:00. My husband was still first in queue at 20:00 and at 21:45 they disconnected him! Then he had been prevented from working. His plans had been to drive in to church and sit there and work till a church meeting was to start at  18:00. As it now was, he could not go in to Lund at all, but had to stay by the phone and try to work in our living room instead.

While he did that, I tried to feed the children and then boil tons of water. I decided that the best was to pour it all in to the bathtub upstairs. And then mix in cold water. It made for a perfect WWII regulation bath! Max 5 inches of water. Both “Gubby” and “Boo” climbed in happily, even though it was a tight squeeze. I used the small pot and poured of the water over their heads and then let them shampoo their hair, whereupon I repeated the pouring of the water. The water now getting more and more mixed with soapy things! They had to stand up and soap themselves and then try to roll around in the small amount of water in the tub. They had a blast, which I was grateful for, but “Kitty” would not hear of such a thing, so he skipped showering/bathing all together. When the boys were done with their splashing, I walked down and told T. that if he wanted a WWII bath, he had warm used water upstairs. He jumped at the chance, instead of having an Antarctic shower again.

When Thursday came around, I was so sick and tired of being cold, and having to stand there pouring boiled water over myself. How many days was this going to go on? At 07:00 my husband started phoning the on-call again but being first in queue again did not impress him. Not until 07:30, did he get through and then it was to the office, where people had now arrived to work. They told him that they would phone me in half an hour, so I carried my mobile with me in to “Gubby’s” school and while dropping “Boo” at the bus collection point at his school. But no phone call. Not until 09:10 did a woman phone me and said “We can send a repair man out to you tomorrow at 10:00. Take it or leave it!” “WHAT!” I half screamed. “TOMORROW! I have stood and boiled water for my family, to take a communal bath in the same bath water, all of them, one after the next. It is like living in the 1800s here. I am sick and tired of boiling water and I am freezing to death. Tomorrow I really need to wash my hair. How am I going to do that?” “Well, why did your husband not phone the on call service then, like I told him to do yesterday?”. “HE DID! He phoned right away and was first in queue from the time he had talked to you till 07:30 this morning, all afternoon, all evening, all night! Noone picked up that phone and he was supposed to have gone back to work and go to an important meeting and instead he was stuck here on the phone!”. The lady could not understand this but suddenly she changed her mind about things and decided that we were first priority. She had a repair man coming in at 09:30 and she promised to send him straight over and she would also check the switch board to see what on earth had happened to the on call service.

Finally, at 10:00, the repair man showed up and he opened up the furnace to see what might be the problem. At first he said it was the circuit card that was ruined. So I asked him if they can put another one in. “No, there are no spare parts for this model of furnace anymore!” “What? No way!” was my answer to that. I phoned my husband in panic, right away. A new furnace cost more than 80 000:- (£6,985/€8,194/$8,685) and for us, who still have not paid off the paint from last year’s painting of the house, who have a now four-year car loan left, and that car being the worse money pit, constantly needing repair work, a new furnace is not possible! My husband sent me a site which sells spare parts for old furnaces, next, and I walked out to the repair man and showed him that things are available but I needed to know exactly what to look for, because most of the things were just abbreviations and numbers. When he saw this, it sort of sparked him to do a better job I think. He made a phone call to his boss but I could not hear what he was saying. But I think he said something about us not being in the market for a new furnace. Then suddenly he was done! He came out with a small little black plastic piece and told me that this small thing had burned on a wire. He said it was due to the button having been put to on and not kept to off. So, my question is: Who will pay for the repairs?

He could not make the compressor work though, something which cost a fortune and which has broken twice before. He had to

A most welcome sight!

A most welcome sight!

go to the next job, but told me to keep a watch on the compressor light on the display. “It should kick in after 20 minutes but could possibly take longer.” Those were scary 30 minutes. I kept running in there and praying! And finally, 30 minutes later, the light came on! What a relief! It took all day for the house to start getting warm. But it did get warm enough. I could almost stand it when wearing wool socks and wool sweater, sitting under a warm blanket. My hypothyroid is really driving me mad at the moment! Good thing I am seeing a doctor on Wednesday 30th November. Something really is out of whack. Of course it always is, but it is not normal to have icicles for fingers!!!

Friday, Joakim from BR started hassling me. Two days after I thought things were sorted with Jenny of customer service, at BR. Here I still sat with the second box of the same Lego, which I had bought in the physical BR shop, not being able to send it back to BR in Kolding, Denmark, because after two days, a return label had still not showed up. And now Joakim claimed that I had not paid for my ordered box. NOW hell broke loose. I was not going to take this laying down! I told him to go talk to his colleague Jenny but knowing he was not going to do that, I started bombarding him with ALL e-mails and conversations I had had with Jenny. All in all, I think I sent him fifteen e-mails and the idiot still did not understand what had happened. He just sat there ranting on about his money and that return labels always being included. I got nastier and nastier in my e-mails to him because there was nothing unclear in what I wrote. But that is the problem with this sort of new customers service. When you only are able to communicate via e-mail or chat, there will be 100 more misunderstandings, than if you got to talk to an actual person on the phone! It seems like people are dyslexic or something, because they can’t read what you have written or they do not understand. So, you have to sit with them on a chat for an hour instead of five minutes max on the phone or even more on e-mail, since then it spreads out over days. Yesterday, in church, I got two more offensive e-mails from Joakim. He wrote me on Black Friday right!? I ordered the Lego a week before Black Friday. And he sits there and says “Jenny could not see your order because our site crashed on Black Friday and paypal payments did not go through”. I mean, what sort of intelligence does this man have, when HE wrote me on Black Friday about a package I had received three days earlier? I get so tired of people like that!

To conclude my frustration about the Lego deal: Friday morning, I went to the hospital clinic, to have my blood drawn for all the tests my new doctor wants to do, pertaining to my hypothyroid. After they had filled NINE vials of blood or more, not being able to get any blood out of my left arm, so that my husband now thinks I am a living dead, and having to take the blood from the right arm, I first almost fainted and had to lay down for a while. Then I headed to the shopping mall for Black Friday shopping. Or “window” shopping because I was not impressed with the deals. But my real reason for going was that Jenny from BR had sent me an internet code for 200:-, because they had messed up. I intended to use the 200:- to buy the stupid nerf rifle for “Kitty”. Only, when I got to the shop, they told me it can not be used in the shop, only on the internet, since they are two different entities. Very strange, because you can return what you have ordered, to the shop! As long as you have the order confirmation with you! The one I never received since the item was not ordered! It just showed up here by magic, unpaid for! The 200:- was ridiculous compensation in other words, because I have sworn to not use that site ever again! Let us say, I do not need weeks like this in my life!

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