16/11/16

Y se hizo la luz


Hace unas semanas que me mude de vuelta a Madrid. Y cuando por fin parecía que alcanzaba la luz al final de túnel, se me apago. Así, de repente, como en la canción de Alejandro Sanz de cuando yo todavía llevaba calcetines hasta las rodillas y Gran Hermano ni existía.

Al principio no me di cuenta: estuve muy ocupada sorteando los electrodomésticos que me dejaron sin instalar en la cocina y recuperando a la gatita Jones de casa del vecino, donde había entrado literalmente por el único hueco posible.

El caso es que una vez superados los calores pre menopáusicos causados por la combinación de incidentes y el no ser capaz de encontrar ni la ropa interior, me di cuenta de la era de oscuridad en la que había entrado. Si salía del garaje, tenía que hacer aspavientos cual superviviente de Viven para que se encendieran las luces del portal; si salía de casa, tenía que bailar Xuxa para ver donde tenía que meter la llave; si venia el repartidor de Amazon y se quedaba quieto en el rellano, ahí que estaba yo cazando moscas. Y todo para encender unas luces automáticas endiabladas con sensores traviesos.

Porque a mí que me expliquen el tipo de sensor que tienen, cuando una persona de 1.75 tiene que estirarse a lo alto como si saliera de body combat para encenderlas. Y sobre todo, qué relación tienen estas luces (hermanas carnales claramente no) con las luces que yo tenía en Londres que no solo se encendían sin rechistar cuando estaba en el rellano sino también cuando me intuían a través de la mirilla moviéndome dentro del pasillo de mi casa. Y es que claro, ni tanto ni tan calvo. Ni bailar YMCA para poder ver por dónde vas, ni casi gatear para que no se encienda la luz por la noche y tú, que estás sola en una casa Londinense con una puerta de papel de fumar que no se ha cambiado nunca porque pertenece a la comunidad y no al propietario y para cambiarla se necesita dispensa papal, una donación sustancial y pagar las puertas del esto de los vecinos, te mueras de miedo pensando que viene un loco (léase espontaneo o novio pasado) a secuestrarte.

Total, que aquí estoy con la luz de mi teléfono, que es la más fiable, los brazos extendidos hacia el cielo y escuchando atentamente para que ningún vecino me pille en plena performance intentando hacer el milagro. Aunque bien pensado no sé porque me preocupo tanto, probablemente ellos estén haciendo lo mismo e igual hasta podemos hacer una coreografía, una chirigota y ganar algún concurso o grabar un video viral.

Lara Jones

21/12/15

On my way to heaven


I was planning to write about experience with rental cars but… I need to get this out of my chest: I hate my future gas company; which is quite interesting as I don’t have a contractual relationship with them and the only reason why I am mildly looking forward to having it is because that would mean I will have hot water on daily basis. Consistently. Having said that, I hate them and hate them with passion. With a lot of passion indeed.

The story is as follows: the previous tenant of my new house decides it makes sense to ask the company to cut the supply as he is moving out. If you are not impressed, please, bear with me. As opposed to the UK, where it looks like having electricity, water and gas is part of your human rights, together with getting a ride in the morning on a cramped train carriage at extortionate rates, in Spain, they do actually cut the supply and take the meter away. Very unsure about why you would do that as surely the next occupier will need it in the future. Anyway, I called the company to let them know that the process should be stopped and the meter should stay (if common sense is missing, let’s try with a kindly reminder). Big problem: I need a CUPS number (which is your gas supply identifier). Apparently, an address is not enough to identify the location. Alternatively I can provide the previous tenant’s details (data protection gone out of the window as no one should give me those details?). So, I tried by foot: drove to the office, get them to do it (magically, there were no weird requirements once they saw me face to face). And then they threw at me a request: they are the sales division, could I kindly call the distribution division which owns the network to remind them? Oh dear…

So I obediently called the company the next day: surprise surprise, I needed CUPS and the previous tenants’ details. At some point after a lot of frustration and calling a couple of times, I managed to get them to check the property supply on the computer. No, there wasn’t any request to stop the cut of the supply. And there and then I realised that I was underestimating them: in their TV ads, they promise to keep your house warm and make it homely. The ads include a couple of kids, not sure if they are delivered with the meter or they come at an extra cost. The thing is this company doesn’t keep your house warm. They do so much more: they feed your soul. They make sure you develop patience and persistence, you learn to love the rest of the human beings no matter how imperfect they are (and I promise there is quite a lot of imperfection here to deal with), they make you wiser (you have to learn so much about their different divisions, the ID numbers, their processes, their bill (?)…) and they also set you on your way to heaven. Because, hey, you have won your place up there after all this martyrdom for something as simple as hot water. Anyway, with my hopes high to go to heaven I called the sales division and they could see my request.

That is, they could see it and it would take 15 days to change the status of the account (isn’t it just one field in the system?) so that I can give them my bank account details and sleep tight at night knowing I can have a hot shower the next morning without going to the gym.

So to sum up, I am exhausted and unimpressed. I  may or may not have gas by now (who knows, if they cannot figure it out between divisions…) but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have electricity either. But I have good news: I am winning my nice place for eternity in heaven and my company, aware of all these efficient processes around them, allowed me to stay in the flat they have for visitors near the office for any amount of time (close to centuries by now).

Lara Jones

PS. I wrote this post more than a month ago. 7 weeks into the process, I do not have hot water but I have an antisabotage device which not only prevents me from sabotaging the pipes, it also prevents the gas engineer from installing the meter. The worst is that the device looks to me like the wiring on a champagne bottle… So welcome to my world. And then they wonder why I hate monopolies…

 

 

29/11/15

Bride´s sister: never ever again


Last weekend I was the bride’s sister. I didn’t volunteer or anything, it just happened to me. And oh boy, how much I underestimated the effort. Had I known how much I was going to run after my sister’s veil, surely I would have sacrificed a couple of inches of heels in favour of sensitivity on my toes (which I have lost at the moment…).

It all started pretty normal: boy meets girl and the girl happens to come home with a ring one day and be my sister altogether.

Now, the morning of the wedding was slightly different to the glamourous and relaxing experience I had been fantasising about. At quarter to eight on Saturday (Saturday!) my sister decided it was time to start the run like headless chickens activity to get to the hairdresser. An hour later I was sporting glossy waves and massive shades to hide the lack of makeup (am I the only one who bumps into everyone the one day in a decade that step out of the house without makeup?).

The crisis started shortly after: a fight for the mirror with direct natural light (I thought I would win this one after losing my bed the night before under the excuse of ‘I am the bride and the one and only who cannot be ugly tomorrow’). I should have known better: In a house with only two permanent residents and one of them being my dad, there is not an obvious need to keep several mirrors with natural light for multiple sessions of makeup happening simultaneously. The next crisis was a self-inflicted one: one should never ever try something new and, in particular, I should never ever try something new that involves glue: I managed to finally stick the fake eyelashes. I also managed to stick my fingers together as a result.

After a lot of stress, with all the eyelashes aligned (a few self-grown and a million fake), I put myself into my dress just to be told the photographer was about to arrive. Perfect! Make up done, nails destroyed (as usual I decided to do my nails right before anything else which always results in tragedy), dress on… Hang on: why is the bride not dressed? Oh, we needed a picture of the dress hanging… That was why.

So the photographer came in, took a few pics of my sister, the dress, the make-up pots and… it was time to get my sister dressed: someone should have told me or upload a tutorial in Youtube. It was 4 of us to dress one bride: how difficult could it be? A lot!

First, my mum tried to get the dress from the ceiling hanger: too heavy for her. So I climbed a little ladder to get on top. My sister, in knickers and bra (because we have never seen her naked since she was three and she was not planning to change that on the day) got underneath. And the 4 of us (including one of my sister’s friends, my dad, who happened to be the godfather in a swallowtail and my mum) started looking for her through the dress. My dad start fretting that she is going the  wrong way (the wrong way inside a dress??? How many turns could she take?) when I finally saw the head and started shouting: ‘I can see the head, I can see the head, just push a bit!’ For a minute, the only reason why I thought I wasn’t a midwife was because I was still on top of the ladder. Finally the head emerged and I realised I looked like the goat the gipsys take with them across Spain, stopping at every single town, singing for her and getting her on top of the ladder. With the only difference that the goat is self-sufficient to get up and down and I wouldn’t figure out how to do it.

I finally managed to get down just to land on the next issue: my sister had gotten rid of her bra to get herself into the bra attached to the dress. All good until I hear: ‘could you please hold this boob for me?’ Excuuuuuuuuuse me!! Can I hold what?? The same sister I hadn’t seen naked for more than 25 years was now asking me to hold her boob? And then I hear: ‘What is the problem, can you hold this one or not, I need to hold the other one to try to get the bra into the right place’. And there I was holding one of my sister’s boobs… Before that I couldn’t even tell if they really existed or they were a legend as I have never seen them!! Never mind!!

 

So once my sister was dressed, we managed to put on the veil the wrong way and then correct it and get downstairs, the next challenge started: getting her into the classic car allowing enough breathing space for my dad and without staining, wrinkling or destroying the dress. At last we managed and gave her instructions to wait to leave as we (all the helping women) needed to make it to the church and she had forgotten to book a parking space for us. Therefore if she wanted to get out of the car, she really needed to give us time to walk from the parking lot.

We parked, got off the car and my mum started running on her heels as if there was no tomorrow (my sister had forgotten to leave some stuff at the hotel and she was on a mission to get to the reception before my sister made it to the church). So basically my sister’s friend and I were left on our own devices. Not a very good idea considering she didn’t know the town and I had been so busy moving countries that I didn’t know where she was supposed to get married. Running after my mum and when we had finally lost her, we saw a man in a swallowtail. So we followed him trusting he was a guest and knew his way. We could have ended up in any other wedding... We were following him merrily while I fought my headdress which happened to be all I wanted (flowers and feathers) together with my worst fear (own life), when we saw the bride’s car at the top of the hill. Oh dear, we were now making it there after the bride. So we did the only thing one can do in that situation: we ran even faster in 5 inches of heels… Breathless and stressed we got there to start kissing hello all my sister’s guests, just to turn round and realise my sister was stuck inside the car. So while my mum ran again wildly towards the groom to give him a flower to match my sister’s bouquet, we ran like ostriches (legs first, body hopefully following) to help my sister and fulfil our fantasy of being Pippa Middleton just for a while (basically the sex object rather than the know-it-all sister in law). Shame my bum’s size is more aligned with the Kardashians than with the Middletons. So we walked after my sister, managed to be discreet and not seeing but keep the veil looking good, we didn’t trip over the ancient church door that seemed to have been put in there to prevent anyone not enough faith from making it alive to the inside. And we finally made it to the first row (yes! She remembered to book us that place; only she forgot to tell one of the witnesses to sign the marriage certificate that she should also be there). So while the priest made an effort to carry on with his job, the whole of my 1.75 metres plus 12 centimetres of heels plus 10 centimetres of headdress tried to move quietly around the church to find the missing witness. If you have ever tried to move around with my dimensions you know, moving discreetly is never a reality. If you add up to the equation a headdress that elevated another 10 centimetres over my head, that was mission impossible. But finally I managed to make it back to my place with the witness.

So the rest of the ceremony went on, with me only panicking on the 10 times the priest mentioned children and asked my sister and my brother in law if they agreed on having them. My sister, who has always being against pregnancies, bodily functions, anything that drools without control and anything that she doesn’t consider glamourous started to move uncomfortably on the seat (as much as she could considering the dress was around 15kg, and so rigid that after the ceremony we asked her to reverse as it was easier than turning her round…). And we all started praying: ‘please, God, make her just accept it or this will be over…’. So she did (yes, we owe the church around 100 lit candles for the miracle it delivered).

And the rest went with only a couple of difficult occasions: when people asked for the newly married couple to kiss (my sister and kissing in public don’t go together… more praying) and when someone decided to give her a whip. Luckily my sister was on the mood. Any other day that person would have been shouted into the thinking corner.

And that is it, my sister is married and I cannot feel my toes any more.

 

Cheers!

 

Lara Jones