why Alke is a superhero

September First.

We arrived at 6:30 or so, and we were supposed to get the keys at 7:30, so we fed the kids store-bought sandwiches and cocoa and waited. Some people explored the neighborhood a bit, some grouchy teenagers who hadn’t wanted to move anyway refused to get out of the car. At the appointed time, an Angel of the LORD (our real estate agent who hasn’t actually given me permission to name him here so let’s call him Michael because that’s an angel-name) showed up with a thermos full of COFFEE. And cups and sugar and everything. Best. Real estate agent. EVER!

Then? Oh, the seller showed up and gave us keys and the movers showed up and started filling the house with cardboard boxes and I had to get Ig to school so I asked Michael how to get a taxi and he said he’d drive us there (I love this guy!) so that was one child disposed of for the day.

Then I had to take the Sniglet to his signing-up for school appointment at 10 so he could meet his teachers and stuff. They also gave me coffee. And early afternoonish my friend Alke showed up and we scrubbed the hell out of the kitchen, which I can’t believe she was willing to do but I was so grateful. At 4 we had to go to the notary to do the official signing-over of the house, and during the Reading of the Interminable Documents my cel phone rang, how embarrassing. I quickly shut it off.

Blah blah blah, sign sign sign, shake hands, check messages – oh look the phone-ring had been Alke, calling to tell me that when she cleaned the bathroom sinks, water started falling out of the kitchen ceiling. Of the house that we now super-officially owned.

Yeah. That could have been really horrible. We told Michael first, and next thing we know there’s a plumber and the sellers and their real estate agent in the house and insurance people on the phone and all kinds of freaking out. The damage had to be photographed, and the plumber had to fix the pipes and then he brought in a tile-guy to fix the bathroom floor and a plaster-guy to replace the kitchen ceiling and the insurance guys had to come look at it (why three of them? and the suits they were wearing? insurance people make too much money, srsly) and I still cringe to think about how hard that all would have been, except for Michael, who dealt with all the people involved so that we didn’t have to get into any arguments in Dutch – and Alke, who spotted the problem on the Very First Day, so that no one could possibly argue that it was in any way our fault or our responsibility. This is why Alke is a superhero. And because Michael and Alke showed up in our lives when they did, the major hardship was that nobody could take a shower for the first two days, and I had to wait a week before I could do laundry. And lo, I have reduced ten days of keening anxiety to a single paragraph.

Next up: I compare Dutch bureaucracy to a Disney World ride. Sort of a cross between a roller coaster and a Chamber of Horrors.

Song du jour of the day: Vandaag, by Bløf. No idea what it’s about, it could be wholly inappropriate, who knows.

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