First Few Days in the Apartment/Construction Zone

Trip Start Mar 29, 2007
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of India  ,
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I took Friday the 27th off work so I could start moving stuff into the new pad.  That means a couple trips moving stuff from the hotel to the apartment, buying some new furniture and appliances, getting my 500 pounds worth of stuff the firm air-shipped over to India for me which has been sitting in a storage unit here waiting for me to finally get settled.  I got the 500 lbs worth of stuff delivered to the apartment on Friday and it looks like it all made it over.  It was a little bit like Christmas because a lot of the stuff was food and other "comfort items".  Living in India doesn't make it easy to find some of the things you take for granted on having at your fingertips in the States.  So when I saw the beef jerkey and raisin bran I had packed away...even this old bastard was damn near moved to tears.  I bought a new sofa set and bed at a local furniture store...unfortunately the store didn't sell mattresses...more on that later.  Anyway...the furniture was delivered early Saturday which was not a good thing as I didn't realize my place was about to become a major construction zone.

Oh...a nice side story from the week before I moved in.  Not sure if I mentioned this in a previous blog, but I bought a few things from the prior tenant in my apartment...namely a table and chairs and a few small appliances.  So the week before I move in, I go over to meet the landlord and the maintenance guy (the maintenance guy "Muthy" and 5 of his relatives live in the parking garage...that's a little different eh?)...and I also wanted to check out the place and make sure the previous tenant left it in good shape.  Problem #1...there are no keys for me...the previous tenant "forgot" to leave them....riiiiiight. :-|   So...task number one for the landlord is to change my locks as I honestly do not know who has keys and who doesn't.  Turns out the previous tenant lost one key, her maid (now my maid) has a key, the previous tenant's driver has a key and someone else has a key.  Even if all the keys are accounted for, I want a new deadbolt and/or new lock and the landlord agrees to do it.  The only key that is currently available is the maids copy so I let keep hers that day so she could do a top to bottom cleaning before I moved in...a decision I would soon regret.  Problem #2...I get a call from my maintenance guy on Thursday morning while I'm at the office saying the maid is over cleaning the place (as I said she still has a key and the new deadbolt isn't on yet) and Muthy also informs me that she is taking the table and chairs out of my apartment.  WTF?  These are the same table and chairs I bought and paid cash for to the previous tenant.  So off me and my driver go to see what's going on.  Sure enough...the maid was there with her family and a small truck in the process of loading the table up and taking it.  She tells us the previous tenant said she could have them...and unfortunately for the maid, I have that previous tenants cell phone # and we find out within about 30 seconds the maid is lying.  The previous tenant (who is already on my crap-list for other reasons) tells me she's not surprised at all that the maid is stealing my table and chairs.  That comment made me a little curious so I expressed myself fairly "colorfully" to her on the phone why exactly she's just now just telling me this.  This was a maid that she used for 18 months and never had a problem with...AND who she said I could trust....AND now the previous tenant is "not surprised" I'm getting stuff stolen?!?!  If I could have crawled through the phone line and kicked her in the butt I would have.  Anyway...long story short, I fire the maid right then and there and my driver chases her and her family off the property.  I tip the maintenance guy well (200 rupees or 5 bucks) and tell him he did a good thing and to keep it up.  Now I'm demanding my new deadbolt ASAP as I don't want to start moving stuff in without it...who knows how many keys are floating around out there.  A bit of good news...Muthy the maintenance guy (who lives in the parking garage) has a sister-in-law (who also lives in the garage) and she wants to be my new maid.  Problem solved...but she's only cleaning when I'm there and can keep an eye on her...I don't trust anyone.

Saturday was spent at the apartment waiting for people to come over and deliver my appliances.  My apartment doesn't have central air (I don't think any apartments here have central air) that means I had to purchase about $3K worth of AC units to be installed at my new flat.  Two window units should be a breeze to install...but two large split/wall-mount AC units ended up being a huge pain in the ass.  Let me first tell you that drywall isn't used in India...the interior walls of most building are solid concrete and all the wiring is done within the concrete during construction.  So..when you want to hang something on a wall, you're basically drilling through solid concrete.  What is worse, when you're installing something like a AC unit that needs higher quality wiring and has to be hooked up to an outside compression unit and requires a drainage tube for getting any condensation out of the house...well, that means you're tearing a lot of concrete off the walls and creating a ton of dust and noise.  Joy...welcome to my new house and construction zone.

All of my appliances and furniture were delivered on Saturday.  In addition to the bed, couch and 4 AC units...I also bought a washer and dryer which are slightly different than the units we have back in the US...namely in the quantity of clothes they are able to handle...I guess American's dirty a lot more clothes up that the locals do so that means I'll be doing many, many small loads.  The store I purchased the AC and appliances from tells me everything will be installed on Sunday (my move in date)...but I forget we're on IST (India Standard Time)...or as the expats call it...India Stretchable Time.

So Sunday morning April 29th I packed up all my stuff at the Taj, check out of the hotel which as been my home for 4 weeks, loaded my car up and moved into the new apartment...with no installed AC and no mattresses...and it's a 104 degrees outside...woo hoo.  The installation guys start to show up and like I expected, the window units go in without a problem.  I still don't have a mattress so I send my driver out to find me one..."bad news sir" he tells places are open on Sunday.   Which means I'll be sleeping the first night on the couch.  More bad news...the guys installing the split AC's are tearing up huge chunks of concrete, wiring is being pulled through the concrete, dust is everywhere, the new couch which was delivered on Saturday is already filthy...and I'm fresh out of dust masks.  More bad news...the split AC installers can't finish up because they don't have enough copper tubing for the downstairs unit and the wiring needs to be upgraded for the upstairs unit.  Nice!  My first night will be spent sleeping on the couch in my un-air conditioned living room because the only working AC units are in the mattress-less bedroom.  :-|  The only small piece of good news is that my satellite TV is working as is my broadband internet so I get to watch my new LCD flat screen while I'm sweating and trying to sleep Sunday night.

Monday morning is more construction so I decide to work from home...I don't trust anyone in the house without me being there.  My driver finds a mattress place but they won't deliver the mattress unless I deliver cash in advance to their office.  Like I said...I don't want to leave my place with people in it for any reason including getting enough cash out of an ATM so that will have to wait until the AC install is complete.  I'm having one of the split AC's installed on an inside wall so all the wiring, tubing, etc is going through an extra bedroom along the side of a looks really ghetto...but that room is just my storage room and laundry room so I'm completely ok with it...not sure what the landlord thinks but that's his problem.  They finally get the downstairs split AC to work which is great news...but the upstairs one is still needing some more wiring so it looks like Tuesday I'll be working form home as well.  And because these guys took their sweet time today, the mattress store is closed so it's one more night on the couch for me...but at least this time we have AC!

Tuesday they wrap up the wiring and get the upstairs unit working, the patch guys come in and fill in the holes made by the install guys, the mattress arrives and to top it off, the furniture store sends out a cleaning crew to clean my new (albeit dusty) couch.  By Tuesday night the place is looking decent and starting to resemble home.  I'm going to wait on posting pictures of it until I get some of my stuff back from the US.  My sea shipment is somewhere over the water and probably another 4 weeks out.  So while the move to the new place had it's rough all worked out well.
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