Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the squeaky wheel gets the grease

Rome is not the easiest place to live when you need to have something repaired. You have to really want it. You need to chop down trees and pull overladen sleighs across the frozen tundra. You have to have the Eye of the Tiger.

Our air conditioner isn't working. I know, right? I was totally surprised too. The landlord was called. After cancelling several appointments, she appeared with a repairman. Who wasn't a repairman so much as he was a friend of hers. They looked at the air conditioner and tried to turn it on. When nothing happened, they asked me for some tools and got to work. They tightened the screws in one of the light switch plates and folded up the ladder. They proclaimed the problem fixed.

I told them there was no air coming out and that it was still broken. They nodded sagely and decided to take the remote control to be repaired.

Several phone calls later, another repairman was dispatched. He didn't show-up for the first appointment. When we called, we were told he couldn't come but would be there tomorrow.  And on that day the designated time came and that time went and we called again. And he was still coming, he was just going to be late; he would be there in 15 minutes. And sure enough, several hours later, he arrived. He was not a repairman either so much as he was the landlord's sister's husband. He climbed up the ladder and looked at the air conditioner. 'The problem is," he told Mike, "is that it is broken."

The very next day, the landlord showed up with another repairman. He was actually a repairman. I think. He looked at the air conditioner. He and the landlord had a conversation in Italian. He turned to me and said in English: " It doesn't work." And with those kind of technical terms being thrown around, I knew for certain that he was the real deal.

 The repairman continued speaking but had switched to Italian.The general gist was that it had to be replaced and a time to install it had to agreed upon. I was floundering for words when my lovely son appeared and rattled off some Italian. The sight of my barefoot son, balancing on one leg, computer game in hand, and speaking the language charmed and delighted the landlord and the repairman and a flurry of "Bello!"s and "Bravo!"s ensued.

And so, my wee boy translated for all of the grown-ups and brokered a deal in which there will be a new air conditioner installed next week.

My son is awesome. He has the eye of the tiger.

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