Monday, June 30, 2008

Graz Update

A True Story About Keys, And Then Some Unrelated Pictures.

When we signed the lease on our new apartment, we had to sign for all the keys we received. This is normal. We didn't actually receive all the keys we signed for, though. That's a little less normal. It gets weirder from here.

We got two sets of house door keys, a mail box key that doesn't fit any of the boxes, and 3 keys for nothing we've been able to identify. Also, the bedroom door has an exterior door on it, with a key in it, but we didn't have to sign for that one. It is, however, 100% possible to be locked out of the bedroom in a way that would require the services of a locksmith...

We signed for 3 sets of door keys, a mailbox key, and a key for the storage area in the basement, and were told a very unconvincing story about how the landlady's son (who lives upstairs) has our mailbox key, and a set of apartment spares, and that we should just get that from him. Because.... they couldn't get that sorted out in the week between when we agreed to sign the lease, and when we actually signed it??

While were moving in, the Hausmeisterin delivered the set of spares, but no one seemed to know who has the mailbox key, or which mailbox is ours. Eventually it was communicated to us that the landlady's son had contacted his mother (we suspect she owns the whole building), and she'd called the Hausmeister, who then tasked his wife (Hausmeisterin) with letting us know that we should catch the mailman on his rounds and demand that he re-key the lock for our mailbox. Did you follow all that buck-passing?

Which post box is ours, we asked? Oh, just pick one. Whichever one isn't being used is fine. How would we know which aren't being used? None of them are marked! (Much of that information was shouted from a 3rd story window at Holly while she was in the backyard hanging laundry.) There are 20 boxes in the bank; our building only apparently has 7 units total, and possibly only 5 tenants, now that we have moved in.

Anyway, our mailman moves very fast, and looks kind of, ah, postal. So, Greg went to the post office to talk to them about it. They claimed that they don't deal with deliveries (??), but gave him a phone number of a man who could do the job. Later that same day, we got a could-not-deliver notice (presumably because the mailman couldn't figure out which apartment was ours, we don't have a mailbox, and our doorbell is also not labeled. And also doesn't really work), and the notice specified that we should go to the post office that told Greg they don't do deliveries, to get the thing. Anyway, Greg eventually got a phone call in to the guy who re-keys mailboxes, who agreed to do the set-up, and would just leave the keys in the mailbox, which is how we would know which mailbox is ours.

Which he did, several days later (we neglected to ask when he'd be doing that). Turns out, we have box number 5 (yes, we are in apartment #3), and although we put our name and apartment number on the little tag for the mailbox, the mailman persists in leaving our mail on top of the mailbox.

Still don't know what those other keys are for; nor do we have access to any of the locked storage areas in the basement. Life is full of mysteries. They're going to surprised when we eventually move out and given them back 3 sets of apartment keys, 3 mailbox keys, 4 keys for assorted things that we don't know about, plus 5 things that look like keys!

Stelze: Not for the faint of heart!

Thursday night last week we went to the Gösser Bräu biergarten to try Stelze, which is a hefty portion of a pig's leg, lovingly slow roasted into a state of transcendence. There's not a whole lot to say about the Stelze experience, it is one of those things that you have to check out first hand. There were 3 of us at the table (a coworker of Greg's joined us for this outing), and we ordered 2 Stelze, on the advice of the server, who'd advised us that we definitely did not each need to order one. We should've ordered only 1, and then we would have had room for bieramisu, which we think is probably tiramisu made with beer instead of coffee, but who knows? We didn't have room for that. We couldn't even finish our pork, and we didn't have any kind of appetizers or bread, and just one dish of cabbage salad among us. However! There is a picture: That's probably 4-5 pounds of pork right there. Yes, it's still got the skin and bones, but don't underestimate the volume of meat. We were all groaning happily by the time we wobbled for the exit. (Actually, Greg and Christian were still groaning about all that a week later; Holly may have shown slightly better restraint.)

It's a 3-person grill platter at a nearby greek restaurant, in case you were wondering. We were defeated by this, as well. Christian isn't allowed to order anymore.

Not much to say about this bit of statuary, except that it's probably bigger than it looks, it's 3 stories over the street! Some kind of human gargoyle? Near the main branch of the public library, right downtown.

We're now on to Day 8 of a long term project to get the cat shaved down for summer, without a whole lot of struggling. So far.... she's about 2/3 shaved, and more or less done with the project. She is done; the project is not. What remains is the all the little bendy parts of the cat, and she would prefer we leave those alone. We might; she'll be cooler now, and we get a lot of mileage giggling about her bad haircut.

Don't try this at home, kids, most cats will not tolerate this kind of nonsense. There's a REASON that people get paid to groom other people's pets! Warning: There are FAR too many pictures of the cat-shaving project on the Flickr site right now. Just ignore them, OK?

Adventures in cheap wine... we bought this because, well, it was 99 cents per liter box. Not on sale; that's the regular price. Someday it'll be on 2-for-1, we're sure of it! The boxes are so cheap, there's not even a spout. Wine you have to open with scissors! What will they think of next?! One begins to suspect that the S in S Budget is Suspiciously.

We tried the red, each of us had a whole glass of it before abandoning the experiment. It wasn't as bad as we expected, is the best and only thing to be said of it. We've had the white chilling in the fridge for at least 2 weeks now. It's not that we're afraid; it's that we're... waiting for the right moment. Yeah. That's it. We've mentioned before that the Governator is from here. Here's the biggest we've ever seen him: 4 stories!

That's it for now. Hopefully this has been somewhat amusing for you. As always, more pictures in Flickr, including some chocolate so strong that it comes with a gold MSDS! Do write and tell us what you're up to, and send any entertaining photos you've collected.

Holly & Greg


Rufus said...

Incidentally, that Schwartzenegger house really cracks me up. I plan to add it to numerous posts in the future.

clairev said...

many things:

1. i used to have a collection of what i loosely labelled as "keys to nowhere". you know, keys to locks that no longer exist, keys you find somewhere, or from places you move out of. i sort of thought it was a symbolic thing, for what is the point of having the key if you don't know where it goes? i was still a bit crazy back then...and have since dumped my keys but i relate deeply to your story. keys are important and symbolic in a way i think we don't recognize until they become useless.

2. if we ever came near our cat with a shaver, you would have a double homicide and one very bloody but still furry cat. i salute your bravery. and loved the pictures.

3. i was at the cottage of a large german family this weekend ("hello! i am heinz! like ze ketchup! how are you, would you like a hug?) and they roasted an entire pig for dinner. what is with them and the meat? (i realize you are in vienna, but close enough) you can randomly walk in and get a pig-leg for dinner? nay, two? how many do they have back there to supply the night?

love the update.


clairev said...

i totally meant austria, not vienna. apologies. i know you're in graz. blech.

Holly said...

Oh, Claire. "What is it with these people and meat?" could have its own encyclopedia. They loooove the meat. Other things they love are: mushrooms, beer, seasonal baked goods, brandies made of random things, and public drinking in general. There's a *reason* Greg and I refer to them as The Hobbits.

Yes, there are many places you can go and just have a pig leg. I'm sure they've got insanely many on hand at any given time. Probably there's a law, like the law that says your schnitzel has to overlap the edges of the plate.

Keys are naturally highly psychologically active, the act of locking something up is so heavily weighted with meaning!

Rufus, my brother already asked for a high res copy of the governator, so he can print and post on his office door. (He lives & works in SF) :) It's a winner!