The Grumps...

>> Friday, 7 May 2010

My parents arrive for their visit to Moscow today. There have been flurries of e-mails and telephone calls, threats from my father to wear a novelty lobster baseball cap when walking through customs, and panics from my mother that they would be stopped and the Weetabix she's bringing in for her beloved grandsons confiscated.

I've just had a phone call from Husband to tell me that 'the package is in transit' and that they are all on their way here now from the airport. Hold on to your hats, it's going to be interesting cramming 4 adults and 2 children into a house with only 2 proper bedrooms and one loo (but two bathrooms - those crazy Russian architects!). I may not be posting much for the next few days, so I'm taking the opportunity now to break the habit of the last few months and do a meme as requested by my good friend (and the first blogger I ever met in person), Frog in the Field.

She has asked me to write a list of 7 things that make me grumpy, because, and I quote have 'lots to grumble about in Moscow, I'm sure...'

Frog, this came at a very good time. Although interestingly I don't think my grumps will all be about Moscow - but let's start typing and find out...

1. Fussy tenants. We've just let out our flat, and they specifically asked us to put in a sofa as they don't have any furniture in the UK right now. We did. They moved in this week. And have asked us to take out the sofa as they don't like it. (What the hell were they expecting? B&B Italia, for a rented flat? I think not. We have to live with Ikea, so can they...)

2. Fussy tenants. We've just let our flat (did I mention that already?), and I got a note from our 'account handler' at the estate agents who shall not be named, saying the new tenants don't like how stained our granite work surface is and would we consider replacing it. Would we WHAT? When they saw the flat it was empty - they signed on for the worksurface, stains and all. Suck it up, baby.

3. Pathetic tenants. Apparently a light bulb has gone in the sitting room. Can we send in a handyman to replace it? (I'm not going to tell you my response to this one. But are they Russians, or something?)

4. Shoddy Estate Agent Account handlers (see, Frog, told you there might not be much Russian about this list...). I've asked 3 times for our final meter readings. Today I have resorted to telling her that if she doesn't supply them I will be forced to use the ones I took when we left the flat in January, and since I'm sure there has been fair amount of electricity and gas burned since then (we had to leave the heating on for viewings etc), that wouldn't really be fair to the new tenants. (She of course doesn't need to know that I have no idea where those readings are right now...)

5. OK, here's a Russian one. The bloody weather. All this cloud seeding is one thing, but as I have since been told (and am now experiencing), the beautiful weather it results in is swiftly followed by cold, clammy rainy weather. I knew no good could come of tampering with nature...

6. Other parents. Well, specifically other parents at PTO meetings who insist on using valuable air time (don't they know I have a very important rant to write on my blog?) to follow their own agenda and talk about how 'special' their own child is. Does anyone realise, for example, that poor 6 year old junior, speaking 4 languages as she does, never gets the chance to practice them at school, and couldn't the teachers making class selections for next year make sure she gets the chance to be in a class with other children who DO speak those languages? (I refrained from pointing out that the parents of the other children concerned might have a problem about their child being encouraged to speak a language other than English when they are paying vast sums of money for them to go to - and be taught in - an ENGLISH SPEAKING SCHOOL).

7. Oh. And last, but not least; my washing machine is shrinking all my clothes. Either that or I'm putting on weight - and there is nothing guaranteed to make me grumpier than that...

I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but my parents are getting ever-closer and I still have toys to tidy away so I'm afraid Frog that I'm just going to say to whoever fancies this one: go for it. Let your grumpy self go free...


Calif Lorna 7 May 2010 at 05:08  

Oh I'm so with you on the whole tenants thing. It can be exasperating.
I'm sure we weren't so bad when we were tenants, or maybe we were...

sharon 7 May 2010 at 09:36  

I feel for you PM. My Mother (with adult nephew as porter etc) arrive next week for a 3 week stay. This was all well and good as we actually had 2 spare bedrooms. However, following younger son's return to the nest complete with fractured sternum and spine (suitably pinned and plated now) things are not so simple. Ditto the few days we have accommodation booked in the city as son cannot safely be abandoned for 4 full days. Still working on contingency plans for that part.

I have suggested all friends with boys start now with a brainwashing strategy to avoid following in our footsteps. It is suggested you repeat 'beer, trees, BAD!' on a continuous loop for the next xxxx years - said son will be 26 next month. Please note we are very grateful that he will reach 26 still able to walk!

Mwa 7 May 2010 at 09:43  

Those tenants sound like a nightmare! You stick to your guns. What they saw is what they now get. And a lightbulb??? Even I can manage that.

Belgravia wife - sort of 7 May 2010 at 09:59  

I think I know your tenants - shall I go round there and sort them out ? I know you're snowed under - hah with visitors but as you know I am ludicrously excited to have been given an award - part of the deal is to nominate seven super bloggers I would like to give the award to - naturally toi.

I have no doubt you have overwhelming amounts of these things but anyway - merci for everything xx

London City Mum 7 May 2010 at 10:45  

I will team up with Belgravia Wife above and volunteer my - ahem - heavy-handed services totally free of charge.

You can buy me a beer at Cyber Mummy when we meet again.

Tenants suck btw.


Nicola 7 May 2010 at 12:42  

Have fun with your parents.

I watched Naomi Campbell on Oprah the other day and she now lives in Moscow. Bumped into her yet? Has she been over for a cuppa and you've failed to tell us? I must admit, Moscow looked lovely (from a supermodel point of view anyway).

As for the grumps - I had tenants similar to yours once. Nightmare. They were a constant pain in the bum for 12 months (sorry - that's not very reassuring, is it?) Shame I'm not home to rent your place. An Ikea sofa would have had me kicking my heels...and a stained granite countertop would thrill me. Honest.

nappy valley girl 7 May 2010 at 14:17  

Can totally sympathise on the tenants front. And crappy estate agent account handlers. We still haven't seen/signed the new tenancy agreement with our latest tenants, a month after they moved in. And the old tenants managed to wreak all kinds of havoc. Grrr.

Enjoy your parents' visit....

PantsWithNames 7 May 2010 at 18:07  

Quite happy, quite happy, tra la la, 'tenants' very grumpy very grumpy, extremely very grumpy and poor.

Expat mum 7 May 2010 at 18:41  

My in-laws are coming in a couple of weeks - and I will be in Miami on a girlie weekend!

Iota 7 May 2010 at 20:27  

Those tenants sound a nightmare. Next time you email your estate agent account handler, you could point out that the proximity of your flat to Patisserie Valerie and say that that makes up for any other real or imaginary inadequacies. (I can't remember how near it is to PV, but proximity is all very relative when you live in Moscow.) Or you could say "people? they're people? Goodness me, I thought you were letting our flat to ten ants, who wouldn't fuss about things like sofas and counter-tops, so long as they were covered in crumbs".

Have a good time with your visitors.

hpretty 7 May 2010 at 21:14  

Bloody tenants - u'd think they'd bought the place! my mum rents flats and i'm always amazed by their demands. problem is the market has gone in their favour.....

Potty Mummy 8 May 2010 at 13:07  

Lorna, I'm sure we were all paragons of virtue as tenants. Weren't we?

Sharon, thankyou for that cautionary tale. I'm off now to set up a system that plays useful brainwashing messages to my sons in their sleep...

Mwa, I think the problem is that a guy saw it, signed for it, moved in, and THEN showed his girlfriend...

BW, I think you've sorted it your dilemma - and thanks for the award!

LCM, you are most definitely on. Although does it have to be a beer? So bloating, darling...

Nicola, hadn't I mentioned that Naomi and I are best mates these days? Although I do wish she would stop pestering me for health and beauty tips.

NVG, oh, the fun we're going to have with these tenants. I can't wait.

Pants, it's not ALL tenants I'm grumpy with. Just ours...

EPM, I bow at your feet, oh wise one. If only I could manage the same next month when I'll be in the same position.

Iota, you're right, proximity is relative, and thinking of the whole PV think cheers me up no end!

Henrietta, I know! Are they paying us, or something? Oh. Yes. They are.

mothership 8 May 2010 at 22:39  

Don't get me started. I have had nearly 7 years of that and the only worse thing than tenants are letting agents. I eventually ditched mine and got a good friend who actually could use 300 extra quid a month and she does a brilliant job. And since then all my tenants have been much less fussy. funny that.

My washing machine has recently shrunk all of my clothes. I think they are related. I am just going to kick it very hard now, excuse me..
PS loved your comment re. cartwheels, relativity etc. xo

Sparx 9 May 2010 at 23:28  

Don't get me started - I was once required by the account handlers at the rental agency to cross London with a 5-week-old baby in my arms to replace a lightbulb, open the drain outside the kitchen window that she had clogged with fat and press the 'on' button on the furnace... all, bar the lightbulb, activities thoroughly covered in the 5-page manual I had given her when she moved in... good luck with the visit!

Jennifer@alphamummy 10 May 2010 at 12:01  

Horrible tenants - am dying for a post solely on this subject. We however had a horrible landlady. When we moved in there were dirty dishes in the sink. When we moved out she complained that even after we cleaned it, the flat was "dusty". Then she wanted us to replace some things because of "inordinate wear and tear" - the hoover, wait, not the hoover but the table...wait, not the table...and the plants had grown so much in the garden she needed to charge us for THAT too...

Muddling Along Mummy 10 May 2010 at 17:01  

Being grumpy rocks! I've started writing a grumpy old woman post every week - its very cathartic

With you on the tenants - ours has just been declared bankrupt...

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