Monday, January 18, 2016

a Monday at the farmhouse

It was the coldest of the cold nights. Yes, I slept some, but I had important issues to discuss with my sister in Warsaw and of course there is the time difference: if I want to settle on a strategy before offices open for the day, I need to talk to her by 10 a.m., her time. Which, of course is 3 a.m. for me. I wont call it a sleepless night, but surely this is not what's meant by a good night's rest.

Issues to discuss? What issues? Several of you weren't sure what my next move would be with respect to the purchase of the Warsaw apartment. Well you might wonder! Deciding on the next step took up most of my thinking time in the 11 hours I spent in the air and the 10 hours I spent at airport terminals yesterday. Well, maybe I devoted just one of those hours not to thinking real estate thoughts, but to chatting to my seatmate  -- a well traveled man who makes at least three or four trips to South Africa each year. For pleasure (and because his wife is from there and she probably insists on it). Suddenly my own travels seemed very simple and uncomplicated.

To remind you: I chose to purchase an apartment that wasn't as beloved by me in terms of style and decor as one of the others, but nor was it as troubling in terms of location as the more beloved. It was a compromise: not as good, not as bad. And then I un-chose it because I felt I had been lied to and that the fundamental problems with it had been swept under the fake wooden floor.

In the end, I decide that the next step will be to make verbal offers on both of the remaining two units (that's the way it's done in Poland: negotiations are almost always verbal). It's like shaking things up a bit and seeing where the dust settles.

And now comes the time to get up and get going. I fix breakfast. It's lovely to have Ed across from me again.

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I clear the dishes, wipe down the counter, tossing the paper towel into the garbage can.

What's this? The plastic garbage bag is all chewed up. In fact, the trash bin is chewed up from the inside.

Oh I know what that means. We have a farmhouse visitor. A mouse.

How the hell a mouse would get into a tightly lidded garbage pail is beyond me, but it's there. Right in the garbage bag. Moving about among scraps of trash.


I take out the torn bag with mouse, stick the whole bit in another bag and I hand it all to him.
The mouse will chew through that in two minutes... Ed reminds me.
Then hurry!

When he returns, I ask if he released the mouse.
I don't know -- I shook the bag and didn't hear a mouse, so maybe.
It didn't escape in my car, did it?
I don't think so. I kept an eye on the bag.

By noon, Snowdrop arrives. Hi sweet sweet girl!
Ah, straight to penguin she goes.

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Where is grandpa Ed, she seems to ask and then hurries over for her welcome snuggle.

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And again, in my absence, she seems to have grown into the next developmental stage, or the one after. She stomps around with confidence, but also responds with much more attention to my words. In other words, she is a terrific toddler!

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When she naps, I scoot out to the car to look inside.

All is quiet.

And then I see it. The mouse had escaped the bag and is now in the car.


I leave a trap inside, but I know this smart generation of winter mice. They can bite through anything. Our unwelcome guest had chewed hard on the garbage can in an effort to get out. (How did it get in??) What you don't want is to leave a mouse inside a car too long. It'll damage the vehicle in no time.

And the apartments? Well, of the two remaining, the central one with the great decor responded to my offer with a flat no, not that low.. They'd just listed it and wanted to wait to see if a person with fuller pockets would come along. The owners of the other place asked for a couple of days' time.

Appropriate responses, both of them. Come Wednesday, I'll know which apartment will be mine. (Ha! I had that certainty once before!)

Ah, but the day doesn't end there. I had invited the young parents to stay for dinner when they came to pick Snowdrop up.

And so there was food to prepare and a kitchen to tidy after. Oftentimes, Snowdrop helps. Here we are on a selfie, Polish bear in hand!

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I'd rarely seen Snowdrop so happy as this evening. Suddenly, the world knew no limits.

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She chomps down fistfuls of food and gives us winning grins all night long.

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And now of course my eyes are nearly closed and tomorrow I resume my early Snowdrop sitting schedule. And you know what? That's a grand thing indeed.


  1. What a wonderful welcome home! Great self-portrait with S and new (?) Polish bear. May your negotiations go well, and I hope you have captured the mouse before she (or he?) chews the insides of your car. Stay warm!

    1. Yes, the bear was a gift from my sister.
      Oh, this blasted cold. But this too shall pass. Luckily, it always does!

  2. How good to come home to the warm house and happy family.
    To put in my own two cents, I didn't like the apartment at all - the one you decided against. Best of luck with the others!

    So you want a Warsaw pied-à-terre? Will you travel there more often and stay longer? Will you hire a management company and rent it out through AirB&B?

    Seems like so much trouble.
    I have no extra assets to manage. The lightness of being!

  3. Well, you may not like it, but I expect you're looking at it from the prism of where you are and what you're used to.
    No AirBnB. No management company. My sister lives in Warsaw. She helps with details of my life there.
    Trouble? Depends what you need in life and what gives you pleasure, no?


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