Awash In Ethernet Jacks, Dübels And Bad Jokes

OJ and German Pickles
Screenshot from US HuffPost that caught my eye yesterday. Can you buy Salz=Salt, Gurken=pickles in US now?

The movers finished yesterday around 17:00. Paperwork followed and I eventually signed. My wife asked that I double check the list of packed stuff before signing it so I did that first. Of the hundreds of items listed on about six sheets of paper I only took notice of whether or not my office equipment, especially my Mac, was on it. It was. My wife asked if something of hers was on the list but I can’t remember what that was as I’m worst-writing this post in the wee-hours a day later. Nomatter.

Everything is on its way to India now. Well, it’s kinda on its way. Other than a lamp the movers forgot, we also got notice that the Indian authorities haven’t approved our shipping container for arrival on their shores. It’s just like when you board a plane from PHL to FRA. Airline at PHL has to get consent from FRA before it can even start. “A slight delay,” is all we got from the moving company. “Normal procedure,” they added. Oh well.

Since we don’t leave for a few more days, we’re staying at a corpo apartment hotel in the centre of Cologne. A very compact, one bedroom flat. It has a full kitchen but no dining area–which means meals from the couch and its “coffee” table. The last two nights we’ve come home pooped, opened something fancy to drink and rolled around the couch listening to music or reading. Of course, as usual, WIFI sucks in the hotel but then I noticed two ethernet jacks on the wall above the desk. Since I try to travel prepared, I whipped out an ethernet cable from the plethora of tech equipment I’m taking on our flight to India, where we’ll stay in a hotel for up to two months, or until our stuff arrives from Germany–and we’ve found a place to live…

Full stop. Breath. Start thought anew.

I plugged the Ethernet cable from my MBA into the jack. Btw, there are two jacks available and they are both labeled DV26. Jack-left is labeled A534, jack-right A673. Quickly I found out that jack-right doesn’t work. I plugged my cable into jack-left and got an immediate IP address. A few configurations on the hotel homepage–which doesn’t know the difference between WIFI and Ethernet–and we are up-n-running. Cool! Moving on.

No. Wait. Something more about ethernet jacks. Luckily this hotel has plenty of electrical outlets. When I joggled plugs for charging this or that device I noticed, next to an electric socket that I found under our bed, another set of Ethernet jacks. That’s strange, I thought. Why would a hotel suite have more than one Ethernet jack? The jack under the bed, btw, is on the floor, not on the wall. I then proceeded to look around the suite for more jacks. Surprise. There’s a third Ethernet jack under the kitchen sink. I looked more. There’s a fourth Ethernet jack in the closet, behind the safe. This boggled my mind for a few minutes. But then I looked to my wife and said, now I know why this suite is so oddly shaped. It used to be an office. Yeah. They converted an office building in the middle of Cologne to a hotel. But enough of my useless discoveries that are of interest to worst-minds.

Let’s worst-write about the movers and while doing so I’ll try to work up the courage to tell a really, really politically incorrect joke!

We pay movers a krapp load of money to move our stuff. In fact, part of our stuff goes in storage for up to three years in Germany. The rest is being shipped to India. Unlike a “normal” move from one German town to another, everything has to be packed and prepared for either storage or shipping. Hence it took two complete days from 8:00 to 17:00 to get it done. There were a total of four men working round the clock. Two to four more men came depending on the truck that was being filled. I have to admit, all-in-all, the mover’s logistics, i.e. timing between packing and moving stuff into trucks and vans, is worth commending.

All of the men were Polish and only two of them spoke broken German, one spoke broken English.

At around 12:00 yesterday they had finished all the packing. Our eighteen hundred square foot flat was full of boxes, wrapped furniture and two crates with a flatscreen TV and a our only original painting. I’m a little nervous about that constellation. At 14:00 the flat slowly began to empty-out. At 15:15 there was mostly dust and four years of grime–and a few things undone. The foreman was finalising papers that we would sign so they could finally get down the road. They were obviously eager to leave. The only problem was, undone things bothered me.

Moi: (to foreman) When we picked your company we were told that you would not only move everything out of this place but you would leave nothing behind. What’s that? (I point to a curtain rode hanging above the terrace entrance.)

Foreman: Not job.

Moi: What?

Foreman: Not job. Nicht mein Arbeit. (He mimics me pointing to curtain rod.)

Can you believe it, dear worst-reader! They thought they could leave the friggin’ curtain rods on the walls. The one over the terrace entrance wasn’t the only curtain rod still hanging.

Moi: Come on, dude. You’re not finished yet. I’m not signing any papers if you don’t finish the job. There’s two more curtain rods upstairs and, btw, you haven’t removed a wall cabinet from the upstairs bathroom.

Foreman: Part of bathing room.

Moi: What?

Foreman: Upstairs. Oben. Toilet. Cabinet part of bathe room.

Moi: No, it’s not. Remove it. Oh, and there are still some items on the terrace that ned to be packed and shipped.

Foreman: Work done. Here sign. (He points to papers and tries to hand me a pen.)

In the mean time, one of the young apprentices is up a ladder cursing in Polish at the curtain rod over the terrace entrance. I deduce that he stripped out a screw and is now complaining that he can’t remove the screws from the anchors in the drywall. Seriously? I stood there dumbfounded.

Moi: You do realise that you’ve packed all my tools and my ladders. If you don’t remove those curtain rods, who is going to remove them? By the way, we don’t own this flat, we rent it. Our landlord requires that when we move out it be returned without curtain rods and lights and all, I mean ALL, screw anchors.

Four Polish adult males and a lot of broken German starred my way during a long, thoughtful pause. I put my hands together like a mother-teresa and told them that I’ll not be signing any release forms until the bathroom is done, curtains are removed and…

Moi: …that broom, that bike trailer (for my dog), that silver flower pot are packed and all, I mean, ALL screw anchors–Dübels!–are removed.

Someone cursed in Polish but in a few minutes electric drills where working, aluminium ladders were being unfolded, the forgotten bike trailer was being put into the last remaining moving  van. When I finally signed the papers releasing these men from their/my burden, I walked around the flat one last time. Would you know it, in the entrance foyer they forgot to remove a lamp from the ceiling.

With that in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell a really, really bad, politically incorrect joke that I learned when I was kid. But first, full disclosure. I was raised by a first-american born Polish stepfather. I experienced a lot of the Polish world in America during that time. This is just a joke.

Question: How many Poles do you need to change a ceiling lamp light bulb?

Answer: Three. One holds the light bulb and the other two turn the ladder.

Rant on. -Tommi