Friday, August 20, 2010


Sometime last week I got a call to go sit in a friend's room until some guys came to deliver new furniture.

I've never ordered furniture in the U.S., so I'm not sure how the timing of the delivery usually works out. Here, you sometimes get a specific time and sometimes just a general window, like 10-2 or 2-6. This can apply to deliveries, doctors' house-calls, maintenance jobs, etc.

My friend kept calling and calling until she got a more specific time from them. Then she called me,"They'll be there in an hour." I was still at home.
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She had drawn a map, and luckily it was accurate, because I had very little time to spare. I found her room in the communal apartment and made myself "at home."

The callbox rang and I answered it.

"Something something furniture." (I can't always understand Russian by phone or intercom). I let them in.

It was just one guy, with pieces in boxes. He left them and then I left, too.

A week later, the friend called again. This time, she needed me to sit there for a few hours while another guy came. She said I could sit in the kitchen and read a book. Strange, I wondered why she mentioned the kitchen.

I sat in her room for about 30 minutes before the callbox rang. "Something something something." Okay, probably the right person. I let him in. It was a guy with a sports bag over his shoulder. I had thought she said the furniture was going to be collected, but the only old furniture was in the hallway, and he asked me the way to the room.

In the room, he turned his attention to the boxes containing the pieces of the new furniture. Oh! He was here to put together the furniture, not collect the old. Right.

"Blah blah which side? Right or left?" Hmmm, what could be left or right? A door? I didn't understand. I got my friend on the phone and she told him.

"Okay, I'll just change my clothes," he said. O-kay. Now I understood the kitchen thing. Time to get out of the way! I settled in there with my Kindle while he worked. When he was done, I took a look, pretending I knew how to tell if he had done a good job or not. And then I signed the receipt and he left.

My friend came home from work 10-15 minutes later and gave me some homemade pickled cucumbers that she had made. Yum! I could get used to this.


  1. The first time we got furniture delivered and installed the 2 guys came in and just dropped their slacks down to their underwear in my hallway in order to put on 'work clothes.' I had a hard time not dropping my jaw in shock and then had to contain myself from bursting out laughing at this cultural surprise!

  2. Ha ha! Isn't there a stereotype about plumbers in the U.S., or is it electricians?

    I remember being in high school gym class and looking up to see a repair guy on a ladder, mooning everyone! You can imagine how a bunch of teenage girls reacted to THAT...


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