Electric Landlady

Every time my phone pings, I imagine little “- £” signs floating above it like in The Sims. Not just because I’ve yet to find a spanish SIM card and am being charged for receiving roaming calls (first, I’d need a bank account to get a local SIM, which means I need to be registered as living here, which in turn means Mr Zebub needs to complete the Impossibly Deadlined Report he’s been writing since I arrived so we can both endure that legendarily bureaucratic hell together), but because it’s usually the letting agents managing my old apartment calling or emailing about some detail which essentially means I get less rent money that I was expecting, and thus less money to pay rent here.

“Hey, our definition of ‘professional cleaning’ didn’t include cleaning the oven. Extra ££ off this months rent”

“Hey, you have a gas certification, right?” “no worries, we’ll arrange it. It’ll be £££ off this months rent”

“Hey, since you’re living abroad we need to tax your rent money. No clue how much yet.”

There’ve been dozens of these calls since I’ve arrived and I hope it abates soon, as my net worth this month appears to be in the minuses when I factor in the cost of buying the tenant a bed and getting energy certified and all the other legal hoops I had to jump through.

Thankfully, the Mr is ok to pay this months rent himself and it’s not like I thought that renting my apartment would be initially cheap, and it’s hopefully a one time expense -until the electrics explode/break down.

Meanwhile, I regret not packing more to arrive here. Converter plugs, extension cords, clothes hangers, even condiments like colouring free balsamic vinegar  and umi plum seasoning  (which I use to substitute soy sauce, fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce) aren’t immediately findable without some extensive research on Yelp and Google maps and offerings to a multicultural assortments of Gods that those ethnic stores in far off corners of the city will have what I’m looking for.


1) My frangipani are sprouting new shoots. So while they got a tiny bit bashed about this winter and during the move, they are on the mend. If I’m very lucky, I might even see flowers this year, but next year is more likely.

2) If you’re wondering if it’s worth splashing out on a fancy saute and countdown slow cooker, don’t wonder: it’s even more of an investment than a cast iron le creuset pot (although less pretty). Essentially, you have large stoneware casserole dish that can go on the hob, in the oven and inside a crockpot, meaning I can get liquids up to a boil on the hob and pot it in the slow cooker base to keep it going while I run around Madrid getting the things I wished I’d packed.

3) the apartment is lovely and big and designed in such a way that if the Mr has friends staying over I won’t feel crowded. Which is good, because one is arriving tomorrow.

Now, I’ve promised myself after all the un-fun stuff I’ve been dealing with, I’d reward myself by visiting one of the tropical fish stores. =)

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