Crumbling Castles and the Vigilante Oven Rack


Erno, the representative from the leasing office, had long been promising me a second oven rack, just about from the second day we moved in. The oven, a mini GE profile, comes with one rack and a chicken roasting spit and drip pan. Made in China, for use in China. Since the oven and its manual are labeled and written in Mandarin, roasting a chicken in my oven is beyond me; also, we tend to bake a lot of cookies for which a second rack comes in handy. Erno made the mistake of telling me he would be bringing the item over on Monday, even if he had to cannibalize another house; he then failed to produce the holy grail. No surprise there.

“Big mistake!” I can hear Julia Roberts saying that to the snotty sales ladies in the movie Pretty Woman, shaking her shopping bags. The phrase was ricocheting around my head on Thursday afternoon when I entered the house next door with Blank Stare, the developer’s agent. We entered to check to see if there was moisture on the ground floor of the as yet unrented house (a smidge). Seizing the opportunity, I checked in the oven to see if there was a rack. There was! So, I reached in and removed the little darling, explaining that Erno said I could have an extra one. “Call Erno if you must,” I said.

Blank Stare proceeded to dial Erno, a Bulgarian who speaks Chinese. Erno told me to wait, if I could, so that he could get me one himself.

“But Erno! You have have been saying this for the last 10 weeks. I can’t wait any longer! It is going to be much easier to find one for an unrented house than for me. Besides, you promised.”

Erno and Blank Stare conversed and the rack was relinquished into my custody. Blank Stare asked me to write a note saying I had the rack. I said I would write her a note when she put in writing how they were going to fix the humidity and noxious smell problems in my house and what Plan B would be if they could not, such as a reduction in rent or moving me to a new Glama Villa (there are none left until May and do I really want one? Can I stand to move again?).

“This is China.” An overused catch all phrase which is supposed to explain everything, like the phenomena of crumbling castles, fraudulent real estate developers, and water rats populating the idyllic brook meandering through the bizillion dollar compound. A verbal throwing of hands in the air, a semantic shrug of the shoulders. What can you do? Me, I purloined an oven rack with The Man’s permission. Now that is the American way. And I am not giving it back.



Filed under Life, Moving

13 responses to “Crumbling Castles and the Vigilante Oven Rack

  1. MCV

    The mere mention of “water rats populating” will keep me away. Thanks for saving me $$$!!

    Expat, I can just see you with the oven rack in your mitts (ha ha!) . . . it makes me laugh. HARD! Good for you.

  2. Thing Yi

    I’ve seen a pamphlet on one beautiful villa I most certainly wouldn’t mind living in. Perhaps you’d like to check it out? Trust me, readers; she treated the capture of the elusive oven rack as a great conquest- and with just reason. Kudos on taking a stand, mama.

  3. MCV: at least I did not say “copulating”.

    TY: show me the brochure!

  4. moodringmama

    I love the visual of you taking the oven rack too! Only you could handle that situation so diplomatically. I am, as always, impressed. 🙂

  5. MCV

    Where does Princess Ai Lin live? Do they have availability there?

  6. Laura

    Sorry Expat, but between the rats and sewage smell, not to mention the break-ins and bicycle flashers, I´m thinking that Latam by contrast is comparatively tame, and that is with women at the helm a very solid and expanding chunk of South America. Come back!!!!!

  7. Tom

    I hate to say this but won’t they just enter your house when you’re not there and steal the rack back?

    Should you hide your racks?

  8. Mood Ring Mama

    Tom – There’s no hiding her rack.

  9. La Lopez: are these chicks tough enough to rumble with Hugo? Is Cristina just another Evita?

    Tom: MRM is right, there is no hiding my rack. Besides, I have not heard of any rack-eteers fencing such items.

  10. Laura

    Yes, I believe that Chrissy and Michele will gang up on the oil-greased You-go, and will probably win, which, as you undoubtedly remember, Latin señoritas and señoras usually do. Michele already gave him the cold shoulder when he tried to patronize her, and she´s a pale step-cousin (not to mention, “poca trabajada” in the lifting department) compared to la Sra. K. Everybody who has met this latter babe claims that she is tougher than her husband and pretty serious, so despite the tight white suits (she´s braver than I am, and actually I believe has even more cellulitis) she might be able to take on the unions and business community and give them much-needed spankings, or at least stern dressing-downs. As long as she keeps her hand out of the till she might do allright.

    Don´t you miss this stuff?

  11. Susan O'Leary

    The management in China is making the owners of your Brazil house look good. Not fixing the tennis court and light bulbs is but a distant thing. At least the smell was in the guest house.

  12. Where are you and how are you? I want to know about the meeting with the placement people. Tell us,did you go to a hotel or did you hire a dog? How many hours are you from me, telephone wise?

  13. gamamãe

    You go sister …fight the power!!

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