When we read the international news all that we read about Iran seems to be about one thing. Yet, in Tehran, where we live, life goes on normally and often quite ordinarily. We'd like to share with you a crazy week of our life in Tehran that for many of you will bring back past memories!
There are days that are bad and there are weeks that are just not that good at all. Recently we returned from a short trip to Europe, a mixture of business and pleasure. We came back to a nice clean home thanks to my friends who house-sat for us during our absence. Everything seemed in order, so we showered, changed and went to bed.
Then the trouble started. During our absence, the guest bathroom had started leaking water and our downstairs neighbor was waiting for us to do something about it as her ceiling was wet and bits of plaster were falling from it. First thing in the morning I managed to get hold of Mr. Z who is our builder and takes care of such things. He came round to have a look and yes we had a big leak and we would have to dig out the bathroom floor and remove the bath. The next day his workers came, removed the bath, got to the wet floor but it went on and on; they dug a bit more, and a bit more, until they had removed the entire floor, (this is a large bathroom!). Endless bags of wet rubble kept being taken downstairs and with that more and more mud and dust went everywhere. When one of the workmen had a spare moment and a half-finished bowl of cement, we got him to fix a cracked paving stone on the pavement outside the garage.
By now the spare bedroom was filled with all the contents of the bathroom, including the toilet, sink, and the washing machine that we keep there, and the whole house was full of dust. On the second day, the main cause of the problem was found not to be the small leak under the bath but a second leak in a radiator pipe which was causing everything to be soaked. At one stage, one of the workers found a power cable under the floor by accidentally slicing through it and tripped the fuse. We thought things were getting on fairly well until I had to go down to the cellar (zirzamin) to fetch something. Well wasn't I in for a big surprise! There was water all over the floor of the cellar, running down the walls and oozing up from the cracks in the floor like a little spring, I was totally shocked and could not work out what could have happened. We store many old books down there. What a mess!
I called Mr. Z and the experts who then came over to debate the cause. We have a deep well under the floor of the boiler room, which looked unusually full. (While we were discussing all this with the builders the electricity went off again. More panic! But this time the whole street went off - it wasn't our fault! ) We decided to get all the books out of the cellar, empty the water from the well and if the cellar leak did not stop we would call in the water board. In the meantime we were endlessly making cups of tea and feeding the workmen, Paul twisted his knee when he went to get something for the workers from the fridge. While he lived to tell the tale, he limped badly for a few days, and had the excuse to be excused!
A tanker arrived the next morning and emptied the well with a large suction tube. But, when we looked, water was still seeping into the cellar. Late that night three jolly workmen from the Tehran Water Board turned up in the rain, assessed the situation, dug up the pavement with a pickaxe, (including the bit we'd just had repaired!) and triumphantly found a cracked plastic connector on the pipe under the street. Mains water had been escaping into the ground under the street and house and that was the cause of the cellar problems, luckily they were able to fix it easily. If our foundations had not been made of concrete (they are earthquake proof) we would have been in deeper trouble!
We had hoped that all these problems would be over by Friday when we had a big family gathering planned for about thirty people, but we eventually decided we had to cancel it as the house was in absolute chaos and thick, thick dust was everywhere. In the end it was almost ten days before the builders finally finished retiling the bathroom floor and putting things back the way they were. After all the dust was cleaned up, we had to send all our Persian carpets off to be cleaned.
There is a saying that bad things come in three's, and I had a near miss car accident! On the same day as the cellar problem reared its ugly head, as I was coming back from my teaching class. Driving back home singing along to some old tape trying to calm myself and forget the awful mess that we had at home, as I was turning I drove into a long hole in the road that some good old road workers, (for some excellent reason I am sure), had left there. I felt a big bang and simultaneously I saw a huge insect, spider like, out of nowhere, crawling down the car window towards my hand and I felt frozen and horrified and scared all at the same time. I tried to hit it with the first thing that came to hand, a map, and it disappeared under the seat. I could not stop immediately as I was on the expressway, a few seconds, minutes, hours, it seemed, passed before I could stop at the nearest lay-by; you should have seen the state of the tire and the wheel! It was not all bad; a very kind gentleman on a motorcycle stopped to help me with changing the wheel and would only accept my deep and sincere thanks and blessings. Besides that Paul was waiting for me at home and after all it was a nice beautiful day, and I could see the beautiful Alborz Mountains.
For ten days we went through dust and chaos. From about 8 am until 7 pm we had different workers coming and going; at one time we had 11 individuals for four different purposes in the house all at once. Once they had all left and the house was back in order I managed to catch a big cold and stayed in bed for a good few days to convalesce and recover!
So you see life in Tehran is not all about nuclear issues and all that jazz!!
... Payvand News - 2/16/07 ... --