Stuff, Broken and Otherwise

Our precious cargo, a collection of possessions from Vancouver, arrived on our doorstep a short while ago, and we’ve been working on fitting it all into our flat ever since.

While back in Vancouver we had decided that, although we were moving to a furnished flat in Cambridge, there would be certain items that would be nice to have with us after the move – things such as our good road bikes, our sound system, the good cookware, my collection of French Tintin books – the important things. We enlisted the services of an international moving company who swept in, wrapped and boxed everything, and took it all away with them – all in a matter of a few hours.

Trying to do things a bit on the cheap, we opted to have our cargo shipped by sea, a decision which would cause a delay of a couple of months. This was fine with us, however, as it gave us time to settle into our new digs without being immediately overwhelmed with trying to organize everything into our new space.

When our shipment arrived, we enjoyed an early Christmas as we cracked open each box in turn, tore aside the wrapping paper, and discovered… things we already owned. Certain items, such as our fancy wine glasses and nice pots and pans, were put into use almost immediately. Others were left sitting on counters as we puzzled to recall exactly why we felt, only a few months ago, that we could simply not get by without these particular items. My collection of moldy old untouched CDs. A hole-punch. A single dish towel.

Though the title may suggest otherwise, everything arrived in perfect condition, and our moving experience turned out to be, on the whole, a great experience. The Broken Stuff I refer to above was an unfortunate trend that began in the week following the arrival of our shipment.

I believe the first item to go was my beloved bread maker, which gave up the ghost after producing only a single, perfect, delicious loaf of bread. The mixing blade had, for whatever reason, ceased to move (though we could hear the little motor chugging away), and our second attempt at bread making resulted in an object that looked just about exactly like a heap of ingredients heated at high temperature for several hours. It was a sad day.

Mere days later, our central heater – being the device responsible for both controlling our room heaters and providing warm water – keeled over and died. The problem was discovered in the morning, shortly before I was due over at the BBC.. a fact which might help explain why I was willing / forced to take a shower in fantastically cold water. On the upside, I required no coffee to wake me up, nor did I have to busy myself with the incessant task of blinking ’till well past noon, my eyes having been welded to their “open” positions.

The third loss hit me the hardest though, for it was my beloved iPod nano, given to me by Ally last Christmas, and even personalized with my name on the back. I had plugged it into my tower for an update and was greeted not by the friendly blip of the “device connected” chime, but rather by a rapid mechanical clicking sound coming from the device itself, along with a faint scent I knew only too well from early digital design courses: melting circuitry. And so it was that I watched the screen slowly fade to black (“Daisy…Daisy…Give me your answer, do…”), never to light again.


On the upside, if there can be said to be an upside in all of this, each of our problems have rectified themselves quickly and easily.

The bread maker was returned for a full refund, and we invested in a fancier model that has already proven its quality. Sad as I was to see the original go, the replacement – which I have dubbed “the LoafMaster” – seems to be made of sturdier stuff.

The central heater was fixed later in the day after we discovered the problem. Ally took the day off to give the repairman entry to the flat, and he had the problem fixed in a matter of hours. Apparently, one of the circuit boards had fried.

The iPod will shortly be sent off for repairs. It’ll cost me a bit to fix as, though the iPod is still covered under warranty, I need to cover the shipping costs myself. A nice discovery I made is that my replacement will also sport the personalized engraving, a nice touch.


But enough of my domestic woes! I’m off to celebrate the Ides of March in style, just as soon as my soothsayer robes get out of the dryer. Perhaps I’ll order a Caesar at lunch (stabbed with a celery stalk of course), and see if I can work “Et tu” into casual conversation…

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