Thursday, September 3, 2009


When we last got together, Mr. Big and I were looking at houses with Boris, our Relocation Expert.  Because we only had seven places, in total, to view that entire week, needless to say, we were not successful in finding anything.  Let the record show, Mr. Big and I are very experienced in home buying and selling.  I mean, we are not neophytes here.  The Company has moved us three times and, prior to Mr. Big, I had moved 22 times.  We also own 4 houses currently in the States as investment properties.  Renting a durned apartment should be like a walk in the park, right?  Let’s face it.  Renting an apartment or townhouse in the US goes something like this: 
US:                         Hello, we would like to rent a 3 bedroom apartment.
THEM:                   Fine, do you have a pulse?
US:                         Yes.
THEM:                   Do you have a job?
US:                         Yes.
THEM:                   Do you have two month’s rent and a security deposit?
US:                         Yes.
THEM:                   Great.  Here’s the keys.  What was your name again?
The only thing we did accomplish in that first Swiss trip was determining what we did NOT want.  Just like any place else, the further you go out in the countryside, the more house you get for your money.  

However, I was determined to be really “green” and “healthy” in that oh-so-smug Euro way and get by with just public transportation, a bicycle and my own two feet.  When in Rome and all that hoohah.  Anyway, 7 out of 7 of those first places were in the country.  After the first four of them, we told Boris that he needed to be concentrating more on city properties, not country settings.  Sure enough, the next three properties were out in the country.  Boris, Boris, Boris.
Now, when I say “country” I am not talking about suburbia with shopping malls and whatnot.  I am talking cows.  I am talking trains that run down into civilization only a few times a day.  I am talking about a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker, and I am exaggerating about the candlestick maker.  I had visions of me taking ill one day and, only being able to speak mangled French, literally withering away and dying inside my country chalet because I couldn’t make myself understood to the local Doctor or Veterinarian or whatever.  Me:  “Medicin!”  Him:  “Oui?”  Me:  “Medicin!”  Him:  “Oui?”  (Medicin means “doctor” in French, not medicine).  And so, I would be dead.  No, no, the country life was not for me.
On our next househunting trip, I was better prepared.  Future Trailing Spouses, take note.  I had done my homework via the internet.  I presented Boris with a list of properties that I wanted to see BEFORE he set up any appointments.  I wanted to do “drive-by” weeding out of the really bad ones before he went to the trouble of contacting the owners.  Well, this was a whole new concept to Boris, bless his heart.    

Boris is very Swiss.  Many Americans have the wrong mental image of the Swiss, I know I did.  We get Switzerland and Sweden mixed up.  So, when we hear Swiss, we think big, strapping blondes with names like Olga and Sven.  That is Swedish and that is not right.  Swiss men are tall and thin, but they have darker hair, cut ultra short, are all clean shaven and wear large watches.  They look like Boris and Boris looks like a cuter, less insane,  version of PeeWee Herman.  Their suits are tapered and their skinny pants legs come only to the ankle.  They wear ties all of the time and their single breasted suits are always buttoned.  Tres Metrosexual.  At first, you will think they are all gay, but they are not, they are just Swiss.  On the weekends, they wear their Spandex bike outfits when recreating, (i.e. biking all over God and Creation including UP mountains, roller-blading or alpine hiking or running).  In the winter, they switch to ski clothes.  Other popular leisure wear includes Capri pants.  On men.  You heard me.  The men wear pants here that would get you killed in the US.  It appears that they won’t wear cargo shorts or khaki shorts that show their knees.  Instead, they wear a Euro-version of those that fit quite snugly and fall into the mid-calf region.  Exactly like women’s Capri pants.  Exactly.

Men and women also wear bowling shoes as sneakers.  If a person here has on a pair of sneakers and that person is not actively physically engaged at that moment in either running or working out at a gym, he or she is obviously American.  Instead, they wear what I call bowling shoes.  
So far, I have bought four pairs in various colors for myself and I have made Mr. Big buy a pair of brown ones.  I am trying to acclimate here, people!  Mr. Big has only quasi got the hang of the bowling shoes.  He still often comes out of the bedroom to go on an outing in his tacky-ass white Asics with his little white ankle socks, his blue striped golf shirt and his above-the-knee khaki shorts.  I’m like, Mr. Big, puhleez, work with me here.  Could you look any more American?  He will glance down at himself and be, like, what?  What have I done wrong now, Trailing Spouse?  One can only shake their head at the hopelessness of training the non-Metrosexual American male in the fine art of dressing Euro.
The upside to the househunt was that I (Mr. Big had, by this time, thrown in the towel and left then entire thing up to me to get solved) eventually taught Boris a new phrase in English.  “On the ball”.  As in, Boris, you need to be more . . .  Yes, Boris, it is possible to begin our day together at 8 or even 9 in the morning, as opposed to 10.  You will not perish if you work more than 6 hours a day.    Can we meet the homeowner at 7 p.m. when he gets home from work to see the house?  Yes, Boris, I think you will need to “make that happen” (another new phrase to him) so that we don’t have to wait until three Thursdays from now until the homeowner can break away at 11 to fit your schedule.    Trailing Spouses, do your homework and don’t be afraid to take charge.  

The apartment we ended up in is everything we wanted and it was found by me on the internet THE DAY IT WAS POSTED and we were the first people to see it.  I scooped that sucker up like it was a winning lottery ticket laying on the sidewalk.  This is the one, Boris, now MAKE IT HAPPEN.  And so, he did.  Go, Boris.  You rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment