Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Quest for Coffee: Successful!

It's Sunday morning, and the kids slept in! Bea didn't get up until 7:45 am. So I was in a great mood, puttering around the kitchen to make breakfast (yogurt, pão de sal com mantiega e geléia, or yogurt and little loaves of a french bread with butter and jelly). Matt bought coffee yesterday, so he started making the French Press. But! The gas wasn't working--just a little tiny flame. This has happened before, but usually when they are changing the gas on a weekday. So I told him just to wait a few minutes and try again. 5 minutes, and a little improvement, but it became clear that we were not going to get hot water. Then, comes the moment that I love as a foreigner. It's the moment of panic, when I realize that I don't know how to solve this problem. Now thankfully, this is not a problem involving blood, poop, broken glass or massive plumbing problems. It's good to have perspective. But at this juncture, I realize that I don't have the tools to solve it quickly, and it may start to unfold to a larger problem. Like caffeine withdrawal headaches and grumpiness. Or no Moroccan Chicken stew for lunch, that I've been craving quite intensely for 3 days. Or trying to deal with Miguel or the Gas Company. But first things first, the goal is coffee.

I decided to take the full pot of water to our neighbors on the 8th floor that have two small children, but on the way out I heard the neighbors on our floor in their kitchen. Even though I've never really talked to them, I decided to ask I could boil my water in their kitchen. Then I find out that they have no gas either! Thinking that it's just a problem on our floor, I went up to the 8th floor, but no one was there. Then I came back, and Matt and I deliberated for a while. I finally decided to take the French Press with the ground coffee to the Padaria (bread store) up the street to see if we could get hot water. So I walked up the hill a bit, and in my broken Portuguese begged the woman behind the counter for some hot water. She said something, and I gathered that it wasn't quite hot yet. So I wandered around the store, picking out some treats. After about 10 minutes, she finally remembered, and filled up the French Press! I then booked it home, and now I'm enjoying my coffee. That only took 1 1/2 hours. But we have coffee. Now the kids are swimming (it's a little warm) and we still don't know what's going to happen with the gas, but maybe we'll go out to eat, which would be an acceptable trade for not getting to eat my Moroccan Stew. I'm off to swim!


  1. I hate dealing with the gas company here! We had just moved to a new apartment. I was 5 months pregnant with my second and my husband suddenly ended up in the hospital. The appointment to get our gas turned on was the next day and I thought it'd be a no brainer. Well, they refused to turn it on and deemed my home unfit for gas! The guy was a huge jackass who insisted I had to do construction before he'd turn it on. The woman before me had gas and nothing had changed. Well, I argued with him, called my building manager up (he also said there was a problem in the building). I had to job through a bunch of hoops but finally got it. Oh, and the problem with the building was incorrect lights to read the meters! Can you believe this guy!

  2. I'm a friend of Matt's parents. A new follower.
    I added a comment to you Online shopping post.