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New apartment

Sun 2 Nov 2014 by mskala Tags used: , ,

As I start writing this, it is the evening of November 1 and I am sitting in my new apartment on Hallandsgade, Amagerbro, Copenhagen. It'll probably be the 2nd before I can post it, because I don't have the Net here. It sure looks like Rabbi Schlomo Yitschaki was dead right about the tzaraath of houses. Now I kind of want to read the rest of his many volumes of commentaries on Jewish religious law.

Thanks to the mould problem in the other place I looked at, I ended up looking at this one when I wouldn't have otherwise, and renting it meant being able to move in on November 1 instead of December 1. Since the Livjæger Pension Hotel went ahead and rented my room there (room 413 - unlucky to both East and West) starting November 1 after telling me I had to be out by November 15, being able to move in here for the start of November, not December, is a big plus. And this place is better than the other one I looked at anyway.

Of course, there were still plenty of glitches to deal with. I feel like everything in Denmark takes longer and costs more than it should, and the apartment move-in was no exception. The rental agency told me they wanted to do the walk-through inspection and give me the keys to the new place on Monday, November 3rd, would that be all right? I said, well, I have to be out of the Livjæger on November 1, so if I can't move into the new place on or before that date, it means I have to spend a couple nights in some other hotel.

The agency hemmed and hawed and said, okay, you can get the keys from the landlord on Saturday the 1st and we'll attempt to schedule the walk-through for Thursday October 30th. It appears the term "landlord" is used in a gender-neutral sense in Denmark - the apartment is owned by an opposite-sex couple and most of my dealings are with the woman. So that was fine. But they couldn't schedule the walk-through for the 30th, so they tried to schedule it for Samhain and couldn't do that either, so the end result is that today, the 1st, I met the landlord here to pick up the keys and the actual walkthrough won't be until Monday. I have to be careful not to change the condition of the place from how it was when I arrived today, and to hide anything of mine that I don't want the agency to count as part of the furnishings.

I was told this place came "furnished" but I hadn't realised that that meant really complete, with not just furniture and appliances but pictures on the walls; sheets on the bed; magazines on the display racks; dishes; pots and pans; a complete set of wine glasses; live potted plants; tea-light candles; fruit in the bowl on the table; full bottles of coloured powder in the spice rack (labelled only in Danish); four different consumable supplies for the dishwasher of which I only recognize two; firewood; and a litre of skim milk in the fridge. I feel like maybe I ought to have held out for a girlfriend and a couple of cats, too - but if I did, they'd be 100% Danish, so maybe it's just as well. As I type this I am drinking cheap Italian wine and listening to Angela Aki on a pair of stereo speakers and subwoofer that the landlord assured me were good because "I mixed a whole album on them."

As for how it looks, well, pick up an IKEA catalog. I'm a little worried about what my mental health will be like after a year or two of living in a place that looks like this, let alone trying to maintain it looking like this, but maybe at least it'll help me understand the culture. I foresee that when I leave it's going to be like going through a divorce as I try to remember which things are actually mine and which I'm supposed to leave with the place. Maybe I'd better start attaching labels.

I got the keys today. The Livjæger told me they wanted me to leave on the morning of October 31st - a surprise, because I thought I had until this morning of November 1st to leave. This seems not 100% kosher, because they had on October 1 told me I could stay until November 15, and our contract said they had to give me 30 days notice. On the other hand, they were willing to pay back my deposit, which I had thought would be forfeit because I hadn't given them the 14 days notice specified by the same contract. So I said to myself, okay, it's a wash. It left me needing a place to sleep on Samhain. I booked one night at the Wakeup Copenhagen Hotel, and the deposit paid back by the Livjæger more than covered that.

I cannot say I was all that wonderfully impressed with the Wakeup Copenhagen Hotel. It was cheap and clean, but also somewhat tacky, and it was very bare-bones. Any hotel amenity you might expect to be included but that was not specifically mentioned on their Web site, was absent. My room looked a lot like how I imagine the quarters of the lowest-ranking crew members on the Starship Enterprise. Very 1970s futuristic. Pictures in my Twitter stream. I could also hear everything going on in the neighbouring room, but I couldn't identify it. At the start I thought the people in there were just having sex, but as the noises got stranger, I no longer was sure. If that was sex, it was plenty kinky.

I went out for dinner on the 31st to a sushi-go-round restaurant (apparently in this country that is called "running sushi"), where I tried to speak Japanese to the waiter and it didn't work too well because he was Chinese. He tried to speak Danish to me, with no greater success.

I have arranged with the moving company to drop off the possessions I had shipped from Canada, first thing in the morning on Monday. They didn't charge me any extra for storage even though this will be a few days past the 30 days I had contracted for. So, okay, that's one thing that didn't run over budget. This shipment includes a lot of dishes, kitchen supplies, and bedding that duplicate the things provided with this apartment, but I didn't know that I would be getting those things included with an apartment rental at the time that I had to make the decision, in Winnipeg, on what to ship.

Later Monday morning, the landlord will be coming by to tell me all the things about how to live here that she was too messed up to tell me today. It seems she and the contractor who was laying the tile in the bathroom pulled an all-nighter, finishing the tile one hour before our appointment today, and the effects on her state of mind were quite evident when I met with her. I am making a list of questions to ask. And then at about the same time, someone from the rental agency will show up to do the walk-through that was supposed to have happened before I moved in.


When I worked at the consulting company, we stayed in furnished executive apartments. We used to go buy little trinkets that looked like "furnishings" to leave behind. The occupant before me left a few neat things from the magician supply shop. I left behind a candle with a pornographic image on it. One of my neighbours found a sucker shaped like a dick and balls on a stick, and left it in the potted plant.

You should try something like this.
Steven Baker - 2014-11-05 17:01
Is "landlord" not used in a gender-neutral way in English? I mean, would you really say "landlady" in Canada in 2014? It's further muddled because in most cases the landlord is a corporation and not an individual, and (of course) no one would refer to a corporation using a gender-marked term. [For bonus points: those "trix" gender-marked words in English - aviator->aviatrix, and so on. Without Google or grep, what are they (only a handful that aren't archaic or recent artifice), and is it true that almost all refer to sex, power, and/or money?]
Tony H. - 2014-11-06 12:52
I would say "landlady" in Canadian English and would be (in fact, was) mildly surprised to hear a woman referred to as a "landlord." In my particular - and common - case, the rental unit is owned jointly by one man and one woman and there's some amount of usefulness in having the gender-specific words to disambiguate which of these two people I'm talking about. This usage is probably something that varies a lot, though, and is probably changing.

When I get some spare time I'll dig through the British National Corpus (because I shelled out for a research license on that and will get some use out of it one way or another, dammit!) to see about statistics on use of -trix words.
Matt - 2014-11-06 23:11

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