The Ukraine I Know and Love

Today I went downstairs to wait for the boys to come home on the bus and busied myself translating - roughly, as my Ukrainian is very poor - a printed announcement that was taped to the front door of our building.

It said that the people who live in the apartment on the floor above us are in arrears on two of their property taxes / utilities to the tune of a total of 170 THOUSAND grivna (about 19,000 US$). Interesting, huh? I mean, interesting that among other things they're still living there with that kind of problem.

But even more interesting was the part of the announcement which said that because of this debt, the Kiev utility company will not be turning on the heat FOR THE ENTIRE BUILDING for the 2009/2010 heating season unless they receive payment in full.

Hmmmmmm. Very interesting indeed.

I do wish that I had posted more about our neighbors above us, because this really is just the culmination of lots of fun stuff. Like that the building super turned off the elevator button that goes to their floor because they owed maintenance fees or something. So they walk down from their floor to ours to catch the elevator. Doesn't bother us at all, but sometimes causes them an awkward wait for the lift.

We're trying to decide (amongst the other neighbors) if we should pass a collection plate around or show up at the debtor's door on the night of the first freeze with pitchforks and torches?

I'm competely not worried - we won't go cold. There's just so many levels of ridiculousness here: the residents, the utility company, the apartment building that wasn't set up to allow separate meters and valves for each apartment, the fact that there's a heating season...

Charming, really, in its absurdity.


Anne said...

Oh my. I hope you are right that you won't freeze! How fun to have little notes like that to welcome you back home!

Amanda said...

Oh yes, the Ukraine we know and love! Not sure if that makes me miss it or glad to be back.

Linda said...

Oh, I remember well the days of no heat or electricity... I just never knew WHY! Can't say as I miss them, however - I do have a minor phobia of being stuck in an elevator with a bunch of stinky old men...

Aimee said...

This is the craziest thing I've ever heard. This may be harsh, but I'm for the torches and pitchforks.

Helen said...

Thnx for the comment on my ajaveeb :)
I would fly to Ukraine right away, if I had a sponsor :) ... not sure about living there. ... possibility of a freezing house is not too tempting, especially as I have spoiled myself here.
Would love to go on photographing trip with you :)
Hope we will get a chance to meet up somewhere in the world soon.
My bets wishes to the boys also! :)