Posted by: roamingolivia | December 9, 2010

I just need to whine for a minute

UPDATE: This is apparently fixed, according to an email I just got, so that is good news…

I am going to try to write this post as if I am not whining. But probably some of the whining will get through.

Yesterday my (our) boiler broke. In America, I think there are no boilers, or just in books, where they go in a whole room (the boiler room) near a school cafeteria I think. So for the Americans: the boiler is the thing that makes your hot water, and also runs your “central heating” system – which basically means the radiators on the wall.

Guys, it’s REALLY cold. I hate it so much.

Okay that’s the whining coming out. Luckily, I can also think of good things like:

1. When this is over and I have had a few weeks to defrost, this will just be another adventure I had. Like, “remember when it was so cold you slept in your hat and scarf and tights and sweatpants and turtlenecks and under all the blankets you own? Hahahaha.”

2. I have good adaptive facilities, mostly based on my experience previously living in a more-or-less-unheated apartment in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. But there, I had hot water, and I could just live in the bathtub. But this other time, I visited someone in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, and she didn’t have any hot water. We boiled water to make a bath or something. So I adapted yesterday by boiling 2 huge pots of water (HUGE – glad we bought those at Thanksgiving) and then making a very shallow bath.

And there are other experiences, less exotic, that have helped my ingenuity. For example, once in Texas an ice storm or some unusual winter weather cut off our electricity, but we heated one room with a fire (sadly I have no fireplace so this lesson was useless) and keeping the oven on (it was a gas oven) and door open. Yesterday I did much of my reading, sitting on the floor in front of our (electric) oven, wrapped in a blanket.

Anyway, if someone told me they didn’t have heating or hot water, I would think “oh that sounds terrible”. But this is so much worse than I would have imagined.  Ha.

Please be fixed today. (I have called our landlord management company, which really is terrible…)

Whine/rant over.



  1. I don’t know if they have these in the U.K., but here in China you can get these electric hot water bottles that are AWESOME. You just plug them in (they come pre-filled and sealed with water) for like 5-10 minutes, and they get so hot you can barely touch them, and they stay hot for 3-4 hours. You can wrap them in a towel or blanket and hold them on your lap, or you can put one or two in your bed to make it warm before you get in, and then snuggle with it as you fall asleep. They are also useful year round if you have back pain (like I do) or anything else you need a little warm pillow for. You should check and see if they have these at an Asian supermarket or someplace that sells stuff for elderly people. 🙂

  2. I often dreamed about getting an electric blanket when I lived in the UK (where disasters like this seem to be more routine than anywhere else.) Something for you? I would also pre-heat my bed by directing the flow of heat from a space heater under my covers before getting into bed.

    I find it a bit telling that I can live in the poorest country in Europe and still have better heating/electricity/internet service then UK, and an apartment that is less drafty.

  3. My boiler broke one time when I was living in the UK. I had to take showers at a friend’s house, and for warmth I went and got a little space heater from Homebase (that luckily was open after 5 on a Sunday). I put the heater in my bedroom and kept the door closed, so at least one room in my flat was reasonably warm. I don’t think I saw the rest of my flat until the boiler got fixed!

  4. My “boiler” broke when I lived in a trailer in Montana. Actually, my pilot light blew out. And so I tried to relight it with an ex-boyfriend of mine. We didn’t have long matches, so we used a lighter and a can of aerosol hairspray.

    And yet, surprisingly, I am still alive. Bonus points for stories you can look back on and wonder how you survived with all limbs intact.

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