Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cooking Gas and School Mahem

Mood: Neutral. Don’t laugh, that’s the best description I can come up with right now. Not good or bad, just meh.
Listening to: Can’t Take My Eyes off of You

Our apartment complex has a gas vendor. We don’t have cylinders (like so many independent houses do), but we have pipelines to the gas room in our apartment complex. We all have meters for our cooking gas in the kitchen and for the water heater in the third bathroom (the other two are included in maintenance charges). When you move in, you go to the gas office in the basement under one of the apartment and you get a card, which you then charge with some money. The card then goes in a meter in your house in an electrical shaft outside the kitchen. Back when we moved in, it took us quite a white to figure out all of the complexities of everyday life here, including the gas. We put Rs. 300 (about $6 US) on the card, figuring we could recharge it whenever we needed to. Well, that amount lasted us for 7 months. So you can imagine how thrilled we were about cheap cooking gas. We used to pay much, much more in the US.

Since Daddy G came home and was craving some chicken curry, that was on the menu for Sunday, as was lentils with greens (still trying to grow my hair back!). I didn’t have much other food in the house as I tend to not make full  on meals if all four of us aren’t at home.

After stopping at my little local chicken shop it was time to get down to business. I love me some cooking. I get the radio blaring with some GNR, ACDC, Velvet Revolver, Metallica, etc and sing along while creating things I love to eat. It’s like going to church for me – music and cooking. Half way through, I noticed that the chicken curry was no longer bubbling, as it should have been. I figured that maybe the back door breeze (this is not anywhere as dirty or disgusting as you think it is gentlemen) blew out the flame, which has happened before. I discovered that the lentils were no longer cooking either. In fact, none of the burners worked. We had finally run through the money we loaded the card with.

I figured, no problem, we can just go recharge the card. After grabbing my youngest to come along for company, we headed down to the basement.  There are 7 towers in my apartment complex that are all connected by a basement parking lot. I couldn’t remember where the office was, but I figured there were only so many places it could be. We slowly meandered around, checking each of the towers. We stopped in a shop to ask and she sent us across the complex. This was indeed NOT where the office was and I ended up wandering around for 15 more minutes before locating it in the last tower to be checked. Of course, their hours were Monday to Saturday. Oh was I pissed. Not only couldn’t I cook for my husband who had a serious yen after being in the US, I was worried the food wouldn’t keep half cooked until the next day, especially the greens I had soaked in salt water and chopped. I said a little prayer to the food gods and shoved everything in the fridge, pots and all, hoping I couldn’t just start up where I left off the next day.
We ended up ordering food (which was honestly pretty good) from a local restaurant, but I knew it wasn’t what Daddy G really liked. He’s one of those picky types who loves his Mama’s food. Since I learned from her, I make acceptable substitutes, restaurants do not. For dinner we had savory, spicy oatmeal. I love that stuff. It wasn’t a great culinary day, but at least we ate.

The next day, I went to the office first thing and with the assistance of 2 very polite guys, recharged my card. I managed to save all of the food I had started cooking the day before and everything came out really well, to Daddy G’s and my delight.

My husband had a good time laughing at how frustrated I got that the gas ran out on the day we couldn’t recharge it. Things like that happen here and either you roll with it, or you end up with an anger management problem. I would like to think I roll pretty well with life here, but every once I start getting twitchy. Like any time I deal with my kids’ school. You would think we deal with a government institution the way that everything turns out about 3 times more complicated than it needs to be. We’ve been having some drama with checks being returned due to signature differences. 

When I wrote the checks, I was standing in a stifling hot basement office in a line waiting to be seen in a cubicle by a harassed, cranky man whose name I won’t mention because I seriously don’t need anyone at that school hating me more than they already seem to. To be honest, my signature didn’t look at all the same trying to sign it under those circumstances and the bank returning them was valid. I found out about it from the bank and went the extra mile of hiring a cab and dropping off new checks (which I signed exactly like they should have been!) at the school. The school is now harassing me to send in Demand Drafts (which are like money orders for two other checks to make sure they get the money coming to them. I refuse. They are getting checks because I am not making a special trip to the bank when I have checks at home. Poor Daddy G listened to me rant for a few minutes and then asked me what the big deal was. The bank is a few minutes’ walk, why not just go get one. I told him it was a matter of principle and there was no reason why they couldn’t just take another check. There really is no point in fighting the school; it won’t do me any good and I’m aware of it. I just am tired of jumping through hoops to deal with them about ordinary matters. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a hassle with schools and my oldest has been in school for the past 5 years. It’s a matter of principle.



  1. It is a matter of principle :/ That is truly dumb....

    On a happier note, I have given you the Rockin' Blog award (for this blog and Just Passing Through!!) that I hope you will accept! You can pick it on up over on my awards page :)

  2. Yep. That's exactly what I thought.

    Whoo hoo!!! Thank you!!