Call me paranoid (because I am)

12 Jan

When I moved in back in October, it only took a few days before I realized that my apartment in Ljubljana didn’t have a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector. I never thought to look, at first. Every place I’ve ever lived has had both of those things, so I guess I just (wrongly) figured that this place would, too.

When I went home to the U.S. for Christmas, I brought back a battery-powered smoke detector as well as a carbon monoxide detector. I could have bought them here earlier, I guess, but I kept forgetting, and instructions written in English are more my cup of tea, anyways.

A week after successfully testing and installing the two new safety devices, my roommate and I decided to refill our propane tank, which powers three of the stove’s burners. The oven, and one burner, are electric, and we’d been living with one burner for a whole month, as we tried to figure out how to get the propane.

An e-mail from our landlord sent us to Petrol Plin, the Petrol company’s headquarters in downtown Ljubljana. Apparently you can buy propane at most gas stations–except the one right next to Petrol Plin. So we boarded the bus with our propane tank, and at a gas station on the other side of town, swapped our empty 5 kilo tank for a new, full one.

When we got home, we hooked it up under the sink, and I personally made sure the connection was as tight as possible. Then, we fixed it so the propane would release into the stove, and for the first time since November, we have a full range of burners working. Great!

(Well, I should say that three work… one has been broken since we got here).

In any case, no sooner had I gotten on Skype with my parents than I was informed that propane leaks–which do smell icky, thanks to an additive in the gas–could kill me, and the apartment also lacks  a propane leak detector. And that in the U.S., propane tanks are typically housed outside.

My (short-lived) search for a detector was not successful, so now it looks like I’ll be sending away for one via Amazon.

In the meantime, every time I go to sleep I’ll now be crossing my fingers and saying extra prayers that I actually wake up in the morning–and that I don’t accidentally blow up the kitchen by trying to light the stove. My sister told me the kitchen would look kind of hazy if the propane did leak, but hey: the kitchen looks hazy every time we so much as boil water. Ah, the joys of living in a very cute–and lovely!–but old apartment.

In addition to the lack of safety equipment, the water only gets warm if you turn all the heating vents off and crank up the heat to a ridiculous temperature temporarily while you shower. There is hard water (which causes all kinds of build-up in my tea kettle and is not so great for my hair–boo). Furthermore, a light on the 10 ft.+ ceiling is now out, and neither my roommate and I can reach it to even see what kind of light bulb it takes, even if we stand on the countertop.

Ah, apartments. This sort of reminds me of what I’ll call the New Hampshire adventure, in which I lived in a gorgeous apartment overlooking a sloping and grassy area leading to a river, with docks, kayaks, and picnic tables, in a rural town where I could run the town loop easily. The inside of the apartment was great: not perfect, but brand-new hardwoods throughout, a newer bathroom and kitchen, and a wonderful picture window, 10 ft. slider, and patio, as well as huge closets.

The only problem? My upstairs neighbor. Once, my roommate told me she locked herself out and instead of calling to be let back in, scaled the wall and broke her own window. Then there was the time she ‘accidentally’ left the water running into her sink (which was plugged for doing the dishes)… for seven hours. Which meant that–while my roommate and I were away for the weekend–the water leaked into our apartment. Which also meant that when I arrived home late Sunday night, I was greeted by puddles of water and a ceiling and walls that were sopping wet, dripping, and completely mushy. She also had a penchant for blaring certain Rhianna songs on repeat–very loudly–at ungodly hours.

At least our neighbors are very friendly here… and know better than to break into their own apartments, leave the water running for seven hours, or play Rhianna on repeat.

But in the meantime, I keep thinking that my headache and stuffy nose are side-effects from a propane leak,  indications that my kitchen will soon combust… even though I full well know I have a headache because I can’t readjust to Central European Time after visiting Massachusetts for Christmas, and that I’ve had a stuffy nose (and various other ailments) for more than two weeks.

Now, I’m off to sleep… in my typical paranoid state. Ah, the safety precautions I took for granted back home…

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