Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Yesterday's adventure ---- la caldaia (the boiler)
La Caldaia. If you have never seen one of these gadgets, let me introduce you to it. It's in every kitchen, it's the magic appliance that heats your hot water - on demand (well sort of on demand, you do have to wait for the hot water to run through the pipes and get to you, so if you are opening the hot water faucet you wait a while until the water runs hot.) La caldaia also provides the hot water necessary for your heating. And yes, it is on the wall. Ours developed some problems recently, it's been dripping water, and not retaining water in the tank. Clearly it needed repairs, so we contacted our "padrone", the owners of the apartment. I love that word "padrone". It's so Godfather-like. He came over to take a look, and told us he'd call us later so he could schedule a repairman when we would be at home. Within hours we got a call. The appointment was scheduled. 8:30 am the next day.
I was the one who would be home at the time, so I prepared my Italian statements in advance in case I had to tell the repairman what was wrong. We've learned that most people outside of the hotel and tourist industry do not speak anything but Italian, and here, it's even worse. Everyone speaks the Venetian dialect. I did a quick little prayer to the saint who's in charge of broken Caldaia's, with the hope that I would NOT have to do any explanations. I double checked my sentences using Google Translate. Oh my god, what would I do without this! I declared myself ready. I was able to go to sleep that night without this hanging over my head.
At about 8:45 am the doorbell rang. I pushed the button upstairs that unlocks the front door, and I heard the repairman enter. Other apartments here have a great system where you can actually talk to the person at the door first using a speaker system, but ours doesn't have that. That's another story!
My preparations came in handy. I did have to explain our problems (maybe I used the wrong saint??) and the guy set to work in the kitchen. I left him alone. Before long, he was asking me to show him the thermostat. Fortunately, I understand pretty well, and was able to direct him to the right place on the wall with no problems. A little bit later, he came asking for where something or other was, and I had no clue what he wanted. It took a little bit of back and forth before I understood that he was looking for an exhaust to the outside of the house. We both searched the kitchen, even pulled out the stove from the wall, but didn't find what he was looking for. Finally we tried pulling a cabinet away from the wall, and there it was. I hope that helped, cause I left the kitchen again.
About an hour later, he was finished doing whatever he was doing. In Italian he proceeds to tell me that we should not turn this one dial higher than where he had set it, otherwise if it was set any higher, pressure would build up in the tank and it would cause the dripping again. I'm not saavy on this kind of stuff, so I just nodded my head and thanked him.
When Mike came home a few hours later, I did the replay of the transaction for him. He's got alot more knowledge of how things work-- but he didn't buy the explanation about why not to set the water temperature any higher. That dial controlled the water temp, and what if we wanted hotter water??? Fortuantely, it seemed as if the water was getting hot enough, so we were ok on that. But.. by this time, we discovered that la caldaia was still dripping. Much less than before, but still dripping.
Guess I will be preparing another set of sentences for the return of the Caldaia guy!!!