Friday, November 25, 2011

Whisk Me Away

We left the States in July, and moved into our apartment here in September.  During the month of August — to get our land line, mobile phones, and home internet set up — I made seven visits to the Vodaphone store (after I finally gave up on their major competitor, Movistar, following my fifth or sixth trip there).  As you may remember, it was not the most pleasant process.  I purchased — I thought — an international plan on our home phone.  After receiving bills for our first two months, we discovered we did not in fact have the international plan on our home phone and were paying exorbitant rates for the few international calls we had made.  (I sure am grateful we've been using skype, either video or computer-to-landline, for most of our international communications.)

So, Jerry phoned the English-language customer service line at Vodafone.  I don't know why we bother.  I understand we're in Spain, but I dont' think Vodafone should say they provide assistance in English when only two of the now-10 reps we've spoken with have actually been able to communicate in English better than I can communicate in Spanish (which is not saying much).  This most recent call ended with the rep quoting a different (more expensive, of course) price for the international plan and saying he couldn't help us with anything else; we should go back to the store.  That's about as good as customer service has been.  So, I went back to the store.  The people in the store are very nice, but, they didn't do the greatest job with the start-up of our account, nor have they ever given me correct information regarding installation, calling in, signing up, etc.  I took several deep breaths and saw it through.

Of course, we will not get any money back, since they don't provide an official document that shows we've signed up for the international plan (I couldn't prove anything with my hand-written notes).  But, we do now have the international plan.  I added it to my cell phone instead of my home phone, so I have a text message confirming that I ordered the plan (and I will keep that text message forever... or at least until we move again).  It's still not super cheap for calls, but it's a lot cheaper than not having it.  And like I said, we have skype.


My next chore is to head back to our local bank.  Four weeks after we opened our account, I went in and told our rep that Jerry had not received his debit card.  He said to wait another week or two; it would come.  Four weeks later, when my card suddenly stopped working, I went back to the bank.  I was told I'd have to wait a week or two for my new card to arrive. I asked about Jerry's card and it was discovered that his card had been mailed to an incorrect address and had been returned as undeliverable.  The address was corrected and a new card would arrive within two weeks, I was told.  It's been five weeks.

I've been thinking I need to be whisked away from my oh-so demanding life of banking errors, and phone contracts and data plans (which I hate even when they're in English)...

Wait, I'm sure I have more to complain about...  Oh, yeah!  So many important things.  For example: Are we sure we have learned the correct way to eat churros and chocolate?  How late in the day is it appropriate to order café con leche before it's time to switch to capuccino?  Is there a proper way to wrap a scarf or is variety OK?  If "embarasado" means pregnant, then what's left for me to be embarrassed about?  Should I be getting out of bed before 9:30?  How long should our siestas last?  OK.  Really not much to complain about.

Anyway, the only reason the thought of being whisked away (or the word whisk) is in my head is because Jerry threw together some eggs for lunch today.  It was another beautiful revuelto.  He had cut up all the ingredients — peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and only he knows what else — and had broken the eggs into a large bowl.

I stood in the kitchen getting napkins and silverware ready.  As he sauteed the other ingredients, Jerry pointed casually to the bowl of eggs and said, "You want to whisk those?"

I was dumb-founded.  He couldn't possibly be serious, I thought.  But he had this excruciatingly sincere expression.  After a moment, all I could think to say was, "Are you serious?"  He laughed.

Three hours later I found out he had actually been serious.  I wonder who he thinks he's been living with for 30 years.


  1. Wouldn't it just be cheaper if you moved all your American contacts to Spain rather than paying for that phone plan?

  2. Mark's idea is interesting. I can't deal with service providers in English (especially Indian English), so I know I'd loose it in a non-English speaking country, including Italy.

  3. Can you do your phone business on line? Since you already have an account, you may be able to make all the changes you need directly online.

    I only say this because we have that option here with Orange (previously France Télécom). They offer an international plan for our fixed line that gives us unlimited calls to all European fixed lines and all lines in North America. We pay extra to call mobiles in Europe.

  4. I hope you have managed to sort out all your communication problems!

    I love the fact that Jerry doesn't take your response for granted, even after 30 years. Surely that is a good thing?

    (Now if only I can remember that when George does the same thing to me!!)

  5. Mark:
    Fortunately, no. But it's a thought.

  6. FDeF:
    I never understood half of what I signed up for, in English, with AT&T and Verizon. So there's no hope in Spanish.

  7. Walt the Fourth:
    We didn't go to Orange because it wasn't highly rate here (not that Movistar or Vodafone are). Might have been a better idea. The international plan Vodafone offers is not nearly as good as the one you have with Orange (but I don't know if Orange offers that same plan here). Anyway, we skype for free with our friends and family that have skype and we use skype credits to call landlines of those who don't. Skyping to a landline in the US costs us only 2.3 cents a minute.

    As for doing our business online, that's the goal. We do all our business that way when we can. I'm going to give it a shot again during the week. When we try to register, it asks for an additional number we do not have; customer service doesn't know why it's doing that and can't tell us what that number is! I'm going to get some string and a couple of cans.

  8. Jerry:
    Yes, it's nice not being taken for granted. Anyway, I don't think I'm all that predictable so it's good to never assume anything.

    Also, I'm not nearly as bad in the kitchen as I make out to be. I just don't enjoy it. Anyway, I shouldn't have to whisk eggs when I'm the one doing all the clean up (which I DO enjoy and which Jerry does not).

  9. Elaine:
    That message to "Jerry" was obviously intended for you!!!

  10. I want to be whisked away to Spain!

  11. Stephen:
    Me too! ... Oh, never mind...

  12. I am always delighted on those mornings when Fritz looks at me with those big blue eyes and asks so innocently if I would like his wonderful scrambled eggs with all the great stuff he puts in!

  13. It is perfectly acceptable to stay in bed past 9:30 am particularly if you are "embarasado"


    So you have a taste for the churros now?

  14. Will:
    It's nice to be so well look after, isn't it?

  15. Raulito:
    See? You've created a couple of monsters. I never cared much for churros in California. But I really like the ones we get at this stand; and the chocolate is an especially nice touch. They also have chocolate churros and churros rellenos. Some things to look forward to.


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