Being veteran apartment dwellers, Mitali and I were very discerning when picking out our current home in Montreal. When we first saw it, the tenants at the time – five college students – had thrown a mattress in every room, lightly dusted the entire premises in dirty boxer shorts, bras, and t-shirts, and apparently opted out of cleaning entirely. However, through the grime and the collegiate decor, we saw a place we could love.
Being prudent buyers, we kept our poker faces on through the visit. We conferenced immediately afterwards at a picnic table across the street, decided to scratch seeing any other properties, and within an hour I had called the landlord to sign a rental agreement.
And so, given all this due dilligence, you can imagine our surprise when we discovered that our apartment came with neither a dishwasher nor an air conditioner.
The revelation of the missing dishwasher caught us by surprise. The first night we were there Mitali and I walked, clutching dirty dishes in our arms, around the kitchen looking for the unit. We even went so far as to check inside cabinets and under shelves for any micro-dishwashers. We slowly realized that there was no dishwashing unit of any size in the room.
No dishwasher? Somewhat in disbelief, I gave the other rooms in our apartment a quick check just to make sure that Canadians didn’t prefer them in their living room. No such luck, but we could live with it.
Nothing, however, could have prepared us for our greatest trial.
It’s important to appreciate that Texans (which we are) hold certain ideals above all others. First, the acknowledgement that the US would be little more than a third-world, atheist, buffalo-ridden waseland without Texas. Second, every man has a God-given right to shoot the mailman for stepping on his front porch. Third, and most importantly, it is every Texan’s duty to drop the internal temperature of his home to cryogenic temperatures during the summer – if you don’t sleep with a heavy down blanket and wake up with frost on your face in the morning, it’s not cold enough.
I vividly recall the cool morning in May of 2010 when I detected the first whiff of warm air that blew in from the south. Obeying my Texan instincts, I immediately ran inside to fire up the air conditioner. I walked from room to room looking for the thermostat. Unable to grasp the idea that our apartment did not have an air conditioner, I asked Mitali where it was. She hadn’t see it either. Where could it be? Confused and somewhat dazed, we both sought the AC that simply did not exist. Finally coming to our senses, we considered the implications. Maybe it simply didn’t get that hot in Montreal.
How wrong we were.
To be continued…