Digging the New Digs!

Bottom line, we love our new apartment! It’s in a great location. Ron’s commute to work has gone from 45 minutes to 7 minutes by car. It’s only 35 minutes by foot, though that can open all sorts of “experiences” that you may not want to have each and every day (I’ve never had so many offers to help me cross busy streets, and amazingly we cross right in front of the person’s own store… I had to be a little firmer than I liked the other day as I felt I was practically being dragged into an art store). Ron summed up our location by exclaiming his delight at being able to pop out our front door (of the walled compound, that is) and walk down the street to get a newspaper. His NYC-gene has been re-activated and is mighty happy.

Our apartment is on the first floor, above the ground floor, as I think I’ve said before. It has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, a nice-sized kitchen (bright yellow), a huge living/dining room (Ron said we’ll finally be able to practice our Foxtrot in our own home – the apartment in Silver Spring was only big enough for us to do two steps forward before having to turn so we often opted to go outside by the recycling bins in the back to practice before the wedding – ahh, happy memories). The third bedroom has essentially its own wing at the other end of the house with a bathroom (the biggest one, actually), so once we get everything put away it will be set up and ready for guests – although you may have to share the bathroom with the cats as their litterbox is in it right now. But we can work that out later.

We did address the un-grounded electrical issues immediately after we moved in, and I will say that when they came to switch out all the plugs, there was none of that stick-a-screwdriver-in-it testing method. They were great. I did get tired of chasing after Chuckles every time someone went through the front door though – unfortunately he’s been trained by the doorbell in Maadi to come running to see who’s there. I finally opted to shut the cats in the spare bedroom while the guys finished the work. At one point a supervisor, who spoke more English, stopped by to check on things and pointed out a little spot where the paint needed touch-up, so one of the guys ran off to get our matching wall paint. I greatly appreciated that, although it was merely a small area and I had noticed that they were around most of the new wallplates. I was bemused, however, when the guy returned with the paint, diligently painted the area the super pointed out, then left and took the paint away. I figured it wasn’t worth pointing out the other 30 spots – I’d just cover them with furniture.

There are windows all along one side of the apartment, however they all look out into trees. So, we could bemoan the fact that we get very little direct sunlight and that it’s often dark in here, or we can pretend we’re living in a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson treehouse, but with running water, electricity (grounded, of course), and eventually, American cable. Sun does sneak through and dapples our walls and floors through the branches in the afternoon. I do wish we had a little more sun, but in lieu of doing some midnight pruning, I can delight in the up-close bird-watching activities. Oh, and we also have geckos in the compound. Luckily we haven’t seen any inside the apartment (don’t want to have to save them from fat pouncing felines) but we have seen a little one outside and a neighbor says he gets them on the window screens sometimes, which would be great fun! The other local wildlife is the family of well-fed feral cats that are maintained by our resident crazy cat lady. And I mean she’s a true CCL – slightly crazed frizzy hair, large mu-mu housedress which enables her to carry cat food bags and kittens in all pockets. Ron has seen her on the shuttle a few times so I’ve asked him to casually verify that the family she’s feeding here have all been spayed and neutered at least, and she’s not just fattening them up so they can be better breeders for Cairo’s street-kitten quota. We do tend to see the same faces hanging around – one orange boy with a chopped tail is quite friendly and while we were calling him Bob initially, the guards told us his name was Stubby. Fair enough. I will say that I have never once seen a rat anywhere in Cairo (and I’ve seen them all over NYC, DC and Baltimore), but I still hate seeing the hoards of skinny dirty stray cats around.

The one other “wildlife” presence we’ve noticed here is Rodney, at least that’s what we’re calling him. He’s our resident neighbor rooster who apparently has a lot to say. Once in a while I’ve heard some of his hens clucking about, but mostly we just hear Rodney. I’m fine with him, he’s muffled with the windows for the most part and I’ve lived with roosters before, at an animal sanctuary (Clyde in particular was very memorable as a beautiful small bantam rooster who I would have to outwit in order to race to the front door without being attacked by him, what a charmer), but the happy NYC-gene in Ron is obviously perplexed by Rodney and I think it may take a while for the crowing to blend into the background for him.

The other adjustment we’ve had to make is living in the Arctic zone. For some reason, our A/C is very determined (we keep it around 70, but it can get quite cold) and the vents are placed to blow right onto our bed and the couch. Luckily I brought a very thick wonderful comforter that we are using nightly. And while we await delivery of our “deflectors” (clear plastic magnetic device to deflect the vent flow) from Amazon, I’ve jury rigged some cardboard and duct tape that works temporarily, albeit is unsightly.

Once we get our furniture swapped out, and maybe some art on the walls, I’ll post some before and after pics. But you know when something just feels right? Well, Ron and I both agree that this apartment feels very right. It was worth the wait and we look forward to our years here. Now you all just have to come and see it yourselves!