It has been the hot topic of conversation these days (forgive the pun) as it has been cold and damp outside which = chilly inside. When a fellow expat asked, "When, oh when will they turn the heat on?" one of my Favorite Fellows here in Moscow answered thus:
When will you guys realize that the heating will be turned on when there has been three consecutive days at below 10 degrees, and the heads of MosEnergo, Transneft, and of the city municipalities meet with their specialist engineers, the sub committes of the raion councils concerned with these matters and the gas suppliers to confirm all is in readiness, OR, when the Moscow Meteorological Office notes what it would classify as "medium to heavy" frost on the ground at 11am on three consecutive days in three different raions in Moscow, and the date is after October the 4th, and the price of gas is below a figure calculated by a congress of the gas suppliers of Russia's representatives, the executives of the energy generation companies and the thermal heat providing stations in the 6 largest cities -- by heat generation -- in the Russian Federation. Whichever happens earliest.
It's very simple.
The heating came on late last year, because all the above criteria were met, a memo had been sent to the pigeon holes of all the members of the Moscow City thermal provision sub-committee, who three weeks later had met, considered the matter, and agreed to forward it to the chief executives of the Moscow Raions, who had, after consulting with their own experts, agreed to forward authorisation for the relevant bureaucrat within MosEnergo to consider the matter. He agreed that criteria had been met, and then asked his secretary to send triplicate forms of confirmation to each of the eight organizations who confirm that the criteria had been met, which were then returned within the two week deadline, and then he authorised the thermal provision sub committe to pass its final recommendation to Luzhkov [the mayor of Moscow] for his final signature. The sub committee duly considered this matter, before forwarding the recommendation to Luzhkov, who, after confirming each of the steps had been followed, consulting with his own experts and -- impressively -- an independent, western consultancy, agreed to give his signature. The form was then sent to all those concerned for counter signing.
So it was all done very quickly and efficiently, as you can see, but unfortunately, Slava, the guy who turns the whole thing on, was taking a late holiday, so nothing could happen till early November.
This year, he holidayed in August, so everything should be fine.
I wish I had written that!
In other, unrelated news, I had a jolly day today.
First, I volunteered to do an English-language voice-over for a small documentary about a music festival that sounds a lot like a Russian Woodstock. The director was a very cool woman who walked with a cane and a limp that she explained was the result of a hang gliding adventure gone wrong. She said her doctors wanted to amputate, but she refused and, if I understood her, largely on her own and with a lot of meditation, she saved her leg. She needs to have all the metal stuff removed at some point in the not-too-distant future, but she is walking. And she still has two legs.
We talked about meditation then, and how, when we do it, the universe fills us with warm fuzzy love and good things just seem to happen. I know, I know. But it does!
After that, I took the Metro and exited into one of those malls-under-the-street. I was walking by a sloika stand. These are sloiki. (One sloika, two sloiki)
They can be sweet or savory.
Standing there, in front of the sloika stand, politely but expectantly, was a dog. A medium-sized, generic, shepherd mix dog.
I was already past the dog and the stand when I thought, "You know what? I'm going to buy that dog a sausage sloika." Because once, last year, I walked past a Star Dogs stand, and there was a street dog sitting there, and I did not buy that dog a hot dog. And I always felt bad about that.
So I went back to the sloika stand and looked at the sloiki, trying to find a meat or sausage sloika for Nice Dog. I identified a meat sloika, and just as I did, the Sloika Sales Clerk snapped it up and handed it to the woman in line in front of me!
Who gave it to the dog.
Mission accomplished, I went to Kayser, my favorite French deli/bakery/restaurant in Moscow, and had the spinach soup and a great roast beef sandwich with arugula. While I read the Susan Orlean article in The New Yorker about backyard chickens. Now I want an Eglu. I wanted backyard chickens this summer, but now I know where to buy a really cool chicken coop PLUS chickens!
Get me one, please.