Your summer work ethic is (mostly) deplorable.*Two months ago we notified the owner of our house of water damage we discovered following the serious floods in May. She did not follow up with an inquiry as to the condition of the house, even though we informed her that there was standing water in the wine cellar and our garden had been flooded. She did, in effect, nothing.

A month ago I inquired again about repairs. The answer? “Ask Roman.” Roman visited and said, “Das ist ein Problem,” and in theory contacted the owner. Still nothing from our house owner.  With the recent heavy rains the damage has increased, as has a mildew-y odor, and we are expecting visitors soon who will be staying in the lower level bedroom.

Last Friday our owner graced the house with her presence, on her blow through Vienna from her (corporate) house (with guest bungalow) in Brussels. “I don’t know how things are done in America, but it’s summer in Austria and the property management said there is no one available to assess the repair. Things take more time in the summer.” But she did confirm that the master bath faucet needs to be replaced. AFTER TWO YEARS AND FIVE REQUESTS. Some would call that progress.

So let’s see. We pay a monthly household management fee for the maintenance of our house to the owner. The owner pays the management company, who get to call the shots. What a system.

 In Austria there is “Summerfrische,” a retreat to the country from the summer heat as well as the popular “Urlaub,” the requisite vacation for June and July (and apparently, August).  In America, we get the job done. Period. Thus, Tony and I are meeting with an attorney to see what actions we can take. I have also “Ask(ed) Roman” if he would like some side work, but his loyalties are to our insipid house owner, strangely enough.

 No love this time,


*There are two stellar exceptions to my negative impression of summer services in Vienna. My butcher did inform me of her Urlaub plans well in advance; though, truth be, I can go without preferred cuts of chicken and lamb longer than I can go with a moldy lower level of the house. And, I saw my shoe guy while walking Clayton Theodore three weeks ago, and he made a point of not only informing me of his holiday schedule, but also suggesting I bring my winter boots over so that they would be “first in line” in September for any necessary resoling or repairs. There are Viennese with a good summer work ethic here, just not enough of the ones we need.