Visitors & Coiffure Shock

A week has passed. The mold has been beaten into submission by the chemical warfare waged by an intent team of mold experts and 2 commercial-grade dehumidifiers. I have drawn the battle lines, what items were won and what were lost.

(Of course, the insurance covers nothing. We didn’t realize we needed such coverage, not expecting the basement to turn into the perfect fungi-producing environment. And, as it turns out, insurance companies don’t seem to offer such coverage. I assume because the payout probability is very high…if Vegas had such odds, we all would be rich.)

So there is still the issue of who bears the cost for all the ruined items.

Probably us.

Still, all considering, it could have been worse.

On the upside, the basement is even more sorted and cleaned out than it was after the move. Which is saying something. I thought the move motivated us to get organized and less cluttered, but it was minor compared to the great purge brought on by the yucky yellow stuff spreading its smelly fingers through our goods.

In the midst of the mold et al. chaos, some special visitors came to us from Russia.

In Russia, we had a full-time driver provided to us by the company. Although it sounds over-the-top – and it would be in most western countries – having a full-time driver in many newer, expanding markets is normal practice. This is especially the case for expats in Russia where the signs are in Cyrillic, the language and road rules are difficult to navigate, as are, often, the police who can and will stop you on a whim.

In fact, some companies don’t allow their expats to drive at all – due to liability – and they provide round-the-clock driving coverage for the entire family.

(A benefit that, on my most paranoid days when navigating the crazy Moscow traffic and worrying about unintentionally breaking Russian road laws and ending up in some Siberian prison, I would have loved to have. Even if it meant giving up the pleasure of singing along with the radio – provided I could find a song to sing to. Although, in hindsight, given that in Russia there always seems to be a green “get out of jail” option, I probably needn’t have worried.)

In our case, Andrey was dedicated to my husband for work purposes. However, when available, he also had the “joy” of driving me and the boys to and fro…to school, doctors’ appointments, etc. etc.

(Andrey could write a book about our jaunts, I am sure. Suffice it to say, he, thankfully, loved kids. Even when they were overly tired and loudly whining after spending 90 minutes in the car due to the predictably bad traffic. His love for kids – our kids – along with his wisdom to arm himself and the car with Mentos, gum, and petty cash for the occasional-but-necessary-to-stave-off-juvenile-disaster McDonald runs, secured the boys’ enduring respect and affection.  The boys adored “Mr. Andrey.”)

Andrey was with us the entire 9 years we were in Moscow. He met us upon our arrival to Sheremetevo airport when we landed bleary-eyed and shell-shocked back in November of 2002. He drove us to the airport when we said good-bye to Moscow and Russia in December 2011. He was not just our driver but also our advisor, handyman, translator, guard, negotiator, buffer, and, in the end, a part of our family. Leaving him was as difficult as leaving the home, neighborhood and school that had been such a large part of our lives for so long.

But, luckily, Moscow, like all places, is just a plane ride away.

So a plane brought Andrey, his wife, and his nineteen-year-old son to us Friday evening.

(By the way, they are our 6th group of visitors since we moved to Istanbul in January. We have had more visitors in the 7 months we have lived in Istanbul than we had the entire 9 years in Moscow.)

The weekend was great, full of sightseeing in Sultanahmet (old town), shopping, eating out, shopping, eating in, and some more shopping (as you can guess, Istanbul offers cheaper shopping than Moscow). Despite it being the first out-of-country adventure for Andrey’s wife and son, I think they felt very comfortable here. The idea of visiting a country that one perceives as vastly different culturally can be intimidating, but Istanbul is a very comfortable place.

In other words, they didn’t find anything that shocked them.

Except, perhaps, our dog, Zoya.

NOT because of her size. That they knew about.

Remember that our Beast from the East is a large dog, a member of that proud Russian-made Black Russian Terrier breed whose vital fur coat is worn like a banner of honor, a badge of pride?

Let me remind you:

FULL BODY HAIR…

…NO POODLE PUFFS

…Remember my blog about the challenges of finding good hair care?

Case in point: 

Yep. The people on the street thinks she looks pretty funny, too.

So, now that Andrey and his family have departed, the mold is under control, we have a new washer, and the A/C leak is being repaired, I will turn my attentions to converting our BRT’s poodle coiffure into some semblance of a style befitting a 110-pound terrier.

Otherwise, it’s going to be pretty lonely walking Zoya by myself for the many months it’s going to take for her hair to grow out.

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