Day 90 of 96 – Even more toilets

18 Dec

I’ve been promising everyone that I’d be bringing a toilet with me to the airport and on the flight back to Canada.

On that note, I found out that the Baumarkt next to the giant Ikea (that’s bigger than the one in Ottawa) is having a sale: 20% off everything in the store. I think that’s pretty ambitious. Normally shops in Germany are only open a few Sundays throughout the year and when they are, it’s kind of an event. I’m expecting it to be a zoo. To make matters worse, I’m meeting a friend at the Hauptbahnhof at 15:11 and I want to get the VAT refund so I have to fill out all that paperwork at the checkout. This will take time.

I’ve only got two hours to do all this. For this special sale they’re only open from 13:00 to 18:00. I’m on the tram on my way to the store. It’s not too full and I’m hoping it’s going to be like this for the return trip. I brought work gloves with me from Canada for just such a situation. It’s calling for rain at some point this afternoon – the gloves will help.

Of course the Berlin public transportation system is way more effective than I thought it would be – I’m forty minutes early.

I exit the tram at the same time as another bargain-hunting Christmas shopper. Ulrike tells me all the stores in Berlin are open this Sunday – she’s going to the Ikea. I don’t want to wait in the rain so I go with her – Ikea opens their restaurant thirty minutes before the store proper.

They let us in at exactly 12:30 and we take the escalator upstairs. She grabs a juice and I take a beer. We chat until about 12:55 when it’s time for me to go. I want to be at the Baumarkt for 13:00 when the doors open – if I’m late all the toilets will be gone. A gaggle of shoppers are standing around the restaurant waiting for the Ikea to open. I look around: there’s a single escalator but it’s only going up. The only way out is… through the store – and they’re not letting anyone in… I’m trapped in the Ikea!

At *any* other time this would be awesome, but not today.

Three of the longest minutes of my life later they open it up and let the shoppers in. I rush down the stairs and take a shortcut to the exit but of course when I get there they have not yet opened these doors. So I’m stuck for a second time inside the Ikea!

Let us in!

No, let me out!

The ironing is just killing me.

Finally this lady shows up to open the door and I escape out into the rain. I dash across the parking lot to the Baumarkt. By a stroke of good luck the exact same clerk that helped me the last time is working today. She doesn’t speak a word of English so once again my German language proficiency and Pictionary skills are going to be put to the test.

This time I’m getting the mini-cistern – it’s small enough to fit on the plane without having to go over-sized luggage. I also decide to pick up a window. I did all the measurements and weights and everything is within spec. I have a per-item budget of

  • one hundred and fifty-eight linear centimeters (about sixty-two inches)
  • twenty three kilograms (fifty pounds)

The window is

  • 11 kg (13 kg under)
  • 60 x 80 x 10 = 150 (8 cm under)

The cistern

  • 11 kg (13 kg under)
  • 82 x 51 x 16 = 149 (9 cm under)

There is another problem – I can only take one item with me. The clerk tells me I can buy the window today (and get the discount) and then pick it up tomorrow. This is good – they open at 10:00 and I’m having lunch with a friend at 12:30. But I’m just delaying the problem. When Tuesday morning rolls around I’m going to have to get both items to the airport somehow.

To defeat this I’m simply going to take the window to the airport before Tuesday morning. If I can make it out of the Baumarkt by 10:30 on Monday I should be able to do all this before my lunch date. This will be the ultimate test of the Berlin public transportation system. Their web site says an hour forty with twenty minutes at the airport. We’ll see.

The cistern box has been opened so we take a few minutes to go through all the stuff to make sure everything is there. It is and we pack everything up, grab the window, and head for the bathroom scales for a final weight verification. We’re good – everything is within spec.

All there.

I manage to get everything I need, cistern, window, handle, actuator plate, and two of an item that does not have an English-language name (Kühlschrankschleppscharnier). I also sign up for the VAT refund. Total time is just under an hour.

I head out into the rain to catch the tram. It’s just after 14:00 and I have to be at the Huptbahnoff to meet my buddy in sixty-eight minutes.

Would you mind taking a picture of me and my toilet?

I manage to make it home, drop everything off and get out the door again in only forty minutes. By the time I make it to the S-Bahn I realize I’m going to be about six minutes late. I message my buddy and he informs me that he’s coming on tomorrow. I check the email and find out he’s absolutely right.

6 Responses to “Day 90 of 96 – Even more toilets”

  1. Uncle Ross December 20, 2011 at 01:08 #

    It must be genetic.
    I once drove all night, in front of a sleet storm, from Ottawa to Toronto to attend a two day seminar. After sleeping around two hours at Shirley’s place I drove to the hotel to find out that the “Time Management” seminar, in fact, started the next day.

  2. Ulrike December 21, 2011 at 17:17 #

    So, we could have chatted a little longer 😉 Thank you for the great and interesting get-together at Ikea. It always happens to me that I meet awesome people just when they are thousands of miles away from home and just on the go to get back to their country. Hope you and your toilet did have a convenient flight. Merry Christmas

    • Die Hard Three December 21, 2011 at 22:39 #

      We made it home nice and safe. Merry Christmas to you too!


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    […] I’m a pro at checking luggage for the return flight […]

  2. Day 22 of ? – It’s Been a While | Die Hard Three - March 23, 2018

    […] politics, discussed the afterlife and debunked the existence of ghosts, written a poem, purchased a toilet, sold a freezer, visited Berlin, accidentally destroyed a friend’s bathroom (sorry Eva!), […]

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