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These are my house keys.

See that thing on the far left? That looks like a thin metal rod? It's not metal. And yesterday it broke off IN the front door.

This is how it works. The system is called a "Dom-O-Fon." (Dom means house in Russian.) If you are visiting me, you turn the dials to match the code for my apartment (see . . . it says in Russian "number apartment"). The numbers are supposed to appear in the little round windows above the dials. But, if the sun is shining on the door (it faces west, so sometimes it happens, but rarely) or the bulbs inside are burned out (they always are) the numbers above the dials are impossible to read. My photo isn't very good, but, honestly, this is about how clear the numbers are. Then you press the little black button, which summons me to the buzzer panel in my apartment. I buzz you in.

If I want to enter the building, I insert my key/rod thing-y in the hole on the lower right side of the panel. It has a little magnet or something in it, so I turn the rod until the light illuminates (as it is in the photo). Then I can open the door.

Except, not only did I break my front door key thing-y, but half stayed IN the lock/hole.

The Spouse broke his key thing-y once (and THAT's not code for anything), but he had both halves, and I was able to SuperGlue it together.

I lost my other half.

I don't know what to do.

Luckily, yesterday while I was standing there with my kids and Baboo's Big Bag O' Fencing Gear, my neighbor came out the door to walk his dog and let me in.

When I got up to our apartment, I thought "HEY! I have a key to the back door!" Clever, clever me!

Except, this morning, when The Spouse and I went down to try it, we realized the lock has been changed.


Now, the same Very Sweet Neighbors tried to help (turns out they were in no way responsible for the Great Satellite Dish Debacle, but for a time we thought they might have been). They called the Dom-O-Fon people last night, but to no avail. Seems everyone breaks a key now and then, and new ones are available from the company. Mrs. Neighbor now sports an all metal one.

I hope I don't need to be the apartment owner.

Or show my lease.

It's all sort of complicated because we are sub-letting. And the folks we rent from aren't even in Moscow. They have a Man Friday on the ground here. But he doesn't speak any English.

All of which is moot because I can't call anyhow.

And The Spouse is always loathe to make these sorts of calls even though he's the Russian speaker in the house. I hate making these sorts of calls, too. But I would do it if I could.

Adding to my general frustration is the fact that, while playing with Cat-O last night, he sort of bashed me in the face with his skull. It hurt so much last night that I could not see out of my right eye. And my eye wept. I had to finish watching the judges send home the latest loser on America's Next Top Model with a tissue over my weepy eye.

I had a dream that my entire right cheek turned black and blue.

When I woke up this morning, The Spouse asked, "How's your eye?"

It felt fine.

"Hmmm," he said. "Looks like you might have a black eye, though."

I looked in the mirror.

It was just my normal puffy morning eye. Old Lady Morning Eye.

"Oh," The Spouse examined my other eye in comparison. "I guess you're right."

It was okay through breakfast, but now it is starting to bother me again. Grrrrr.

Here's a picture of my abuser. The fat bastard.

[from my blog, The Beet Goes On,]

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