September 2021


German Promptness and Courtyard Rennovation

Scaffolding on my apartment building.About a week ago I noticed a new sign posted on the bulletin board vaguely near the mailboxes in my apartment building. Usually the things pinned to the bulletin board are of no interest to me and/or are out of date. Nicely, though, out of date things are usually promptly removed.

The arrival of the newest message didn’t go unnoticed by me – I immediately realized that this could be a very long few weeks: the apartment building’s “Hof” – in English, “courtyard” – is the scene of renovation.

It’s not something completely unexpected, I must admit. The front façade of the building is in excellent shape—pristine, perfect condition. The building is actually along one of those streets in Schöneberg where nearly every building is in perfect shape.

Unfortunately, for those of you unfamiliar with German workmen, they are both early and they are prompt—and the notification allowed that the construction would start during calendar week 25 and last through, approximately, calendar week 28.

For those of you unfamiliar with calendar weeks – this week is calendar week 25 and the week of July 11th is calendar week 28.

The workers didn’t show up Monday morning, but Tuesday at 7am sharp I heard voices in the courtyard, and a few minutes later, I heard the trash and recycling bins being moved around the courtyard. The first load of scaffolding being dropped on the ground rapidly followed this.

Early morning quiet, I can assure you, is a thing of the past.

The first day they built two layers of scaffolding around the entire U of the courtyard – then Wednesday they built it all the rest of the way up – but only along my wall—so, when I got home Wednesday evening at 9pm, I had scaffolding outside my living room windows.

Thursday morning, when I emerged from my shower at 7:15, I had two men on the scaffolding directly outside my windows—brushing the exterior window sills so that they could put protective material over the sills.

I was glad that I got dressed before I ventured into the living room.

Fortunately the weather is cool right now – but I doubt it will remain that way. It will probably be the day that they apply toxically nasty smelling paint that it will reach its peak temperature outside and I will suffer a choice between opening my windows to cooler air and suffocating on the paint fumes or keeping my windows shut and suffocating from heat exhaustion.

Neither are pretty options.

Of course, I should note that the workers who promptly start at 7:00 seem to go home before 3 in the afternoon.

Why couldn’t they start at 8?

5 comments to German Promptness and Courtyard Rennovation

  • mateo

    I think you should walk around naked while they are working outside your window! Heheh!

  • On you other point, I could be more sympathetic to your desire to have them start at 8AM if it were not for the fact that these days I have to get up at 5AM so I can make it to work on time at 6:30.

    I also think you should walk around naked. It’s your apartment, and who knows? Perhaps one of the workers will be cute!

  • mateo – if the ones who were outside my window yesterday were better looking, I would….

    Cynical Queer – errr… when you arrive to work at 6:30, you are not immediately waking up an entire apartment block of people who have 9-to-5 jobs. I know that I am one of the few people in the building who sets an alarm before 7:00.

    • I suppose that it’s true I’m not waking up that many people, but my comment was more tongue in cheek though.

      You may remember last summer when I was in school and getting up at a similar earlier hour, I had crews just on the other side of the fence in my back yard working with heavy equipment around 7AM on my days off. They would always seem to finish up around noon, so why couldn’t they just start a couple hours later?

      On that point I can bring in some sympathy to your situation. 🙂

      • I actually shouldn’t complain too much — my alarm goes off at 6:20 every work day, regardless. I like to work early and leave early.