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The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tulip Thievery. Don’t let the Germans catch you!

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Yesterday was quite a day! Crazy, in fact. The installation we live on has a closed housing section. At some point these apartments are going to be turned over to the German gov’t, but for now they stand empty. They are however guarded. That’s right, for 3 years, we’ve been paying private security guards to stand at the gate to these buildings that we’re going to give away. Why don’t we just give them away already? What a waste of money.

Anyway…since the gov’t still owns these buildings, the NCOIC of DPW (Department of Public Works) told us (meaning my building coordinator) that we could go take whatever gardening stuff we wanted to help make our building look better. Sweet huh? Recycling at its best! A (the BC’s wife) and I went over to scope it out on Thurs and found literally hundreds and hundreds of tulip and iris bulbs being choked to death by the weeds and overgrowth. Do you know how expensive bulbs are? It was sad really, but at least we were going to put them to good use. There was also a HUGE pile of stuff that had been pulled from the buildings. We wandered around it (and occasionally on top of it) and found a ton of stuff we knew we could use, like planter boxes, resin frames that could be used for a raised garden and tons of other items. It was all just sitting out there!

We told the guards that we would be back on Friday (with shovels and cleaned out SUV’s) to pick up what we wanted. They were fine, and said, in the typical German way “Ja, Ja, das ist not a problem.”

Friday morning dawned cool and clear. A, T (another neighbor), Indy and I loaded up and drove over ready to get our stuff. The guards (different guards) let us in (we told them what we were there for) and off we went shovels in hand.

About 20 minutes later, one of the guards, Georg, came up and told us we couldn’t take anything. WHAT? A polite argument ensued, which resulted in us calling SSG P (who is the NCOIC of DPW). He said we could take whatever we wanted. Not good enough for Georg the Guard. This is NOT Georg, but it gives you an idea.

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He wanted SSG P to come down personally and have a chat. And as we had already loaded a bunch of stuff in our SUV’s (that we were not willing to unload) Georg wouldn’t let us leave! We waited, and waited, and waited. SSG P is a very busy man. While we waited (2.5 hours) we went ahead and dug up more stuff. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? If it turned out that we couldn’t take them, we’d just dump them on the ground. We totally wouldn’t, but that’s what we told Georg. He was actually a pretty nice guy, but Germans are very strict on rules. Whatevs. We chatted with him for a long time about “stealing.” He said we weren’t at that point stealing. We were “attempting” to steal. We argued that we were recycling. He said he had nothing against it, but feared for his job if he let us just walk out with stuff. Really? I think the gov’t has more pressing issues, than some tulip bulbs, but you know.

iris

SSP finally showed up, apologizing profusely for taking so long and spoke to Georg for about 5 minutes, and came over and told us to load up whatever. We showed him what we already had and he just laughed. He had come in a flatbed truck and asked if there was anything else we wanted. I wanted these resin frames to build a container garden with, but they were too big to go in our cars, so he loaded them onto his truck, and then we all finally left the compound. I was sunburned, tired and my allergies were going crazy from being among the billions of dandelions that threatening to take over the area, but triumphant that we were getting all kinds of great and free flowers. Of course they won’t look pretty this year, but next year our building is going to be alight with colorful tulips and irises. Hurrah!

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We just might invite Georg over to have a peek!

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I'm such a trouble maker! A's husband says he doesn't even want to know what we're up to when we're together. He said he'd come bail us out if he had to, but he doesn't want to know.

5 comments:

Ells said...

Great story!!!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

Nice!!!! Yeah, Germans are hard core strict! Glad you made it out of there and didn't have to get bailed out! :)

Allison said...

too funny :) I was curious about this post when you mentioned the title the other day...

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I wondered what the story would be about. :) The Germans do love their rules and orderliness. :) Glad you got some stuff!

KimAustin said...

I love the pictures! Did you go to Keukenhof this year? I can see you now getting hauled off to the German prison and the polizei standing guard over you holding a bag of tulip bulbs and shaking his finger at you! hahaha

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