Get comfy, this is gonna take a while, but it's totally worth it.
For whatever reason
me griping and moaning to get the handicapped ramp that ran up the center of our stairs moved to a place that didn't inconvenience those who didn't need it, which would be everyone in the building our building has been the subject of much construction over the last 6-8 months. Seriously, it's been insane. Like me. We had the ramp moved (thank goodness), our maid's quarters redone (they're used for storage now and not maids-dammit), new sidewalks put in (you cannot imagine the noise), new exterior doors, more parking spaces and today new windows in the stairwell. I should mention that installing the new windows involved them smashing the glass because they couldn't pull the casings out without bending them, and they had to remove the glass first. Apparently taking a hammer to all the windows and showering the stairwell with glass was the "most efficient" way. Or maybe the workers just wanted to smash stuff. I know I did. It has been nonstop construction on our building for months, to the point where all the residents are just over it. The very first thing that was done, was actually done in Dec of last year. Our stairwell looked just terrible. It probably hadn't been repainted in at least 10-15 years and really, really needed it. Our building coordinator, TOM-The Other Man, for those who may not know (Mr. HH's "brofriend), called DPW (Dept. of Public Works) and was told there was no money. We asked if we could paint it ourselves if they supplied the paint. No. We bugged them until they "found" the money and repainted. WHITE. Mental Asylum White. It looked fresh, but stark. Since our household goods had not arrived yet, I decided I'd do something to pretty it up. I stenciled fluer de lis (in burgundy) up 4 flights of stairs and under the community notice board painted "Welcome" in a fancy script (the letters were about 7-8 inches hihg). I'm not a big fan of stenciling, but it looked really nice in the stairwell. My neighbors loved it. It looked pretty and helped make it look less like men with white coats would chase you up the stairs and inject you with calming medications. We get compliments all the time on how nice the interior looks. Yay me! This morning when I went to take the dogs out I found a painter rolling white paint over my stenciling. WTF? One of the apt's can't get a new stove, even though hers is a serious fire hazard (because it's 15 years old and the burners are dodgy), because there's "no money," but they can pay a painter to come paint over a stairwell that was painted exactly 1 year ago? I seriously went crazy. I think I frightened the painter. We communicated with our broken knowledge of each others language and made lots of insane hand gestures, while my dogs looked like they were ready to pee on him if they didn't get outside ASAP. I asked him to stop painting until I could call his boss (who knows who I am) and took the dogs out in a freaking monsoon. You know the scenes in Spiderman where MJ has water running down her face and hair, but doesn't care because she's about to kiss Spiderman? Yeah, that was me, only there was no Spiderman for me to kiss. I was literally soaked. I drug the dogs and about 25 gallons of water back into the building to find the painter still painting! He saw me come in and put the roller down and backed away slowly. I can only imagine what I and my 3 waterlogged dogs looked like to him. I told him NOT to paint a thing until I came back down. I ran upstairs and started shrieking the minute I opened the door. Mr. HH was still in bed and practically did a tuck and roll out of the bed, preparing for attack. I think he thought he was back in Iraq. I unleashed the dogs, who looked like I had thrown them in a pond, grabbed my cell, still shouting instructions as Mr. HH and ran back down the stairs. Rose, the amazing woman who cleans our stairwell had arrived and was grilling talking loudly to the painter asking him what he thought he was doing (I was pretty proud that I understood her, being as it was all in German) and then saw me running towards them and asked what was going on. I gave her a brief explanation and she translated between me and the painter. Her English isn't fluent, but she knew enough to get my point across. I made sure she explained that I wasn't angry with him, but the higher ups. He was just doing his job. I called the DPW chief and went 12 kinds of crazy on this poor man (he's the one who sent the painter out). I went on about the constant construction and endless noise, the unnecessary repainting of the stairwell, the fact that things we needed done couldn't be because they never had the money and blah, blah, blah. He talked to the painter for a few minutes and the painter was going on at lightening speed, but I understood when he told the chief (in German) how "the lady came down and said 'No! No! No!" Rose and I looked at each other and started laughing. The painter handed me back the phone and the chief and I went over it again until he said he would tell the painter to stop and they would leave it as is. I thanked him, handed the phone to the painter and rolled my eyes heavily at Rose, who agreed it was all ridiculous. The painter handed me back the phone and told me to have a good day. Then he sprinted from the building as quickly as possible, probably thanking his lucky stars he didn't have to seal with me anymore. At least he'll have a good story to tell at dinner. :)
I came back to our apartment and Mr. HH was still confused and eying me wearily. I went over the whole story with him, in a calmer tone until he understood, but still feared me just a little (I've decided this isn't a bad thing, really-keeps him on his toes). We were getting ready to leave to take Ulrika to the Volvo dealer to get her oil changed when the house phone rang. It was the DPW chief. Weird, since I'd called him on my cell. How did he get my home number? He wanted to know what things our building needed taken care of that we'd been told there was no money for, so I gave him a laundry list (seriously, 3 of the items involved the washers and dryers in the basement that are old and not working properly). He said he'd have it all taken care of within the next week. Including getting my neighbor a new stove! Score! Sometimes it just takes someone getting crazy to get things moving in the right direction, and if that has to be me, well, I'm up for it. Crazy looks good on me. To quote Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson) in Shanghai Noon, "I don't know Karate, but I know Ka-razy and I'm not afraid to use it."
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Get comfy, this is gonna take a while, but it's totally worth it.