July, 10th 2002

To cut a long story short: After all I am indeed pretty fed up with this mess of a flat I am living in!

Tonight’s plan would have been  to meet by birthday-brother, his girl-friend and my Dad for a drink, before being taken out for a Vietnamese dinner by my friend Steffen.
Would have been, I said.

If only it wasn’t for my rather non-existing roof. Because, when I came home to take the  routinely look at what’s been having above, it all looked pretty grim. After a three-week-period of “Nothing ever happens – nothing happens at all”, due to everyone having to wait for the cost-catalogue of the insurance company (so the builders know exactly how much money they are able to spend) work started again this Monday. So now I’ve got “roofers” (don’t know what they’re called professionally) coming every day and eventually they are going to put up a whole new roof.

Taking a look upstairs, I was:
- Rather happy to see that the stupid chimney had finally come down. To be honest: I wasn’t really surprised about this, since this morning at 7:00 a.m. I was woken by noise of a chimney collapsing directly above my head.
- Rather unhappy to see that the last man to leave the building site must have been in an awfully bad hurry and apparently didn’t have the time to properly fix the rain-foil to the roof. OK, I can cope with the odd minor gap – a long rope of string, a cutter, some foil, lots of gaffa tape, long nails and my girly-hammer will easily do the job. But today the gap was as big as the sky was black!

The chaos developing within the next two or three hours shall only be described in brief, as it would take up a whole book otherwise:

Change the cloths and up onto the attic – close the first easy-to-reach gaps – it’s starting to pour down! – find buckets and place them in strategically clever spots (we only got some 7 or 8 buckets!) – build some preferential flow-paths for the incoming masses of water (thus saving up some buckets) – down to see if there are any leaks in the downstairs-part of my flat – yes, there are – three new leaks in three new places (meaning: not anywhere it ever leaked before!) – get my brother and sister-in-law-in-spe (who’ve come looking for me since I did not come to meet them) to take care of the water-runs downstairs – call the builders and make a fuzz – empty the buckets – call Steffen to tell him I won’t be able to meet him for dinner, it will have to be call-an-Indian instead – find better solutions for the gaps which have been blown open again – call the builders and be a real pest! – wonder about my (equally affected) neighbour wondering about my talent at DYI-ing (For Christ’s sake, it ain’t talent, it’s a bare necessity!!!) – take a quick shower and within minutes get really dirty again – let Steffen in – call the builders and get so serious with them that they jump into their cars right away – empty the buckets – curse – shower – curse – empty them bleeding buckets – order food – place new buckets in living-room and cut water-exits into the wallpaper – shower – empty them buckets – let in the food-bearing Indian – let in them builders (hoorah!) – quickly drown a beer – empty the buckets – let in my Dad and two nosy neighbours (“We’ve been wondering about the hammering!” – Haha!°) – drown another beer – shower – curse – oh, right: Eat something – send everyone home – shower – curse – and spend the rest of the evening chatting amicably to Steffen!

And stop cursing!
The roof’s now got an additional foil, the rain on my dining table is slowly getting less – as is the rain outside, by the way! – all strangers have left my flat and Steffen is almost tired enough to go home…

What for a romantic evening!

No, seriously: What has come out of this evening for me?
- a full set of black-rimed fingernails
- two bleeding and two not-quite bleeding cuts
- spots all over (thanks to the rather poisonous air upstairs)
- wet hair
- a skin-colour any coal miner would envy!

OK, this is not my daily catastrophe, but even once a week is more than enough – believe me.

Also, I’ve had a bit of a bummer on my planned roof-garden. It’s not really going to happen – unless I am prepared to live under the current conditions for another five to six months – which is how long it would take the required approvals to come through. Rather not – I guess. It’s a bit my boss’ favourite saying: “Great idea – let’s not do it!” L

Anyone got any entertaining stories to tell?!
A messy hello from the headquarters of “Home & Garden”!