The Odyssey of a Renovation

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you might have noticed that some of my posts mentioned “being on car-commute” or doing something for a “renovation” and you also might remember the comment in this post, where I said that I wanted to rant later on.
So, here you have it, but let’s start at the beginning…

A limited rental

When I moved into my first flat – a shared flat – in 2007 the landlord told us that this would only be a limited rental, as the flat was supposed to be torn down in 2011. For us that was enough time, as our A-Levels would be over in 2009, so we accepted (The house we lived in was a five story building and due to a lack of renters they decided to turn it into a three story building by tearing down the upper two floors).

Then my flatmate moved out to pursue love somewhere else before finishing her A-Levels. I was alone in the flat, with the notion that the landlord could send me a new flatmate whenever they felt like it. In 2009 I started studying and stayed in the same town for work (dual-mode studying system, remember?), but as I did not want to share the flat with a stranger that would live ten weeks alone with my stuff, I moved out. I stayed in the same building, but was now on the first floor. 2011 past and nothing happened and they told me/the renters that it would be postponed. In 2015  the notice finally came: We’ll start the reduction in 2016 and will also renovate the kitchen and bathrooms (and more) of the flats (and buildings).

When finally the day came that my old flat was completely gone I posted this poem on my private Facebook page and mentioned the oddness on the other ones (I wont translate the poem itself, but what it’s about is explained above):

Ode an eine Wohnung

2007 sind wir eingezogen,
da hatten sie uns gleich belogen.
Bis 2011 so lief der Vertrag,
so zumindest hatten sie uns gesagt.
Wir lebten, lernten, alberten und lachten
und was wir nicht sonst noch machten.

Dann 2008 da kam die Liebe,
E. trug sie mit sich fort,
nun lebte sie an einem andern Ort
und ich war alles was noch bliebe.

In 2009 begann mein Studium
und ich sah mich nach einer neuen Wohnung um.
Da bin ich jetzt und schau nach oben,
wollt ich doch das Alte loben.

In einem Jahr ward dann gesagt,
die Bauarbeit, die wird vertagt.
2015 dann kam der Bescheid,
im nächsten Jahr ist es soweit.

Vor kurzem begann die Arbeit dann,
und nun ist es auch schon getan.
Die alte Wohnung, die ist weg,
dort wo sie war ist nun ein leerer Fleck.

Regardless of this the construction phase itself – inside my flat and the whole building – had a bunch of very frustrating things happening. A few of those I’d like to tell you about.

Technical difficulties

One evening I came back from work, made dinner and sat down to cosily watch a stream, when I noticed that my Internet didn’t work.
My first thought was that my Laptop had a fault, so I restarted it, without any improvement.
My second thought was to restart my router/modem, still nothing.
The third though was: Did they turn off something during construction without telling me/us again?
As I asked my direct neighbour she mentioned that she had just had similar troubles and a call to the provider had helped.

So I called them and they told me they couldn’t do anything as the company managing the building(s) were responsible (aka my landlords), but he’d try to reach the guy on stand-by duty.
In the meantime I called my landlord and left him a message that they should call back, as Internet, telephone and television weren’t usable.
While I called him the provider called back and told me someone was on their way.

When the guy came he told me that they had turned off the distributor so that the users who still used the old system would call them so that they can attach a loose cable that hung beside my Internet/telephone/television-socket (that’s been hanging around since April and the only thing they told me about it was, that they’d do it later). He also told me that he could only do it provisorily now, as it was outside of his working hours and I should have called them during their working hours or at least be home (how could I dare to go to work)…
He wrote down my number and said that he’d tell his boss to make an appointment with me to do the proper work as soon as possible.

The next morning I went to the workers that were already renovating the other flats and told them about it – according to them it was the providers fault. They wrote down my number as well to make sure I got my appointment. When we left the other building the construction-electrician conveniently recognized the provider-electrician and that guy even had time to work on my socket right away. When he was in my flat his boss(?) came to see him and told him that my flat and two others – that have the same provider – still had the loose cable. Unfortunately he told his boss that he was already finished with my flat, so I couldn’t hear how he should have contacted me.

At last the distributor/socket worked again and that part was done.

Three days later I got a return call from the landlord…(as is usual when I contacted him with questions)…

Watery fun

During the construction we had three instances of water damage.
The second I didn’t notice and only by chance heard about it from my neighbour, as it happened during a weekend and only affected a flat on the other side and the cellars – mine included – beneath it, but I didn’t have any important stuff down there anyway.

The first time was also in the cellar, but started somewhere around my flat. I was just getting ready for work when there was a knock at my door and someone wanted to take a look at my pipes as again there was water in the cellar and someone had mentioned the sound of rushing water. From the bathroom he couldn’t see anything and I told him that I had heard it, but I hadn’t paid much attention to it, as rushing water wasn’t an unfamiliar sound in this old building. So he went outside again to shut down the water first and to get someone else to look at it.
Hurriedly I finished getting ready – using the water before it was gone – and waited for him to return. He then told me that they needed to take a look at the pipes from the other side. Well, my kitchen was still filled with all my supplies, so even them appearing with three people didn’t change that. Without being able to do anything they left and I had half an hour to remove the stuff I had in two kitchen shelves – two weeks before I would have to do so anyway.
When they returned an hour later the worker was confused that the shelves still stood there and I told him, that I simply couldn’t remove them myself.
So we did that and he apparently changed a pipe when I could finally go to work.
On my return my shelves and hearth were positioned towards the wrong wall and there was a tear in my floor covering…(and the board that led to the pipes was still partly opened).

While I was in the flat during the technical incidence one of the workers came into my flat and was surprised to still find me around and asked if he could take another look at the pipe, but had to leave again with the words “next week we’re in here anyway” as he himself saw – not believing my words – that he couldn’t reach it at the moment as my stuff was more or less back where it stood – at least the shelves – and that they hadn’t left a hole there to take a look.

And now for the grand finale:

A Puddly Ordeal

On that day I didn’t know whether I should cry, scream or even laugh a little.

I prepared my flat for months, weeks, days in a way that the workers would easily have access to my kitchen, bathroom, radiators and windows. I brought almost all my important belongings back home, so they wouldn’t be in the flat when it was open for the workers. I packed everything that was still there beneath tarpaulin and went to stay at Unmeis for the night. I returned the next morning to let the carpenter in, who’d remove the last of my kitchen shelves when my neighbour welcomed me with the words:

Open up, there was water again

After a moment of shock I opened my door and saw a few small puddles on the floor, in my living room the puddles where a little larger and the corner of the carpet that looked out beneath the tarpaulin was soppy.
A look into the bathroom reminded me of a paddling pool: Water up to the door border.
But the best awaited me in the kitchen.
The wall/the strand that should have been removed and renewed the FOLLOWING DAY: Crushed inwards, tiles blasted off and the chute door pressed outwards.

If the damned pipe would have lasted one flipping day more I wouldn’t have had to spent ~two hours hauling my whole – wet at the bottom – inventory into an empty flat – luckily on the same floor – with the help of the carpenter so they could completely rip out my lamination to renew it – as soon as the flat would be dry again.

It wasn’t helping that some of the other workers made jokes about the flat being cleaned well or that the electrician out of nowhere asked me whether I even want to move back into the flat (as he otherwise would remove my other lamps as well).
Nor was it helping that they somehow managed to not give my fridge enough electricity to keep it working and in the process ruin everything I still had in there.
Nor that they moved my stuff a floor up when someone moved into the flat it had previously occupied – and I don’t know if any of my dishes survived either trip as I hadn’t had time to pack them properly.
Nor that I always had to contact the landlord to learn anything new about the status of the flat.
Nor that I’m just so fucking tired of the whole situation and basically don’t even know if I want to get back into the flat if stuff like this keeps happening.

The drying has now lasted for more than a month.
A month in which I could not use my own flat, but paid my bills regardless of that.
Fortunately(?) a part of that time was covered by the Rockharz and me being sick afterwards for three weeks – though I’m still kind of sick, but at least I can work again without annoying everybody with my coughing.

Last Tuesday my landlord told me that they’ll remove the driers – that took electricity from my line – and that soon the actual work will commence and potentially last two more weeks, including my new floor and painting of my walls – I really hope what they have planned for the mould on my bathroom door frame will work and that stuff wont return in a few months.

Anyway, that leaves me in my current situation.
I have to drive from my dad’s place (aka home) to work (Neubrandenburg) on a daily basis, as I only want to bother other people when it’s absolutely necessary. That means I’m in my car ~1 1/2 hours a day, which in turn means, I don’t have my usual time to read and write stuff in the bus, making me lack behind on all those things – again. A few days ago I started listening to an audio book to at least get something useful out of this situation.
So yeah, after that drive and work I’m rarely in the mood to do anything, so posts here will be a bit wonky again until I finally get my flat back.

Just so you know…

Poisonpainter

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