|I live in an igloo, you like it?|
You know, I really do not like tocomplain about living in Germany. I rarely “miss” America or goon and on about how great things are back home, I typically justchalk things up to being different and do not assign value statementssuch as better or worse. This weekend shit just got real and myopinion of Berlin and the German way of doing certain things is at an all time low.
I am currently typing from my flat, myhead hurts, my fingers are frozen to the bone and the tears that Ihave been crying out of frustration are practically ice-sickles. Isit here in the dead of winter without any heat or hot water. The gasline to my entire building has been shut off, and there is nocommunication as to when this will be restored. I am currently on Day4 without these luxuries and although I am aware that I am fortunatebecause there are people without a roof over their head or bed tosleep in, I am still angry at how irresponsible my building owner hasbeen in this situation. By Day 4 any residual heat left in the wallsand floors are gone, everything is cold to the touch, and I can seemy breath when I breathe.
When I woke up Friday the place was, asthe Germans say, “fresh”. When I went to take a shower I realizedI didn’t have hot water either. I checked my combi water heater thatoccasionally needs more pressure. It looked abit low so I did the usually ritual to establish the appropriatepressure and still nothing happened. The combi clicked clickedclicked and that “all systems go” noise of the fire ignitingnever came. I eventually called the plumber and he met me at my flatat 2:00. After tinkering around for 30 mins he emerged defeated andtold me there was no gas coming into the flat. A light bulb went offin my head. That morning on my way to work I saw a letter taped tothe front door. I didn’t understand it, the first words were so“technical” that I took a picture on my phone and intended to asksomeone to translate it for me but I never got the chance. I told himabout the letter and he ran down to check it out.
The letter held the answer to mystery.I wasn’t dealing with a temporary shut down, they pulled the plugindefinitely. They suspected multiple leaks and therefore shut offthe gas to the building Thursday afternoon. A company would come onMONDAY between 7:30 and 16:00 to examine all gas lines into everyflat to find the source of the leak. Immediately I was pissed. Howon earth can you cut off gas on Thursday and then decide that youwill not come on Friday, or even Saturday and that this could waituntil Monday??? Ah right I know how, because the house ownerdoesn’t want to pay for short notice emergency service, so it had tobe Monday. Monday was not even the solution day, it was the day forthem to find the source of the problem.
So I missed a day of work today, (ontop of Friday afternoon), waiting for the pipe inspection people. Theprognosis: gas leaks everywhere, the main pipe into the building andthe main lines that lead into each and every flat. They will submitan offer for repair/replacement to the house owner and he may decidethat he wants to consider other offers because these people may betoo expensive. ARGH!!! Once an offer is accepted the work onreplacing pipes and going into the walls should take two days. But itshould be noted that they need access to everyone’s flat and need toreplace everyone’s pipes and then retest for leaks and only afterthey are content will they advise the gas company to turn on the gas.This could take AGES, considering this is Germany and the holiday season, I’m not sure all will go smoothly.
I asked the pipe inspector person ifthey had electric heaters to give out. They said no , they ran out.Uh you shut off gas to an entire building in winter and your answerto me is that you ran out. GO OUT AND BUY MORE. There are children, old people, and pissed off Americans who live here, you runningout is not my problem. I then said! You don’t want to give me a heater so I canlive in my house, so I suppose that is your invitation to let mesleep in your heated house tonight, right?
This is a total disaster!!! Not tomention the legal nightmare I may have in front of me claiming backthe cost of my electricity going up due to these resource suckingelectric heaters, the cost of a hotel, the days I am losingfrom work to tend to this bullshit and reducing my rent because theflat is unlivable.
My main beefs:
Waiting until Monday in an effort to save money is irresponsible and I hope someone sues the house owner’s ass. I know all the landlords are going to be PISSED that their tenants are refusing to pay rent for a portion of December.
Heaters should have been made available on Thursday. You are cutting of a service and should provide an alternative. There should been a nice sentence on the letter “if you need or want heating elements call this number we will drop these off with a smile.” But no, they would rather be reactive instead of proactive and deal with pissed off cold people.Why do I even have to ask???
As a renter in Germany I do have rights but the bureaucracy that I have to go through is complicated and time consuming, pretty sure they make things difficult to deter people from pursing compensation.
Why couldn’t they find a leak in thesummer time?bah and burrr! I’m going to stay with a friend and possible move my holiday travel plans up a few days. Someone made the comment that we most likely won’t have gas restored until the new year.