Tag: re-decoration

Safety First

Pointless, boring story ahead.

The first man came in the late morning and marked the positions. The second one carried a box with devices and a laptop. He sat on the floor and busily scanned codes in, marked the devices, sorted them and left, remarking that they’d be “scharf” now, loaded. The third hauled a large power drill and fixed the devices, all three in less than seven minutes. He left with a grin and gave me a xerocopied instructional paper.
You may already guessed it, venerated reader, I am talking about smoke detectors that were installed in my rooms. All for safety.
What I do not understand is that these things must be so terribly ugly.

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They successfully searched for the ugliest smoke detector available in Europe.
They successfully searched for the ugliest smoke detector available in Europe.

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They look like anti-personal-mines.
I chatted with my neighbour who is living in a pretty large appartement. They had six of these things bolted to the ceiling. Also another neighbour some floors up found six of these design disasters decorating her flat. So I wondered when in a friend’s flat of the same design only five abominations were installed. I met laptop man in the lift when he carried a new box of devices and said something along the line that they surely fitted some hundreds in this large appartement house. He was a little upset and complained that he had been told to bring more than 300 of the things, but he only had 200 mounted, at the utmost. If it would have been better organised they’d be at home already.

Yesterday I walked past the janitor’s office, found the door open and him sitting at his desk. I looked, he waved me in, kicked a chair in front of the desk and asked “What’s up ?”
I expressed my astonishment about the not mounted safety device and the lack of coordination. He rolled his eyes and explained that laptop man & friends were clearly instructed to nail a smoke detector at the ceiling of every room that is possibly a sleeping room, and in the exits or hallways (“Fluchtwege”). Of course not in bathrooms and kitchens, obviously. Laptop man decided to install the things only in rooms that right now are used as sleeping rooms. The large room in my friend’s flat is actually used as a bureau – no bed, no smoke detector.
And while they were at it, they ignored the basement level completely (six appartements) and were busily searching for the “Dachgeschoss”, the attic, that is miraculously not built.
There will be another date to fix the mess. It is not clear whether laptop man & friends will do this.
While I sat there I asked him what would happen if I heard such an alarm ? “I mean : Thursday morning, 09:30, I’m back from my morning drive, ready to sleep an hour. All my neighbours are at work or at the university, usually I am alone on the floor. I hear an alarm two doors down. I knock at the door, no reaction. My janitor is not reachable, he has to take care for other objects too, some miles away. Even if you’d be here, you are not allowed to open the door.” “That would be burglary”, he chipped in.
“I call the firefighters. They go in, false alert. Do I pay the operation ?” “Nice question”, he said, “especially because it was not asked before.” “So what does my landlord say ?”
He thought for a minute and told me that if he would ask this in the centre office they’d kick him and tell him to mind his own business. Very nice shop morale.
As he knows his company, they would pass the question to the firefighters.
He pulled out a file card and called the village firefighters, 70something.
No one reachable, even after several tries.
He called the village administration and asked for the number of the force – 70something. And, after complaining that it is useless, he got the number of a portable.
Which is not working. We tried two times : Number not taken, not connected to a customer.
“Better not burn here” he said. “Commander’s out for lunch”, I agreed.
So he called the emergency number.
“Yes, relax, no alarm” – and he told his story and asked the question. Their answer was clear : They are the professional force. If someone calls them they need to know where the emergency is, then they alarm the local force. The local force deals with it and decides whether they need professional help. The cost is not their business, that is between the local force and the local administration. For this village, they call 70something.
“Thank you.”
Two middle-aged blokes with too much time to spare and a telephone.
All in the name of safety, of course.

Desk Sitting

It’s a real pleasure to sit at this desk. First of all, no draught. Second, I look up and see over my room to the (clean) window, which is now hidden behind a very nice orangey courtain that gives a warm light, I’d use the German word anheimelnd for it. On daytime I look out in the landscape and have roughly one-third greenery and two-thirds sky.
The dust is actually fought back, but I know that it is only a temporary ceasefire, the battle will go on. À propos dust, I have my old Röhrenradio now in reach. Tomorrow I will open its back carefully and de-dust the innards. The device is roughly seventy (?) years old, I am not sure whether it was opened before, but tubes tend to become pretty hot. And I want to use this radio and listen to the classic station, without the nagging fear of waking up from the smell of a burning old radio, made from wood, textile and Bakelite …
Oh, regarding music – I finally have the possibility to array my stereo and have it running, I am just unsure where to put the loudspeakers. I wonder whether I can get some of these old-fashioned connectors I need since I bought the thing (twenty years ago ?). In the long run it is not okay to just wriggle the cooper wire into the connecting “ports” or how-its-called. I mean, they are made the way they are made for a purpose. Like making sure that a signal is transmitted the best possible way ; “fixing in” some prickly cooper wire is not what the engineers had in mind. And it may be better for the sound too …
All this musical stuff will lead to the necessary re-location of the lps and cds, what means to shift some case boards, what means that books must be taken out, de-dusted & sorted – it will be an active winter …
A very nice result of helping a friend move a bureau is that I now sit in a very comfy chair that is actually made for people, who sit at desks : Bloody comfortable ! No more backache.
Left are my kitchen and the sleeping room. The kitchen window is a disgrace, when it’s really cold in winter I have to shut the kitchen door to keep the chill out. I will clean the whole thing tomorrow, every nook and cranny, and use any little strip of self-sticking seal I have left, to make it shut. I remember when these windows were put in, by a “Hau-Ruck”-gang of workers, who basically gave a damn whether the things were installed correctly, heck it doesn’t fall out, next … expanding foam is a friend …
The janitor was not very happy, because he had the task of re-adjusting and fine-tuning the thrown in plastic windows. I once could bribe him to make this for the one in my sleeping room, it was really too bad back then. The tenants on the other side of the house are really in a bad position, because it is the windy (and stormy) side (in spring and autumn, still to come), and one must make sure that the outpouring flows are open …
My sleeping room will see some changes too. In the end I decided to get rid of all these papers, materials I once collected to write my thesis. It is non-sense to harbour the belief that I’d write that thing. What for ? An academic degree ? Please … If I’d win the lottery and had all my time at my hands, & would no longer be forced to do actual work for my living and spent precious lifetime on this – would I chain meself to a desk for another two or three years to write this damn thing ?
Surely not.
I would work for another year and carefully plan my exit. I would care for another living space and then I’d go travelling, as long as I am able to do this with a working body and a functional brain, so that I recognise what I see in museums, collections and landscapes I really want to be in, together with the humans I want to know & spend time with.
After all I wrote an article about the topic of this hypothetical thesis, collected all materials necessary and it is published, so who ever (if anybody really wants to take this task) will do it, will have to start where I left. If I had money “wie Heu”, I’d finance this endeavour, set up a nice little foundation and let some young people work their arses off on this. It would result in a digital edition of some remote German texts nobody knows today. But I wrote these articles roughly twenty years ago, the texts in question are nearly four hundred years old, so what – ? We do not seem to be in a rush here …
I need the space, the materials / secondary lit etc. are already outdated and hence obsolete, the discussion has went on as I could follow, & throwing out that garbage will perhaps give me the chance to organise the (little) stuff that is really me, my own, its less enough. So enough of this selfish blab. And just because you stayed with me and read until here, a little blues number by Frank TANNEHILL, another long forgotten bloke who did his own thing, & vanished.
Hope you enjoy it.

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Sunday Music

Oh HErr … !
Sometimes small things may trigger larger things, and in the end one faces a small avalanche. So when I was asked to help with a small removal ; nothing fancy, just a bureau. And all of a sudden the question stood in the room (quite literally), if I’d like to have this nice desk, and other neat things.
I had a desk, and did not like it anymore. Because of its history ( A gift from a “friend” I could hardly refuse to accept some years ago ; then I needed the thing, later brought it into my actual flat, but it was large, dark & bulky, and always reminded me of the person I got it from. Besides that, I could only place it in the most draughtly place in the room.), its largeness and shabbiness.
So I happily threw the thing into the large skip at the dump (sorry, it’s called Wertstoffhof today, recycling depot, yeah !), assisted by a man in shocking-orange who used a hammer to make it fit (“Bassd’ scho’ !”) – ramm, bamm, thank you Man !
To my amazement I found a lot of things I had put into the drawers of saied ex-desk, and it soon became clear that I had to re-decorate seriously. To make a long story short, I now have a view (Yes ! There IS a window ! It’ s even pretty large, and grimy, but this can be modified, as I am told.) ; I have access to my books (Heavens, the dust ! And all this copies-folders-magazines I simply had stuffed on top of them poor books, it will take another week to sort this paper out.), and I simply have space : Totally unaccustomed.
After this weekend without a table and internet-access (I only realised by chance that my phone was not working anymore, I had to pull some electrical connectors) I am now sitting happily at a very basic table made from blond wood, in the corner with the least draught, looking over the room out into the sky (with a bit of horizon and greenery thrown in). There is still clobber lying around, but it becomes less and less every day, the blue garbage bags are waiting to be filled, and I am not the man to frustrate them.
Clearing up my shanty some music by The Soul Brothers (A short-lived Jamaican group around Jackie MITTOO (Ger., Eng.)) may be nice to listen to, a title aptly called Shanty Town – I hope you like it.
Let’s have a merry week !

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Arg …

How is it possible that in such a small appartement so much dust can gather. It were not dust bunnies the Hoover devoured, more like dust elephants, dust monsters …
I also scrubbed the floor of my kitchen, very necessary after I accidentally knocked down a glass of orange juice, what a sticky stuff. The good side: Less dust, better air. The down side: My back hurts ; sitting, standing it’s all the same. So I’ll lay down & read [ARIÈS’ (Ger.; Eng.) History of Death, or whatever I can reach from my Leidenslager]. Ade schnöde Welt