This Old German House: Welcome to the Cave

Living outside of the city has some major benefits. When I moved in with BV, it was almost triple the space of my flat in Nürnberg, not to mention the beauty of having a garden. I especially love it right now, as early spring turns the garden into a magical fairyland, with no effort whatsoever on our part. Can’t go wrong with that!

We rent our flat from a friend of BV’s, which means that we get a bit of a discount, but are expected to take care of said garden, pick up the landlord’s mail, and keep an eye on things in the empty flat downstairs. The disadvantage is that our landlord hasn’t been around much in the last year, lives far away, doesn’t drive, and BV is sometimes slow to ask him to fix things when they break. I don’t write him because I’m 95% sure he’s scared of me, so it’s probably better for BV to handle things with him.

Which brings me to our current cave. On the whole, I like the house and the space. But it’s an old house, and it doesn’t have nearly enough windows as far as I’m concerned. The living room and bedroom are south and south-east facing, and therefore only really bright in the morning, when we’re either sleeping or not at home. I like a lot of light, and the fact that it’s almost never bright enough to read comfortably without turning a lamp on, drives me a little crazy.

Then, a few weeks ago, tragedy struck. BV pulled on the interior strap to raise the wooden blinds on the bedroom window. One side tried to go up, but the other side didn’t budge. At first we thought that they had just frozen in the recent cold snap, but then every few days we tried again with the same results. Great. Our bedroom was now a cave. I think the exterior blinds that all the houses here have, are quite frankly genius, and I don’t understand why we haven’t caught onto them in the States yet. They certainly block light much more effectively than any curtains or blinds that I’ve ever had before, which when you’re trying to sleep in is absolutely fantastic. But when I’m trying to clean the bedroom, read, or organize papers, I need every bit of light I can get. Having them down all the time is simply unacceptable.

These pictures were all taken in the afternoon on a bright day…

After a fair amount of whining on my part, we finally managed to double team the problem. We opened the window, and while I slowly pulled the strap, BV jiggled the wooden slats of the blinds until they were straightened out enough to shove them up. Woohoo for daylight! I’ve tried on my own a few times in a few different ways, but it seems that opening the blinds in This Old German House is officially a two-man job now, at least for me. BV has long enough arms to be able to do it on his own, but he’s usually in such a rush in the morning that he forgets to open them for me before he leaves. Cave!

Back in November, our landlord and landlady had come by to do some yardwork, and see what else might need doing. They had asked BV about coming by to redo some of the sealing work on the windows in our flat. This would be great, because between the old house and the old windows, they don’t hold heat in the winter worth a damn. However, they wanted to come by on the day when we were hosting Thanksgiving, even after we told them that we’d have 12+ people over. They didn’t think it would be a problem, something with which I heartily disagreed. In the end, BV convinced them to postpone the work, and of course we haven’t heard a thing about it since then. I asked BV to write to our landlord, because clearly something needs to be done about the blinds, and he replied that we couldn’t possibly have them replaced. “But they’re wooden blinds! They’re older than most houses in America!” This could very well be true but it’s not a positive argument, as far as I’m concerned.

Finally, over the weekend, something happened that warranted immediate action. Our doorbell rang Sunday afternoon, and BV answered it to find our next-door neighbor. She told him that the four houses that are down the alley next to us, were all having major plumbing issues. Things were backed up, and some of the bathrooms on the ground floors were having problems.

Everybody with me now, “ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.”

They got the plumber out here right away on Monday, but finally BV had no excuse to avoid writing the landlord. Apparently all those houses are connected to our sewer pipe (all the houses were built by the original owner of our house), and some of the tree roots from our garden caused the blockage. Awesome. As it turns out, the possibility of sewage leaking up into the downstairs flat is urgent enough for him to come over almost immediately, so he’ll be here tonight. On the agenda for this evening’s meeting – which I will happily miss due to my VHS class – checking the plumbing, looking at our bedroom blinds, and discussing what can be done about our windows. Maybe if we strike while the iron is hot, we can even get him to remove a partially cut down tree with giant thorns from the front garden… It looks terrible and those thorns might blind someone walking by one of these days. I’ve wanted that thing gone for a year now, and he isn’t here that often.

Thorny trees aside, I just figure that since spring is trying to arrive, it’d be nice to have a bedroom window to watch it from. Village dreams, my friends.

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6 thoughts on “This Old German House: Welcome to the Cave

  1. Ooh, pretty flowers!

    I’m hoping to move somewhere with wooden shutters. We currently don’t have any outside blinds and the bedroom is way too light.

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