For the past several weeks there has been a notice posted on the apartment’s front door explaining that someone from the water and power company would need access to our water meters. Fine and well enough, the meters are in the basement! No trouble.
Except. Not all the meters are in the basement apparently. Who knew? No one has been by to check on anything at any other time. But, it turns out that this area of Germany has remote controlled individual water meters in several strategic locations in each apartment. Thursday afternoon, when I was luckily not feeling too put out from the chemo, a small greying man with a lot of boxes showed up on our doorstep and indicated that he needed to come in. Doh. The house wasn’t really expecting visitor. Especially not German visitors. Our housekeeping at its best is rarely up to German standards, I know. But, I swallowed my embarrassment and stepped aside to let the gentleman do his work. He scowled a little, but dragged in his boxes and showed us what he needed. I was extremely grateful that they are home for the summer. DS in particular was a huge help with his language skills.
The first panel the gentleman needed was behind our broken hall coat rack. The kids scurried around pulling things out of the way. “DS,” I said, noting the large accumulation of dust bunnies, “be sure to vacuum that when he is done”. The man took a look at the set up and asked for “ein Besen“. DS thought for a second and scurried off to grab a bucket. Whoops. What the man really wanted was a broom! Double embarrassment for DS and me. He blew his language guess and I blushed at the fact that the man couldn’t tolerate the dustiness of our hallway corner. DOH! DS quickly helped sweep up and then stood out of the way while the man began the process of replacing several pieces of hardware behind the panel. You can see the main piece to the right with all the wires coming out of it.
Next up the man wanted to go into the main bathroom. I scooped up my jammies and DS did a quick sweeping before the gentleman moved in. He thanked us and I smiled what I hoped was a self-effacing grin. The man had to work behind the toilet, so I was glad that at least the commode had had a recent scrubbing. I crossed fingers that my bald head got us some distance from the “filthy immigrants” stereotype that I just knew we fell into on this day. I am sure there HAVE to be Germans who don’t mop their front stoops and pry the lichen from between the cobblestones in their driveway, but if so I haven’t come across any yet.
The whole ordeal only took about 20 minutes. And, I got the impression that by the time the gentleman left he was feeling more kindly towards us. I found myself wondering whether other apartment dwellers, who had presumably better understood the door-notice, had taken the day off work to deal with this switch-over. What would happen if no one was home when he arrived? I am pretty sure Germany would break.