From the Land of Sand, Sun, and Burittos to das Land auf Wald, Schnee und Bratwurst.....

Friday, December 03, 2004

First Post

Well my first post is regarding something that could not be more relevant to my life today. It is a little story about meine Verrucht Vermieterin (as I will call her), or translated, my crazy landlady. I think that just about anyone in my generation that went to college has had problems with there landlord / landlady. This is understandable (and I think in most cases expected) because when an 18 year old leaves the home for the first time and experiences true freedom away from the normal chores of endless yard work, daily bed making (I still don’t understand why this is important, but my girlfriend insists on it), and what seems to a high school student as unreasonable curfews, they tend to go a little crazy and thoroughly "enjoy" this new found freedom. To use myself as an example, in my first two years of life in San Diego I lived in three different locations and my roommates and myself tended to throw the typical college age blowouts with kegs, dj's bands and everything else that is on the typical house party menu. Understandable to me now (but occasionally not at the time) these type of actions on a regular basis can tend to make your landlord angry.

Well as all of those that know me well I have slightly matured at this stage of my life and have known since the last half of my college career that it is not in your best interests to have a party at your house. Big parties have been the only reason that I have ever had problems with a landlady / landlord, and these are not the nature of my problems. Not only have I never had a blow-out with kegs and dj's and all everything else that is on the typical house party menu, but I have never had more then five people in my apartment at the same time. I don’t even know enough people in Lohr am Main, Deutschland to consider having one of these events, and if I sent out an eVite to all of you at home I would be lucky to see a single face. This brings me to meine Verrucht Vermieterin. We will call her mVV for short.

mVV is the owner of a large house. I live on the second floor, she lives on the first. Since my first day here there has been something a bit strange about this 60 year old, single lady. First of all I think she only has one black t-shirt. Second, she has a 120 pound St. Bernard chained to the wall in her living room (I have never seen him off his chain in 3 months) that she feeds anything but dog food. Third, I don’t think she has ever thrown anything away for there are box’s pilled up from ceiling to floor in her part of the house. I could go on and on for ten pages about all of the problems I have had with her but I will keep it to a short summary.

Upon arriving here in September, mVV picked me up at the train station, helped me move in, took me to the supermarket, and informed me that I can do what I like in my apartment. I thought she was a nice old lady, but this is where her generosity ended. I was placed in this apartment by my company and they pay for all of the expenses. This is a common arrangement here in Germany that is called a Warmmeter, which translates directly to "warm rent", but plainly means that your rent includes your utilities. After a week in the apartment mVV threatened me not to use to much electricity and water, and did not turn on the heating system until mid October. Then she refused to fix things that were broken when I moved in, citing the fact that my firm dose not pay her enough money. Then one day I had FIVE colleagues over for Mexican food one Wednesday night until 11:00 pm. The next morning she called her contact at my firm and basically told them that I had a blow-out with kegs and dj's and everything else that is on the typical house party menu. Das war sehr komisch!

To top it all off she harassed me for my girlfriend being here too much (I think on the ground that when she is here there are extra showers and flushes the toilet too often), was charging me half of her connection fee for HER DSL internet for the last three months, and sent my firm a 176 Euro ($234) for two months of utilities over the Warmmeter that my firm was paying. The 176 Euro is funny because according to an unofficial survey that I conducted myself, none of my colleagues pay more then 50 euro a month for utilities in their HOUSE! I decided that I have on my hands here an common old granny theft.

After the above mentioned actions I have decide to move out and get a new apartment. The one positive thing that has happened through all of this I have learned how great of a company that I work for. The first day I started having problems with mVV, they asked me if I wanted to get another place, but I decided that I would stick it out because my apartment was nice, big and close to work. The ladies in the personnel department have been very supportive after having to deal with her calling on an almost daily basis to try to squeeze some more money out of the firm. mVV really did her self in though, because she bit the hand that fed her, and now I am moving out and my firm will never work with her again.

This has been a HUGE culture experience for me. From my speaking to other German people here in my town, and from my own experiences in the last 6 months, I have come to the understanding that the German people watch their finances closely. This is very different from the free spending lifestyle of California, but I think I will cover that whole topic at a later date. I have also learned that on a whole German people are law abiding, fair but stern citizens. I just happened to get stuck with this crazy old swindling scam artist of a women.

I will stop venting at this point so you can enjoy your day. I have three more weeks of cold and snow before I have a two week vacation at home in the Bay, hope to see you all there. Bis spaeter!

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