Friday, April 25, 2008

Interna

Apologies for being somewhat quiet the last days. Besides some other time-consuming stuff, I've been filling forms, forms and more forms for the tax return. Once I started doing that I figured I should probably have done this already last year. So now I've twice the paperload, and I promise I'll stop mocking Stefan for being late with his tax return. I printed hundreds of pages information sheets for newcomers, non-residents and general guides about how to deduce your own death and your neighbor's children. Just to fail already at question two: Your spouse's social insurance number. I called the hotline a dozen times, and to my great annoyance constantly messed up the numbers in the calculator because I keep mixing up dots with commas (the German notation is exchanged, e.g. twenty-thousand would be 20.000,00 not 20,000.00).

After having done that a whole day I come home, and there's some animal in the ventilation just above my stove! I can hear it tapping around, just above the fan grill trying to get out. I turn on the light but can't see anything besides shadows, and of course the batteries in the flashlight are dead. I think about just not doing anything, but I honestly don't want whatever it is to die there, just above my stove. Besides, the tapping is kind of creepy.

Not being in the mood to search for my toolbox, I call the landlord who shows up like 1 minute later with a ladder and duct tape. "The starlings!" he says, "They've been attacking the building this year!" He takes off the grill, and just turns on the vent. And out comes, with feathers flying around, a starling. The bird heads into totally the wrong direction and I'm grateful for having closed all doors in a rare case of foresight. The starling makes a turn, shits all over the living room and then bumps full speed against the window. We manage to manoeuvre him out on the balcony with some towels. Then the landlord takes the ladder and the duct tape and seals the outside vent outlets. "They try to nest in there. But we don't want them, they're not paying rent."

He tells me Monday somebody will come to cover the vents with a grill or so. So I spend the next half hour cleaning up birdshit.

Anyway, a nice weekend to all of you!

14 comments:

Neil' said...

I wonder what Germans think about their tax system, its fairness and overall weight compared to what you know of the US situation? Of the latter, I am amazed e.g. that singles making 20k/year subsidize the children of couples making e.g. 50k through "child tax credits" etc., and that only the first 90k or so of earned income has the social security tax levied on it. Worst of all is that people who just resell what they bought pay a lower rate on their gain than those who did utility-producing work. Worse than that tax provision itself are the specious arguments by propagandists for the wealthy such as our George Will.

Phil Warnell said...

Bee,

“I call the landlord who shows up like 1 minute later with a ladder and duct tape.”

Having trouble with the Sturnus vulgaris are you? As yourself they are actually native to Europe. Also, is this the same chronologically challenged fellow that moved your coach back in the winter? He certainly seems like a good landlord. I’m surprised that he didn’t offer to help your with the avian byproduct . I guess no one can be expected to be that nice:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Neil: I don't know. I haven't paid much taxes neither in Germany nor in the US since in both cases I've mostly been on taxfree scholarships (except for one year here or there). People sometimes think taxfree is great, but it isn't. It means among other things you have no retirement plan, and no health insurance via the employer. It also doesn't mean you earn more since the salary of course takes into account there's no taxes to be paid. The only advantage is you don't have to fill out the tax forms. From that little that I know the tax system in most western countries are very very similar, the differences are in the details. I think the whole system is a problem, overloaded with details and exemptions and rules over rules over rules.

Phil: He did offer to clean up! However, I thought I know how to deal with shit. Yes, he's a good landlord (running the building together with his wife).

Best,

B.

Uncle Al said...

The sterling makes a turn, shits all over the living room and then bumps full speed against the window.

Them's not starlings, them's government! "We are from the government, we are here to help ourselves to you. We have come for a piece of all mankind."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_qgVn-Op7Q
Network, 1976. 32 years have awarded us improved means to deteriorated ends.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“He did offer to clean up! However, I thought I know how to deal with shit. Yes, he's a good landlord (running the building together with his wife).”

Well this certainly goes to prove that some of the folks in Waterloo are of a gentler and kinder type then those of T.O. or many other places. You have often commented about the remoteness and often poor climate of your current location. It is then nice to hear that you feel this is partially offset by the nature and character of some of the inhabitance. The Sturnus vulgaris of course being excluded from this assessment:-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Huh, have I "often commented about the remoteness and often poor climate of your current location."? If so, it wasn't my intention. I've commented about the Honda dealer that I certainly won't visit again. I also admit on having a general disliking of competition driven capitalist thinking that seems to be abundant in North America, and I'm suspicious about the benefits that technological developments bring for our social lives, but I have no general complaints about Canadians and/or Americans. There's the occasional cultural misunderstanding of course.

I'd probably agree though that the climate is poor ;-)

Best,

B.

stefan said...

Dear Bee,

Oh Noo - this story with the starling, that's the pure horror. Did I ever tell you that I never dared to leave open one of the windows when leaving my apartment under the roof even for just a few minutes, because I was/am afraid of birds getting in, not finding out again, panicking and covering everything with shit? Puh...

Anyway, back to my tax forms...

Cheers, Stefan

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“I "often commented about the remoteness and often poor climate of your current location."? If so, it wasn't my intention.”

I stand corrected for I can’t recall you directly commenting on the remoteness. Then again how could you with at least 10 Tim Horton’s within a five minute drive :-)

As for how you feel about Canuks and Yanks in general, it doesn’t matter much, unless of course you would ask what’s the difference! :-)

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

So then, of course I do ask what do you think is the difference? I admittedly can't tell very well since I didn't only move across the border but also from the south-west to the north-east. Many of the differences I notice are probably regional. E.g. here people seem to be generally better informed about Europe, and there are more import products available, but then Europe is just closer. The quality of housing is higher, but then the climate is just harsher. Also, living in the "world's top intelligent community 2007" probably doesn't give me a very average impression of Canada. Best,

B.

stefan said...

Ha, weekend is over, but the tax forms filled out :-)
Hoping to get back to more normal blogging tomorrow...

Cheers, Stefan

Bee said...

Gee, the starlings made their way through all the duct tape! Un-be-lievable. I think I'll have to burn off my worst incense sticks and add more duct tape.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

This sounds like this could serve to be the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”:-)

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

......or maybe Phil, it's the search for the meaning of the "Holy Grail?".....an inclination away from "flocking?" Maybe it could be seen as an analogy to the "higg's mechanism?" What is the birds relation to complexity when seen all by itself?:)

I have been pondering "new bird species posts" as my wife has accumulated some new pictures of more different species.

Stefan, they must be pigeons?

Plato said...

A little wildlife for those who live in the concrete jungles:)