Tuesday, April 17, 2012

son of a bitch

It seems that everywhere we live in Norway is somehow doomed to be worked on, remodeled, reconstructed, or be in a construction zone.

Our first place, where we lived for three years, overlooked a giant construction site where they basically took out half a mountain to build a big shopping complex. There were huge klieg lights on at all hours, so in winter at night we had orange artifical light streaming in the windows constantly (never remember seeing the moon) and the dynamiting of the rock was so loud that I had to push glassware back onto the shelves or it would start to vibrate off.

From there we moved to another place, a new, modern, brand new apartment in a posh building. Which apparently wasn't built right and was in imminent danger of falling down. (That building and the debacle of its construction made the front cover of the Norwegian engineering magazine and when we gave our address, people would say, "Oh, you live in THAT building?" Nice.) Those of you who have read my blog for a while might remember that we had to move out for a month and a half so that they could basically tear down our walls and ceilings and bolt the apartment back together properly. That was a total and utter pain in the ass, that was.

We lived there four years. We finally moved out when they needed to come in AGAIN and do more tearing down to fix the stuff they didn't fix the first time.

So now. We've been in our Oslo flat for almost three years. For the past year or more there has been scaffolding at the back, in the courtyard, over the kitchen window, which meant my morning coffee making was interrupted by workmen going up and down the ladder while I stood there in my underwear and a tank top. (I really need to wear more clothes when I am at home, I finally have gotten a few robes to cover with.) There was constant drilling and hammering and banging and noise. Doors were constantly left unlocked by the careless construction workers so that strangers could get in the back stairs and into our storage and steal stuff. Dust and mess everywhere. They finally took that scaffolding down about a month ago, and it was so nice to have the light coming in the window again.


Now they are putting scaffolding all over the FRONT of the building, which is WAY worse than anything that has happened in all our previous places. It means the following:

  • Having to keep the curtains drawn 24/7;

  • No light in summer (summer light is CRUCIAL if you live in Norway, it's the only reason you survive the winter because you get that summer reward);

  • Have to keep the windows closed for security and dust, meaning no AIR and we don't have air conditioning;

  • The balcony will be unuseable for sunbathing or sitting and enjoying morning coffee as it will be covered;

  • The feeling that someone could look in on you in your own house at any time, like living in a fishbowl;

  • They usually then hang a great huge banner across the building, about midway up, advertising the scaffolding or construction company doing the work, and blocking any possible view from the windows. Guess whose apartment is midway up the building?
Getting dressed this morning was an exercise in duck and cover, as I hadn't closed the curtains in my dressing room and that is where I keep my clothes. And I didn't have much on to be decent enough to close the curtains, and they were right outside building the fucking scaffolding. I hope they enjoyed the fucking view, and judging by the 'hello' I got as I left for work this morning, they did.

I'm so upset about this. I really am. I hate this, I hate it I hate it. I get claustrophobic if I have to close curtains, if I can't wake up to immediately see light and see the sky. I have never used blackout curtains for that reason, I can't stand being out of touch with the passage of the sun, it freaks me out. I honestly don't know how I will survive a summer with closed curtains and being shut in, my stomach is tense and slightly nauseous at the mere thought.

I think I will do a lot of traveling this summer. I can't bear to be shut into my own house like that. I can't bear it.

The man in the hoodie outside my dining room this morning. Like an image from a nightmare.


  1. Holy shit! That is quite the nightmare! I'm easily freaked out and I know I would have peed a bit had I seen that guy outside my window.

    And your windows are gorgeous!

  2. I feel for you and understand the light thing. I have SAD in winter and when starting a new career in our local hospital lab I realized there were no windows to the outside. I had to go out and down the hall just to see the outside. It was one of the reasons I had to quit.

  3. And we all know what men in hoodies do. . .

  4. Damn, that blows. So sorry they're f-ing up your summer. Wish you could get some of that one-way-mirror stuff and put over your windows!

  5. I feel your pain. When we moved to London, Yasha found a fab flat with high ceilings and many windows and light wells. (Not our first rodeo living north in the dark.) Within 3 months, the exterior updating, which the agent hadn't mentioned, began. Same deal as you. I am sorry to tell you, it will be as bad as you expect. You might get some comic relief though. One day I had the pleasure of hearing a couple of cockney painters belting out Without You by Leanne Rimes.

  6. I don't get it. Your building's façade looked fine to me?? My best advice would be to buy rather than rent, and then be on the board for the building you buy into. Or spend a fortune on a single family...at least no problem reselling those in Norway...


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