To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

COFFEE KLATSCH - When you Live at the Gate

Sorry if you haven't been able to reach this post - I had major problems and took a few hours to fix this baby/ Have a great weekend and hope you'll have a coffee klatch like this one! And I'll be back Tuesday!

When I lived in Germany, we used to have Kaffee Klatsch (coffee chat) every weekend. We had the table full of scrumptious cakes, pastries, and coffee and tea. It would last all afternoon, sometimes into the evening. Obviously at dinner time everyone was still filled up.
My following conversation would be typical for a Kaffee Klatsch!

This is a tonque-in-cheek account of a somewhat paranoid gatekeeper.
I'm sure you want to know what it is like at my new condo and what it is to live at a gated community, since most of you probably don't.
(A condo, short for condiminium is a little bigger than apartment. Buildings are mostly one or two stories high. With the latter one, in the USA, there is a community building of washers and dryers. Condo's have their own individual ones.)

Basically it is a residential area surrounded by a gate, that opens with a code. Hubby calls it"the compound." Landscaping and upkeep of the buildings are controlled by a house association.
This association charges $400 per month!!! When you leave your car parked outside the gate at night, you get a warning the first time, and the second time you get a (traffic) ticket. For all the above reasons, I don't know if I can get used to it, and live here for the rest of my life.

No one employed me as a gate keeper, but when you can't help but seeing the weekly activities at the gates, the tendency is to take the task upon oneself to become one! In front of my kitchen window is a smaller gate and on the side of the condo is the fire lane, leading up to the main gate where all the cars go through, provided they know the code! 

Hubby discovered quickly that people had tweaked the smaller gate in front of our kitchen window, so they could get through it without a key.
Problem was that the iron gate was dangerously hanging on one hinge. I would not want this gate crashing on my toes!! I am not that paranoid that I don't feel safe without that locked gate. Anyway, several times the workers attempted to fix the gate, but it took a full month before the lock worked.

It was quite amusing what happened when the only way to get through the gate was with a key. One time a man in his late thirtys dressed in nice office clothes parked his car, and came lo and behold, up to the gate.

Wished I had video'd how he got up on the lower ledge of the gate, tried to put his arm all the way to the inside to open the lock. It took him 5 min.

Others called out for help to get other people to open the gate for them. I had decided that I would charge a fee if they wanted me to do it!

A tell-tale that the condo had been unoccupied for some time  was that when people came through this gate they would stare right in my kitchen, even when I would stand in front doing dishes!
I am not easily intimidated, so I would stare right back. With the nosy ones, I would pause my work and keep staring till they had passed my condo.  Eventually everyone got the message.
Traffic has drastically reduced! The ones who come through the gate now, look sideways.

Anyway, I'm crocheting a curtain for this window, to have more privacy at night when the lights are on, since they could see even into the living room.

On the other side of this white fence is the fire lane. 
This would give us more privacy we thought.
Boy, were we wrong! This lane leads up to the main gate, so some cars came barreling through the fire lane, stop very close to the code box, so they would not have get out of the car, to push in the code. This means that they forgot or lost their remote control for the gate!

Then there are people who think this lane is handy for extra reading, chatting or texting on the cell phone, preferrably right in front of my window while they have the engine running. When that happens, I go outside, walk up to the fence, put my hands on the bars like a monkey in the zoo, to look at the car and their license plate.

Not that I read it, but I'm making use of non-verbal communication. And people, it works! When it dawns on them what I'm doing, they don't know how fast to speed off!
I know I'm naughty, but I like my privacy like everyone else.
These happenings also greatly reduced after a month living here.

Yesterday I was painting for two and a half hours on my deck outside, on the side of this fire lane with a view on the main gate, and only two pedestrians came by, whispering, because they saw me paint.
We'll see if I can get used to it.


Catherine said...

Hi Jeannette, haven't been to your blog in a while, so I enjoyed reading your recent posts. sorry you got hassled by someone and had to remove their comment, there are morons everywhere even in blogosphere! This post was interesting as I can't imagine what living in a gated community must be like and am not really sure what a condo is but I would not like to have people invading my privacy that much. I know in Holland people seem to invite nosy parkers (that term is not meant for the car parkers - literally nosy parkers - outside your gate!) by their wonderful picture windows with no net curtains so beloved of the British and most Irish. I don't have curtains except for a small curtain at the top of my window for ambience so people passing at night love to look into our living room through the plants on the windowsill and see what we're up to! I don't mind that, and the plants afford some privacy. Rudeness is another thing though and I wouldn't like people using my garden as a short cut!
Take care and keep on painting - I love the big easel your hubby made, clever man!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This should be called "Trials and tribulations of Community Living". It is a good thing that you are showing them from the start what is acceptable and what not. People can be so selfish and could not care less about others. The noise it the greatest factor which always gets me.

Gaelyn said...

I didn't realize you had moved into a condo. Yet it sounds like you make a great gate keeper. It's way too much like apartment living for me.

jeannette stgermain said...

Guess we are both busy people LOL
After your comment I added what a condo (condominium) is (first paragraph). My brother in Holl. thought we were living in a ouden van dagen tehuis!!! I couldn't make the concept of a gated community clear to him.
With a condo you don't have a garden/yard, but there is plenty of landscaping around the buildings, as you can see from the pics. People hired by the home association take care of that.

Sounds like you have taken on some of the Dutch culture with your windows! Here in the US it would be rude to look into someone's house.
I've got to visit your blog, since I haven't been there in a while!
Oh yes, you bet I will keep on painting:) - thanks, I'll pass it on to hubby.

jeannette stgermain said...

A good title! LOL I think I would never survive in a commune - I like my privacy too much!
And as you've read, anyone who steps on it, gets my "wrath" (little exaggerated, but I'm not letting them get away with it).

jeannette stgermain said...

Only as a teen I've lived in an apartment, but then I was never home. So, I can't remember what that was like.
The people in these condo's though are nothing like apartment people. They wear Nordstrom and Bloomingdale and I've never seen so many BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes' in such a concentrated area.

Sreddy Yen said...

Only one word to describe this: LOL~! I hope you enjoy your new house :o)

The Green Stone Woman said...

I don't believe all the fuss people make about where you live, when you live in a perfectly nice place and many people in the Netherlands or anywhere in Europe would like to live in such circumstances. I think more than anything you're supposed to be happy there and I think some of your commenters seem to not respect that.

Whitemist said...

This is funny! All you are is making sure you are safe in your "gated" community. I still think that is a lot of common charge for a condo, but i think it is worth it. Now for your painting!
You know you could put a show on right there!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Jeannette! Before Hubby and I married, I lived in an apartment complex for 5 years. My front door was sraight across from the neighbors. She had her recliner positioned so see could look out her solid glass storm door. I kept mine closed to keep her from staring all the time!I used to think "get a life woman" ! :)

DawnTreader said...

I live in an apartment on the 2nd floor and am glad to have no one looking in through my windows... ;)

jeannette stgermain said...

Glad you see the upside of it -that's the only way to deal with it, instead of becoming depressed or angry LOL. Once I have found a place for everything, I think I'll enjoy it more. Thanks Sreddy!

jeannette stgermain said...

Since we had never lived in a gated community, the safety issue was a bonus - it was the space inside the condo that I liked, why we bought it. Some people have rented out their condo and they charge twice as much! California is an expensive place!!
Guess you have never seen my slide show of flower paintings? Have to look it up when (somewhere early last year) - I'll get back to you sometime on that.

jeannette stgermain said...

That is sad, when someone has nothing else to do. Wow, you in an apartment? - what a different life you live now! The worst it is for the children - they at least need a yard to play in.

jeannette stgermain said...

Sorry, I went out of order - I thought I had already given a response to you.I wonder if it's what you're used to, that makes one happy. Except for my teen years I've lived in a house with a yard.
So this post is about adjustments LOL I don't know if I do a good job of that:)
The people in this complex though are not because they can't afford something else, these are upscale people with fashionable clothes and expensive cars.

jeannette stgermain said...

If my back and legs would have been stronger, I would have chosen a condo on the second story, because they have more storage space and higher ceilings. I didn't even think about more privacy, that's how clueless I was LOL!

Merisi said...

How annoying the habits of some people are!
I hope you can enjoy more peace and quiet in the future.

Merisi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
VioletSky said...

At least you have some entertainment!

yvette said...

hoi old duchie....zag je bij petrus spronk en dacht ik zeg je even gedag!

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, thank you Merisi, it already has become much better. Some people don't even though that they are annoying, until someone points it out to them. I have to say non-verbal communication works best:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Haha, that's a good way of looking at it. We could trade places? (and then it's your turn to write a post about it:) )

jeannette stgermain said...

Nu heb je me nieuwsgierig gemaakt:) Een prettige week toegewenst!

Reader Wil said...

Hi Jeannette! It must be a great change living at first in a house with a lot of privacy and now in a condo! I have seen something like that in Australia, in Cairns. It's safe, but I don't like gates. May be that's a because in the concentration camp we had a gate and a fence around us. I know it's a different situation, which you cannot compare with a condo of course! But you handle the situation very well. Many people in Holland have netcurtains in front of the windows as you know. At least here in this village. But we feel embarrassed if someone catches us snooping around.Well take care.

crochet lady said...

Oh dear, I would not like to have to go through all that. I am very thankful for our privacy out here in the country with our long driveway.

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
Sorry for answering just now - I've been somewhat distracted lately (still in process to sell our old house).
Yes, I can imagine that with your experience, I would not want a gate either! Since I grew up in Holland, I don't need the gate to feel safe. Unfortunately the crime rate is here much higher than in Holl.
As I said in the post, I don't know if I can get used to the gate, and to the home association - I like my freedom!

jeannette stgermain said...

I would even be satisfied right now with a short driveway or any sort of driveway, LOL