So, a few weeks ago I was somehow voted in to the body corporate of the little village where we live. I didn’t really understand too much about the expectations or commitment level, but thought I would give it a go anyway. Now that we live here, why not? Why not meet the locals and get to know the community better?
Well, we have just had our first meeting, so I can tell you ‘why not?’
The first meeting was held in the local church and it took me only one donk of the gavel to realise that I was in WAY OVER MY HEAD. The room was crowded and the atmosphere relaxed, but Swedish. Entirely Swedish.
Why not join the board? Well for starters, we may very well be living in a charming little nook that is remnant of an English country garden where Barnaby may or may not suddenly appear, but of course, we are actually in the middle of Stockholm and that means coffee was served (no tea) and that every word that was spoken was in Swedish. And I’m not talking water cooler stuff, but official, academic, donk of the gavel, formal Swedish. Lucky we were in a church because I quickly realised that I would be needing all the blessings I could get.
I’d joined thinking it would be great to be part of the community. I’d joined thinking I would be tablescaping the upcoming spring community cleaning day, making sure that the coffee was hot and the seats laid out just so. I’d thought our meetings would be something out of Gilmore Girls, with Taylor Doose running the show with a room full of colourful yet affable characters. Turns out Taylor is called Sven and I’ll be deciding plumbing and guttering decisions that affect 156 townhouses.
Why not join the board? Well although my mother has been a home owner for over 50 years and interested in all things maintenance, my eyes have only glazed over at any conversations that is not related to retro knit-wear for my children. Give me her pattern books and her button box and you’ve got my attention, hear her advise on the lowest maintenance hedge and I’ve tuned out and gone back to playing the trumpet.
We’ve never owned a property, only apartments, so we have no experience WHAT SO EVER in any of these important issues and me in particular, have never shown any interest in anything other in home ownership, other than candles and organic linen in the shade of Marigold.
What the bloody hell. Five minutes in and I was like, OH. WHAT. HAVE. I. DONE. I play the trumpet and cannot speak very good Swedish but yes, vote me in. WISE DECISION SWEDEN.
Oh, didn’t they think that was a grand gesture, having the somewhat charming foreigner whom is ‘all spirit’ join the team; just wait until it is me who signs the contract with the company that compiles all the gardening scraps but fails to take it away because I didn’t tick that box in the paper work because it was ALL IN SWEDISH AND I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE IN ANYTHING PRACTICAL.
During that entire first meeting I felt like Mr Bean Goes To Church> where he can’t understand what the priest is saying and ends up eating sweets to stay awake. I texted TSH and said I was not sure this was for me, he texted back and said that he hoped I’d be made Secretary, as it would spark joy for him for the next 12 months.
This is what was said apparently during the first meeting:
“We’ve found that loose debris will quickly begin to decompose, matting down and compressing into a solid sheet as it becomes damp, causing gutter clogs. The accumulated debris caused by clogged gutters is a fire hazard, and it is extremely bad for the roof, accelerating wear and backing water up under the shingles.”
This is what I heard during the first meeting:
“Blah blah blah, blah blah blah ba da ba da ba hulla bulloo guttering blah blah blah blah, blah, bl blah de blah blah baaahhhh, guttering.”
156 home owners are about to kill me.
Wish me luck peoples, wish me luck. Tomorrow is ‘spring cleaning day’ and our garage is full of cement, wheelbarrows, traffic white paint and a sandpit cover. I was not put on tablescaping duty DESPITE MY EXCELLENT EFFORTS OVER EASTER. I was put on project management duty. UNBELIEVABLE
God speed peoples. God speed.
OMG, that is too funny….to a casual observer. What could possibly go wrong!?! Surely you can convince the committee that they seem to know what they’re doing. And as for TSH……your turn will come mister!!! Good luck. Keep those prayers coming thick and fast.
Oh no! I can only picture the Swedish Chef from the Muppets cleaning out clogged drains now. Because yes, I’m a loud, ignorant American whose only knowledge of Sweden is the Swedish Chef, Ikea and their darn meatballs, and Markus Naslund who used to be a NHL hockey player.