Good morning, y’all. I’m feeling pretty decent today, because last night, I made the final payment on our cruise. We got a big tax refund this year, so as soon as the charge hits my credit card, I’m going to be able to pay off the debt. Meanwhile, I think we’re pretty close to making the final plans for our big June vacation. I have a feeling it’s going to be an unforgettable trip, full of beauty, seafood, and new experiences.
I hadn’t wanted to go on a cruise. I was actually wanting to do more of a land trip. But, as Bill and I are both in our fifties, the days of us being willing to lug our stuff around to multiple destinations are pretty much over. The cruise I signed us up for last week was just too perfect, as it hit a lot of places we’d been wanting to visit again, or for the first time. Yes, it’s costing a bundle, but I think it’ll be well worth it. I’ve found that you have to enjoy these chances to travel when you can.
I’m not complaining, by the way. I feel very fortunate that we can go on a trip and pay for it in a reasonable amount of time. I’m grateful that Bill has a good job in a safe country that we both love. I’m especially glad I don’t currently live in a military stairwell apartment… and never have had to live in one. I know that, on the whole, I don’t enjoy apartment living. I also know that a lot of American military families who get moved abroad have to live on military installations. And that pretty much means living in an apartment for three years.
As anyone who has ever lived in an apartment can attest to, communal style living often means pitching in to keep the common areas clean. In Germany, this is a pretty normal thing. People who live in multi-family apartments take turns sweeping and mopping the stairwells, for instance. In the United States, a lot of apartment communities hire janitors to do that work. But, here in Germany– at least in the Stuttgart area– American residents of the military stairwells have been expected to do the job. That will change come May 1, when all residential buildings across the Stuttgart U.S. military garrison will have contracted stairwell cleaning.
You’d think this would be good news, right? I know if I were living in a stairwell apartment, I’d be all for it. In a perfect world, people would be cheerfully volunteering to give up some of their free time to keep common areas clean. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Because people have varying levels of civic mindedness, keeping the stairwells clean simply doesn’t happen. What does happen is that the stairwells get cleaned by one or two responsible or “clean freak” families, they get cleaned in a half-assed manner, or they don’t get cleaned at all, and quickly become really gross.
Even though it seems clearly necessary to hire help to clean the common areas of the stairwells, some people aren’t very happy about this announcement. Below are a few negative comments and complaints people have made on Facebook about this development:
Respectfully, can we use this funding to make better parking complexes on Patch and Kelly instead? That is where the majority of the problems lie in my opinion.
If the announcement has been made, the money has already been spent. So no, they won’t be using that funding for anything other than cleaning the stairwells. The money wasn’t budgeted for parking. It was budgeted for housekeeping. Posting this comment on Facebook isn’t going to change anything regarding the stairwell cleaning decision. I would suggest finding the proper channel to formally make this request. Maybe in ten years or so, it will be acted upon.
Was it really that hard to get together as a community and keep the stairwells clean that we had to pay someone else to clean up after us?
Apparently, yes, it was. People work hard at their jobs. They have children to take care of. Free time is limited. Some people are messier than others are, and most people have their own standards of what is considered “clean”. Why complain that the garrison is finally taking action, while shaming everyone else in the community for not “coming together”? Have you, personally, done something to inspire other people to do their parts, as you’ve (hopefully) been doing yours? If you haven’t, you probably ought to take a look at yourself before pointing fingers.
I like the below response, as it sums things up nicely.
Have you seen the state of the stairwells/playgrounds/any common area on base? A couple responsible families across the garrison who do their part cleaning their little sections cannot compensate for the vast majority who do not. As frustrating as it is that funds have to be used for this purpose — because folks are not responsible enough to clean up after themselves — I wholeheartedly welcome it.
The bolded part especially highlights why this decision had to be made. Not everyone is willing or able to do their parts to keep the common areas safe, clean, and hygienic, and obviously those who don’t clean aren’t being sanctioned. So yes, funds need to be used for that purpose.
…smh what’s next someone that cleans after ppls dogs? House cleaning services? Lazyness should not be encouraged… But that’s just my opinion… Other things would be way more important.
I don’t think that forcing everyone to live in filth as a means of “discouraging laziness” is a good solution to this problem. Truly lazy people won’t notice or care, while those who aren’t “lazy” will suffer lower morale. It’s not fair that some people are willing to clean and others aren’t, especially when people who live in the stairwells are mostly being forced to live there. As to the rest of the comment regarding house cleaning or cleaning up after people’s dogs, don’t be ridiculous.
I’ve seen some nasty stairwells that I barely want to walk in
And others that are clean and decorated….. sad they have to pay someone but at least it’s gonna be clean for everyone.
Why is it “sad” that people will have jobs, and the necessary work will get done so that the stairwells aren’t so gross? I think this is a win/win. And I’ll bet those who are complaining about this aren’t going to keep cleaning out of principle, are they? If they ever did clean in the first place, that is…
Probably costly from a taxpayer’s point of view. However, we lived on Kelley. Keeping the stairwells clean was a constant battle. I think I would have been grateful for the upkeep.
Costly only in terms of money, which was earmarked for this purpose, anyway. In terms of health, morale, and safety, it’s a small price to pay.
How about a parking garage on each base?
Facebook isn’t the place to make this suggestion. The decision has been made and the money has been spent. Next!
Remember when we found human excrement in the basement Nick..that coupled with neighbours from hell! So happy we’re off base now!!!!
Yup! This scenario is EXACTLY why someone professional needs to be doing that job. It’s sad that fellow Americans behave in such a way, but as long as they do, someone should definitely be PAID to deal with that mess. No one should have to clean up another person’s dump, unless it’s parents cleaning up after their child or something…
Those of you reading this might wonder why I even care about this issue. I don’t live in a stairwell apartment, and I’m definitely not a neat freak myself. And, like some have pointed out, keeping the common areas clean is expected in our host country. If American military folks were living in apartments among Germans, it would be a no brainer that they’d be taking turns cleaning, especially in Swabia (Stuttgart). Or, barring that, they’d be paying someone to do the cleaning for them.
I think my interest in this subject comes from following RfM (www.exmormon.org) for so many years, and reading about what happened when church leaders decided to stop paying for janitorial services.
I have never been LDS myself, but Bill was a Mormon for awhile. And, for awhile, the church affected our marriage somewhat, as Bill’s daughters are members. I used to read RfM pretty compulsively, and one topic that frequently came up was how completely nasty and unhygienic church buildings became when the janitors were sacked. Church leaders had said that it was a form of service to the Lord (not to mention cheaper for the leadership) for members to clean the churches themselves. Even though the church is very demanding with lots of activities and “callings”, families were expected to give up their precious Saturdays and come in to clean the meetinghouses. Some people were very willing to do that and faithfully did their parts. Other people weren’t, and neglected to show up and pitch in. The end result frequently turned out to be gross buildings that weren’t very pleasant to visit on Sundays (and other days).
Consider that, just like a lot of military families, church families were busy and had lots of little ones to take care of. Consider that aside from working all week at a job, Saturdays were often full of chores that needed to be done in the home, as Sundays were for worship. Asking members to clean the church buildings means asking them to give up their free time to do a job that would be better done by someone who is paid to do it. Someone who is paid to do the cleaning is likely to do a better job; it will get done regularly; and, if they are church members, it means they can tithe. Of course, it also means that someone has a job and can also pay their own bills!
I will never understand why so many people, especially those who claim to be conservatives and bristle against people daring to be on the public dole, would lament about a paid job being created for someone who needs one. We want and expect people to work, don’t we? So why not pay them to do a job no one else wants to do? That way, they can chip in on taxes, right? It just seems like so many people harp on how everyone should work for a living, but then when a job is created, they complain about spending the money and lament about personal responsibility.
This issue doesn’t affect me personally, of course. It’s just puzzling to me that people would be up in arms about better janitorial services and grounds management. Who wants to spend their free time unpaid, cleaning up other people’s messes? Yes, we absolutely should all clean up after ourselves when we make messes. That’s the decent thing to do. But everybody has a different standard for what is considered “clean”, and some people either don’t have time to clean properly or just don’t care. And some people will feel compelled to clean, as they also resent the hell out of those who can’t be bothered to do routine cleaning. It’s better that people are paid to do that job.
Anyway… reading that thread reminds me of why I’m glad we live in Wiesbaden, and I never bothered to join a lot of Facebook groups up here. That’s another reason to be grateful.
I hope that people in Stuttgart will be grateful for their soon to be cleaner stairwell apartments… and if they were the ones actually doing their parts to keep the common areas clean, they’ll enjoy a little extra free time to spend with their families.