I have recently been waking up with some bouwvakkers. You may remember that bouwvakkers are people who work in construction and it is currently my favorite Dutch word.

I had a very bad bout of the flu and was in bed for many days. The days were horrible, but the nights were worse. By morning, all I wanted to do was catch up on some lost sleep. On the first morning, I woke up at 7am to hear this loud machine outside the bedroom window. This was mind blowing loud. It was the city mowing the grass in the neighborhood and when I realized what the horrible noise was, I turned over in bed and said “ah, the bouwvakkers.”

The next morning, at 7am, I heard a different noise but still extremely loud and annoying, just at a little higher pitch. The city was now trimming the edges of the grass they had mowed the day before. With a sick stomach, I whispered “welcome back, bouwvakkers.” There may have been a little bit of sarcasm in my voice.

On the third day, the city decided it was now time to wash the sidewalks…at 7am. I punched my pillow, turned over and said “#@* those bouwvakkers!!”

At 7am the following day, I was wide awake waiting for a bouwvakker. There was just the sound of birds chirping and bicycle wheels turning. I tossed and turned with the deafening silence and wondered what had happened. Surely there must be something that had to be done in our neighborhood. So I laid there and thought about what was missing and then I heard the hum of the dog poop vacuum coming towards the poop park (see Dog Day Afternoon for a previous post). All was well on our street. We were mowed, cleaned, trimmed and poop free. Ah, those marvelous bouwvakkers.

The children presented me a with a present. “We brought you a bouwvakker, Jane.” I first looked down the hall, in a panic that they had actually met a worker outside and brought him in to meet me. But they actually gave me a Playmobile figure of a bouwvakker and he was dressed completely in Dutch orange. Now we have our own little bouwvakker inside the house.

Okay, even I am getting sick of the B word. Enough already.

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  • aledysver  On June 20, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Lol!!!!!!!!! You had me laughing out loud – those bouw…. VAKKERS!!!! 😀

  • Ien in the Kootenays  On March 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

    I thought the word bouwvakker was only used for construction workers? Language is ever evolving, so it may well be used in a different way now. Every time I go back I pick up a few new idioms.

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