Thursday, 31 May 2007

The move

I only took a couple of photos of the move in the end. I didn't want pics of the empty flat.
HUGE truck in which my stuff only took up about 1/3 of total space.
New things to add to to-do list:

• New bed frame ordered
• Find missing part for wardrobe (hard to do as don't know what i'm looking for!)
• New taps for shower

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Goodbye flat

Well this will be my last post in this flat.

I'm sat here waiting for Junkers to come and take a look at my boiler and as is custom with tradesmen, he'll be turning up anytime between 12 and 5pm.

I've decided that while I should be packing the last stuff lying around, flattening bed, cupboards, etc. I'm going to take this quiet time to reflect a little on this place. Give it a proper farewell, I guess.

This flat became my home 3 years ago, and I took over the lease from a friend. My 2 best friends used to live upstairs which made the whole thing so much fun. They moved out last summer and it turns out (I know what some of you are thinking) that we will once again be neighbours as I'm moving into the same street.
By existing rent standards in Brussels for the moment, this flat was a real bargain. Great location, loads of space and storage and relatively low rent.
It is a bit old and in need of TLC but I like it. This was my second flat and the first was small, cosy but completely "finished". I had no say in colours, or changes.
Here I repainted and really made it mine.

I'm a bit of a hermit so the place I live is real important to me and I spend a lot of time here. The last three years of my life have been eventful and I guess, like anyone, there are many memories here.

I generally see a move as a kind of new beginning, a fresh slate, new habits (time to get rid of the old one's that weren't so good) and new experiences. And I love the first couple of weeks when everything is still new and you settle in.

This time though, maybe because it was not my choice to move, I'm finding it a lot more of an emotional experience than I did my 2 previous moves. All other areas of my life are in limbo too at the moment and I struggling not to feel like the rug is being pulled from under me. The move means I HAVE to move on, leave this phase of my life behind and move onto big and better things. (Those who know me have an idea of how difficult I find changes to handle - I get there eventually but it's always a bit of a stressful time).

I suppose 3 years ago, when I moved into this flat, I naively believed that the next time I packed my life in boxes, it would be to move on to the "responsible adult" bit of my life. That I'd be able to afford a nicer place to rent or even buy. I guess it comes down to the idea that I assumed I would be starting a new life as a twosome and not alone. Don't get me wrong, I love being a single gal, it's just not how I saw my life being as I turned 30.

Anyway, I've got alot of packing left to do, so all this cogitating needs to be put on hold until after the move. I promise a more positive post next time.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Ikea kitchens - The revenge of the cupboard.

The kitchen is now half up.
The build started yesterday morning and ended around 11pm.
I had gone to buy the stuff on Thursday afternoon - and I have to say, it's an absolute pleasure to visit the Swedish Emporium on a weekday afternoon. I came home with 128kg worth of boxes.

I had some help putting this kitchen together and thank God
(in this case S) for this.

We quickly realised that while we thought we had it all, a mandatory visit to Brico was in order. This seems to be an absolute Must when doing any kind of DIY and it's something that slows down the process considerably. For some reason after the spilt paint and white jean lady incident, I took us to another Brico.
With Jigsaw, silicon, drill heads and pipes for sink in hand, we make it back to the flat and get to it.

Now I always think these kind of jobs will be straightforward and relatively easy to handle.... And it NEVER turns out this way.

I realise quickly that someone in the packing warehouse at Ikea must have had a spaz moment when they packed my drawer elements... 2 left handed pieces!!! So I bravely soldiered on figuring out why I have soo many pieces that don't seem to get used. It take a while to finally realise that the flat packs for drawers are basically the same for all Ikea elements and they sell you the specific bits for your cabinet in a different box. All very confusing if you ask me.

Then a while later, we realise that there are no legs holes for the cabinet we have just built, and with further inspection of the packaging and floor plan of kitchen, I have been given a wall cupboard and not a floor one. I am told by Ikea that I do not have to pull it apart and I can just bring it is as is.
Lovely, just what I wanted, an afternoon sitting at customer service. Another thing on the list of stuff to do for the next couple of weeks.

Jigsawing and flat pack building continues and before you know it, it's 7pm, the old sink is now on my balcony, it's putrid and it strikes me a new sink is in order. Wohoo for Ikea closing at 8pm on a Saturday.
That was the fastest trip to Ikea ever and we arrive home with new sink (lovely) and a mountain of plumbing stuff.

We struggle to finish all the jigsawing before 10pm but I'm sure there must have been a better way to introduce myself to the neighbours!

The way it stands today: the sink cabinet (what is left of it), the sink worktop (what is left of it) and the drawers next to the cooker are up, the worktops are cut to size and the kitchen looks so much better already. I'm starting to believe that this small and weird shaped space will actually look like a real kitchen soon.

The metal structure on which the sink was on before is now happily squatting my new bedroom. There is Ikea furniture building stuff ALL over my sitting room and I'm sure I could make a tidy profit selling the sawdust that's all over my flat to Brico to mop up the occasional spilt paint.

I'm fully aware of the magnitude of stuff still to be done (not just in the kitchen) and with the days flying past and shops being closed now until Tuesday, I'm slightly concerned.

It's hard work but it's good fun and there's a definite sense of achievement when you know you're doing it yourself.

Special P.S. to John who's running in the 20K today... Good luck mate, have a blast. I admire anyone who can run that far. :)

Monday, 21 May 2007

Men Are Just Happier People

What do you expect from such simple creatures?
Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is 8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. Your belly usually hides your big hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can
"do" your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier!!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Ikea kitchens

This is my task this week.
To buy and fit my new ultra small but oh so charming kitchen.
Now I'm a big fan of puzzles of any kind, and for the last couple of weeks, i've been playing my very own game of Tetris. Adding to the challenge of a small and evil space to figure out, is the fact that I have to squeeze my washing machine in there too!!!

My job was made considerably easier by a friend who sells kitchens, coming over and measuring the space. He played a little tetris of his own (but he has little fridge, sink, cooker templates) and came up with the best possible solution.

So basically all I have to do now, is decide how much I'm willing to spend, what kind cabinets I want, and find an extra storage idea. Sounds simple.

Now I know can be a spaz sometimes, but I'm finding it really difficult to be sure of what I'm getting, enough to actually hand over the visa card.

So, despite wanting to handle this on my own, I think I will return to Ikea next week, measurements and Tetris drawing in hand. I will be forced to approach a yellow shirt, blue pants employee named Sven .... err no sorry Stefan.

(If the end result is half decent, I'll post an after photo.)

Monday, 7 May 2007

Bush Condoms

Thanks to Smelly for this addition!