Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I have a new bike!!!
My old bike has gotten nearly impossible to ride because the gear chain keeps on slipping. The chain and gears are completely worn. I don't like the bike enough to replace the gears which will cost me about 100 Euro's.
That bike was bought on impulse, because I had cycled to the city and on returning from the store found that my bike was stolen and I simply needed a new bike to get back home. The other bike was an elegant looking city bike made in Belgium, and the first time it had almost been stolen was when I'd had it for a week. I left it locked but not chained outside the supermarket. When I turned my back a guy on a moped drove by, lifted it in one hand and started to drive off with it. I ran after him shouting, and a man whose path he crossed jumped in front and grabbed my bike out of his hands.
That time I was lucky, the second time not. I got a hybrid made in China. The hydraulic forefork started leaking after a month. I had to reverse the front wheel so that the steering bar was closer to the saddle, otherwise the bike was too long for me. But it never got stolen. I have used it regularly for three and a half years, even cleaned and oiled it a few times. Now I am done.
I think I found a bike that I like. Cross your fingers for me please, I am praying that this one will not get stolen. New year, new chances.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
What do you mean - am I seriously balancing on a bar stool on top of a bed in the guest room fixing a light bulb with an uninsulated screwdriver while not certain if the power switch is on or off? Of course I am! Why else do you think I have not been blogging yesterday?
Kidding... nothing went wrong and I only sort of checked if the bar stool would actually wobble as much as I thought it would, and it did. There is hardly any room to move the bed and the light is directly above it. What was I supposed to wobble on top of the bed, a ladder?
Oh and the light switch turned out to be "on". It always does that with me.
Hey come on, I even hung a curtain!
My house may not be a five star hotel, but I truly risk my life for my guests, that must count for something...
Saturday, December 27, 2008
the video is really cool but for me it loaded slow ... it helps if you put the volume down to mute, wait and make yourself a cup of tea while it plays the first time, then "replay".
Cellar fridge temperature today: +3°C
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This house doesn't really have a bathroom. I call it the bath closet. This is a plan view of the ground floor, where the bathroom is. The house only has one bathroom.
It is like a broom closet where the cleaning ustensils are and there is a small sized bath in it, which is so old that the enamel has become rough and is hard to clean.
The toilet space is too small to have a fountain sink. The bathroom doesn't have room for a wash basin either. In fact, I have to hang my towel on the coat rack.
There is a little bit of hallway in between the bathroom and the toilet now. If the doors are broken out and a new door is built to the hallway, toilet and bath can be in one room and there will be a little bit of space for a wash basin and a piece of furniture to hang up a towel. We wouldn't need to dress in the hallway any more. Luxury!
I absolutely want there to be a bath in it, not just a shower. But the smallest standard sized baths sold in the netherlands are 160 long and 70 cm wide, which is too big for this narrow space. The new bath could be the the same size the old bath is, but with new smooth enamel that can be cleaned without spending thirty minutes every evening scrubbing and sweating - not that I ever tried, but I guess the grime might come off if I did. The usual weekly light wipe down doesn't do the trick.
My bath is dirty, I need a new one...
Everything can be found on the internet. As long as you know how to use language. It is true. But it didn't work straight away. I started Googling for the dutch word "zitbad" (hip bath?) and found only shoe type baths. I don't want a shoe bath, I want my bath to hold the maximum amount of water the tiny space can hold and to be able to curl up in it, unhindered by bumps and extremities that are not mine own. So then I tried "small bath" and learned about various sized swimming pools. Next I tried "bath 100x70cm", since that is the size I want. I found plastic baby baths and paintings of bathing people in frames sized 100x70. Then, I tried in French. Et voilá.
I have my hopes up again. It may take a trip to France, but I will have my bathroom.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My cellar temperature today is ±9°C.
Why do I know? Because that is where I keep my fresh foodstuffs now that my fridge is gone. In theory it is a bit too warm to keep milk (should be between 4 to 7°C) but in practice it works. It can get a bit colder when there's a night frost. I hope the frost last untill the contractor has time to build my new kitchen. The contractor came by today.
A good thing: this year for Christmas I got a bag with goodies instead of a box, and the bag comes in very handy because it is about a meter high and I lower it into the cellar fridge through the hatch filled with cheese and milk and pull it up when I need something. It is good, because I am too lazy to go down the stairs. I am also too lazy to make a decent drawing.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I broke my kitchen. It was really the build-in-break-out refrigerator that started it. When I bought the refrigerator seven years ago, there was a complete kitchen and house around it. This weekend the refrigerator gave up the ghost with a puff of burning ozone.
If it's true what they say and before things get better they have to get worse.. this would be perfect timing for them to get better. It is an open kitchen, so my house is a mess like it has never been before. And that is saying something...
The good news is, that I had just finished all the butter. And the milk will keep if I put it outside. But I will need a replacement before Christmas. Before buying a new one, I wanted to see what the situation would be like when it was removed, would there still be a counter to fit it under, should I get another build-in type ... get the same size and click everything into place, ideally, if everything disassembled nicely... you guessed it: that was not the case.
On a positive note, after a while, with the fatigue, the pain, the sweat, the blood and the noise... the odour, which you are breathing in with your head practically in the decomposing old thing while you are gradually prying it loose, doesn't really bother you any more. After three hours of hard work and gradually feeding it bits of the rest of the kitchen to pacify it, the bloody wreck finally let go of its ancient habitat.
The counter is still there (and so is a bit of the house). Now I still can't decide what size fridge to get. Maybe I should just pack my rucksack and leave...
Listening to: In a Modern World - Jesse Malin
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
That photo was taken almost three years ago. I passed the same tree house today. The light wasn't so sharp and there wasn't as much ice on the water. The ladder is gone. So is the glass. I wonder what happened to it. I hope no-one was standing underneath it when it fell.
EDIT: it is of course a tree house... I wonder if I am mistaken in assuming kids build tree houses all over the world? Myself, I used to dream of one when I was a kid but we never had a garden that was big enough... with trees that were big enough. no matter how dangerous the glass, you can be sure that the kids living in this house were happy!
Monday, December 15, 2008
500 g flour
400 g butter
200 g sugar
100 g spices
make stars an hearts
I bought a package of 480g mixed spices, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves. The box says usage according to taste. In my case that means marinating the flour in the spices untill the athmosphere is saturated with them and the odour is penetrating like essence of Eucalyptus. Sometimes I put some extra ground black pepper in, but these are for the Superkid to take to school, and he prefers them without. Maybe the next batch... :-)
Saturday, December 13, 2008
One of my coworkers is occupied with a project that concerns mounting a number of windmills off the North Sea coast. Windmills on sea are different from the ones on land. They do not stand tall and slender like trees, instead they have sturdy crouched truss frames that give them a lot of balance and they are relatively much less high.
We had a strange discussion, because he told me that he does not believe that windmills are an efficient solution to the energy needs of the human race, he thinks we absolutely need nuclear, if we continue to produce babies like we do as a human race - to do him credit, he doesn't have kids and doesn't want them.
I told him that I am sure he is wrong. It felt funny to me that I - a freelancer temporarily employed in this company - was reassuring him about the value of his work, but I meant it. Wind and sun are much more powerful than we may realize and to harness them is absolutely profitable. My mother had 16m2 of solar panels on her roof and every year the electric company gave her trouble over the annual bill, they just could not believe that she produced more electricity than she consumed and they even accused her of fraud. She sent them photos of her roof and the solar installation, but they told her "solar panels will only reduce your energy bill somewhat, it is impossible that they produce all your annual electricity". From the mouth of the "experts"!
One day, to her immense relief (sort of), the solar panels were struck by lightning, and the problem was solved. But.. after two years, she has regained her courage and she is almost ready to try again...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
He: Hey mom, we're like a two headed dragon.
Me: With a pimple on its chins.
He: I had a pimple first and now you have one! It must be hereditary... but the wrong way round. You know... upside down ...
Me: ... (grabs some more chocolate) ... when are you going to give me the other shoe? Maybe somewhere around Christmas?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers. Knowing that, doesn't make it any easier to comprehend when it happens. We learned that the younger brother of one of the superkids former school friends has taken his own life last Thursday. He was twelve years old.
He can't have really wanted to do it. It must have been a foolish act of protest, a game that went too far.
I remember him as I last saw him, a sweet boy of four or five, blond as an angel, a bit too wise for his age. I think of him with great sadness. May his soul rest in peace.