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Present Perfect


Filed under: Life — Thomas @ 9:58 pm

9:58 pm

Friends and family back in Belgium tell me I don’t talk enough about how it’s going in our new apartment. I guess they’re right – while it felt I was telling everyone about it all the time, I never really tracked what we were doing here for all to see.

I’ll do so from now on as we’re putting on the finishing touches, and go back and revisit some fun things later on.

So anyway, this weekend was actually productive on the apartment side. When you get your new place in such a state where you can move in (which we did with a big walk on the wild side by taking Julien, Noelle and their kids in the same weekend we first moved in – a story for another day), you really have to try and avoid getting lazy and not doing anything anymore for a long time. There’s lots of small things to take care of, and it’s easy to just think “Oh, we’ll do that some other day”.

This weekend, I finally had the courage again to work on our bedroom closet, a huge IKEA affair called Pax which is dirt cheap for the storage it offers (750 euro for 3 by 2.3 by .6 meters of storage), but a real bitch to set up. I always enjoy IKEA furniture – my mother used to buy stuff all the time from IKEA and she’d always pass it on to me to set up because she knew I enjoyed it. Contrary to popular myth, I hardly ever encounter wrong instructions or missing pieces. It’s like LEGO for grownups.

IKEA has the multilingual – or rather, nolingual – instruction booklet down to an art form, and you can tell they’ve worked hard on their parts to make it almost possible to follow the instructions wrongly. Pieces are identical and only get “specialized” at some point in the instructions when you have to put some screws in some holes but not in others, and vice versa, but always in such a way that you didn’t set yourself up for failure at step 20 by step 5. I actually didn’t realize how well they do this until two weeks ago we set up some PVC closet in the basement, which had the worst instruction set ever – one big leaflet in four parts, with part listings for all 8 different models you can buy, and incredibly confusing instructions that caused me to break two screws and a handle.

But, as usual, I digress. This was the IKEA closet from hell, costing me a good six hours to get the main part set up, which I did a month ago. Then there were the sliding doors, which I just left in the hallway for the last four weeks, because I didn’t want to work on it alone anymore. So this weekend I finally convinced Kristien that we should get it out of the way and over with. It cost us another three hours, and the doors were so heavy Kristien and I weren’t able to get them installed correctly. I waited for Jeroen to come by on the Night Of Fifteen Girls In My Apartment and help me install them. They look gorgeous for a relatively cheap IKEA closet, and we’ll only need to slice off a small piece of marble mantlepiece to actually be able to slide them shut such that I can reach my underwear drawer.

(Jeroen and I ended up spending some time away from the NOFGIMA by going to the cinema – a ten minute walk from the apartment – and watching Iron Man, which was a lot more entertaining than I expected from knowing the dull background story)

When going shopping on Saturday, we noticed the garage below our apartment was open – an opportunity to finally fix the terribly installed telephone cable which was hanging on a spindle in the basement outside of this garage, connected by two thin wires to the cable actually leading up through that basement to our apartment. We avoided all the hassle of calling the owner, scheduling a date, and so on by just asking the renter of the garage if we could pull the cable through and get it fixed.

Yesterday we made a big list of things still left to do, and now the goal is to knock one or two off each weekend, until the list is empty. I guess this is the only practical way to keep momentum.

Big ticket items on that list are cleaning our garage, finishing the network cabling (half a kilometer of cables in the apartment), cleaning up the guest room (I have a visitor coming over this week), and getting lamps and curtains.

Meanwhile, our automatic blinds in the bedroom have stopped working. Inspection by the installer revealed that the rails for the blinds aren’t perpendicular to the window sill as they should be, and the top of the almost-rectangle is off by two centimeters, causing the thread in the blinds to rip or something – as if I know how these things work. At least he was able to get them mostly closed so I could sleep – no fun flying back from the US and arriving on saturday morning at 8, and not being able to sleep because the bedroom is doused in light.

He came back this Sunday – he has no time to do it during the week – and replaced the blinds with aluminum ones (which also feature no cracks between the lamels (is that even a word in English ?)), but figured out the engine was malfunctioning as well. So we still don’t have blinds that open, but we sleep darker now.

That’s about it for this weekend. I hope I sufficiently bored all of you enough to not get many more requests for domestic updates again :)


  1. I have the same closet, when you read the manual, you see 1 person all the time, and 2 persons for the doors etc.. Actually, it took us 4 people to put it together. 2 for the doors, 1 for screwing. And one for watching (although he helped with overall assembly)

    They are indeed a closet from hell. Congratulations on your assembly from a fellow PAX owner

    Comment by twan — 2008-5-5 @ 10:56 pm

  2. Pictures please.

    Comment by fons — 2008-5-6 @ 3:18 pm

  3. just throw a party and we’ll never ask about it again, ever!

    Comment by swentel — 2008-5-6 @ 7:42 pm

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