gamiila: (happy bunny)
I fell in love with this chair 10 weeks ago. I finally took delivery of it yesterday afternoon.






I wonder how long it'll look as good as it does now. Leila has already sunk her claws into it earlier this morning, and Manasse has left his hair on it :/.
gamiila: (technical issues)
On the advice of some of my friends, I'd been using an external keyboard since having broken several keycaps on my laptop. Although it did the trick, it wasn't an ideal situation, and I was seriously contemplating sending the laptop off for repair when, in my search for a reputable repair service online, the notion to make it a DIY-job took hold of me. After all, why pay p&p, insurance, material and labour costs and be without my laptop for a minimum of 3, possibly 4 days when one can just have the part sent and be done in 5 minutes? I mean, it was just a keyboard replacement job; how hard could it be?

So I sent off an e-mail to this computer repair webshop, asking exactly that question. And received a reply saying, basically, a child could do it. Take a small blade, feel along the top of the keyboard for the clips holding it in place, wriggle it loose, carefully take it out, and then slot in the new keyboard. Easy peasy. I didn't need to be told twice. I ordered the keyboard, and it arrived yesterday. This morning, I replaced it. It was almost exactly as the technician had said in his e-mail, only he'd forgotten to mention what to do with the cable belt; but there was really only one option if you thought about it and...as you can judge from the fact that I can still post a message to LJ, the operation was a complete success! I am now officially a keyboard repairing genius!

I also received the news yesterday that they will be delivering the chair I bought 10 weeks ago some time between 3 and 5pm today. I do hope they'll stick to that exact time frame as I will need to be in Utrecht by 7pm.

Last night, my niece and I went to the cinema to see Puss in Boots. Pure escapism, but a jolly good film to end the cinematic year with.

Also, I've left it a bit late and with money being kind of tight at the moment, I'm half decided not to send any Christmas cards this year. Please don't think badly of me -- I may not send seasonal greetings, but I will be thinking of each and every one of you and wishing you the very best in 2012!
gamiila: (naked)




Some months ago, it was decided that the exterior walls on our apartment building badly needed repointing. This morning, I walked into my living room to find a man stood outside my window, which considering I'm two floors up and at that point, still in my dressing gown, was a pretty startling sight.

The rest of the day was drowned in an awful racket, as they drilled to get the old mortar out. This should take them a couple more days to achieve; then there's the repointing and the sandblasting to follow, provided the weather holds. I can't wait to see the result, but in the meantime, I think I will invest in some earplugs.
gamiila: (kittens)
Perhaps it's because the days are growing shorter again, or maybe it's because I'm spending more time at home, that I'm suddenly lavishing attention on my interior. I only went out for some groceries, but instead I came back with this throw (and two matching cushion covers). It looked good in the shop, but now that I've put it on the couch, I'm not so sure...It looks a bit 70s to me.

they seem to like it, though... )

Impulse buy

Oct. 9th, 2011 07:07 pm
gamiila: (magical)
The other night as I stiffly got up to go to bed, the thought hit me that I was getting too old for sitting on the floor or the pouf for long hours every evening (for some reason, I hardly ever use the sofa), and that what I really wanted was a comfortable armchair to curl up and watch TV in. So I told myself that next time I paid a visit to Ikea, I'd see if I couldn't find one.

Fast forward two days and a friend came to visit, wanting to spend the afternoon window shopping in The Hague. We had a lovely, leisurely lunch; after which we wandered through the drizzly wet centre of town popping into several shops and boutiques, but doing very well for two ladies on a tight budget, until we happened to pass a furniture shop I hadn't seen before and I reminded myself I was in need of that comfortable armchair. "No harm in looking", I thought, and went in. And fell in love with the very first chair I encountered, less than 20 paces from the entrance. It was humongous (known in the trade as a 1 1/2 seater, I learned later), deep and wide and inviting, and I wanted it from the moment I sat down in it. But even while on special offer this weekend, the price tag showed it to be more expensive than my sofa. Clearly, I had to think about this...2 Minutes later I was choosing the fabric for the upholstery and discussing the treatment to make it dirt- and water repellent, and parting with my down payment.

Now I've got an anxious 10-12 weeks' wait to see if it'll fit through the front door and to come up with the rest of the money. But oh! I can't wait!
gamiila: (hard at work)
The weather's been quite mild for the time of year...until today when suddenly, there's another cold snap. Of course there is -- today's the day my central heating system is being brought into the 21st century, after all.

So, I woke up early and tidied up before Willem and his gang would get here. I don't know why I was so houseproud because within minutes of their arrival, they had trashed the place. The heating is off, all doors are open, and the hall and living room are covered in dust and debris. Moreover, when I snuck a peak a minute ago (the men having gone off to get some more tools and things from the van), I found that a hole had appeared in my kitchen ceiling! I hadn't been prepared for this! though I suppose it's to do with the flue.


Look at that hole!


Inspector Manasse doesn't seem too impressed )

Meanwhile, I'm sat here, slowly turning to ice.
gamiila: (Default)
Honestly, I've never had so many problems with computers and networks before! I'm beginning to think it's me, like I'm radiating some sort of negative vibe that interferes with my router and everything else. Shortly after posting my last message, just while I was in the middle of doing my taxes, the Internet sent me a message to the effect of "So long, sucker! Bwahahahaha ::evil laugh of doom::!", and left me without so much as a backward glance. Anyway, it's back now, so I'd better make the most of it while it remains in a good enough mood to let me post.

So, with two days to spare before the deadline, I've done and sent off my tax assessment. Hopefully I haven't made any mistakes, but if I have I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

My elbow is slowly getting better, since I'm taking doctor's advice and am only working half days for now. This meant I could spend the afternoon and a fair bit of cash at Ikea the other day; I've since been busy assembling and putting up bookcases and dressers and my first ever real home office chair in a nice white fake leather finish: it swivels and everything!

And finally, after having had to deal with the most appalling customer services organisation in the world on numerous occasions, I've managed to arrange for the interment of Dad's ashes this coming Thursday. I can't believe it's been 6 months since he died...though I know it has. It's just that I can still picture him so vividly, the sound of his voice, the glint in his eye. I hope I'll never forget these things.
gamiila: (Default)
I passed a furniture shop while on my way to pick Romeo up from school yesterday. It had a complete clearance sale; everything had to go because the business had failed. I walked on, but...

...I'm one of those kinds of women who, when they're anxious, or stressed, or both, will buy things. Big things, usually. Throwing money at anxiety will not make the feeling disappear, but it will take my mind off it for a while. Sometimes, I will resist the urge, other times I won't. Yesterday was one of the latter times. I turned back and 2 minutes later, had bought a sofa.

This one! )

It looks a bit different from the one I was going to buy and saving up for, but at bargain price and with instant delivery thrown in, I just couldn't resist.
gamiila: (Default)





::covets::

A couple of more paydays and I'll be able to afford it.

I've been on the look-out for a new sofa for a while, as the one I have is 10 years old, not really all that comfortable, and slowly but surely starting to fall apart. I came across this one this afternoon, liked the look and feel of it, and wasn't immediately put off by the price tag. Now all I have to do is make my mind up about what colour I want (green, I think...or orange. Yellow, maybe?).
gamiila: (Default)
My sister's recently found a nice sofa in a secondhand furniture shop, and because I was at a bit of a loose end this afternoon, I decided to go and see if I could find something for the home there, too. I couldn't -- my sister must have bought the only decent stick of furniture that place ever possessed. Never mind, I thought, and started back towards the centre of town when I passed by another furniture shop; and this one was having a clearance sale. I had a look around, but even with prices reduced by 50%, most of the items on sale were still outside my price range. Then my eye happened to fall on this pouf.

I had a devil of a time bringing it home, as I had to carry it halfway across town. My arms still hurt, and it's been here for 6 or 7 hours...The cats were most intrigued by this strange new object having appeared suddenly in the middle of their lounge; but after sniffing it and reaching the conclusion that it would make the perfect place for a snooze, Leila claimed it for her own, letting the others know they weren't welcome to share it with her:



Of course, Manasse couldn't allow this state of affairs to continue for very long, and after a short siege, lay claim to victory:



But Leila's a plucky puss, who regrouped quickly and banished her brother to a discarded shoe box in the other room:

where he sat feeling very sorry for himself until I came in and shooed him out.
gamiila: (Default)
Ten years ago this summer, I took the plunge and bought the flat I currently reside in. As I'm not one of the world's great savers, I didn't have a lot of money to play with to do it up, and after most of the structural and decorative work had been done, some jobs were left to such time as I would have the inclination and the wherewithal to get to them. Curtains being one of them.

Two years into my occupancy, my downstairs neighbours moved. As a going-away present, they gave me their Venetian blinds, made to measure for our front windows. This solved my problem in the lounge, but it still left me to find a better solution to that of my bedroom window than the one I had arrived at in the meantime:

which was this )

a cheap and easy curtain I got at the supermarket for less than a tenner. It didn't really fit, but it helped preserve my modesty undressing before bed at least.

Last February, I had my windows replaced; and in the process, I broke my Venetian blinds. I did this, not the double-glazing men, so...I suppose I have been lucky that this summer hasn't been much of one, as my lounge is on a south-westerly aspect, and directly below the eaves, so in a normal summer, sunlight not only usually floods the room, it also heats it up quite considerably. Still, I couldn't leave it like it was for long

which was this )

so last month, I finally did something about it. I bought new blinds and new curtains, and they've just been delivered and installed.

these are the curtains )

I've been advised not to close them yet, but let them hang like that for 24 hours so that the folds have a chance to settle in; but there's a full set, one to cover the window and one to cover the door out onto the balcony, and I'm pleased with them. I wasn't too sure about the pattern, and was worried I might not like it after all when they arrived, but now that they're here, I think I'm quite happy with it.

close up of pattern )

As to the lounge and the Venetian blinds, this is what they look like:

after pics )

Since the window at the side now opens inward as opposed to before when it opened outward, getting one big blind made up proved impractical, so now I've got two: one bigger one and a smaller one hung side by side.

To give you an idea of the colour, here's a pic taken a bit too close up:

a sort of creamy/caramel-y colour )

Just before the man came round to hang them, the cats dashed to the windows giving those excited little meows that tell me they've spotted a bird perched nearby. And so they had this time as well: there were two bright green parakeets in the tree on the other side of the street. They must have escaped from somewhere, but I do hope they find shelter soon before the cold weather sets in. Can parakeets survive in this moderate sea climate of ours?

at least, I think it's parakeets. I'm not Bill Oddie, you know )
gamiila: (Default)
Jobsworth wants me back in the office from Monday. Actually, he wanted me back in from this morning, but I've got doctor's and physio appointments all through this week, and I know I'm not up to that two hour commute both ways yet, so grumpily he's agreed to let me have these next few days off still. I've no idea whether next Monday I'll feel any less daunted about the commute, the 60 hour working week and untold grief from you-know-who, but I'll see how it goes.

Rutger's given me some exercises for my ankle; and though they hurt me to do them, I can definitely feel that the operation has been a success: I have far better stability in my left ankle than I have in my unoperated right. I've never been very good at standing on one leg without keeling over, but now I can just about manage it on the left.

I've finally started on the job of re-painting the window frames, which I needed to do since I had my double glazing installed, but kept putting off until such time as I felt like it. Not that I feel particularly inspired to do it now, but with the imminent arrival of my Venetian blinds (of which, unfortunately, there has been no sign so far), I thought I'd better get cracking, anyway. The only problem is, that I've forgotten what shade of Living Colour white I'd actually painted them last time, and now I'm beginning to think that it can't have been 'Havana', after all.
gamiila: (Default)
I've spent a lot of dosh. I don't know how much exactly, but more than my birthday money will allow, I'm sure. After having spent 10 years in this flat thinking one day I'll get around to replacing the hand-me-downs with soft furnishings, curtains and blinds of my own choosing, I have finally taken the plunge and tomorrow a surly man from the local House of Soft Furnishings, Curtains and Blinds will come to measure up my windows and decide how he's going to fit the lovely marble-effect caramel\cream-coloured Venetian blinds and beige-y\brown-y\vanilla-y coloured curtains I've contracted to buy off him.

That's one job taken care off; now there's still a gazillion others to get on with.
gamiila: (Default)
Double Glazing Guy and his Special Needs Mate arrived at 8:30 on the dot this morning. Double Glazing Guy's been working steadily while Special Needs Mate has been performing such feats of derring-do that I can no longer watch and have retired to my study. He seems unaware of the fact that he's two floors up without a safety net, and clearly isn't able to retain Double Glazing Guy's warnings and admonitions into his memory banks for more than a few seconds at a time. I had wanted to take pictures of the work being done, to show you the before and after, but as per usual, both my cameras' batteries are depleted, and the new mobile-cum-camera hasn't arrived yet.

It took me more than 3 hours to get to work yesterday, as -or so I learned later- a body had been found dumped on the railway track. All I was told at the time was that by order of the police and the provincial authorities, there would be no trains between The Hague and Leiden, and that those travelling to Amsterdam or Schiphol would have to travel via Utrecht, easily adding another hour to their journey time. I thought Jobsworth would have a fit, but it turned out he's not in this week -- so thank God for small mercies.
gamiila: (Default)
And so another weekend draws to a close. Another weekend in which nothing much has happened; certainly nothing out of the ordinary, unless me breaking the blinds counts as such. As I'm having double glazing put in on Tuesday, I wanted to see how my blinds came off. I hadn't put them up, so I didn't know exactly how they were attached. Only one way to find out: I climbed on a ladder and started looking for clues. And then I started feeling for clues, or hooks, or... And then...then I started pulling the damn thing. And it came down. And it broke. Only then did I realise how I should have gone about it: I should have had two people pulling it from both ends simultaneously, with possibly a third in the middle. As things stand though, on Tuesday evening, I will have a lovely new expanse of window spanning the height and breadth of my flat -- but no blinds to cover it with. Damnit! These were bespoke ones, made to measure, and will cost me a small fortune to replace. A small fortune that I cannot spare, because...

...I'm going to New York! Indeed, I will touch down at JFK in 6 1/2 weeks! It's been 2 1/2 years since I've been there last and I need to see if it has changed. I'll be roaming its streets, checking out its shoe stores, sampling its bagels and slurping its coffee in the company of my travelling companion [livejournal.com profile] anonypooh between March 22nd and 29th. In our heart of hearts, we're hoping to catch a Common Rotation gig while we're there; but just in case they can't make it to NYC around that time, we'll be going to Philadelphia on the weekend and see them there. As I've never been to The City of Brotherly Love before, that's one particular outing I'm quite looking forward to.
gamiila: (Default)
Is it time for bed yet? Because I've just bought myself a brandnew eiderdown and I can't wait to try it out, see if it's as good as my last one that I've had to throw out after 20 years of faithful service. When I went to change the bedlinen this morning, I somehow put my hand right through it, and scattered feathers all around. I decided there wasn't much point in trying to patch it up again; clearly, it was time to bin it and look for another. The new duvet is less bulky, and may need some getting used to, but I'm hoping it'll keep me as safe and warm as the old one did.

Also, and against my better judgment, I've acquired a new mobile. It's a silver-coloured Nokia with all the bits and bobs (camera, Bluetooth, whatnot) that Vodafone were nice enough to let me have for free with a subscription at half-price, and they also threw in 22 monthly call minutes (whatever that means). The thing is, though: I don't know what to do with it. I've had a pre-paid mobile for 5 years, but I've never gotten the hang of using it. I hardly ever remember it, never switch it on, and mostly just leave it on the kitchen table. When I hear people in the street, on the bus, in the train blathering on their mobiles, I'm often annoyed at having to bear witness to their conversations (esp. when they interrupt the conversations they're having with me sat or stood right next to them to take their blasted calls. "Hang on...", they say -- but why should I be the one put on hold? Is my time not just as valuable as that of the person on the other end? Honestly, these days you can't have a decent conversation with anyone without constant interruptions).

Who would I call? More importantly, who would call me? I have no one to ask me to remember to bring the milk. Why did I let myself be seduced by this offer? Just so that on the rare occasions that I do remember to bring my phone, and am forced to take it out in public, I won't be embarrassed by the fact that it's clearly so 5 years ago? (Sorry, trusty old Motorola of mine, but you do look a bit...well, big). Oh well. What's done is done, and I've got a mobile that's silver and small, and I'll probably forget all about it in a week.

And...the double glazing guy called. Weather permitting, they'll do the work on Tuesday.
gamiila: (Default)
Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] ter369!

I've been following the goings-on in Albert Square with interest bordering on the obsessive again. Has anyone else been watching the saga of Sonia, Martin and what appears to be the murder of his mum, and the tug of war over Rebecca, with me? Finally, it looks like EE is back on track -- and yet it isn't, as the storyline keeps twisting and turning and fails to make any sense. Sonia smacks her ex-mother-in-law upside the head, and a few hours later Pauline is found collapsed in the square, dead from what the resident GP reckons is an aneurysm. Yet a week later, Sonia is arrested on the garblings of a 6-year old and a confused and grieving old woman, released, and now a fugitive from the law since the police have decided it was a murder after all, and that Pauline died from a wound consistent with having been hit with a heavy blunt object. So, when she fell, did she hit her head hard on the pavement? Or did Joe sneak up behind her and whack her over the head with his righteous anger? Because Sonia -- no, she can't have been the one responsible for Pauline's death. No way.

I hate how they keep messing about my long-time favourite characters. Sonia and Martin were alright until the writers suddenly decided to make Sonia a lesbian. That approach didn't work, Sonia and Martin got back together again (I was so pleased!)...and now they seem to want to make Sonia into a murderess. Whatever happens after this, I don't think my favourite young couple can ever patch things up between them again, and I'm really sorry for it. It's not like Luke & Lorelai, who may have been temporarily side-tracked by the whole Lorelai-sleeping-with-Christopher-thing at the moment in Gilmore Girls (and yes, I'm sure I'm years behind on that), I'm sure they'll work it out; but Sonia and Martin? I don't think they can ever recover from this. Especially now that Sonia's snatched Rebecca...

The man from the double glazing company will stop by tomorrow, to measure up my windows. This means I can't have a lie-in, but am going to have to get up early in order to tidy the place up a bit. I don't want him to get the impression I won't look after his windows once they're fitted...though I believe they require very little maintenance, which is why I went for them in the first place. It's the third company that I've gotten a quote from, but the only one that could come up with a design that mimics that of the 60-year old windows I have now, and is in keeping with the architecture and feel of the flat. As the large expanse of windows and the resultant sea of light were what persuaded me to buy it in the first place, I feel it's important to pay attention to these details, even if it means paying a bit more.

The other day, I received the news that one of my oldest and dearest friends' brain tumour, that he's been battling for the last 7 or 8 years, with chemo and several life-threatening operations, is back again. He's scheduled in for surgery at the end of the month. We, his wife, family, and friends, try and remain confident, but there is a worry at the back of all our minds. Not so much about whether or not he can survive this particular op, but how many more times will he have to go through this after this? There's only so much the doctors and surgeons can do - how much longer before they run out of options?

Myself, I'll be going for a scan on Wednesday, to map the extent of the damage to my achilles. Strangely though, after months of having been extremely painful, from the moment I've made the appointment, it has behaved itself.

To end this post on a more cheerful note, though: I've booked a trip to New York, and I've only got 50 more weeks to get through before I'll board that plane!
gamiila: (Default)
I'm in two minds about whether or not to get quoted for double glazing. At our flat owner's meeting the other day, one of our number brought up the topic and said she was thinking of having double glazing put in next spring, and wondered if anyone else wanted to join in -- we might get a discount if more people decide to go for it at the same time.

Funnily enough, the thought had already crossed my mind fleetingly that same week, but I had dismissed it as being too much of an expense at the present time. However, my windows and more importantly, my window frames, date from 1949...which means that although they classify as decorative and original features, they aren't really up to modern-day specs. Also, the painters that painted them 3 years ago did a really bad job with the paint flaking off and exposing the wood underneath, leaving me to suspect that the condition they're in isn't that good anymore, either. If I said yes to double glazing, I wouldn't have to have another bad experience with housepainters delivering shoddy workmanship ever again...

The company she had approached about this has already replaced the windows in several flats in our building, and the owners of those flats wholeheartedly recommend them. They already have the measurements of the windows and going with them would greatly enhance the uniformity of the building as a whole, which is something to be considered as well...

So I'm thinking of adding my name to the list of interested parties, but however am I going to pay for it all if the majority decision is to go for the replacement? I have some money saved up for essential repairs, but there's nowhere near enough in the kitty for such a major alteration to be carried out on my premises. How does one go about this sort of thing? Why does no one in my family apart from me own their own home? Why did I have to wake up one day and decide I was going to buy a house, and 4 days later I had done exactly that? Why couldn't I have stayed in rented accommodation, and never have to worry about maintenance cost and what have you? Sometimes I think having my own flat is more trouble than it's worth.
gamiila: (Default)
My new table and chairs have arrived!

See? )

The cats, Clio and Manasse, are circling it warily. I'd forgotten how badly Leila deals with change -- the poor thing has taken to hiding under the sofa again. She'll come out when she's ready, I suppose.

I must admit that I'm in two minds about it myself. I needed a new table and chairs, but the old set was round and much lighter,

here's one of the old chairs to show what I mean )

and not made of oak, which frankly is a type of wood I'm not too fond of; and now that the new set's here, I'm not sure if it's not too clunky for my tastes. Also, I'm not convinced that having another rectangular table in a room that already has four is one of my better ideas -- but I suppose I'll soon get used to it. For now, I just hope my sweethearts will keep their claws to themselves.

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