De Grote Gele Bank

 De Grote Gele Bank

Our sofa finally arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, the whole not-being-able-to-breathe thing meant that it didn’t get put together properly until today. But today it is done! And comfy! Luna has settled in quite happily. She hasn’t moved since I took that photo half an hour ago.

Tomorrow we go to Hema to buy some orange paint to use as an accent wall behind the sofa. I picked up some paint cards when I was there last week, just for the hell of it, and we ended up finding the perfect shade of orange. After that, we’ll have to choose the right photo of each of the animals to convert to black and white and get enlarged and framed to hang over the sofa. The orange wall with large black and white photos was inspired by a wall in the real estate agent’s office. It was quite striking, and just what G and I like.

We’ve found a ceiling lamp for the living room, but might hold off for a while on that, since we won’t need it until August at the earliest. It’s never dark enough to need it, and we’ve got the kitchen light to guide us if need be. We’re still in search of a coffee table (salontafel). We saw one we really liked at IKEA, but unfortunately, it didn’t come in the blond wood we want to use, so our search continues. We have a tv/stereo cabinet for now, but it’s not quite what either of us was really imagining, so we’re going to keep looking and if we find something else, the one we have now will end up moving into the kitchen as extra counter/storage space.

The house is slowly coming together. Right now the living room and kitchen are filled with the boxes we shipped over. I’ll be spending the next few days sorting slowly through them and trying to find a spot for everything. Perhaps I’ll be making use of the new trash can we bought today.

Party Time

In On The Act
(More photos of Saturday evening at Flickr.)
Saturday was a colorful day.

Colorful language dotted the air as we put the bed together, although ultimately it went fairly smoothly. Certainly easier than putting together the dining room chairs. It’s nice to finally be off the floor. Now if only the sofa would arrive so we could completely move off the floor.

The European Cup began Saturday, with Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Portugal and Turkey playing the first round of matches. We watched the first match at home and then went over to Cafe Podeskel to watch the second match. The bar was decked out in lots of orange in preparation for Holland’s first match of the cup — against Italy. Tonight. Despite the conflict of interest, we’ve been invited to the bar tonight to watch the match. They’ve promised no aggression through the first group round. 😉

Saturday was also night two of Night Fever, a city-wide party with bands and DJs performing at various locations throughout the city. Fortunately for us, one of those locations was on Lucas Bolwerk, the next street over from our house, and the street that runs in front of the bar. That was the reason for the pink wigs and other costumes on the bar staff that night (see above photo). A band called Sonic Groove played, covering a variety of songs. It was mostly soul, R&B and disco, so inevitably, there was much dancing in the streets.

Toward the end of the evening, as we were standing outside in the street watching the band, a man came up to us and introduced himself, explaining that he was a previous owner of our house! It turns out he and his wife were the owners before the people we got the house from. So now we’ve met the last two generations of house owners! We met his wife a little bit later when we had gone back inside the bar. They were very kind and friendly and said they were sorry to have to leave the house, because they loved it so much, but they had three kids and needed more space. They’re the ones who finished off the upstairs portion of the house and who built the kitchen addition. We thanked them for their remodeling, particularly the kitchen add-on!

Today we took a walk along the Oudegracht (Old Canal) and passed by the Neuwegracht (New Canal, built in the late 1390s), and now we’re trying to sort out our power and gas provider. It’s a bit confusing and complicated with choosing energy providers, who are separate from the companies that actually manage the service — or something like that.

Our stuff that we shipped over is still stuck in customs. They seem to think it’s too much to be simply household items, which is silly. It should hopefully be resolved soon. It’s not a major issue and our shipper is working on it. I find myself thinking now that I could probably live without half of the stuff I packed, but it’s much easier to think that way on this end than it is on the other end. Oh well.

Catching Up

I think everything caught up with us yesterday. As a result, we barely left the house and made return trips to bed to try and conquer the exhaustion that seemed to set in. Despite the bulk of the furniture arriving from IKEA yesterday, all we managed to get put together was the four dining room chairs — and those were a nightmare! Screws that just didn’t want to screw.

Today is much better, though. We’re feeling more awake and have already gone grocery shopping for the weekend, and checked out a nearby street (it translates to nightingale street) where there’s a nice little pet shop. Food was bought for all animals and we took a wander down the street and discovered the fancy fish shop — they even seem to have crawfish! — and a fancy bakery that had Giovanni almost in tears for the sheer beauty of it.

I’ve been giving the new washer and dryer a workout today. We’ve got four loads that need to be done. Next up, we’re going to tackle putting together the bed. Finally, we’ll be off the floor!

Oh, tonight starts the European Cup. Tonight is also Night Fever over on Lucasbolwerk. Our social calendar is getting busy!

Euro '08

Furniture and Meatballs

We spent almost the whole day at IKEA, picking out furniture. It should all be delivered on Friday. We found chairs for the dining table (which I’m going to eventually recover), an entertainment center, a bed and beside tables, and an office desk and chair for G. We were going to get a coffee table (or salontafel, as it’s called in Dutch), but the one we wanted wasn’t available in berkenfineer (birch).

We’ll have to go back, because we’ve yet to decide on a kitchen island, and they didn’t have the wardrobes out on display for us to see in person (they’re redoing that section of the store). Still, it should start to look a little more like a real house once the items all arrive, even thought the sofa doesn’t arrive until some time next week.

Tomorrow, our main agenda is the purchase of a vacuum cleaner.

(We were going to buy some of the Swedish meatballs while were were at IKEA, but we forgot about it in our quest to get all of the stuff we’d purchased over to transportationservice. )

Should Have Bought an Umbrella

Today, we went to Gamma, a major hardware store, in search of paint for the bedroom. We ended up finding — with the help of someone in the store — a basic white paint and what will hopefully be a nice green paint for the accent wall. It’s surprising just how difficult it can be to buy paint when you don’t know the language. Despite the many many gallons of paint I’ve bought in the past, when you miss a few key words, it becomes incredibly difficult. Luck was with us once again and we had a friendly, helpful, English-speaking store employee helping.

As we stood in line to get our paint mixed up, it turned out that the woman next to us was getting a very similar color. In fact, our color was one of the two to which she had narrowed her choice down, and her color was one that we had considered. Perhaps a sagey green is popular right now.

It has been raining on and off since last night, but when we left the house, we decided against taking the umbrella. Perhaps not the wisest choice. Within moments of leaving Gamma, paint cans in hand, it started to rain. It’s wasn’t a heavy rain, but it was a consistent rain and within minutes, I was drenched. Drowned rat, to be precise. Suddenly what we had referred to yesterday as being not much more than a leisurely walk turned into a long, wet, chafing slog. Still, there was quite a bit of laughter about it all.

On the plus side, I got to see Nijntje Pleintje and walk across one of the canal locks, and I found a record shop I had seen photographed on Flickr, and also saw the house that we almost bought on Breedstraat. Quite a lot of sight-seeing in one relatively short journey.

Fastest Installation. Ever!

Almost by the time I finished posting, the installation was done. Incredibly fast and easy, it seems! So we now have a washer and dryer.

We went to the grocery store afterward, in order to get stuff for dinner, and while we were there, we decided to get some laundry detergent. Most of it smelled awful, particularly the Albert Hein store brand, but we found one that should be ok. After smelling them all, I almost had the beginnings of a headache. But that was cured by a stop at one of the other bars at the end of our street. (Our local was closed.) We had our usual witbier (they’re small, don’t worry mum!) and now we’re going to cook dinner. It’s some sort of mystery dish. It’s pork/bacon sort of stuff wrapped around some sort of mystery stuffing. I should point out that it’s a mystery only because we don’t read Dutch. To go along with it, we’re having a sort of mushroom, leek, lettuce salad that’s quite lovely. (ETA: Thanks to Merian, I now know that the dish was slavink. Check the comment down below for the history. It’s fascinating!)

Tomorrow morning, we’re heading over to the hardware store to buy some paint so I can get to work on our bedroom. I’m thinking of white walls with an accent wall of sage green where the headboard will be. It’s inspired by this bedroom.