A Travellerspoint blog

Of Closets and Children's Hospitals

overcast 33 °F

There’s so much about the housing here that is different. For example, it is more common than uncommon to just have one master bathroom for a family. The bathroom is considered a family room - meant to be shared, like the kitchen or the living room. Everyone just learns to share.

And it’s quite quirky to me that apartments don't come with any built-in closets. You buy your own cupboards or build your own closets. Rising to that challenge, the decision was made to design our own closet and have it up well before the bed we ordered arrives. As good Consultants, we:

1. Conducted an as-is analysis - how small did you say this nook was?

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2. Gathered requirements - space for how many shoes?

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3. Launched into Conceptual Design and created a Mock-up- how long should the hanger space be to fit a skirt suit?

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4. Went on a field trip to assess materials - how many slats do we need, how many thingamajigs to hold this whole thing up?

5. Performed a mini Test, after the materials were delivered - held up the slats to see if they would actually fit in that space, counted them to ensure that all the bits and bobs had been delivered.

Go-Live morning arrives: The installers call to say that they are running 30 minutes late - how un-Swiss; they arrive precisely 30 minutes later. And promptly announce that the wall is not strong enough to hold the construction; they cannot install the closet and we now have to return all the stuff and figure something else out. Many-slip-cup-lip.

I sulk, almost cry out of frustration, want to call my mommy and whine, and go for a brisk walk - to the Children’s hospital, to hang out with Gr who is babysitting his nephew, while the kid's parents go in for some pediatric consults with the doctors. And then it strikes me - everyone in the hospital is really “worse off” than me. They are here because there is something wrong with their child, be it a fever or a broken toe or something more dramatic. And the poor little kids are there without even knowing why they are there. And I have the gall to sulk over an incomplete closet?

Posted by Goofy9 11:55 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Jimi Hendrix is My Neighbor

rain 40 °F

Kid you not - next door neighbor. Haven’t seen him though. Certain he’s there, strumming with Elvis.
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Moving house has been like a military operation - with movement plans, strict labeling, and tracking sheets. What a joy!
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For the number of times I’ve moved, I should have this perfected, but, it still takes 3 tries to get curtains up. And spices organized in the right spot. Should have planned a heftier budget just for window dressings. It’s not a simple matter of go to a store, pick your curtains, get some hardware from Home Depot, and get ‘em up. Let’s start with hardware - almost as expensive as the fabric itself, and I have made 3 trips to the store and project that there will be at least one more trip; I am not as competent with these things as I should be.

Curtain rods come only in three sizes - it’s a good thing we had a saw, and little bitty bob things that you use to join two rods together. And then there are only two specific types of rings you can use - one that goes on a rod, and one that goes on some sort of a rail track system that is built into the ceiling. And those two types of rings/rails attach to the curtains in only a certain limited way. So not the land of choice!

One way of looking at it is that choice is not all that it’s made out to be. After all, there might be 16 kinds of milks on the shelf in an American super market, yet I just buy two kinds of milk, the same two kinds I always have bought. Perhaps this is just a simpler, less-permutations-and-combinations way of living.

Posted by Goofy9 07:33 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Too many many things to learn

sunny 50 °F

Apartments do not come with light fixtures or any window dressing (not even basic white slats). So you spend god-awful amounts of money buying curtains (that you probably can never use in another place again but still need decent ones that you wouldn’t mind looking at) and lighting.

For those with commitment issues, note that leases are “lifetime” leases…you pay rent every month but there is no end date. If you wanted to stay in the apartment for 10 years you don’t have to renew the lease every year. But if you want to leave at the end of 1.5 years, all you have to do is give a 3-month notice. But, official move months are only April and October. It’s the time when the whole country ups and moves if it needs to. Moving companies are busy and apartments are briskly being leased. But this lifetime lease explains owners don’t give you lights and curtains - if you live there for very long (which many people do) then you want to have fixtures that you like. Makes convoluted sense.

And then there’s all this stuff to learn about recycling - Mondays are for paper, which has to be neatly bundled and tied up with twine. Every other Tuesday is for cardboard. But glass can be put in a giant container right outside every day. But if it’s regular trash, you carry it out to a chute, which is a two minute walk from the apartment. But hey, don’t put tuna cans in there - those are collected on yet another day. The kicker is that you have to pay for each bag of trash! Makes you not pick up a catalog at a store, and not want the paper bag in which your sandwich came, and makes you say No when asked if you want extra paper napkins with your takeaway meal. And then again, apparently, there are people who leave the packaging of their newly bought vacuum cleaner, let’s say, in the parking lot, since if they take it home, they have to pay to trash the cardboard box. But that uncivic behavior is supposed to be very rare.

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Almost forgot to mention: The kitchen has a built-in trash can and every trash can in the country is the same size. So you buy trash bags (and each bag of trash you pay for) and each city has a different color of trash bag. So you cannot take your trash out to another city to dump. They really have thought this thought through.

Oh, induction stoves: I had never heard of these. So regular pots and pans don’t necessarily work on an induction stove, unless it’s All Clad or something like that. You’ll have to google the science behind an induction stove, but suffice it to say that cooking on it will take me a little getting used to.

The iron and ironing board is a whole another story. It costs so much that I am genuinely shocked. It’s complicated looking and that’s what everyone uses - it’s this integrated steamer + iron + ironing board monstrosity. Dry cleaning bills better be minimal after this purchase.

Overwhelmed.

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Posted by Goofy9 12:29 Archived in Switzerland Comments (3)

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