Live from the Sofa

Yes, that’s right. I am sitting on a sofa. Furthermore, it is a sofa in my living room and I am being serenaded by the snoring symphony of the dogs, who are sitting next to me on this sofa. It gets better. Every single box is unpacked. I am not claiming it is all organized but every box has been unpacked and its contents are in the room they belong in. Yeah, I have been busy. The next portion is finding someone who might want all of these heavy duty boxes and packing paper before Friday. I hate to just put them out for recycling so I will post them on Craigslist. Perhaps someone can use some or all of them.
 
It has been a busy couple of days around here. The movers were here on Thursday and they did a great job. Including two coffee breaks and a lunch, they were done with everything in 3 hours. Only one thing was missing and that was the footboard to the guest bed. It went to long term storage so they came back on Friday morning to bring it and finish assembling the bed. I have been really fortunate to have such good crews of people helping me with this stuff. And yes, even though we are on the ground floor, we did have to use the window to get the armchairs in. They were just a touch too wide to go through the front door. Joanne came down on Thursday to take pictures and help me unpack. It was good have company with all of the boxes. And she must have been channeling Move Goddess because she pointed out that if we flattened and folded the packing paper, we could get a lot more into the boxes that way. I was just on a crazy woman tear, unwrapping as fast as I could.
 
On Friday, IKEA came to deliver the sofa I had ordered the day after we arrived. I was dreading it because I ordered the same sofa that I had in Seattle (and is now in Lawyerella’s office) and I assembled it while Rupert watched earlier in the year because IKEA assembly takes a combination of motor skills, high frustration threshold, picture interpretation skills and the willingness to start all over when it becomes apparent you went awry. Assembling sofa 1 in Seattle did take the better part of an evening. However, since February (when Rupert and I had our IKEA adventure) it appears that they have changed the packaging. Ignoring the picture diagrams that insist it is a two person job, I went ahead confidently and started assembling. My mom always used to tell me, especially with IKEA stuff, to never tighten the screws all the way, just go part of the way until you are done. And of course, I had this in my head while I am charging along, feeling pretty good that I am showing this sofa who is boss. To the point that as I tightened all four bolts all the way, I said out loud “I know what you would say, Mom. But look I tightened everything all the way and nothing happened.” Moving along to step 4 in the pictogram, I proceed to turn the sofa right side up so I can attach the arms. This is the easiest IKEA item I have ever assembled. And as I finish turning the sofa right side up, it promptly falls apart. You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Turns out, I was so busy tightening the bolts, I didn’t stop to check that they were actually lined up and connecting both pieces together. So, out comes the special IKEA gadget to undo all the bolts that I had tightened and I am back to square one. Assembly the second time was much more effective. And when I was securing the arms, I didn’t tighten all the bolts at first.
 
Surprisingly, during all of this household upheaval, the cats are pretty happy. They are out and about. I think that they feel more comfortable with having things that smell familiar around them. It feels pretty good to have my stuff here. The dogs are loving the fact that they have all of their fleece blankets again. And we have their Chuck-It. Yesterday, we took it to the park and they ran their little legs off playing their versions of “Fetch”. They are doing much better at being free in the park and they even go up to where the other dogs congregate and play. They know now that when we get to the park boundaries, their leashes come off. Of course, the advantage of a tired dog is that they sleep solidly for hours, which gave me plenty of time to unpack instead of constantly being interrupted by George’s offers to “help”.
 
Yesterday, we celebrated Joanne’s birthday with a day out. Joanne, Marloes (her sister in law), Marianne and I took a small ferry over to Amsterdam-Noord to this giant warehouse that was like an etsy marketplace on steroids. All kinds of stuff, for your house, for your person, for hobbies you didn’t know you were interested in, you get the drift. This was perfect timing for me since having all my things delivered and unpacking really made me not want to ever buy anything again! I did end up buying three very fun winter bonnets from a Bosnian women’s collective because I don’t have any winter hats and Mom was the knitter, not me. Of course, I cried. Actually, all of us were pretty restrained in our retail habits. But there were some people that were walking out of there with both arms full of stuff. From there, we had dinner in this restaurant called Du Pont (The Point) which I think used to be the harbormaster’s house back in the day. Dinner came complete with a big grey cat sleeping on the bench at our table. Most cafes/restaurants have a cat, to keep the mouse/rat population down. The food was really good. And from there, we went to see the film “La Grande Belleza” at the EYE. It was an Italian film subtitled in Dutch. There’s a lot of the story I didn’t get, because I was trying to read the Dutch and I am just not that fast. It was a very good movie though and we were all tempted to get on the night train to Rome from Amsterdam Centraal. And then I took the tram home.
 
Today, it was back to unpacking and then to the park for more ball. The sun was out this afternoon and it just hits the sofa perfectly so we all enjoyed an hour of naptime. Marianne came by mid afternoon for coffee – this is awesome because I now have a place for people to sit! And then it was back to unpacking. After I finished the last box, we went for our night walk and then I said “you may now turn on your computer, grasshopper”. So, while I will still have a few hours work organizing things, the big part is behind me. This is the fastest I have ever unpacked. And tomorrow morning, I can just start work without banging my knees on a radiator or wondering where things are.
 
One last thing. There is a lot of tax in the Netherlands. You pretty much pay tax on everything, it’s included in the stated price. Of course, there’s a dog tax. It is about 110 euros per dog, per year. I registered the boys online last week, because the fine is even worse. On Saturday, in the post, came their credentials. For my 110 euros per dog, they each get a heavy medallion that goes on their collar that has the logo of the city of Amsterdam and their registration number. We’re not talking wimpy little aluminum tags that you make yourself at the pet store in one of those machines, we are talking industrial grade tags here. The boys look so tough with them on, I want to laugh. They have to wear this every time they leave the house. And all dogs, whether they are dachshund sized or Great Dane get the same sized tag. I think they could give that rapper French Montana a run for his money when it comes to looking tough in their bling.

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