Monthly Archives: October 2018


It’s quarter after 11 and I decided to write a post. Partly because we spent a great deal of today going through all of the boxes and suitcases that had been piled up in the bedroom. After you move, there’s a certain amount of time that you can recycle the same clothing and make do with all the sample size toiletries that you have collected. Then there comes a point where you have to actually unpack the rest of your clothes. That was the task for today.

On a plus point, I can say that several boxes were emptied and others were filled for donations or textile recycling. I bravely sorted through my entire collection of bags, backpacks and purses and mercilessly put all the ones that weren’t quite perfect into the donate boxes. Of course, since we were unpacking boxes and we really only had one chest of drawers (which we lugged all the way up to the top of the house from the ground floor with a great deal of swearing – on my part) that means that there are still a ton of clothes piled up on the bed. Part of me is considering making the suggestion that we just sleep in one of the spare rooms. πŸ˜‰

I know I need to go upstairs and move those things. However, I am putting it off just a little longer. I am in this weird phase, I don’t have trouble making decisions about what to keep and what to let go, but I do have trouble getting started with doing it. That’s not exactly helpful.

However, since we head to the US in week, the house has to be in a relative kind of order because we have a housesitter coming. We interviewed her last night and the boys took to her right away. That’s probably what sealed the decision, to be frank. The boys like people but with Lucia, they were stuck to her in within 2 minutes.

Yesterday, I went to the office for the last time and turned in everything. It was a surprisingly anti-climatic ending to nearly 11 years of being an employee. It felt a little strange but I had 2 hours in traffic to process it. πŸ˜‰

The weather has switched to rain and wind, which I like. Tonight we also finally turn the clocks back.

I was in Amsterdam Thursday night to host the monthly meetup and since the 1st of October, most of my usual transit lines have changed. I felt like I was visiting from a one stoplight kind of town. Funny how quickly things can change.

Tomorrow promises to be rainy and cold, which means there is no excuse not to finish unpacking. πŸ˜‰


Small Dogs at the beach

Yesterday I was working hard on getting through all the boxes downstairs in the office. There’s alot of anticipation amongst the people who will be working with me to come and see the new digs. One of them was coming with her husband to bring us plants. And there was the belated birthday party for GG’s sister in the evening, so time was critical. It was so critical that when I woke up at 920, the first thing I said to GG was “We’ve got to hurry up, we only have six hours to work before we have to get ready to leave!” She was not impressed. πŸ˜‰

So, yesterday the boys had to watch me work my way through another stack of boxes and they were pretty restless. Partly because they were bored and partly because all of the stuff I was going through was pretty intense. Poor little sponges. The lesson learned was that I needed to wear them out so that they nap on the sofa while the boxes get tackled.

This morning we took them to the beach at Monster. When we arrived, there was a sort of dachshund party happening with 20 or so dachshunds that were all descended from the same breeder. Henry was fascinating to them so we were invited to join their walk. We did that for a while until George decided he was finished with all their barking and he was going in the water. He did really well, even chasing after rocks and sticking his whole head in the cold salt water. Henry stayed out of the water as befits a dachshund of his short stature.

When we got home, it was bath time for them and vaccuum time for Astrid since she was covered in sand. And then off to tackle the boxes. There’s a lot of work still to go. However, we did get the furniture moved and all of the 27 tubs have been sorted along with all the boxes that came out of storage. Now I have to go through the boxes that came from Amsterdam – but that’s all current stuff so less to deal with emotionally.

I found an amazing framed photo of Raven, at the UW Spring Powwow. He’s in profile, surrounded by all the other dancers participating in Grand Entry.

George is finally snoring after keeping himself awake all afternoon. I feel like I could do that too!

Hello from Slacker Club…

Yesterday I drove Bex back north to Schiphol since she needed to return to Seattle. Since she left, it seems like GG and I have lost a little bit of our momentum. In other words, yesterday evening was a meeting of the Slacker’s Club. We ate boerenkool again because it was easy to make from the ingredients left over in the refrigerator and did a lot of talking about what needs to happen in this house.

Tomorrow the electrician is coming. That is priority one because the limited light facilities here are cozy but make it a pain in the ass if you need to do anything after dark. Number two, the stairs in the dark are a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure chapter! In retrospect, maybe we should have just paid the ridiculous amount of money to keep the lights that were here. However, it turns out that our electrical panel really needs some tidying up and hanging the lights can be done as well.

Smoke detectors are not mandatory here… so in addition to the light fixtures GG went off to pick up tonight, there should also be some smoke detectors. Our house is predominantly stone walls but still…

The boys are doing quite well. It’s fun to watch them run through the house. Right now, they are having their post dinner nap and George is farting in his sleep. Oxygen masks will be falling from the ceiling!

I was back in Amsterdam today. Tomorrow I won’t be and then Friday again. Let’s just say that I am clearly giving my train card a work out. My designated train nap route seems to be the distance between Schiphol and Leiden. It’s about 25 minutes. I like to sit up top on the big yellow Intercity trains. It works just like a good rocking chair…zzz. I am waiting for the day that someone taps me on the shoulder to tell me that I am snoring in the Silent car and would I mind napping in the non-Silent car? πŸ˜‰


Hurtling through the countryside…

I’m on the big yellow train from Amsterdam back to Schiedam. It’s dark outside so I can’t see the farmland outside but it’s a great moment to write a post πŸ˜‰

I’m still trying to work out this train thing. If everything goes properly, it actually takes me 8-12 minutes less time to go with the train than with Astrid but it does limit the amount of stuff I can take with me. Like for my banjo lesson tonight, I couldn’t bring my banjo and I couldn’t take my banjolele home. I was already managing my backpack and my lunch this morning.

Today I gave formal notice that I had left the city of Amsterdam. You are technically supposed to do it within 5 working days of your move but I look at as 5 working days from the day the last moving truck arrived. πŸ˜‰ Feels a little strange – like I know that means Astrid will never be able to get a parking permit for the city again because they have since passed a law that anything older than 1998 is ineligible for a street permit.

As for the other side, well, Bex and GG have been working tirelessly to transform 4 trucks into something livable while I have been learning the commute patterns. We did spend Saturday evening sitting on our terrace, above the garden with lots of snacks and wine. So you know, apples and guacamole are quite a tasty combination together, in my opinion. Sabine joined us and a good time was had by all.

The next morning I got to practice my weird hospitality tendencies and we had breakfast outside. The weather made it impossible not to enjoy. In the afternoon, we drove nearly to the border to visit the farm of someone GG worked with 18 years ago. Not just for the enjoyment of the countryside but to meet Pickle and Olive. In six weeks or so, they will come home to us. Pickle is the runt of the litter and he has a really big voice for one so small. Olive is a little more reserved.Β Pickle and Olive 20 days old

Our new house feels good. GG says that I snore less! The dogs are welcome everywhere – Friday night we had dinner in one of the old windmills that surround the city. The owner told us that the boys were certainly welcome and definitely better behaved than many children πŸ˜‰ They did settle down very nicely under the old table and waited patiently. Perhaps they were inspired by the surroundings!Β What does eating in a windmill look like?


4 trucks later…

On Tuesday morning, at 0730, the last moving truck arrived. This was the one from the storage warehouse where I still had 3.5 chests of stuff that came with me when I moved to the Netherlands. We have had various conversations about whether or not our new house would actually be big enough for all of the stuff we have. Well, I can assure it is. We might even have room for more – although we are certainly not planning to bring anything else into the house!

I still have to adjust to the feeling that everything is now under one roof, including us, the dogs and things like this amazing pair of certificates I found yesterday while I was sorting for downsizing (aka the Bex Flow). Β Issued to my mother when she was still fancy free and working at the Dutch embassy in Washington DC, were two certificates (with grades). She had taken the courses titled Essentials of Data Processing and COBOL Fundamentals of Programming. This was in the early 70s. I never knew this about her. When I saw them, I felt like I was really predestined to be doing this work. πŸ™‚

From the storage truck, there were 27 tubs included. I managed to get through 12 of them yesterday afternoon, without falling apart more than twice. I will save all of that for when everything is unpacked. I did alot of recycling – including finally letting go of my junior high school folders – complete with band lyrics. I still have many more to go and from there we move on to the file boxes. My mom’s handwriting is everywhere on things – that makes it harder.

I might have forgotten to say that Bex arrived on Monday and was so full of energy. She was exactly the direction we needed because we had started to have moving paralysis. WIthin 45 minutes of arriving in our new house and one cup of coffee, she had us moving like an army and making progress where we had been stuck. There’s been a lot of laughter and sarcastic remarks flying around our new house.

The boys are getting a little more used to things. They are settling in. Now to find a good dogwalker and house sitter for the days that we are not home!

Today we will meet up at the old apartment and finish the yard because tomorrow the photographers come and I hand over the keys to the real estate agent. Freaky.


Different kinds of endurance…

Right now, my brother, Rupert is running the Chicago Marathon. He’s passed the 30 kilometer mark. I know this because I am following it online. I can’t even imagine how he must be feeling at this moment! I think it’s an awesome accomplishment and am having a proud big sister moment!

I am having to rely on a different kind of endurance. Let’s just say that the move didn’t go anywhere nearly as smoothly as it should have, for all of our planning. Friday morning, I was still loading the last bits into Astrid, right before the floor finishers got there! We’ve been unpacking all weekend. I know we have made alot of progress but it still feels like we’ve gotten nowhere.

GG has earned the night off and is at the U2 concert. I am sitting on the couch and listening to the boys snore.

I am so glad to be here. It’s a huge adjustment for the boys, especially the whole stairs thing. They know to wait at each landing for me to go back and get their brother since I don’t trust my balance up and down Dutch staircases with a wiggling dog under each arm. I think I am going to need to upgrade my Fitbit to the one that tracks staircases as well πŸ˜‰

The house is beautiful. I can tell the difference between the Catholic and Protestant church bells, which is a useful skill. πŸ˜‰ We overlook a square where our closest neighboring building is the city hall, which was built in 1668. It doesn’t get more storybook than this!

It’s very different here, compared to Amsterdam. Far more diverse and open. I was walking back from the store last night and passed 3 boys who were probably somewhere between 12-15. Big night for them as they were urging each other along to get to the snack bar. In the middle of walking through them, I was hit by a wall of smell. One of the boys calls out to me in Dutch “Ma’am, he let out a fart!” To which I responded “Oh, I know, I can smell it!”

Welcome to the neighborhood πŸ™‚ We’ll try not to wreck the charm that you have going on here!George on Point

Not quite there yet…

That’s our new living room, hence the lovely empty space! We’re clearly not there yet! Remember the super schedule? Well, after the movers arrived at GG’s, they discovered that their elevator lift is too heavy for her balcony. This is the modern way of moving instead of using the pulley system at the roof. Apparently, the mover had recently had the elevator lift bring down an entire balcony. So, yeah, not going to try that obviously. They will have to find another lift and come back again tomorrow.

However, I am supposed to move tomorrow. I was up at 0330, expecting the packers to arrive by 8. They came at 11. It feels like the day is over and it’s not even noon! I was going to move the boys tonight, to have them stay in the new house but that’s not going to happen. I’ve got to make some arrangements for them for tomorrow since they will definitely be underfoot if the movers are here. Not to mention stressed out – they already didn’t like the sight of me packing the suitcases with the stuff that must go in the car and not in the moving truck.

We moved so often growing up. There are certain things I always do, with regards to Stuff that Does Not Go In the Truck. We used to have a very small white bags that the sailors would get. Everything that fit in this bag could go in the car with you, everything else had to go into the moving truck to arrive 4-8 weeks later. I think I still have the ones belonging to the boys in my storage. Mom saved them. I’ve upgraded to roll aboard luggage size but the concept is the same. πŸ˜‰

It is weird, sitting here typing, while my house is being packed up around me. I’ve spent most of the morning on the phone, cancelling things, moving others. Which reminds me, I need to cancel the paper. Of course, now that I am trying to do that, they say that it can’t happen until the end of the quarter – December. So, I guess that not only will I leave the lights and the floors to the next resident, but also my newspaper subscription!

I forgot how small the boxes are here. I guestimated that there would about 30 to pack but they are already at 16 and there’s a way to go. I hope they have more in their truck otherwise this could be a problem!