Category Archives: Unpacking


Yesterday GG and I had a look at the calendar and realized that the arrival of the first of the fall season guests is a mere 44 days away. It might sound like a tremendous amount of time to prepare but with our schedules and our ability to be distracted by many more things, it is not much time at all. We agreed that today we would at the very least get the downstairs guest room in good order, including hanging the art that has been moved from place to place every time we want to get somewhere.

This morning, after two cups of coffee, we opened all the doors and headed downstairs. Of course, this meant that the dogs needed to be on the bed, so they wouldn’t have separation anxiety, which then meant that Pickle & Olive also felt the need to be present. Imagine the four of them on a big queen sized bed, while GG and I work around them trying to take down old curtains, hang up my Oma’s fantastic green ones from the 70s or earlier, measure the walls to make sure the art is hanging in the center (GG has a tic about this) and then going through the boxes of stuff that were in there.

While exploring a box of things that belonged to my Mom, including her old school agendas from the 50s, I discovered all of these letters dated from 1964. Mom passed her secretary training that year and apparently there was some sort of shortage in the Dutch labor market. There were no less than 10 letters from companies addressed to her inviting her to come to their offices for an interview. They could offer her many things from a 5 day work week to vacation pay and other benefits! They were also certain that she had many competitive offers and encouraged her to call Mr So and So to arrange directly for an interview at her convenience.

I found these letters really fantastic to read, not just because they were addressed to my Mom. She didn’t take any of these jobs but she clearly had options. Also because they were a look back into time. How things were and what was considered important, especially with the focus on what was also good for the employee. I think that is something that with the constant focus on globalisation and maximum shareholder value that has gone missing. I think it is something that more focus needs to be placed on.

In addition to all of these little things, there were more of my Opa’s navigation tools and his souvenir ruler from the Apollo 11 launch. A few fantastic pictures of the boys from their younger years which I hope they will want to have. Going through these boxes is still a big emotional thing. Luckily by this time GG starts agonizing over whether or not the picture is 3 centimeters off from center and I can shift into being Captain Logic.

We finished the guest room and we think that it might actually be a working fire place in there. However with the heat wave we have had lately, we were not going to try that out. Next project is go back into the front part of the downstairs, what has been the company HQ. We’re going to reclaim that a bit as living space, now that the company has space in Rotterdam. 😉 Now it’s the Executive HQ downstairs!