Sunday, 15 November 2009

The berber horde

To be honest my home works, including transformations and decorations, are surely tiring yet painless matters.

They are done following my rithm, planned easily and then reported here.

Exception to the aforementioned rules are two class of works:

A) the one involving my father
B) the one involving external contractors.

Being my overzealous father far away from my home at the moment what I'm about to tell you is a story involving said extrernal contractors ( thunder and lightnings, thank you).

Seven windows.

The windows frames came straight from the sixties and the fact that nobody found it normal to swap them always left me baffled.

Let me get this straight, the fact that we have global warming and that winters become warmer and warmer must not fool you. When it is cold in Belgium it is Fecking cold, period.

I remember waking up with my face stiff and frozen more than once and once to have found that a bit of tea, forgot in a cup, was transformed in ice during the nght.

Some badly insulated light glasses were paired to the light alluminium frames and finished the work leaving ice cold air blades stab you.

I held out last winter, but was adamant about the fact that the windows were going down before this winter starts.

Easier said than done.

Never leave for tomorrow...

Explain me something.

I do technically live in the second worst economical recession this world ever knew. A crisis that is so bad that everyone weeps and cries its heart out.

With those premises why in the world is it that difficult to find a contractor that works for you? I mean I should receive red carpets and be treated like a saviour, wouldn't I?

Yeah right.

Excluding insanely overpriced requests ( one asked us 40K Euro to do the job) when we finally found the one that would do it for a reasonable price, we had to chase them via phone and mail all around Belgium.

Order was placed beginning of Juli, workers started to demolish the house half of October -_-"

... What you can nuke today

When I say Demolish I'm not joking at all. The moroccan workers started their task with the quickness of a Ferrari mech team that switched tire during a race and the delicacy of Attila's Huns ( There is no grass in my house, but I'm darn sure there never will be now).

Old frames were torn, stripped, sawn and ripped to tatters.

At a certain moment the proud sons of North Africa started to cut the metal with a mechanical grindstone. The old frame waved to this final assault and before giving in burned TWO of the assailant's electrical engines.

When I saw the metal fall I realized that it was a third grinder that they were using and commented to myself " They are well equipped nevertheless".

It was only later when my neighbour from the third floor came asking if I had seen his mechanical grinder that I decided to avoid further comments...

It took three non consequent days of work ( with a lots of phonecalls in between) and when I came back form my little trip to Italy I could see my wiindows finished...

... And a whole lot of little problems.

Only one more push.

When my tactful workers left the house left two not really small issues as well.

First one was a series of holes in the walls around the frame. That was a consequence that they did not cut the metal Ls that kept the old structure in place before tearing it down.

Second issue was more baffling. When I came home I found that three out of four windows in the living room were missing and were replaced by white plastic boards.

The reason to this was simple and absolutely coherent with my contractor's way of working. Only God knows why, when we placed the order, some windows came in too big for the frame.

They assured me a quick substitution, but my phone and me knew better than that.

In the meantime there was the issue of the hole in the walls. Olivier, my third floor neighbour, gave me the number of two brasilian specialists that had already worked for him.

I called them, they came and after a deadly contract round (solved with the help of my neighbour, praised be his name) we agreed on an acceptable price that included everything, work, materials and saudade.

One thing I have to say over those two, they did chat like old ladies on a park bench, but they worked fast and had a God blessed hand for it.

Two days later they were finished, and they did it so well that I reallly wanted to tell them "Right lads, rip all the house open and do it all anew."

Even destiny had decided he had enough fun at my expenses and as soon the job was finished I received a call that informed me that my windows were just arrived, probably on camel back directly from Morocco.

The same day the tactful contractors were there and gave an admirative look at the high quality work that my Brasilians helper did.

Not even a second later one of my berbers crashed the window corner into the job scaring it.

It really is hard not giving away to racism.

Final touch

Only cleaning up the house (after living for three weeks in a talc mine) and painting remained.

That's right, because even if I stil have to paint my sleeping room ( that's for 2010) the colors I put on the Living room were gone and had to be redone.

Cleaning took 8 hours, 4 of it only to dust each single furniture in that house ( inbetween I took the time to go to grand Place watch the jugglers)

Painting took two hours, but I did skip the color work and just put the basic ones. I will finish the work in a couple of hours of free time later.

You happy?

Now that it is over yes.

I have a dent in my banck account that will need a while to heal, house is still quite dirty, but I'm happy.

Home has never been that warm and waking up in the morning in a room that is , I adit, cold, but nothing like the cellar I was used to is priceless.

Now that this is over, just a little last intervention in the kitchen and I can close the works in the house for 2009

Timetable has been respected:)

Berbers aside.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Grand place

Grand place is one of those places who really makes you always think you are somewhere else.

I deeply admire this town for the fantasy and cleverness of use of this space, encased between the old walls of its beautiful, gold roofed buildings

So sunday afternoon, after 5 hours cleaning up the mess that the renovations works left in my flat ( more of that later) I arrived in Grand place to find

So it is, 600, 600 jugglers all gathered together on the middle of this beautiful stone paved stage.

The view was incredible. As you entered the square, air was filled with balls, maces, rings and whatever you could throw.

Not a single point of the square was left empty

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The penguin asks...

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Make your choice....

Autumn in Brussels

Not dead yet, relax.

It only happened that works are under way at home and thus I have even too many things to tell.

Kitchen is unreacheable and here you see a fine example of my actual dinners.

Let me catch my breath again and I'll tell you everything this week.

See you later...