11 July 2007

(Un)moving day

I am sitting in the midst of a house full of furniture in various states of disarray: dining room tables with their legs removed, a sofa wrapped in old curtains, a host of bubble-wrap sheaths, a mattress trussed up like a pork tenderloin.

All of this is happening because, some five months after we moved into the place, the previous renter has finally come back for her things. It took her a long time to find a new apartment in Madrid, so we forgive her. But still, we've been looking forward to this for a good long while, anticipating the day our apartment is really ours. Even the things we loved so--and she sure has some beautiful furniture (good bye red-orange sofa! good bye lustrous wood table! we will miss you!)--were still not ours, and thus imparted a feeling of sort of not really living in our own place.

Ever since we found out that this would be happening, less than two weeks ago, we've been feverishly trying to find furniture that 1. we can afford, and 2. isn't crappy. This is easier said than done.

We have mostly resorted to online classifieds, and fortunately for us, Brussels has a huge turnover population, what with people coming from all over to live here for a short stint at the EU institutions. Everybody and their brother is selling furniture. Unfortunately for us, ninety percent of what's available is Ikea furniture. Don't get me wrong: Ikea's great for some things, like odds and ends and decor and decent shelves and tables.

Last weekend we went to see a secondhand Ikea dining room table and chairs and ended up buying a bed from the people as well. They are moving back to Puerto Rico, and asked if we needed anything else, and we said a bed. Well, they said, that's great because we'd like to sell ours! Chagrined, they added, the only problem is that we don't want to sell the mattress. Perfect, we said! Because we have a mattress! And indeed, it worked out perfectly. Our futon mattress fits nicely in the frame, and the frame looks good in our room, and boy were we ever happy to have our queen-sized mattress back! (We had been sleeping on her full-sized bed for lack of a frame to put ours in.) It felt gigantic, like we could have bowling competitions right there in our pajamas!

For a while there we've had the house full: two sets of beds, two sets of dining table and chairs, etcetera. The only thing we can't find is a sofa, because--and here's my quibble with Ikea--all the cheap Ikea sofas that people are selling look pretty crappy. They look like Ikea, you know? Like that extra guest room futon that seems great because it's both a sofa and a bed, but in the end it's not good at being either. I speak from experience: we have a tiny Ikea futon that's the most uncomfortable thing to sit on, and one of the slats broke and a bolt busted loose while we were sitting on it. It looks like it's going to be our sofa for a while again, though, until we find something better.

Anyway, gotta go! The moving truck and its big fancy hydraulic lift is busy hydraulicizing up to the window. Eeeek! Here it is! Kind of creepy, you know? A big machine creeping up and appearing at your fourth-floor window?

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