Posts in the category "Home sweet home".

In June 2007 I was tipped off by my neighbour of a two-room apartment that was being built nearby. After a little stumble (someone had reserved it before me) I got it for myself. The building is finished in the first quarter of 2008 — but of course I’m going to go on and on about it before the move.

This category is in “Once in a Lifetime” category because this is my first apartment.

Oh yeah, sorry about my terminology. I own it so it’s a condominium. :)


Goodbye next-door neighbours’ kitchen drawers and utensils.
Goodbye their dishwasher and blender.
Goodbye you peeing somewhere upstairs.
Goodbye you little boy who play football in the stairway.
Goodbye neighbours’ washing machines and vacuum cleaners.
Goodbye upstairs neighbours’ furniture that screeches across the floor. (Ever heard of foot pads?)
Goodbye you little boy who keep jumping up and down.
Goodbye the piano with apparently just one key left.

G o o d b y e. I never need to hear you again — we’re moving!

Cousin It

Every time I go around the flat with a vacuum cleaner, I wonder if I would look good with a bald head.

Not just fresh – still moving!

Ugh, sometimes I hate cooking from fresh produce.

I was making a vegetable soup today with potatoes, carrots, peas… and I was planning on including a cauliflower, too. Once I started peeling it, I noticed several bright green caterpillars wriggling around. There were also a couple in cocoons. I thought, “alright, I’ll rinse them off and see how it looks.” Then I started noticing tiny little caterpillar toilet areas all around the nice white cauliflower… The whole thing flew quickly to the trash. Brrr.

Cabbages and those sorts are probably the worst: there are so many little nooks and crannies for bugs to hide in.

When my godson was younger, I used to look after my aunt’s kids (i.e. my godson and his sister) every summer. I’d also cook for them. One summer they had a little patch of vegetables in the yard so I was asked to make a salad with some home-grown lettuce and carrots. I tried to pick out the cleanest-looking lettuce but peeling away the layers uncovered a nice surprise: two or three slugs. (The thought still gives me shivers.) Slugs are even worse than caterpillars which are kinda cute (as long as they’re not cooked, seasoned, and on my plate).

Luckily I happened to have some frozen broccoli so I used that instead of the cauliflower. I know there can be all sorts of things hidden in packaged foods (mice, crickets, beetles, lizards… just to name but a few from recent news; I also once found a feather in a nut mix) but at least I didn’t see anything!

Post-check post-fix post-check post-fix post-check fix

Home sweet home, indeed. I’m getting so tired of this.

Last summer they started fixing things around the building according to what people had reported. (Well, except for my balcony.) One day I got a note that they’d be fixing my balcony door (I hadn’t reported it but I’m glad they caught there was something wrong with it).

After a while I got a note they’d be checking that the balcony door is ok now. Well, it wasn’t, so I got a second note that they’d be fixing it.

It was at the beginning of this winter, I believe, when I got a note that they’d be checking that the latest fix had fixed it. (It needs to be cold for a while to take the measurements or whatever.) Well, it hadn’t been fixed, so I got a third note that they’d be fixing it.

Last Friday I got a note saying that they’d check the door again on Monday. They checked it today and guess what — I got a note saying that they’re fixing it again, tomorrow!

Sigh. I’ve been living here soon for 2 years and I still have builders marching around my apartment when I’m not around.

Iron woman

Last Wednesday I got it in my head that my bedroom needed reorganising. Furniture-wise. (The contents of the closets, shelves, and boxes are in a much bigger mess, therefore I need a lot bigger inspiration to start organising those.)

Here’s what it used to look like:

Bedroom before

I had figured I have no need for much floor space (not going to square dance or anything there) so I’d put the bed like that to make it easier to change sheets. However, I got tired of the maze. I’d bump my leg and hip on the foot of the bed or my desk. Don’t ask me why, but I always got in from the right even though the left side was all clear. (The dimensions are a little off there, because in reality the foot of the bed and the corner of the desk were closer… I’m not that wide.)

Anyway, I took the stuff off the shelves of my big bookcase (in the corner there), threw them on the bed, and put some woolly socks under the bookcase. I dragged it across the room. Then I dragged my bed around with the help of some more woolly socks and pushed it in the corner. Then I put the desk in front of the window. Very easy to move the desk since it is on a little rug. Finally, I carried the chest of drawers and put it on the other end of the desk.

Here’s what it looks like now:

Bedroom after

Still, the desk area isn’t optimal but I didn’t want to put the chest of drawers right next to the bed. I’m afraid I may hit my head or something. Maybe I’ll need to try it out though, because it could act as a night table too (I need to put my cellphone, i.e. alarm clock, somewhere). Unfortunately the door doesn’t open all the way now because the bookcase is just a tad too wide (the door hits just the corner there) but there aren’t many places to put it.

(The floor plans were created at

Parking space invaders

Last year before the move-in, one of my to-be-neighbours called me to ask if I needed a parking space. There are only as many parking spaces as there are condos (which is really stupid) so they were hoping I would give up my space. Well, I said I didn’t mind if they said I was willing to give up my space cause I didn’t need it.

She just called again, because we were asked to return a paper requesting a parking space or to tell if we didn’t need one. I put that I don’t need a space because I don’t, and I frankly didn’t even remember the “deal” (there was no special arrangement, I didn’t pay for the space so they didn’t pay for it to me). I asked if there are many other families with two cars and she told me there are a couple. When I told her I had already stated I didn’t need a space and that I think it’s fair if the families who’ve had to park one car on the street have a chance of getting a proper space this year (there will be a draw), she suddenly sounded very annoyed and was quick to end the call. Sorry, but there’s really no reason for me to help them getting an extra space. I did it last year out of shock (why did she call me and how did she get my phone number) and kindness.

Mm, the smell of fly corpses in the morning

I was supposed to go carpet shopping today but I was too comfortable for too long watching the X-Files so I couldn’t be bothered anymore. It’s a hassle getting to the shops where I want to go. It’s less of a hassle from work so I’ll try and leave a little earlier some day.

Skipping that “responsibility” I decided to do something useful anyway. I decided to clean up the air conditioning unit — which should be done every 6 months and I haven’t exactly done so. It’s nearly a year since I moved here (anniversary on Tuesday) so I figured it’s high time.

I opened up the door (a bit of a struggle) and was greeted with black blobs of dead flies (those really really tiny ones) all over the floor of the unit and in the filters, and a sort of sweet smell. Mm.

I had to take out the dusty filters and vacuum the flies away. There’s a cubic element in the middle (whatever it does) that apparently should be removed and washed but I couldn’t figure out how to do that and I was afraid to pull it too forcefully. I’ll have to ask Dad come and check it out some day (how embarrassing…).

Well, at least now I have an 80% clean air conditioning unit instead of the entirely unclean one.

Cough cough. I think I inhaled some of the flies.
(Just kidding! One of the filters was really dusty. Not with flies, thank god.)

An alchemist

Time and time again I’m amazed by the magic of cooking.

Not too long ago I made Pioneer Woman’s recipe “Grandma Iny’s Prune Cake” where you make an icing from sugar, buttermilk, baking soda, syrup, butter, and vanilla extract. It needs to be boiled for a while but it must not reach a soft ball stage. I didn’t have any idea what kind of stage that might be so I just boiled it until it looked something like in the photos. (I may’ve cooked it too long but anyway. It ended up being a syrupy-looking thing (maybe the caramel stage) and it was easily pourable. And the whole thing was delicious. That’s the main thing.) At first I was sceptical: the thing started boiling, then foaming (all but fluffed right out of the pan) which I think could be the butter’s fault (it wasn’t the artery-clogging kind). But I waited patiently for the syrup to appear. I actually scooped a bit of the foam off because I was afraid the butter was not right for the recipe. Suddenly — very very quickly — the foam went down and it turned into syrup.

Today I decided to try a fudge recipe where you had to boil sugar, cream, honey, and butter to the soft ball stage of 116 degrees Celsius. (I was going to buy a thermometer but forgot.) Once again, the butter started foaming (so it wasn’t the “healthy” butter’s fault although the real butter foams in a lot more controlled manner) and I started doing the water test: drop a bit of the syrup to cold water and once it’s forms into a soft ball when it hits the water, it’s ready. I waited and waited, and stirred. And put a few drops of it in the water — getting only slightly white sugar water. At one point it was still very foamy but a little thicker than it had been before so I decided to try my luck: it actually seemed to harden a little in the water so I took it off the burner, even though I thought “it’s foam, it can’t work”. In an instant (a few seconds, seriously) it turned into something I could really call fudge. Wow! Then I started mixing in the flavours: white chocolate (yummmm), ginger jam (odd but it’s in the recipe — gotta try it), and dried cranberries. Little by little I started believing I may’ve actually managed to do this right. Now it’s cooling down right behind me — I’m just inhaling the smelly goodness since it’ll take a while for it to be ready for cutting.

I only wish I could succeed in normal cooking. It seems I only get the cakes and other treats right, and my regular food comes out bland or just weird. Maybe it’s because dessert-making is more of an exact science?

Disappearance trick

Just yesterday, and several days before that, I had a private swimming pool (or a skating rink if it would’ve frozen) — on my balcony! The drain out there doesn’t do its job efficiently enough and the melting snow created a nice little pond. It started as a small puddle around the drain but yesterday it had reached the door. Luckily, if the water level got any higher than that, it would start going over the sides and wouldn’t get in since the door is higher.

In the photo above, my doorstep is at the bottom of the picture and the water is about 2 feet away. (That was the day before yesterday.)

I lifted the block of ice off the drain in the hopes of opening it but no luck there…

However, this morning(-ish…) the water was nearly gone! There’s only a little bit of ice left in the groove that goes around the balcony. I hope the water doesn’t come back this winter but I’m definitely listing this as something that needs to be fixed. (After the first year they’ll do an inspection and ask the people to report any problems that were noticed during the first year of occupying the apartments.)

I’m glad I didn’t yet have any furniture or flooring on my balcony!

Grrr, yum

I’m a carnivore but since I moved on my own I haven’t dared to try and fry a proper steak because I’ve thought it’s really difficult. So, for over 6 months I’ve been basically eating chicken, turkey, fish and minced meat (yeah, meat, but not one you need to use your teeth on). Bleh. I think once I was lucky enough to be at mum and dad’s when mum made steaks.

Lately I’ve really wanted to have some steak. I even discussed my “fear” with a client when we were out for lunch around Christmas time — we happened to talk about cooking in general. I got some good tips from her and she reassured me that it really wasn’t so difficult. So, today I finally bought two steaks, one for today and one for tomorrow.

It really wasn’t difficult and I used a timer just in case. Boy, it was good. I cooked some vegetables and couscous to go with it. I’m not overly fond of couscous, the texture is a little odd, but I have some left so I need to use it for something. (I know I could use it in meatballs for example and maybe I will.)

Yum. My thirst for blood has been quenched for a while. Maybe even for the next 6 months. (Nah!)