Monday, February 20, 2012

What is it...

G'day all!

What is it about IKEA that brings people in again and again?

I've had Billy bookshelves for years.  They are cheap, cheerful (well mine aren't - they are a sorta metallic charcoal grey/black) and despite being made of particle board with flimsy paper-like backs, have lasted for quite some years.  (They must be about 10 years old at least.  I know I had my Starlet when I brought some home - I had to take them out of the packaging, open up the hatch, lay the front seat down (the passenger one!) and then load the long bits in there.  Apparently the Starlet could only take things that are 2m long.)

On the weekend, since I had hired a car, we choofed off to the Seattle IKEA.  My goodness.   It is interesting seeing the differences and the similarities between IKEAs.  I suspect they are basically the same - the layout might be a bit different, the electrical goods on offer are a little different (just as well - Oz runs on 240V rather than 110V and has different shaped plugs) - but the US and Oz ones really are so similar.  Except for the prices.  Oddly enough, the Stuff in the US is much cheaper.  I am sure this won't surprise any Australians.

We bought Stuff.  We bought lots of Stuff.  And we had to go back on Sunday because we accidentally put other Stuff down whilst loading yet more Stuff onto our flatbed trolley (aka shopping cart).  Ooops!

You would be surprised at what you can get into a Nissan Sentra, as long as the driver is willing to put her seat forward a bit.  It has a loading area that is as long as my nose is high off the ground, assuming I'm standing up and have runners on.  It actually took a box that was a bit longer than that but we had to do IKEA origami or maybe Tetris to get the thing in.  It could not take 2m long stuff, though maybe if that Stuff was narrow and could go in the passenger side, but a Sentra doesn't have a hatchback to load stuff through.... The Fusion would've eaten all we had in one go and been waiting for seconds.

We also saw six people with a LOT of Stuff standing around a people mover, scratching their heads as they tried to get their Stuff into their car.  It seemed they had not only bought a lot of Stuff, they had neglected to ensure that their people mover was long enough to take the really long Stuff whilst allowing the front passenger to sit in the front passenger seat.  (Apparently they had two cars with them, which was good because I could not work out how six people and that much Stuff could fit in one vehicle, legally anyway.)  IKEA Tetris is so much fun!  (except for when you have to return stuff cos it just does not fit in your car...)

It also amazes me when I see what comes out of the boxes.  Like this:

(Except that is the second chair and is blue, I hope)

 becomes this:

We have a new desk (wood tabletop and wooden trestle legs), two office-type chairs (as above, green and blue) with Kolon mats to roll around on (that makes me laugh - rolling around on a kolon), a blue 8 drawer dresser, a mirror for Nathan to write on (so much cheaper than a whiteboard!), two little LED desk lights, a groovy table light...

I love the groovy shapes on the wall.

Now if only our stuff would appear from out of the ether (aka a container ship), it would be grand.  We were told it would take a month, and it is now nearly seven weeks, and I really don't expect it for another two or three (though earlier would be good!)  But we have not heard from the shipping people at all.  We have a few furniturey items to get that we can't really fit in alongside the rental furniture at the moment (like a dining table) and set our place up as we want it.  And we will have storage options, which we don't really at the moment.  We do have closet space but only one comes with more than the above the rail shelf.  There's only so much you can pile on the floor in a cupboard....

We did lots of other things on the weekend too, but this is enough for one post.   Do I have to make a guilty confession too?  Or have I already done that?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Such a slacker

G'day all!

I am such a slacker!  We've had internet since Saturday night and I still have not blogged.

I've been a busy bee.  I've been trying to find places to put our air shipment of stuff.  Yes, we have drawers and things in the rental furniture, but if I put much away in them, then I'll just have to get it back out again when our furniture arrives and the rental stuff goes.  We are also accumulating stuff at a rate of knots.  It is amazing how much household stuff one needs when one moves countries.

We went to the Northwest Flower and Garden show on Sunday.  I thought Nathan might be bored but he said it was the best $20 he's spent in ages (and can I say we have been spending money on some most excellent things).  He took about 500 photos of the display gardens.  I took pics on the phone cos I forgot to bring the point and shoot.  If you hop over to Google + and look at my stream (under my name, not my username) then you'll see some of the pics I took.  But... you have to be in my friends circle to see most of them.  Some I've sent to public.  (So let me know if you need to be circled or want an invite.  I use G+ mainly because google already Knows All about me and my phone uploads the pics there ready to be shared.  Plus I know a lot of googlers.)

I've been out with another me I discovered at the garden show.  We've gone to a thrift store (goodwill, op shop, call it what you will) and for a walk along the foreshore.  I may or may not have bought four more op shopped cashmere sweaters.  Ahem.
These cashmere sweaters may have followed me

I have finished one cowl

Mmm, Manos merino.
Pity it is still too itchy for my neck.
and am well on the way to knitting another. 

I have turned the heel on a sock. 
Please don't ask me which yarn it is.
I have to find the other skein and the label....

I've been up to the U district (University of Washington) and wandered around there a little, but the day I went was not ideal for walking as a few showers wandered through.  However, I did find another yarn shop that also has a few spinning and weaving supplies.  I may have bought yarn.... some of which I am already using.

Last night I went to the Bad Woman Yarn knit night.  One of our friends lives in the same complex and we have dinner somewhere local, then I hang out with the knitters and DH hangs out with his mate, and everyone is happy.  And guilty because I umm, might have bought some yarn.  Quite a bit of yarn....

A luscious bag of yumminess

Aran weight, for a fair isle cardie

DK weight also for a fair isle cardie

This morning a charming Texan with flaming red hair, dreads and piercings (I will not speculate how many or where) came and fixed our leaking loo.  He said I have a "real pretty accent."  LOL  Maybe my accent is cute but my voice is not.  After saying that, he ran away.  I've never seen a guy run so fast.  Maybe I have a cute accent but I must be quite scary.

I've booked a rental car for the weekend.  I want to drive down to Tacoma and go to the marketplace and book signings at the Madrona Fibre retreat.  I hope to catch up with at least one friend there.  Also it means we can go get some of the bigger stuff that I really just can't carry home on the bus.  Admittedly I've only booked the wee-est car Enterprise has (Chevy Aveo/Holden Barina) but that is still plenty big enough to carry a fair amount of stuff, especially since it is a hatchback.  And you would be surprised by where these little cars can go. cough


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Moving, ever moving

G'day all!

It is just over a month since we left Oz and now four weeks and one day since we arrived in Seattle!  It seems to have flown past.  I still have not had a meltdown.  Am starting to think there must be something wrong with me...

Tonight is our last night in our Belltown hangout.  We've been here nearly a month and tomorrow is our move out day.

We spent the day, strangely enough, moving stuff from here to our new rental apartment.  Given we started off with three and a half suitcases of stuff, you would think it would not take long to move it all.  Except 8 boxes of our stuff arrived, and I've been buying stuff for the place that we will need, and suddenly it is four loads in the car...   One of our friends helped out (and very useful he was too - thanks, Mental!), so we bought him tea (aka dinner) at a Thai restaurant he recommended.  Hooray - real Thai food, not the weird stuff we had the other week.

Move out means no more internet, except on the phone and its internet is dodgy.  We will be getting internet, once we've figured out who can provide a reasonable service to us.  Can you believe that even though we are in the land of the free market, only three companies can provide internet to us?  Two have pretty rancid reputations (and best speed is 5Mb/s which is pathetic in this day and age) and the third is Comcast.  Maybe you aren't aware of my run-ins with comcast in the past but they weren't exactly enjoyable either....  We can't even get AT&T (a)DSL.  THIS IS SEATTLE fer crying out loud!  High-tech industries all over the place!  Fremont, the suburb across from ours, has a Google office, and three miles away, if that, we can't even get decent internet?   Sheesh!   I guess it all points to the lack of investment in infrastructure that seems all pervasive in the US these days.  It's good enough, why bother making it better?  Money's tight, we can't afford it.  etc.  Gah.  The mighty USA can't even get good internet in Seattle....

With any luck the lack of internet will mean that I will get some picture editing done.  I have probably a thousand pics to go through and edit.  The ones on my G+ stream are from the phone mostly and aren't always as pretty as a real camera can make them.  So I hope to have a few more pics to share soon.  Plus being in a place that gets real live daylight will be excellent - we get no sun at all in this apartment.  I should be able to get pics of my knitting.  Oh, I guess I can use blogger on my mobile, like I've been wont to do in the past, but you will have to excuse any sideways pictures.  It seems to be bad at that.  Anyway, I am rather excited about moving into our "own" place.  The lease is for a year, so I hope everything goes smoothly at Nathan's job (and my health), and by then we will have an idea how long we are likely to be here and what the rental markets and house markets are up to.

The car goes back tomorrow too.  I've finally learned how to reverse and parallel park it (it has a boot/trunk y'see and I've driven hatchbacks and station wagons only for the last 14 years), I've gotten used to it, I've driven it most of the way to Paradise and back, after my husband showed me the way.... (the local Paradise is on the slopes of Mt Rainier - that's Ran-ear.)  We also went through Puyallup, where a lot of cars were (not quite) piled up, though a couple of times it came close.  I have to learn how to say it.  Pew-ahl-ep.  I think pile-up is more inventive but we must be respectful of the names of local tribes.  I've started to become fond of the car - it handles pretty well, goes pretty well, stops pretty well and swallows a fair amount of luggage too despite being a sedan.  (It's a Ford Fusion.)  It certainly handles better than the Hyundai i45 or whatever it was that I had in California and I didn't have visibility problems in it (never noticed the A pillar was in the way on the twisty bits but I had NO IDEA where the backside of it was).

So everything changes again tomorrow.  I'll be in a new place, making new connections, without internet and no car.  There is a supermarket at the end of our street (not really the end, more a block away - if you look at NW 56th St, Seattle, you will see that it goes for quite a looooong way).   There is a farmer's market every Sunday four or five blocks away.  A few more blocks away is another good supermarket plus if I get desperate there's a Safeway opposite it.   There's cafes, a quilt shop, a yarn shop all within very easy walking distance....  Our furniture, etc, arrives in another two or three weeks but the big A is paying for rental furniture in the meantime.

I have still been plugging away at some knitting.   I finished a nice cowl, but I have to line it because the lovely soft merino is still scratchy against my princess-and-the-pea-neck.  A sock I started two weeks ago is umm barely past the toe.  The mitten I started two weeks ago has been pulled out four or more times and I think now is finally the right side (I'm good at making them monstrously large or sized for a little wee hand, and whilst my hands are big they aren't that big, they certainly aren't as small as the last version I tried.  Patterns?  You expect me to use a pattern?).

I also visited Little Knits in West Seattle.  Oh dear.  Oh my.  I can see that there will be a few accidents there...  If you aren't on their mailing list, you really should be.  Y'see they have an internet store that is huge and have lots of sales/closeouts.  I am not linking directly to them because it might be bad for those on tight budgets.  You need to make the deliberate choice to go check them out.  And if I go visit them without a car, it will take me 1.5 hours to get there from my new address - the bus connections are not very good.

Seattle has been very kind to me recently.  It got to 15C on Friday and I got so hot that I was ready to wear a tshirt and shorts, almost....  though if you saw my legs at the moment, you would have absolutely no doubt that I am finding it cold and that I have Scottish blood in me and that wearing shorts would be a very bad idea.  We've had four sunny days in a row, and the forecast goes from sunny to partly cloudy/partly sunny to possible rain by next Sunday.  We've had an excellent trot though so I can't complain too much (can I?).

Hopefully I'll remember to do some mobile blogging, but for the nonce,