Thursday, 21 June 2018

New bicycle

The new bicycle has been delivered.

After two weeks of heart break, I have accepted it and started using it.
It is still a painful experience. 

The company makes a very unusual bike, exactly what I needed and how I wanted my first new bicycle in forty years. I could get it in pink with immediate delivery or wait three months for the same bike in black. I was willing to wait three months to live a life without a pink bicycle.

The bike was delivered on date.

The wrong bike.
The new updated version changed it into a different bike.
Different design. Different weight and most importantly; a completely different break system.
Several of the things that was on the "must be" list.

The company answers my bike shop who placed the order: "we change and upgrade without giving notice" and "we will have no further contact with the customer, and refer to customer service". The customer service answers without investigation that "you must have ordered the wrong bicycle".
They will not deliver the bike with the brakes I want, or in the version I ordered.

I could have refuse the bike.
I should have refuse the bike.
I need a bike.
I want a bike now and there are no alternatives on the market.

I had to swallow my pride, my respect, my everything I have ever learnt about honesty, trust and quality in how to make deals, contracts and agreements and take the fffing bike.
I am not happy. The company won, and I will be riding around on a bicycle forever reminding me how they royally screwed me.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

WC with culottes

World Cup!

Football!
All day, every day for weeks and weeks.
I am so happy!

If you do not know football, it is the international sport played with feet and a ball.
Everything else must be called Australian, American, Welsh or any other regional form of ball -
or feet.
This is international football.
The World Cup is only played every four years with teams who have survived an almost two year qualifying process. They come from every continent (except Antarctica, they did not qualify). The traditional European and South American dominance is broken and Asia and Africa are now represented with equally strong teams on the field.

I have a lot to do.
I follow three Scandi-countries, three previous home countries and four favourites just because I love the way they play.
There are countries I would love to have had included (Norway and Finland - hyvää gutta!), some countries that think they ought to have been there and several who dreamed about being there but wasn't prepared to do the work to get there during the extensive qualifying round.
We all know who I'm talking about.

I have watched two to four games per day every day since last week.
There is more to come and I am rationing, trying not to watch everything.
But I follow everything, and read everything.
I have a complete schedule on the wall that I keep updated.

I have started sewing again just to avoid to sit and eat in front of the telly for days at the end.
In my underwear (or even worse: sans-culottes).
I am making an advanced style of culottes in green cotton twill that can possibly be called skorts or jupe-culottes (similar to Burda 6905). They have so many tricky steps that I can do a little thing after another with plenty of thinking and ironing in between.

The old house-rule never to watch commercials on the TV is actively pursued.
Whoever is caught, or catches one self, watching the commercials, is to do ten (or as many as possible) push-ups on the floor.

And of course, I still go running.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Replace your running shoes!

I have learned a hard lesson and I have some urgent information.

If you have injuries, inflammation, aches or pains when walking, or attempting to jog or run -
immediately replace your shoes.

It does not matter if they are almost unused.

Get new shoes. Get cheap ones to start with if you want, but get new shoes.
New cheap shoes are better than old expensive shoes.

I have tried to start running the last two years. Every time I try, something happens.
Inflammations. Pains, Walking problems. Limping from knee pain or foot pain. Pelvic inflammations.
Anything you could imagine.

All, all, every single one of the problems I have had, all if it has been due to my running shoes.

They were perfectly good shoes. Brand name shoes. Almost unused. Even clean.
But ten years old.

I mistakenly went for a short run in my hiking boots.
It was wonderful.
Ridiculous but wonderful.

I went running in my regular old walking shoes. Wonderful.
I went running in my new walking shoes. Flying like the wind.

I have now followed the NHS Coach to 5k running program for almost two months and I have ended week five this week. It means I have advanced into running (a.k.a. slowly jobbing) from thirty seconds to five minutes at the time and now have been motivated mentally so that I could do a slow but steady twenty minute run.
Meaning, I can not only run for the bus, I can run to the next bus stop.

With this progress, I will start the process of finding a serious pair of running shoes this month. It will require some serious money and some serious investigations.
I think the man has made me into a runner.
How did that happen?

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Vacuum

The wheels are busted and the handle is draggin'

It is a line from a song, a chant I learned while working for the American girl scouts, starting "You can't ride my little red wagon, 'cause the wheels are busted and the handle is draggin'..."

It is also currently the description of our vacuum cleaner - as the language of the song would call it, or the hoover that I never have been able to start calling it, being a brand name and all...
Or the Abhorrence as it is called in Josephine Tey's book Miss Pym disposes (1946).
As they climbed the stairs Henrietta paused to point to a piece of mechanism on, a low trolley, which filled the well of the staircase. "That", she said, "is the most famous College character of all. that is our vacuum cleaner; known from here to New Zealand as the Abhorrence." 
"Why abhorrent?" Lucy asked. 
"It used to be Nature's abhorrence, but it became shortened to The Abhorrence. You remember the tag one is taught at school: Nature abhors a vacuum." She looked a moment longer at the monstrous object, caressing it with her eyes. "It cost us a deplorable sum, The Abhorrence but it was money well spent.

Aaaanyway, the wheels have come off our vacuum cleaner!
It is not rolling any more. It is dragged on its belly over the floors. The axel is broken and the wheel heads are bust so there are no repairs possible. It doesn't seem to be hurting neither the floors, thresholds or the vacuum cleaner so I have decided to keep using it. At least until the current bag is filled and needs replacement.
I am 1st vacuum cleaner in this house (since I am the only one with hair) so I make these decisions.

Also, there is an spare identical vacuum in storage. Even though the man already had a vacuum in perfectly good condition, I brought mine when I moved in. Too good to throw out, to bad to get any money for when selling. The spare went in under a book case and has lived there ever since.
When the now wheel-less vacuum cleaner gives up entirely, the spare will be dug out.

I hope it starts. At least it has wheels.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

June 2018 - Winter

The task for the month of June is to go through winter clothes and bedding.
"Clean, wax, impregnate, air and hang back into the wardrobes all cold weather or winter clothing. Air all bedding, blankets, mattresses, covers, etc."
I am hoping it will be an easy task, considering the bedroom has had a thorough clean through this spring and that the bed was in the living room for a week. 
Considering we also went through the walk in closet during the winter, where the other bedding is being stored, I want to think that there will not be much work for this task.
How much more airing could the bedding need?
Probably more than I ever give it, but possibly not as much as this task would have required a few years ago. 

These tasks used to be very hard work, but with every work-through, it becomes easier and easier.
This year, I have even had all my camping gear out which also doubles as guest bedding in our house.

Winter clothes, coats, gloves, hats and scarves and such, on the other hand, that must come out in the air and the sunshine. 
Since that could be done in an hour or at least during a day, should I possibly add another task for June?

 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Kitchen - May 2018

Check - the May task is done.
the kitchen cabinets are all wiped out and gone through. It really is a task that becomes easier and easier with every year, even though I still dread it every year.

The bag with unused, unloved, useless kitchen paraphernalia is packed by the door to be taken to the second hand shop. It is not very large. We only have four kitchen cabinets to begin with, and a food cupboard with a rack of shelves for food and books.

We got rid of a single Martini glass (if I drink Martini, I think I can use a normal French wine glass).

We got rid of a single pink champagne glass (I wish not to explain why I own this but I think it involves a walk home through town a late new year's eve (late morning new year's day). There will never never ever be a need for it. We have other champagne glasses (two of them, almost similar) for the moment there is ever champagne in the house that cannot be drunk out of normal French wine glass.)

We got rid of a ravioli maker (I did this, there will be no ravioli made in this house ever as there has been non made the last fifteen years. I highly doubt there ever even will be pasta made in this house since last the time when we had tortellini hanging on the laundry drying rack for two days. The pasta machine itself was however saved from the cull by the man claiming he was going to use it for some printing project. I highly doubt that too, but I gave it six months as long as the machine was put on display as a constant reminder. It now sits on top of the kitchen cabinet with lots of space inside.)

I also decided that a box of chamomile tea we were given by somebody who didn't like it, was going to be thrown out as that brand was truly disgusting and we will never drink it either.  A lot of food stuff bought or given as experiments were also creatively eaten during the month. (Including a bag of out of date Japanese tempura breading flour that with an egg and a little butter, made five or six wonderful ginger flavoured sponge cakes.)

The row of cook books has not been gone through yet; I think it is the only thing left to do. When it will be done, nobody knows. The books in the kitchen are not mine so I am not able to dictate which stays and which goes, or even to go through them and make suggestions. It will happen. Just not this month.

The man did however clear and clean the chaos cabinet. My sushi paraphernalia got its own box and the rest was re-stacked. I doubt anything was culled, but that is not my problem. I have nothing to do with this cabinet beyond throwing things back in after washing them.

I did however keep all my measuring sets, but I did go through the box of extra and double kitchen stuff so that I now know what is in there. 

In the bag destined for the second hand shop also went a small stack of books, films, and clothes that I sincerely hope I will never fit into again.

Into the garbage bag went thousand bag zip ties that somebody thinks would come in handy one day. Worn out plastic boxes and extra lids went into our plastics recycling.
I also would have thrown out any cracked china but could not find anything this time around.
Possibly because I get better at cracking china and now break things thoroughly first time around.

Monday, 4 June 2018

From 38,52 to 37,47

Somebody let a failed business man run the international trade on industrial goods.
Somebody without a macro perspective and with a micro perspective that fits in a pocket.
If not his own, at least an individual person's pocket.

From 25 May to 4 June my financial independence number (asset values divided with my annual budget) fell from 38,52 years to 37,47 years.
Over a weekend.

I can only hope that the asset values of somebody else were increased in equal measure.
(I doubt it.)

Still, I am very happy with the result of the choices I have made previously in my life.
All the not-spending, education, hard work and repayment of debts with the accumulation of savings little by little by interest rates and investments and safe funds.
I am now eight years into some more serious frugality, working less and less, having taken pay-cuts with each change of jobs and focusing more and more on life with less attention to the career.

However, looking at the stock markets is worrying. I try to stay off the ticker as much as possible.
It is easy to do after a long bicycle ride, sitting in a tent stirring hot water to powdered mashed potatoes with a can of beans open next to it.
Waiting for the next thunderstorm, hail and rain to come crushing down again.
Enjoying the permittivity.
Living the life.

Truly enjoying it.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Tsp

Working through the May assignment to work through the kitchen,
I suddenly realised that for a household that only uses the 100ml/about a cup/ to measure porridge oats every morning or smaller measuring spoons for sushi or cake baking (both occasional events with its own tool sets) we have a lot of measuring spoons.
Beyond the porridge spoon, no other of them are actually in the kitchen!

I dug through and found these sets of measuring spoons.

(Missing is the porridge cup and the tsp from the transparent set, the last one currently operating as a scooping spoon in the sugar pot.)

The sushi spoons are white and red and live with the sushi tools. They live the feng shui tools.       ... because...

The left-over transparent set lives with the even more occasionally used kitchen tools such as corn on the cob holders shaped as corn on the cob cobs and orange peeler's (both tasks are performed by our hands in our simplified kitchen).

The metal, the red and the white set live in the "doubles kitchen box" with kitchen things on top of a book case in the office. It contains kitchen things either never used such as my lovely tea pot and vase made from a champagne bottle, things we had two/three/four off when I moved in and we just stored for later, gifts as well as nice decorative items but not on display right now, such as my African guards, elephant (cow horn) napkin holders and cast iron tea light holders. It is all wrapped up for protection in my aunt's 1960's dresses. ...because...

As known, I am not a minimalist, I am a frugalist and I will not throw out things I like or that there is no current use for, just to buy new stuff again later.

Five measuring sets are however too much. The white set had the TSP and the tsp spoons measured and marked as 15 ml and 5 ml respectively and added to the kitchen drawer for more regular use. (They had to be marked with actual measurements as we cook from French, Dutch, Scandinavian, German, UK and US recipes and actual content is essential.)

The metal set went back in the "doubles kitchen box", I really like those in style. The sushi set went back with the feng shui stuff or I will never find them again.

The larger spoon of the transparent set (half a decilitre, 50 ml) went into the camping box as the existing measuring spoon in the cooker is cracked and will need replacement soon).

The rest went into the - I should say - the "on the way out" box, shouldn't I? I really should have.
The spoons are all 5 ml and smaller, all tsp or less. I do not ever cook with margins that small - or portions that small.
Unfortunately, I put them back in the "doubles kitchen box" until next time. The rest of the occasionally used kitchen tools went in there too, freeing up space and gathering similar with similar.

The good thing is that I know know what is in that box.
How many sets of measuring spoons did you find going through the kitchen in May?

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Bicycle shorts

Oh, yeah, so schexchy!
I walk around with extra padding on my bum.

I have bought bicycle shorts (greatly reduced price and paid for in part with a gift card - of course).
All in preparation for the new bicycle and the planned and prepared long bicycle trips we plan to do this year.
They are black and tight and padded in the sensitive saddle touching areas.
They are a very comfortable already on my comfortable saddle on the iron horse city bicycle.
On the new touring bicycle, they will save my bacon. 

I bought bicycle shorts without a waistband, they are basically dungarees.

They are not sexy. Not one bit.

They are however much more comfortable to wear during heavy bicycling.

They are also easier to hide under regular clothes. Yes, I am still prudent enough to not walk around in skin tight clothing among strangers. Nor have I any intention to let anybody ever see me looking like this:

They hide all bacon rolls, muffin tops and extra tires around the waist efficiently.

They are also limiting bathroom visits to only the most essential and urgent needs.

Nobody cares, cycling season is here and the bicycle roads around here are filled with people who dream about Tour d'France and Giro di Italia - and have nightmares about Tour de Ardennes. I am joining them, I don't know what has happened to me. I have turned into a cyclist.
                                                                                                                                        Photos happily copied off the internet.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Sunglasses 2018

Summer is here - in the beginning of May.

Sunshine is here and I need sunglasses.

The pleasure of wearing is motivating me to pay for lenses although regular glasses would be so much cheaper. I wore glasses from the age of 15 until around 2009, and I do not miss them.
Sunglasses have their disadvantages but for me, they are a pleasure I will not do without.

I made an inventory of all sunglasses in the house this week. I even got the man to dig through his boxes. He has given up on lenses as his eyesight is too bad and is now living in hats during the sunny season. (As he should anyway, wearing glasses or not, as he needs to protect his hair less head.)
I was gifted his remaining pair of sunglasses.

That left me with five pairs of sunglasses.
Blue were an emergency buy from last years bicycle trip are perfect in all ways except that they are blue.

Narrow brown came out of a skip in Paris last year and are not great. Too narrow for me, to lightly tinted and does not really fulfil the task of a pair of sunglasses. I look really cool in them so they are staying.

Brown and gold equally came out of a skip in Paris last summer. Completely scratch free. The size and shape is perfect but the colour is not. I thought they were fakes but a quick internet search revealed they are in fact original Ray Bans and sold last year for over €100,  second hand they sell for €20-40.  I might like them better now.

Black plastic are fine, good, in all ways, and cheap. They touch my cheek though and although comfortable in all other ways, I do not hesitate to stick them uncovered in my backpack. It they break, there will be no loss.

The black with metal frames at the bottom are the hand-me-down from the man. They are currently my favourites and I wore them all weekend when cycling around in the sun all day through the green landscape along the blue sea. Close to 40 km per day on the old bike, training for the new bike.
How many sunglasses do you have - and wear?