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Not Again

I left my umbrella on the train yesterday morning. Again. It was a pretty crappy umbrella, it was one of those compact models that shoot up and open when you push a button. But mine would open by itself, at random moments. This is especially annoying because I carry it attached to my rucksack, between the pack itself and my back. This had huge potential for comedy, as it would open invariably when I would cross a corridor or stand in the elevator. Suddenly the handle would should out and catch passers-by or bystanders.

Of course, ever since I've lost it, it's been raining every time I go out. And the weatherman said it's going to rain all week. And the week after too, probably. Unless I buy me a new umbrella quickly, Belgium will drown and we'll have mudslides and stuff like on Madeira.

You Move Me

Voila, it’s done. After months of meticulous planning (Where you want that – Erm, dunno. Basement ?) we finally moved to our new house. As with our wedding, the weather gods didn’t exactly help us out. Instead of the cold drizzle and occasional showers we got during our wedding, this time they threw a smouldering heath wave on us. Okay, the wall paper glue and the paint dried quickly, but it made the cement and plaster crack too. And toiling for days on end in 30°C is no fun, even when you’re used to desert heat like I do.

Things were tense until the last minute. Twenty-four hours before moving, the diner room’s walls still needed plastering at places, the ceiling needed to be painted for a second time and then we could finally start decorating it. Friday night I was still taking furniture apart in the apartment, while Mrs. Bartlog was frantically cleaning up the new place. Luckily we managed to sleep that night, by sheer exhaustion and because we threw the cats in the living room so we could open all windows and have a gentle fresh breeze cool us down.

Next morning it was stress-stress-stress from the first second after opening my eyelids. Finish taking apart the furniture before the mercenaries arrived. We had nine friends and family members helping us out, and they were all experienced furniture haulers. I took care of logistical coordination, and before I get any snappy comments: I worked my ass off dragging everything on the van we rented. It was the biggest size we could get with a car’s licence, and I suspect we seriously overloaded it. It made funny noises when I left with my first cargo and it swayed from left to right every time I drove over a manhole cover or a dent in the road.

Just at that point it started to rain. You see, Belgium’s been sweating for weeks on end under a heat wave, praying for just a little rain. And right at the point where we want to offload or stuff and carry it into the house, it starts to pour. But without hesitation, our helpers set out to work, keeping our photo-albums and paintings above their heads for protection. We should’ve thought a bit more about what we were going to set in which room, because some rooms were stuffed with stuff and others are as empty as our bank accounts. But anywhere, there we went for a second run which was thankfully a short one.

I wiped away a single tear when I finally closed the door behind me for a last time, after living in that apartment for almost eight years. Sniff

The troops did a great job in putting the furniture together again, despite the fact that I put the nuts and bolts of different pieces of furniture together in one bag (per room mind you, I’m not completely daft). The next day, my parents in law dropped by to help us load everything in the cupboards and on the shelves, so we have a fully functioning house now.

But there shall be no rest for the wicked, for in my wife’s head plans are brewing. About redecorating the sleeping room, and making her an office, and redoing the hall way and the stair case. And the room for the baby… Oh yes, there is work to be done for old Bart, and not just with a paintbrush.

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