Getting screwed by a Woody,
The single man and his tool

Late Friday evening I unpacked the last moving box. There is still work to be done, but gradually the flat turns from a construction site into a home. This hasn't been an entirely straight-forward process. Some highlights for your delectation:

Getting unhooked
The previous tenant was apparently a man with a deep need for beauty, the flat had been filled with decorative art and the ceilings bristled with hooks for hanging lamps, flower pots, stuffed animals and whatnot. My tastes are somewhat more austere, so these would have to go, with the concomitant spackling and repainting. In passing I note that every screw and hook used is a different dimension from all the others. This annoys my sense of orderliness, so I spend a lot of time at John Wall to buy matching screws.

The mauve-coloured bathroom is in urgent need of renovation, but after having gotten an offer from a contractor I realise I will have to save for a while before I can afford it.

Victorinox rules
My Swiss army knife turns out to be surprisingly useful for many tasks in flat renovation as well. For slashing down structure wallpaper it's just fabulous. Some of the uses it gets put to even bend the blades, but they eventually unbend.

Not burned, yet
Before repainting the ceiling I remove the smoke detector—it actually drops into my hand as I tug on it, it was not very well attached to the ceiling. My forensic eyes note additional marks in the ceiling indicating that it has already been reattached twice before. Just out of reflex I press the “Test” button. No reaction. Oh, has the battery run flat without anyone noticing? I check. No, the problem is that the battery is still in its transport wrapping, some six years after the indicated production date. Somebody has apparently dutifully just mounted the detector without ever activating it. (Or perhaps worse: purposefully never activated it because it might make a noise.) Well, I plug it in and now testing makes the desired screech.

Sanding the floor
I decided the living room parquet needed sanding. I called a couple of companies and then decided I could probably save a bit of money doing it by myself. So, soon I stand there, with a big floor sander, prepared to attack the floor. The first round over the floor is a disaster and I think: “Damn, this is difficult, I should have gotten a pro to do this!” But then I suddenly realise how all the levers are supposed to be operated, the machine starts to behave much better and I glide along thinking: “Wow, this is easy, good idea to do it myself!” By the tenth or so round over the floor I'm thinking: “Damn, this is boring, I should have gotten a pro to do this!”

After sanding and cleaning it's time to lacquer the parquet. I have purchased a huge can of horribly expensive lacquer at Woody. I spread the required two layers of lacquer and note I still have half the can left. So, the git of a shop assistant was not aware that the recommended amount per m2 already assumed two layers and made me buy twice as much as needed. Argh!

If anyone needs five litres of parquet lacquer they can get it from me for cheap.

Mein goye mame
My mother is overjoyed that I've left that horrible woman that stole her darling boy away (“Moom!”) and takes enthusiastic part in the renovation work. In particular she and a couple of her friends spend two days putting in a new wood laminate floor over all linoleum floors. (Or “linonium” as it was consistently spelled in the prospect.) Thanks ever so much, Mom, but keep that tongue sheathed.

The drill
A drill bit that has been straightened out.The walls in the flat are two kinds: drywall and concrete. My two least favourite wall materials, they both suck each in their way as soon as you want to attach anything to the wall. At one point, while drilling in concrete, I hit something hard. The drill is strong enough that the bit actually unwound.

If IKEA makes a record profit this year, I may be to blame. But then again, they're both cheap and good. When putting up my bed I decide to reuse a set of legs I have lying around. Unfortunately the screws have gone missing, so I call IKEA and ask for the screw dimensions. 5/16", what, inch screws!? (Which of course becomes ”tumskruvar” in Swedish, very funny.) These are not usually carried by hardware stores, but I locate a store on Kammakargatan that has them. 71 SEK for four screws! Checking the IKEA catalogue I find I could have gotten screws and new legs for 69… Well, at least I saved on not having to go out to Kungens Kurva right then.

All hail mein Kamprad! I go on a shopping spree and buy bookshelves, beds and various bits and pieces. I find that home delivery of an arbitrary amount of stuff is less than 500 SEK.

The unreading classes
Bookcases loaded with books.The Ivar bookcases just look like lumber when unconstructed (and smell good of fresh wood). The delivery guy, having hauled them into the lift looks curiously at them:
“What are these?”
“What are they for?”
“Uh, books.”
[pause] “So many..?”

Yup, so many. But as I start putting the shelves up I find Ivar is a monster—it swallows row after row of books without even blinking. Finally I have put up all my books in just four cases with room to spare. I have to double-check, yup, 20 shelf metres goes into four Ivar, no problem. Apparently I will have plenty of storage space available.

As usual, I have problems with Comhem, so currently I have no Internet connection of my own but instead sneak out through a neighbour's unprotected wireless network. Thanks and apologies, whoever you are! On the other hand reception is a bit flaky most of the time.

Out in the woods
Having moved out to the suburbs I have ended up in an area where ethnic diversity means more than just speaking a non-Stockholm dialect. I feel my street cred increasing greatly. Still, I'm really just a paleskin inner city middle class yuppie who is a bit shocked to notice that about half of the tube passengers pass the gates not with an SL card, but using a well-trained leg swing to make the gate open the other way and then squeeze through.


Martin said...

Great to get some news from Rågsved!

I have seen my dad stoned only once. He was So. Very. Out. Of. It. Now, my dad likes a glass of good wine or three or four, but he doesn't partake of any other stimulantia. What happened that one time c. 1985 was that he varnished the floors in our new summer house. And got really, really messed up.

I take it you double-stack Ivar? I recently moved Stephen Jay Gould behind the other books, leaving only one volume in the front row as a place holder.

kai said...

No, the books are only single deep on each shelf, they wouldn't fit two deep. You'll get an opportunity to browse the shelves, I promise. :-)
(Actually, if you look at the high-res picture of the bookcase, you can make out quite a few titles.)

thnidu said...

Yup, so many. But as I start putting the shelves up I find Ivar is a monster—it swallows row after row of books without even blinking. Finally I have put up all my books in just four cases with room to spare. I have to double-check, yup, 20 shelf metres goes into four Ivar, no problem. Apparently I will have plenty of storage space available.

How many bryants?

We have Levenger. I don't remember the models, but I can post a pic. But that's not nearly all the books.

[Sanding the floor]

Hmmm.... maybe I could do it myself after all. But I don't think it would be practical to take you up on the offer of lacquer [note spelling].

Victorinox rules


kai said...

How many bryants?

Hmm, according to a strict count, books only, I would come in at under a metric Bryant, but then I have stacks of paper reprints and journal issues.

lacquer [note spelling].

Oops! Fixed now. (Just call me Winston.)

kai said...

Ah, now I realise I completely misread Martin's comment. I thought you meant your dad got intoxicated and decided to varnish the floors in consequence. :-) Fortunately modern lacquers will not dissolve one's brain so I had no (known) ill effects of the work.

thnidu said...

As did I...

kai said...

I e first plastered and then varnished :-)