Monday, November 03, 2008

Vilnius to Amsterdam - May 30, 2008

We have a 4:15 wake up call and then, bags out at 4:45 and downstairs at 5:00 for orange juice and coffee. We get to the airport and have 2 hours until our flight at 7:30. A huge breakfast on the plane. We get our bags at Schipol and catch a taxi (39 euros) to our Gresham Memphis hotel, downtown. I sleep for a few hours and Pat goes out for a walk. Out to dinner later (73 euros) 19% imposed tipping. There are lots of bicycles, and cars too. The city is clean - except some street construction a few blocks from our hotel. Lots of trees and plants. Our hotel is near a canal -- of course, canals are everywhere. If we walk the opposite direction from the canal there is a lovely little park with a lake and fountain. The restaurants and bistros in our area are always full of people. The photos are from 1) from the plane 2) a bicycle truck? 3) birds on the rooftops 4) looking out the window of our hotel room we look down on a lovely little courtyard shared by about 4 gardens in the surrounding buildings. The gardens a small, creative, with trees, plants and garden art. I think I might print this one with the chimney pots. It would look good in a light buff colored matting and a heavy black or dark green frame hanging on my someday to be mustard colored wall.

At home: We had another flood of the laundry room, storage area and entry way a few days ago. Andy and Tara noticed it. Again it happened in the middle of the night. We got the water mopped up and things moved to higher ground to dry out. Two days later Roland was in and knocked a big hole in the ceiling in the laundry room and replaced another six inch piece of this grey plastic water pipe that developed a pinhole to leak. We have fans on to dry things out more.
We have spent a few hours with Alan in a couple of days recently getting our renovations to the kitchen sorted out. Its very tiring, but exciting to plan this. The designers need a closed in area to talk to their customers. Its very loud where they and we have to sit with interruptions of other customers walking through looking at samples, and with other people interrupting Alan with questions and phone calls. I must call the store manager and see if he would consider giving his customers a more suitable area to talk to their designers. Our kitchen is on order. The cabinets are to be simple flat cherry wood that goes right to the ceiling. Far fewer places for dirt to gather, especiall where I cannot reach it. We are going to have more cabinets added, a wine rack, and two specially designed items. The microwave shelf is going to be lowered with the cabinet and counter beneath it lower also. There will be better door access to the corner cupboards, with a lazy susan in one and shelves in the other. The pantry will have heavy duty pull out shelves. We will have a new cupboard much like the pantry but with 3 units, by the patio door. This new cupboard will be floor to ceiling with one unit for the broom closet, one for coats and boots, and the other for storage. There are pull out drawers here as well. The wine rack will take up the rest of the area to the end of that side of the counter area. Then added on to this end of the counter area we have this movable cupboard that is desk height and is across from the desk, with the area between the two as the passage way into my room. The other custom built item is what I am calling a 'hutch'. We have a window sized opening in the wall between the living room and my room with spindles in it, now. We plan to have this opening made into a curio cabinet, with glass doors on living room side and kitchen side. Under this glass doored cabinet there are 4 shallow drawers, counter top (regular counter top height) then another cabinet - 48" long, with one side shelves for my books or whatever, other side for more storage. We can get hardware for pullout bins or trays for here also. All this cabinetry comes from South Carolina on a truck. Estimated delivery time is December 3. We store the cabinetry for a few days to let it climatize before David comes to install it all. The installation will probably take a week, and the delivery date will probably be more like January sometime. We had to pay the whole cost of it all at time of ordering.
Next, we will talk to Alan about counter tops. We have a moss green with a light colored pin stripe, in mind to order. The corian will be from a company up at Cobble Hill, so at least that is supporting local business. After that we must find an electrician and a plumber. We will finish it off with the same lino that is in the entry way; and a sturdy carpet in my room. John Gray will be back in to paint, hopefully, in 3 to 3 1/2 months time.
The apples have been falling off the tree and I have made 10 pints of apple sauce, so far. Much more to do yet. The leaves are mostly all gone, except for the liquid amber tree. I have filled the big green compost bin again with twigs and branches. I pruned back the thorn bush and the holly tree so all that prickly stuff is ready to be hauled away.
I have started to make meals to freeze for when our kitchen is under construction, and generally to have something on hand. I have 2 meals of mousaka and one of baked beans frozen. Yesterday I spent the afternoon making a huge roaster full of cabbage rolls. I must divide it into meal servings today and make room in the freezer for it. I want to get a little deep freeze - but would have to keep it in the library till the kitchen is finished.
We took Tara and Andy out to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner last nite in appreciation for them 'bailing us out' of the last plumbing flood.


amsterdamize said...

Photo 2: it's called a 'bakfiets', aka a cargo bike. Ideal for moving kids and lots of groceries :)

amsterdamize said...

Of course I don't know how you got into that situation at the restaurant, but there is no such thing as imposed tipping. VAT is 6% and usually people give at least 10% in tips. 19% is VAT on products, not for having dinner in restaurants.

Maggie said...

Thank you for that explanation. Being tourists and not understanding I guess we assumed it was the 'tip'.

Thanks for the name of the bicycle.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maggie,

If the leaking water pipe is gray in color and flexible, you best have it all replaced, along with all its fittings. It will continue to develop pin holes, especially in the hot water lines. If it what I'm thinking it is, the stuff is good for only a few years before leaks start. At least that is the way it was in a house we lived in in the early 80's.

Maggie said...

Hi Ken

You got it! It is the gray stuff, and it is the hot water that is leaking. That is one expensive proposition to replace it all!! Our house is 20 years old, so I guess we should count ourselves lucky, as it has lasted that long!

Thanks for the good advice and taking the time to read all this.