Friday, February 11, 2011

Now that I've been here one week I'm going to write about the nice apartment that my employee has placed me in for a while. This is, as far as I can understand, a very typical Dutch apartment. I can't decide if I love it or hate it. First is that the apartment next door is being remodeled. Well actually it isn't. In the week I've been here, I haven't heard a hammer or saw or anything else for that matter. But the elevator has been covered in thin particleboard for protection, it is very dirty, and the dry smell of concrete is strong. I can't help but think it rude to ones neighbors, to leave the elevator that everyone in the building uses, dirty for weeks while nothing is being done to your apartment.
Talking about dirty. It was pointed out to me to begin with, but since then I've hardly been able to cross a building without noticing how clean all the windows are here in The Netherlands. Even on the second floor. As one who likes clean windows, but is too lazy to clean them, I can only admire the people here for their hard work. :)
Back to the apartment. I really like the general layout although I wouldn't have put a door between the living room/kitchen and the hallway. And I would've put the toilet and bath in the same room, not separate ones. They're side by side anyway.
As an electrician I don't like the electric layout. In some rooms the switches are behind the doors when they open. You actually have to enter the room and close the door before you can turn on the light. All the power outlets are in the middle of the walls (in height) and there aren't nearly enough of them. In the washing room the outlets for the washing machine and the dryer are on the opposite ends of the room. The washing machine and the dryer are both brand new, the "labels" printed on the front of them are in Dutch and I can't find the printed instructions anywhere so I have to guess what system I'm using when washing my clothes. :D
The apartment has Gas central heating, controlled by sensor on the living room wall. To save expensive energy I raise and lower the temperature depending on the time of day and my working hours. I can't help but think how much more efficient and more comfortable it would be if the apartment was split up into zones and the heating was controlled by a computer. It would also be good if the heater didn't start automatically when I was just about to fall asleep. :) When I'm fiddling with the thermostat I often think of the noiseless cheap energy in Iceland where I would just leave it on comfortable temperature 24/7.
The apartment has gas stove. I must say that considering how often people have told me how good it is to cook on a gas stove, it saddens me to say that my cooking has not improved. And the stove is broken, the ignition pin is AWOL so I have to use the lighter I found in the drawer next to the stove to light the gas.
There are two refrigerators here. The small one is built into the kitchen cabinets, under the counter, and the large one, who looks fairly new, is stainless steel, opens the wrong way and has been scratched by vigorous cleaning, probably by previous renter that used steel wool, and left ugly scratches all over the doors. When I moved in I found 2 lemons in a bag in the door of the large fridge. One looked fine except for small green dots of dust that were all over it. The other one was the source of the green dust. And it smelled really bad.
The living room and hallway have parquet floors with nice expensive parquet lists covering the edges. The (I want to say idiot but it may me inaccurate, so I say person) who installed these lists didn't realize that they are meant to hide cables and are in two pieces. You screw the back piece into the wall and snap the front on. The person put screws through the front and the back so you can see all the ugly screws. And the lists are all crooked.
Apart from broken showerhead, plug in the bathtub that is also broken and can't be "opened" to let the water out and the very "interesting" (from a professional point of view) way that the halogen lights in the bathroom are connected to electricity, I'm very impressed by the bathroom. It's warm, bright and roomy with tiles all over, but since the hot water has to pass through the gas heater the flow is at best modest.

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