Category Archives: house

Flat pack furniture hell

Yes siree, I’ve spent all weekend in flat pack furniture hell. Seriously, who designs this stuff? And worse still, who designs the damn instructions. You know, those stupid little diagrams where pole #2 joins to bendy thing #5 at a 38.777 degree angle, with bolt X attached to screw Y which is threaded crooked for your entertainment.

It started with the hammock, which took 20 minutes to figure out which exactly was the first piece. That one took about an hour but at least I was rewarded with a comfy resting place at the end. Thankfully I put this together first because it’s been my place of rest in-between bouts of flat pack furniture hell. Of course even this had one bolt that would just not affix as directed. One missing bolt shouldn’t matter too much…. should it??

Next was the TV stand, which I thought was an assembled piece of furniture. Apparently not. Nope, this required putting together too. Once again it took about 20 minutes to figure out the right from the left and then another 20 minutes trying to figure out just exactly how did those bendy corner bits attach to the sides. Yep, 40 minutes before I had a piece together. I’d lost count of the number of swear words uttered by this point. It came together pretty quickly after that although I will confess to putting the middle divider in back to front and being too lazy to undo everything and put it right. Who needs the cable tidy anyway (that was a sacrifice due to back to front piece). Thank goodness the TV was ready assembled!

Onto the last and worst by far. The John Lewis bedstead (not cheap crappy stuff) actually had very good instructions. Clear and precise and even I figured out early on what the first piece was. But all was not well in flat pack furniture land. Whilst 4 of the 8 bolts seem to fit perfectly, the other 4 were bolts from the devil himself. They were tough to move and the way the furniture was made meant there was this pokey amount of space to try and twist the things on. It was pure hell and took me an hour and a half just to get the front, back and two sides together. It was then that I realised that the two sides were upside down! Yep, the holes for the slats were facing upside down. Seriously, at this point in time if I owned an axe and I would have got it, chopped the bedstead to pieces and shipped it back to John Lewis with a very nasty letter. It was my mistake putting the sides upside down but those bolts that were next to impossible to get on, were even more next to impossible to remove. It really was flat pack furniture hell. Hell on a hot day. Hell to the hellish of hells. So, another hour later and I had the sides up the right way. Two of the bolts just wouldn’t tighten any further and are a bit wonky, but I figured it’ll all be ok once everything else was together. Putting the slats on was easy, thank goodness because by now I was ready to kill anyone and everything that crossed my path. Never again, never, ever, ever again.

Now, onto the packaging. The bedstead alone contained two black bin bags fully of foam and plastic. Then there was the cardboard holding the three bedstead packages together – two trips to the recycling bin to get rid of it all.

Thankfully the hammock is still together and I can relax on the balcony


Things are finally falling into place

Today was an interesting day. It started by me wiping all my contacts from my iPhone, Mac and Mobile Me. This left me without a single contact anywhere. Thank goodness for my weekly iDisk backup of contacts and I’ve managed to restore everything except was has been created in the last couple of days.

Then I called the rather well known Building Society dealing with my mortgage application and the paperwork was being dispatched as we spoke on the phone. This was very good news – getting to this point has been very stressful

Later on the solicitor calls to say they have received the faxed paperwork from well known building society and would be aiming for a moving in date of Wednesday next week. This was the best news I could have had. Sure it’s 6 days later than I had hoped but all the stress and hassle this week is easier to deal with when you have an end date in sight. Result.

Went to shop at lunch time to pick up a pre-ordered light fitting for new house and found that everything in the store was 25% off. Result.

I finally felt that good fortune has swung my way today. Things are finally falling into place and I hope to be in my new apartment this time next week (albeit sleeping on an air bed until my belongings are delivered from storage).

Another stressful day on the housing front

This time around my bank has caused a delay by doing absolutely nothing with my mortgage offer for a whole week. For one whole week it sat in their system waiting for some sort of manual intervention – intervention that only took place when I called to ask what in the hell was going on. The paperwork should have been completed over a week ago and it is has now seriously put in doubt moving into the apartment by the end of this week.

If the bank had stuck to their schedule and processed it as per their guidelines, I would have been moving in by the end of this week without any doubt. The only thing holding up exchange and completion is the mortgage offer. Now I have to call them every day to harass them am make sure it doesn’t sit there for days. I really need to exchange by Friday or I risk losing my purchase discount or facing penalties – this is stress I do not need.

I really thought everything would be sorted by now and I was absolutely livid when I found this out today, and very disappointed. Disappointed beyond belief, and it was a horrible realisation that things had fallen off the rails and are unlikely to happen this week. Even my local branch manager couldn’t tell me why it got stuck in the system. No one knows why, but it’s likely to cost me another 5-6 days in a hotel. That might sound glamorous to some but it’s not. It’s horrible and I’m fed up with it.

My bank have never stuffed up with me before – I’ve never had anything but excellent service from them. They’ve let me down badly this time and the only way they can redeem themselves is if that mortgage offer was put in the post tonight and arrives tomorrow. If it’s not there tomorrow then I’ll be on the phone to them straight away.

And this has completely ruined my iPhone 3GS purchase plan. I was going to take Thursday and Friday off work so I could move into the new apartment. That would conveniently allow me to pop down to my local O2 store on Friday morning and get my hands on the shiny new iPhone.

No Fixed Abode

I’m proof that you can sell a house in a recession – providing you price it accordingly. After 14 months on the market and one sale that fell through at the last moment, I’m finally moving out today. Possessions are packed, house is clean and I’m all ready to go. The hardest thing is switching off Airport Express and broadband – it’s like cutting off your own blood supply. Am leaving that to the last minute.

My lovely new apartment is not yet ready to move into – technically it’s ready but I’m still going through the process of buying it. Should be able to move in within two weeks. So for now, I’m of no fixed abode.

House sale is now officially official

Finally, after 14 months on the market and one failed attempt my house is now officially “Sold”. The contracts were exchanged today making it all legal. I’ve suffered through the horrible housing market slump – it was quite depressing at times. But it has finally worked out and I’m chuffed to bits. The place I’m buying is better than the one I would have bought if the first sale went through, so even that dark cloud had a silver lining.

Time for a celebratory martini.

From the sofa

This is probably a first for 2009 – a post from my sofa! According to my TripIt account, I’ve travelled over 57000 KM’s so far this year. It’s all been for work but I managed to do some pretty fun things over the weekends: wander aimlessly around NYC, wander drunkingly around NYC, Bronx Zoo, Niagara Falls.

Right now I don’t have my next trip planned, although I’m sure there will be more this year. Things are happening back here in the UK – I got a buyer for my house out of nowhere. The market seems to have picked up in the past 6-8 weeks and hopefully we are near exchange of contracts. I refuse to get carried away until contracts are exchanged as things fell in a heap at the last minute last time and it could easily happen again. The estate agents put the “Sold: Subject to Contract” sign up last week.

I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be moving to yet – there are a few variables and I have to wait to see how they play out. The only thing I am sure of it that it will be stressful and manic when it all happens.

Gingerbread House

There is no real point talking about the housing market anymore – my house sale fell through at the last moment and I just can’t be bothered any more.  The market is as bad as people say and I have no expectations at all going forward.  Well actually I do – I expect not to sell my house anytime soon.

On the bright side, Costa Coffee have their Gingerbread Latte’s in store so that means the Christmas season is fast approaching.