November 2013


suburbiaLiving a conventional bourgeois life sucks. Washing cars, doing weekly shops and organizing street BBQs, it makes me puke. In Holland we have a word for it: ‘burgerlijk’. (Family and friends only call me that if they really want to insult me). I’m not the type for grown up suburban bliss or the white picket fence dream, which I somehow automatically associate with DIY jobs. In my opinion Home and Garden stores should be avoided at all costs and the only reason to go to IKEA would be to get Kopparberg Pear Cider. (They’d have to be on serious special offer if I were to even contemplate visiting the maze-like store on a Saturday).

So seeing as I already have the 9 to 5 office job (suburbia alert!), I quite happy left the house a cosy student mess in order to not fully lose my carefully constructed Peter Pan image. Nothing like living amidst half empty whiskey bottles and bacteria cultures created by pizza leftovers to add a bit of rock star glamour. That is, until I picked up one of my shawls from the ground, swung it around my neck and a big hairy SPIDER (note the use of capitals to show the ginormous size of the insect) was crawling over the shawl towards my head. Clearly pissed off at being woken up, it now tried to kill me by giving me a heart attack. After I barely survived, internet research suggested the presence of creepy crawlers might have something to do with the state of one’s house, which was enough to make me go all burgerlijk.

I started with lawn mowing. You can’t get any more suburban than cutting the grass in front of your house on a Sunday afternoon, can you? Spiders usually live outside, so I figured by making the garden a bit neater I’d at least see them coming. In an attempt to make my DIY a bit more fun (in the B&Q commercials it looks like people have the best time of their lives when gardening so why shouldn’t I?), I went creative. My housemates were not that impressed with the crop circles. Back to mowing the perfect English lawn which is boring as hell. Sorry tree, I wasn’t paying attention.

The next drama, I mean DIY challenge, appeared when it rained. I’m all into eco showers and stuff, but I don’t want to get wet when sleeping. The leakage was easily located (just follow the drips) and appeared to be somewhere in the roof. Since it was still raining, it had to be fixed from the loft. This called for serious action. The plan was to not only repair the hole with home-made concrete, but while up there also create a rocking chair bench, add a wooden balcony, replace half of the bricks on the roof by glass to make a conservatory and design an arty interior – all with the goal of turning the attic into a charming in-house pied-à-terre. That was, until I arrived at the loft and saw it was more spider infested than the Amazon rainforest. A bucket would have to do.

Maybe I should start simple, with decorating my room. Since spiders hate wet and cold, I figured I’d best put up various pictures of blue seas and snowboarding holidays. Do you guys know Blu Tack? It’s an innocent looking blue chewing gum like substance described as ‘repositionable’, ‘reusable’, ‘versatile’ and ‘clean& safe’. This ‘great alternative to pins and tape’ apparently is a fool proof way to stuck pictures to the wall as you can just peel it off afterwards, leaving no mark whatsoever, even not on porous surfaces. Ideal for when you live in a rented house where you aren’t allowed to damage the walls. Or so I thought.

Two hours later, I went out to get some anti-spider spray and hoped my housemates wouldn’t wonder too much why the floor was covered in bits of plaster and the huge wardrobe was now inconveniently placed right in front of the bed, ‘coincidentally’ covering the walls. Conclusion: DIY and I are not compatible. However, although I’ve proven again that I’m not burgerlijk, I now fully understand why they sell booze in IKEA – everything seems a whole lot better after a Kopparberg Pear Cider or four.

By the way, if you ever plan on doing any form of decorating, take this tip from me: never underestimate the destructive power of Blu Tack.

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