Thursday, May 25, 2006

AAAARGggh

Damn damn damn, we just got a mail from the kitchen makers.... The doors that were last week not delivered and that were causing a delay have now arrived. But they thought the quality was not good enough and have sent them back to the factory.... and so we still don't get our kitchen next week.

Aaaarrrgh lqkjfoauirpaéio^wklqjfazioiurapàui

Great, just what I needed in this hectic week. I must honestly admit that I am quite stressed and tired and I was panicking at work. Still so much to do and I did not find clarity in all the data templates anymore and we are truly running out of time. Everytime I find new mistakes in the data etc and we only have 2 more days to complete the lists and correct them. They still need to manually search for a lot of data , ...i hope they can make it.
One platform got delayed, but mine has to go through at the fixed date. We will go life too, but I am just afraid that we'll miss data or that their will be mistakes in the loaded data that will cause problems after go-live with the new software.
Oh well, we'll see, I am sure going ahead some more too long and tooo stressful weeks. Help me. Thank goodness I have this holiday to catch some breath again...

In order not to make this too much of a negative note, I'll add some of today's pictures of Stef at my parents home. He is surprising us all by how he loves to walk already (of course we still need to hold him a lot ) at his 9 months of age. Well, I suppose he is craving for some mobility since he does not crawl over the floor.


Monday, May 22, 2006

Kitchen delayed :(

We were supposed to get our kitchen installed today but unfortunately it was delayed by one week. Our kitchen cabinet doors weren't ready yet. Bummer.

We worked hard this weekend though and give the kitchen 2 more layers of paint. So now it's all shiny freshly painted waiting for the furniture to arrive. And we can move on to the walls of the living room next weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Getting the kitchen ready

Last weekend we worked hard in our house finishing off the last bit of plastering (e.g. the joints of the plaster plates on the ceiling) and sanding the walls in the kitchen (hihi lots of white dust on our faces) and putting the first layer of paint on the new walls. The week before Jan's dad had put in the glass plates in our floor.

So we are almost ready to receive our new kitchen next Monday. Hurray hurray!


Our glass tiles in the kitchen floor

Jan plastering the last bit around the window


Jan sanding the ceiling...

and becoming whiter...

and becoming whiter...

me painting the walls for the first time

Belgian Blossoms

2 Sundays ago (yes I am a bit too busy to keep my blog quite as up to date as I'd like) Jan and I drove to the east of the Belgium where there is an important fruitregion, Haspengouw. The weather was great and all the trees were in blossom. Together with a lot of other tourists, hikers and byciclers, we parked in the full little villages there and went out for a walk on the trails in the midst of the blossoming fruittrees. I just wanted to share some of the nice pictures we took there.





Friday, May 12, 2006

Witness of an accident

Yesterday at about 22u I came home and at about 500 m of my appartment, I have to turn a couple of meters after a crosspoint with traffic lights. There was one car in front of me at the lights who was going to turn right as well in the same street as I did. In my mirror I had seen a motorbike coming on the bike-way.

When the lights hit green I noticed the moterbike had almost caught up with us and in my mind there was this small alert going on "carefull when you turn right"...but before I reached the street, he had already passed me and he was at the same height of the car in front of me (also signalling to go right). All I could think was "Stop stop stop, there is a moterbike" and hope she had seen him or that he was fast enough to have passed her before she turned. But neither of that happened. Instead she turned right, caught the moterbike and dragged it a couple of meters into the street where it fell down with the guy rolling further over the street. The lady who probably only realised what was happening while it was happening stopped a 100m further in the street.

Without thinking I kinda stopped in the middle of the corner where I was, and ran outside without my mobile to the guy. Much to my relief he jumped up right away, and he staggered a bit to the sidewalk where he crouched down while being on the phone already. I asked him if he was ok and if he was phoning emergency services but he just waived me away " no police no ambulance" he said. All thoughts were going through my head being confused and not knowing well what to do. "no police" he said once more and we (in the mean time other people had approached) we told him he had to see a doctor. Mind you, he had clearly hit the street with his face and it was all bleeding and he was spitting out some of his teeth that were broken off in his bleeding mouth. He kept on phoning a friend who apparently was the owner of the moped and we kept asking to stop and check if he was ok and that we'd call for help (that's by the way not 911 in Europe, but 112!!! Remind that if you travel in Europe. National numbers work as well, in Belgium it's the 100). Just when he asked for a handkerchief and I handed him mine, a paramedic appeared from behind me and told him not to touch anything and get immediatly into the ambulance. Hmm apparently some other people had not waited for his approval to call 100... smart people, I should have called immediately myself, but hey I wanted to check if he was ok. It's confusing what to do first.

So there I was in the middle of a small crowd gathering, with a lady who caused the accident and was clearly in shock about what had happened and a victim who did not want to see a doctor or police.

Since I had witnessed the accident so closely, I was told to stay on the spot for a statement later on together with 2 other people. The arriving police unfortanately should have ended their shift already half an hour before and they were just still in the neighbourhood. Besides making us move our vehicles out of the traffic point, taking our names and gathering the general situation, they did not do much more. We had to wait until another team arrived. Some other small police car stopped for a few minutes but drove off again. By the time those had arrived the ambulance had already taken care of the victim for a while and had left with him to the hospital. Also the owners of the moterbike had appeared on the spot and some more time afterwards the lady's husband in which arms she put herself crying "I have not seen him, I have not seen him". I pitied her, and I pitied the bleeding guy without teeth now.

I took about 10 minutes before the old police team had passed all their info to the new team, more time before the new team started to check out the general situation once more: what happened, which are the damaged vehicles, who is who here on the spot, ... Then the lady was being questioned for such a long time (and tested for alcohol), the disaster tourists had disappeared again and me and the 2 other witnesses stood there being bored to death. Everytime one of the policemen walked by, they told us that they'd take our statements right away, while they were measuring the street and walking up and down. Grrr, why did we have to wait so long, it was insane. The woman was so in shock, she could use some more time alone, why didn't they question us first???

Another police car stopped for a minute and drove off again and we were still standing there outside in the dark with all cars staring at us when driving by at the police car (which had his lights flashing all the time). The lady came out to show where she claimed to have hit the bike.... about 10 meters in the street already which was clearly not the case...she dragged him up to there, but when she hit him, he was still on the bike-way at the main road. Another police van stopped and came to collect the moterbike and drove off again. ... (that were police men # 9 and 10 that had been on the spot). ... In the end I was just joking with the other witnesses, telling her that she had parked her car on the spot where he spit out his teeth and that they were probably stuck now in her tires and that she'd drive around with them as a small souvenir.

Finally after 1h30 minutes of waiting, it was my turn for being questioned and making a statement. Maybe it makes sense after all to question the witnesses last... so they can check out all the claims the involved parties have made to what we've seen. Whatever you say, you have to rebuild the situation step by step to the police, they repeat and rephrase everything you say a couple of times and ask you if they understood well, then they think about how they have to write it down again, read it out again etc... At the end they read all of it out again and make you sign it. This way a small statement takes a long time indeed, but I guess it's tourough.

The weird thing is that although I clearly saw it happening, I don't remember any details. I have no idea whether he was wearing his helmet. I assume he did because I saw it rolling of the street but as the police officer said, that doesn't proof he was wearing it (properly), more on the contrary. And it's true, I don't really know whether he was wearing it or not. I don't remember if his lights were on, neither can I tell the speed he was driving ,only an impression.
I suppose when we drive, we only pick up the details we need to operate in the situation. I mainly remember where the moterbike was all the time, because I had to know that when I wanted to turn off. I don't remember if he flew over the car or not, I was to busy cursing when I realised what was happening and hurrying to stop myself and get out.

Anyway, I was home very late, much too awake and had a difficult time sleeping in while my statements and the experiences kept coming back. I must admit that I was looking in my mirror a lot more today while being on the road. It clearly made me realise once more how quickly an accident can happen and even at slow speeds you can already be badly hurt. That woman could have been me. We must admit it, we all sometimes have moments that we pay less attention on the road huh. Scary thought.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sunny villages

This morning I was stupid enough to forget to order a sandwich here so I had to get out to the village in a search for food. It's bright sunny weather outside and I noticed that I thought this village was really pretty.

It probably isn't anything but special, I was just on a long road with small houses and a church. But in summer weather with some people walking outside, all villages and cities look pretty. Don't you think?

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Easter in London

We left Belgium on vacation on Easter Saturday and took the plane for Mombai in London Heathrow. This left us the opportunity to hang around in London a little bit on Easter Sunday before we took off.

We attended the church service at Westminster Cathedral. I've never been in a church service when a third of the people must have had a tourist guide in their hands in church :p. There was a huge crowd in the cathedral and we had to be standing up all the time.



I've told before that I really love the sounds of church bells or belfry tower bells. Especially on Easter I expect a lot of bells sounding through the city. The bells at Westminster Cathedral were only the sad solemn bells though, no happy glorious bells to announce the good news. Just a very solemn announcement to be made. Westminster Abbey on the contrary was just happily ringing all morning over town. They do seem to have a distinction between happy and sad bells (cf the funeral of Princess Di).

Afterwards we went to walk in St Jamess park secretly hoping that there were still chocolate eggs hidden in the park. I don't know if there were ever hidden eggs at St James's but there definately was no search anymore going on after lunch and there were most certainly no eggs hidden anymore. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to organise a search there in a park full of squirrels.... I suppose the Easter bunnies were smart enough to think about that.

Back to planet work in Belgium

Why is it always so hard to settle down again after a good vacation? (oh that last one was a pleonasm I think ;-) ). I came home from India on Monday evening after a great trip full of new impressions. I promise I'll write more about them as soon as possible.

Yesterday morning I had a hard time realising I had to hurry up in the morning and that I had to go to work. Somehow it didn't want to hit me that I couldn't just show up whenever at work so I gooffed around in the morning trying to remember what things I have to take to work...hmm yeah taking my laptop might come in handy.

This week is actually the first nice week here in Belgium with a lot of sunshine and rising temperatures. I had to drive south on the highway and get some gas on the way. I truly had the feeling I was on my way for another vacation to France and that I would be picnicing along the highway at lunchtime and reading my book in the grass. Usually when I come back from vacation, the fact of being back in Belgium and its traffic and the busy cities makes me realise very quickly that vacation is over. This time I kept on in this vacation bubble feeling as if I was back a school kid and that vacation would last another 2 months or something even after we had been away abroad.

I tried hard to read my long list of unread emails from inside my vacation bubble feeling, but after a couple of hours of e-mail readings it was slowly fading away. Today I already had my first stress attack when I finally realised that there has appeared a backlog in work during my absence. My boss has been following up a little on the progressment but not in enough detail to notice that they were not doing enough and were waiting for my return to ask questions that they could have asked him as well. Booohoooooooooooo, why is leaving on vacation and coming back always so stressfull? It's not fair.

Maybe it's an illusion but I do want to try to work less long than on the last platform and to get more sleep than before. Looking back at February and March, I was simply tooo stressed, too tired, tooo grumpy, tooo much of a zombie at some times. I don't want to do that again for the next coming months. I just fear that I will have no choice since there is still so much work and first deadlines next week. Auwwww. Bubble of vacation feeling is already far far away!