10.31.2005

IKEA and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Saturday Kathy and I made it to our long-coveted destination: the IKEA store in Mannheim. Kathy’s neighbor, Alex, lives in a suburb of Mannheim and offered to drive us up since he was headed in the direction. He also lives 5km or so from IKEA. Lucky guy...

Finally was able to get a more suitable pillow – true, it’s not as firm as the Target brand pillows I have at home, but this one is a down pillow (smells of ducks), has a better overall texture to it, and was as expensive a pillow as I was willing to buy. The next pillow “up” would have cost me €40, and that’s too much, the way I see it. Also found a decently colored MATCHING pillow case and comforter cover. I’m sorry, but the 60’s mismatched flower pattern’s really isn’t my thing. Speaking of comforters... Found one for €8,99, a very good deal compared to the normal price (for my dad’s reference, it’s the Mysa Frost blanket, one “step” down from my Vind at home). Are you reading this? I’m a complete IKEA snob. It’s a good feeling. Several other “cheap” purchases were made: candles, make-your-own-organization-boxes, mesh shelfy thing for my desk, a proper jar for sugar, clothes drying stand (no more hanging shirts on doors and windows) and a chair. HAHAH! I bought a chair! A lovely, lovely chair that I would be able to put together myself once Alex drove back to Landau for the week. So exciting, in fact, that I almost didn’t purchase it, thinking that I could do without it for a bit longer, maybe even peruse the Flohmarkt for something reasonably cheap. There was also an option of buying a more inexpensive version of the Poäng chair, called Pello or something (this second version was very uncomfortable to sit on). But something in my head said, “No, buy the one that’s much more expensive, and that will cause you to really hate everything around you for a 2 hour period while you struggle in vain to put it together, making you realize that your being vertically challenged does have its hindrances, that you are in fact quite flexible, and all the while causing the pain in your wrist acquired from clothes washing to resurface. C’mon, it’ll be fun!”

So I bought it.

Sunday Alex drove back and he and Kathy brought the remainder of my things over to my apartment (thanks, guys :P ). They left, I got to work. I’ll just say now that it’s a good thing I had cooked and ate dinner an hour or so before hand, otherwise I would be either starving or bleeding profusely from my hands at this time. Cooking while highly agitated is not something that should be done by anyone. I actually snapped when Andi dropped by for a bit because the doorbell was pushed one too many times. But I was able to calmly explain my situation, as well as politely decline her invitation to join her and some of the other exchange students for tea. No people for Kaija last night – end of discussion. The chair was finally put together (the mesh support slip didn’t fit right because of packaging creases, the cushion was stupid, and the slip cover gave me a hard time. I’m just happy that the thing didn’t bust when I sat down on it for the first time. Had it done so, I would have been sobbing for the remainder of the night instead of typing this), and it looks nice. I now have something more in my room to make it more home-like, and somewhere nice to sit and read.

As I mentioned earlier in passing, I also had some trouble with my wrist last night. Yesterday was my self-proclaimed “Putztag” (cleaning day). Admittedly I didn’t get very far because the all-purpose cleaner I have is no good for glass surfaces – or any surface, really, other than my stove – so I picked up some dust bunnies and tried to scrub off a fermented coffee stain that is XX years old off the side of my desk. I also washed some laundry, but only got through socks and underwear before my left wrist started to seriously hurt. I recognized the pain, finished up a shirt and quit. All of the repeated scrubbing and wringing water motions ends in pain...

I will say this now for those who don’t know it yet: THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO WASH LAUNDRY HERE. Unless you have your own machine (which, sadly enough, might be cheaper), washing laundry blows. It’s too expensive to buy tokens every time I want to wash something, and washing by hand gives me some pre-symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Even when putting the chair together the pain resurfaced. I can’t grip anything other than air in my left hand without it hurting. Now I can’t finish the rest of my laundry for a few days until my wrist “heals.” I’m also going through candles like a pubescent girl goes through maxi-pads. Back on topic, the director of Kathy’s apartment, Dominique offered to let me use their washing machine. Kathy has to pay €1,30 per load, but only at the end of the month. And that’s if she’s honest about it. You sign your name, the date, and the number of loads you’ve washed. At the end of the month they total up and you pay up.

And off the topic, Mannheim reminded me of Bonn, except for the fact that at least one point the street cars run through the middle of a street that’s half street-car usage and half Fußgänger Zone (pedestrian zone). No obvious division of the two. Mannheim has three H&M stores (so we were told), two Burger King’s, at least one McDonalds, and a Subway. Meh. After IKEA Alex offered to take us to a mall with him (where he had to buy a present), drop us off at the Hbf (Hauptbahnhof = main train station), or in the city center. Taking option three we got a quick tour of the city to help orient ourselves, and then split. We didn’t walk around for too long other than to find somewhere to eat (we ended up at McDonalds – something I hope to not repeat for a very, very long time. I figured out fast food gives me stomachaches, which I guess is a good thing.) and a bookstore that accepted AmEx (hurrah David Sedaris’ latest book in paperback for €9!!). Mannheim will be visited again in full at a later date. From Mannheim to Neustadt it takes about 30 minutes by train, then 15 from Neustadt to Landau.

Note: Many movies and books are less expensive here than they are in the states. John Chaimov: any movie requests for which you would, of course, reimburse us? You can get practically anything under the sun here with German and English subtitles and spoken language. There’s this German movie called 7 Zwerge (a comedy take on Snow White) that I wanted to buy and take a look at – maybe you could use that for a Märchen class later on? We’ve also seen almost every film we’ve ever watched in class, including Emil, which we know we didn’t watch, but we saw it, regardless. All in DVD format.

Today is the first real day of classes, but my only Monday class won’t be held for the first time until the 7th. Tuesday is All Saints’ Day, and therefore a holiday.

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