Monday, March 05, 2012

Open windows




















We've never lived in an apartment before we came here and now we're up amongst the tree tops on the eighth floor of an eleven storey building.

Apartment living can be cramped, but this place is significantly larger in size than our snug little one-and-a-half fronted cottage in Flemington. Milly has adapted to the lack of garden and back door facilities extremely well, being content to snooze and snuffle around from room to room until it's time to head downstairs via the lift into the Dog Forest. Where she once trembled in fear when the elevator doors clanged shut and it descended to the ground she now wags her tail, because a ride in the lift means a walk.

Upstairs there's no garden to tend (fine by me and LC) and two hallways that would easily be converted into bedrooms if we were back in Melbourne with a budget for renovations.

Despite this - and having three toilets - we only have the one living space for eating, piano practising, telly watching and view gazing. Furnishings are kept to the minimum for ease of access and my beloved luxury item number two
* is stored in LC's and my bedroom.

The treadmill. An expensive towel rail for some but a vital part of life for me. With an ageing body that now hosts a dodgy achilles, a bung calf muscle and plantar fasciitis, my runs are now down to three days a week for 6 km a time. I'm slower now too - no longer galloping at 12.6km per hour, but a relatively sedate 11.2 for the first five kilometres and last gasp 12km/hr for the final km.

Still, with that trio of trots and a long morning walk with Milly, my heart rate is a mighty fine 56 beats per minute while resting and I seem to be able to continue to inhale all matter of chocolate, wine and cheese-related Swiss specialties without looking too obviously rotund.

I've written before about the benefits for me beyond the cardiovascular. It helps keep my Black Dog at bay and gives me time to reflect, think up new writing ideas and reminisce about all kinds of weird and wonderful events. And, to be utterly honest, there's little that makes me feel more proud of myself than knowing I've slogged and sweat my butt off before breakfast, even if it doesn't look like I have.

So, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, after Milly and I get back from our walk, I change into my runners and plug in the treadie, strap on my bum bag and headphones and switch on the iPod.

"Annie waits for the last time....."

Three and a half kms in this morning and I was in The Zone, endorphins a-coursing, positive vibes a-pumping and singing along loudly and proudly to every fourth word of each song "Annie waits ----- for a call ....was it always the same?"

Sweat flicked onto the dashboard and Milly turned around to rearrange the pillow she snoozed on at the end of the bed. The view, from the right side, was of the bare winter trees and grey clouds sprinkling a few half-hearted snowflakes.

Things were really firing up today. I audaciously flicked the speedo up to twelve km per hour right from the start and sang along to every word.  My eyes were closed as I imagined that my legs were going to hurl me down the track......


















"You've got to be the prettiest girl
I've ever witnessed in the whole world
Hear me can you hear me? Hear me can you hear me?
Hear me can you hear me now......"

Ratta tatta tat!

I nearly got flung into the bedside table in my shock. There, on a crane platform slowly moving upwards were two removal men, grinning at me.  'Bonjour madame!'  

I wasn't sure what to do. Stop and what, stand still and wave until they putted upwards beyond my floor or nod and keep running as all serious athletes would do? The first option seemed faintly ridiculous, but the second option would hardly work seeing as they'd already had a chuckle at seeing me sing to myself with my eyes closed like a sheltered workshop employee on a fitness kick.

So I did what I always do when faced with French I cannot speak and people I cannot converse with. I gave them the 'thumbs up' and a smile, got back onto the treaddie and kept on going, thanking the powers-that-be that they weren't putting by an hour later when I'd invariably be starkers and freshly showered.

I'm starting to love this place.
















* Milly is luxury item number one

24 comments:

Andrew said...

Notices go around our building warning residents about their privacy when window cleaners are due. You would never be safe if removalists regularly passed your windows. I guess that is what blinds are for. It seems funny that they greeted you rather than pretend to not see you.

Nuttynoton said...

I wonder what they said or thought?
Great post again and good to hear you are enjoying yourself in Switzerland!

Kath said...

I think that the guys were amused by me, Andrew and knocked on the window for a laugh. I'm not sure what they would have done if I'd been naked.

We have so many people move in and out of this place that it hadn't occurred to me that the crane would eventually come past my window when I was in the bedroom..... *gulp* I'll leave the blinds down until I'm fully dressed from now on!

Nutty, I have no idea. They probably thought it looked pretty funny seeing a pudgy old chick running determinedly to nowhere.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I love that - and my reaction would have been the same.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Pandora Behr said...

Love it - though I think I'd have fallen off the tready if that happened to me.

Great work on your running - I wish I could run that fast.

Hannah said...

Brilliant! You and your near-naked treadmill experiences, me and my krumping-in-my-bra-in-my-office-next-to-the-full-length-window-onto-the-street...

Two peas in a pod.

River said...

I have only the one living space too, and it's a little crowded, even with four of my bookshelves gone to other homes. My coffee table is too big and I need to be careful when pushing my one chair away from the table as it bumps into whatever is behind it, no matter how I rearrange the room....I thought my closed-in back porch would be a secondary living area, but more often than not, the air out there is thick with the smell of whatever "the boys" have been smoking.
I'm curious about why you close your eyes when running. Aren't you afraid of a misstep taking you off the edge of the treadie?
I like that picture you put up, is that the front of the apartments or the back? I see some window boxes there.

drb said...

:-) LOL. Thanks, needed that, back to writing. sigh.

Good on you for keeping up the running. The current treadmill's vantage point is much better than that in Flemington. Just don't do a nude dash. ;-)

Cat J B said...

Oh my word, that reminded me of something....

As a 17 yr old exchange student in Hamburg, my bedroom was on the third floor of the appt building, facing the street. Across the street was a Chinese restaurant. The blind on my window was a bamboo blind, the sort you pull on and it rolls up. The sort you can see through from the outside if the room light is on.
One day I was changing clothes before going out in the evening and I stopped to look at the lit up streetscape through my bamboo blind. It appeared that the workers in the restaurant across the road were looking up at my room. No way, I thought, so I waved at them just to check. They ALL waved back.

Ah, the things we do when we think no one is watching :)

Kath said...

Thanks Plasman - a 'thumbs up' covers so many bases/situations/conversations/replies and opinions as I'm rapidly discovering!

Thanks Pand - I can only close my eyes when The Zone happens which isn't very often....

Love it, Hannah!

River, it's the front of the apartment block, or one of the sides as we're on a long block with the narrow sides facing the street. Some of the window boxes are lush and flowery efforts (eps in summer when that photo was taken) but ours was mostly dead. We can't afford to spend lots of money on seasonal flowers like a lot of the tenants do but were thinking of putting some herbs in ours.

Glad to make you laugh, drb! No nude dashes for me from now on!

Oh CatJB....... I can imagine your next move was to dive down to the floor, crawl over to the light switch and turn if off!

By the way - we're going to Germany in the summer - is Hamburg worth a visit?

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh wow. That running sounds awesome. And I have seen your photo. Pudgy you are not. You probably made the window cleaners day.

Jackie K said...

The thumbs up - perfect response, like a friendly shrug.
Who'd have thought you'd get people looking in at you eight floors up!
Your apartment sounds huge the way you describe it - hallways to bedrooms?! Sounds nice though.

Kath said...

E-Child you're too kind. But I like it all the same....

JackieK it really is a big place but very plain and still with the original 1970 decor. With just the essential IKEA bits, it can get a bit echoey. Still it's home now.

Anji said...

Wow you are fit! I once watched the furniture being sent up on a huge conveyer belt to some apartments – fascinating and nothing fell off.
What a post this would have been if they had turned up an hour later!


Read and be read ExposeYourBlog!

Marshall Stacks said...

so upstairs people have furniture moved in by crane? wow the cost of that. bet the guys saw funnier things than you, and every other day as well. they probably pay to have the job.
Am impressed by your athleticism, way beyond mine.
x x

Louise said...

Ah a cheery Bonjour Madame can cover all sorts of awkward situations it seems! Glad you were only caught running.

Kath said...

Thank you Anji. If it had been an hour earlier I'd still be blushing and probably still lying on the floor in a comatose ball!

Thanks Marshall. Think though, if it wasn't for the chocolate inhalation, I might even *look* like a runner instead of a well-padded polarfleece.

Me too, Louise. The blinds get pulled back down when it's shower time now.

Red Nomad OZ said...

And I thought I'd lost all my privacy living in a caravan park!!!

wilbo43 said...

Ooohhh la la, mademe.. you are, how you say, ..tres fit. Oui!

diane b said...

Eight floors up you'd think it would be safe to keep the blinds up. Its funny they knocked, maybe being kind to let you know they were there. You sure sound fit, well done for keeping it up living in an apartment and freezing winters. Did Milly not bark at the removalists?

Kath said...

You're too kind, Wilbo43!!

Diane_b, Milly isn't really a 'barker'. The only time she lets a couple rip is when our door buzzer is pressed. Outside, it's only if she sees a squirrel or another dog gets too close to me. She's rather jealous.

drwife said...

In October I answered your questions post by asking if we could meet when I moved to Geneva...well, we've finally arrived. I promise I am not too crazy...just another trailing spouse new to Geneva and trying to find my way. You can read about our adventures during the first two weeks in Switzerland on my blog. I can't figure out how to send you a private message through Blogger--is it possible?

ropcorn said...

Nice to live on the eight floor, I'd rather live higher up than down in an apartment building. And wow, THREE toilets. Lol. And good thing Milly is not scared of elevators anymore. :-)

My dog Lisen refuses to go down the stairs in my apartment building, they are slippery and she does not like that she can see down through the bars on the side of the stair. So it is not fun when the elevator is broken where I live (fiifth floor) because it is not like I can carry her down... Luckily it does not break often at all, but still. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I will get her down if there ever is a fire. Hm.

Anyway, nice post. :-)

Kath said...

Hi Drwife - I'd love to meet you and am now a 'follower' of your blog. If you click on my profile you'll see that you can email me. Just add something 'Geneva-specific' so that I know it's you!

Ropcorn, I never thought about the lift breaking down - our stairs are all slippery shiny marble so even carrying a 12kg bundle of nervous fur wouldn't be fun, let alone a dog of Lisen's size....