Sunday, 21 October 2018

Brawo Warszawa!

The silence is over. Exit poll results show PiS emerges as a winner, however combined results of the Zjednoczona Opozycja and PSL outpace PiS by eight percentage points.

For me this local election has been out of ordinary for two reasons.

Firstly, as a first ballot after three years of PiS wielding power to the extent going far beyond the one set forth in the mandate entrusted by Poles in 2015, is the occasion for Poles to shout out whether they embrace or reject the meanders of Dobra Zmiana. The election thus has been a major gauge for the ruling party and it preliminary results indicate support to PiS varies markedly between regions, with large cities in majority turning down Dobra Zmiana, while provincial Poland being still the stronghold of PiS.

Secondly, and I wonder whether the date was deliberately selected, today marks the eleventh anniversary of PiS prestigious defeat in the parliamentary election in 2007.

Thirdly, though this is the eleventh election I have cast my vote in, for the first time I voted as a citizen of Warsaw. Today as I turned up to the polling station just before 8 a.m. (drove there from the other end of Warsaw) I worried I would not be on the list of the entitled to vote. Although while checking in as permanent resident in late August I had been assured in the town hall of Ursynów I would be on the list, my faith in proper working of the local administration was not particularly strong. Fortunately, after queuing up for five minutes I found out everything was in order and I could show the middle finger to the ruling party and to Mr Nijaki.

Actually, the mayoral vote in Warsaw wasmore about national than local politics, treated both by PiS and Zjednoczona Opozycja as rehearsal before next years’s European and parliamentary elections. Since I had not been convinced by any of fourteen candidates and bearing in mind only two stand a chance to be in a run-off, my tactics was to decrease the probability of the run-off at all. Exit poll results for Warsaw show I have not been the only one and residents of the capital will be spared a pleasure (and the expenses) of visiting the polling station next week.

Friends on facebook also reported high turnout in their polling stations, yet the actual figures compared to those reported in 2014 local election indicate increase by mere two percentage points. Regardless of the outcome, higher turnout means stronger legitimacy of the elected governors.

To take off HGW: BHAWO WAHSZAWA!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Grandpa

My paternal grandfather was born on 17 May 1926 in Skolimów (currently Konstancin-Jeziorna), where he spent most of his childhood. Shortly before WW2 his family moved to Warsaw. Unlike his two older brothers who died in the uprising, along with his sister (died in December 2017) and brother (died in December 2010) fled Warsaw in 1943 to the rural area where he had been born.

Shortly after the war he met my grandma; they got married in October 1948. He worked in the paper factory in Jeziorna for nearly his entire adult life. In his free time he bred pigeons and was a football fan of Legia Warszawa.

After the departure of my grandma he found it hard to shake off, yet remained in relatively good (as for his age) mental and physical health until early 2018. Since early August he was bedridden, ate and drunk very little.

Grandpa passed away last night, aged 92. He was my longest-living ancestor and the last grandparent alive. Hopefully at least he suffers no more.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Kler - film review

At last. Nearly a fortnight after the premiere, on Thursday afternoon, having learnt I would not receive files to work on from my workmates from another department, I spontaneously checked availability of seats for Kler screening at 5:00 p.m. in the nearby cinema. Half an hour before the inception of the advertisements (lasted 25 minutes) there still were few single seats free in the upper rows.

I rushed out of the office and marched towards Złote Tarasy. Some seats were still available (though the choice was meagre), during the screening it turned out around two-third of all seats were finally occupied. Two weeks had lapsed, audience of more than two million had seen the film before me, the start time was kind of too early for corpo-rats who slowly contemplate knocking off around 5 p.m, so I did not expect a room chock full of viewers.

The very film…. Highlights problems clergy has not gotten their act together to cope with. As in each motion picture directed by Mr Smarzowski, problems are piled up, fleshed out and illustrated veritably abhorrently. Binge-drinking, hypocrisy, greed, lust for power, pursuit of career at all cost or adultery are common sins of weak humans. Paedophilia, fortunately, is not (though this sin is the most abject). The priests are only humans, they stumble and fall like every human, however are expected to stand for higher moral standards and for centuries have failed to live up to such expectations.

Some scenes show situations we are familiar with (the infamous “co łaska, nie mniej niż dwa tysiące”), others touch up on problems known only to a charmed circle of those privy to dealings of top-of-the-top executives of the world’s biggest and oldest corporation. The film portrays clergy as a jumble of dark characters, however I would not agree that the film lacks a bright side – the ending contains the self-purification of one of the characters, which I believe is his penance for his and the clergy’s sins.

As the final credits appeared on the screen, approximately half of the people, including me, were left numb in the seats, the other half filed out towards the exit. Such reactions of the audience prove Mr Smarzowski remains at his best and no matter whether you appreciate his work or not, the last possible reaction is indifference.

If the turnout (in relative, not absolute numbers) in the polling stations in a week and in three weeks is similar to those recorded during first two weeks of Kler screenings, the tide will turn. One day it will, the only question is how much has to be spoilt before the benighted folks begin to see the light.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Hurriedly, moving on

It’s been a busy week. Lots of work in the New Factory – over the working week I spent more than 50 hours in the office, toiling away at full blast. Until now I am still among those who boycott the Kler which indeed has broken the turnout record of all times. Hats down to everyone who has contributed to that success (audience of more than 900,000 over the first weekend and more than 1,700,000 over the first week); I promise to mend my ways possibly quickly (a business trip to inspect a client’s facilities in Mazury will not help catch up).

The builders have walked in and the remont has kicked off for good. Part of tiles have been ripped off, besides, preparatory plumbing works are under way. The first batch of materials (toilet set, shower booth, all floor and wall tiles) wait in the living room. So far the flat is in a mess, but in the coming days order will begin to emerge from the chaos.

I am pretty confident the very refurbishment (laying tiles, bathroom and toilet fittings, laying floor panels, painting walls and other works) will draw to a close before the end of November, but by that time the flat might not be furnished well enough to inhabit it comfortably.

I have identified three critical points:
1. Wardrobes in the hall and in the bedroom – the measurements might be taken once tiles and panels are laid, the declared time between placing the order and delivery is three weeks. Here there is the chance that even with a headroom for delay they might make it – if wardrobes are put in, storage room for my stuff will be ensured
2. Kitchen furniture – there measurements might be taken once the tiles are laid and I believe lead time will be more than a month (especially after I saw the statistics of numbers of dwellings handed over in 3Q2018).
3. Bed – though I actually could do with a mattress lying on a floor for a while. The kitchen furniture looms as the most critical element, but time will tell…

Weather-wise, autumn is showing its clement face. Temperature yesterday in the sunshine topped more than +20C, today it is expected to be similarly warm as well. Forecasters herald such lovely weather shall continue for more than a week. Being quite short of time I cannot make use of the late-summer weather as I would wish to do so, but may the chill and autumnal gloom come possibly late!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Remont - towards the turning point

Time for a concise portion of news from the front. New windows, interior window sills, balcony door doorsteps and external blind roller arrived and were assembled on Wednesday, mere three working days after the promised deadline of 21 September. Except for the rewiring, done by my father, this is the first brand new thing completed in the flat during the refurbishment.

Yesterday the interior door frames were cut away (lot of noise and dirt inside the dwelling) and I finally cleaned the balconies (I had put it back since the purchase until the window replacement was done). Seeing the progress of works has lifted my spirits up, even though tremendous work is still ahead.

On Tuesday removing the tiles is to kick off; some fifty square metres of wall and floor tiles are bound to be ripped off in total. Today, I am heading to DIY shops to finally choose and order new tiles, a shower booth and a toilet set plus the construction materials necessary. The completion and moving in before the last day of November still seems conceivable.

Having a quite busy weekend, therefore I will have failed to boost the turnout in the cinemas during the first weekend of “Kler” (The Clergy) by Wojciech Smarzowski in the silver screen. Impatiently looking forward to seeing the film, but I am not sure whether I would make up over the coming working week. After I see it, I promise to share my impressions.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

It's a heartache

Looked like I have gotten over the break-up and moved ahead. Time has proven wounds could not heal to easily. The very process of getting over gradually was disrupted by the hassle with the newly purchased flat. Negotiations began shortly after I moved out to Bielany, the notarial deed was signed two weeks later, then the very first part of refurbishment ensued. A week ago I ran out of works I could do on my own and could only focus on waiting for crews (delivery of my windows and sills is already delayed by one week!) and arranging stuff for the next stages of works. This coincided with a lighter period at work; consequently I found myself with a bit of more time to think…

The flat purchase was a good decision, a move I should not have put back, but at that very time was a very convenient hideout and time-filler (not necessarily a soul-healer) to drown out my sorrows and regrets.

More than two months after, I still consider my decision to be the best possible (and based on what I know how my ex-gf is doing, time has proven me right), but the heartache refuses to let up. For some reason I have recently recalled mostly the good moments, though the worse ones prevailed in the last weeks of the relationship. Funny how human psyche can play tricks and alter the memory of the past.

As I have definitely not gotten over the break-up, I cannot consider myself ready for a new beginning. It’s not just about “working through” the mistakes of the past and giving myself a rest, it is not about general lack of time I will be plagued by in the coming weeks.

I need to focus on myself, my needs, on what brings me joy and simply do my bit to chase happiness. Do my bit, without seeking company as pre-condition for having good time. And get to grips with my propensity to give and to look after somebody overly.

I have brought back the days after the break-up when I still prepared packed lunch for my ex-gf, ironed her clothes and actually acted as if nothing had happened and with hindsight I have realized how pathological it had been. Now I miss taking care of somebody, inordinately miss it.

Besides, a life companion must not be a person who fills in the emptiness that these days blows me over from inside. Before I reach out for a woman, I must fill the empty space in my soul on my own.

My observations from several occasions to mingle with people do not fill with optimism. In the era when smartphone is the main device facilitating communication (without which talks is hardly imaginable to many younger people), openness of humans around leaves a lot to be desired. I have no idea why so many singles of my age are so selfish, prefer to hide inside their shells rather than making the effort to open themselves to fellow human beings. After many years spent single, such a move is a step out of the comfort zone, however it needs to be taken to change a lonely life. Fear of a change is what keeps people in bad relationships, but also keeps people single. As you decide to get involved with somebody, the fair balance between staying yourself and sticking to your fundamental values and combating the habits developed over years of being single is an art. Realising and pursuing this is, I suppose, crucial to foster a rewarding relationship.

As an anecdote – my friend suggested I install Tinder in my smartphone and try going out with women matched there. My first reaction was that I would not use an application used by seeking a specific form of fun ;-), but heard more and more people use it as regular dating application or to find company. With quite little to lose, maybe this option is worth considering.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Remont - moving on

By mid-October I should switch to a more palatable topic, since there is life outside my construction site…

The milestone in the week ahead will be the arrival and assembly of new windows, sills and external blind roller in the living room.

The crew of (only two, yet trusted) builders will kick off with their work in the last week of September or in the first week of October (depending on when they finish off their current assignment).

The only leftovers in the flat that need to be removed are: bath, toilet and tiles. I began to rip off the very latter thing and I must say with a hammer and a screwdriver and a crowbar the task takes away a lot of time and energy. Needless to say, I have not ordered a container to which rubble will be dumped.

Still not half way into what everyone at some point in life needs to go through. Just for the record – I am busy enough not to find time to make the most of the endless summer. The weather this September has been more summer-like than autumn-like (although imminent advent of autumn is felt in the air). The above-average is about to continue, as temperature around 20 September is projected to peak +28C in afternoons.

Oblivious of how it all unfolds, for no apparent reason I sense we will witness an abrupt shift from late summer to the first whiff of winter, something akin to what happened in October 2009 (day-time high of +24C on 8 October 2009 followed by snowfall on 14 October 2009) and a reversal of sudden explosion of spring in early April this year.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Remont - further steps

Busy, positively tired and stricken with scarcity of time – it’s been me recently. Had to take two business travels this week, on Tuesday to Wrocław and on Wednesday to Kielce, after all more hassle than benefit. Besides, I visited the construction site nearly every day. Upshot: the flat is fully decluttered and by early next week I should make a choice between two crews of builders: one very solid my parents are familiar with, the other recommended by somebody and apparently doing a good job. Oddly enough, both declare they would kick off with works before the end of September (the one my parents know do job only to people they have known, the other have a client who dropped off because of a delay in completion of his new dwelling).

The living room currently is where all tools belonging to my father (whose does the rewiring on his own) and me. The cheap wooden floor panels have been ripped off (by my father and I) and are the only bigger remnant waiting to change hands.

In the bedroom the panels have also been ripped off. The room now only awaits the first crew which will change windows and sills. In the meantime, modification in electric installations are being made.

The kitchen is now empty. The dishwasher and the gas oven, and the rest of furniture were taken away on Friday and on Saturday by their buyers. Tiles will probably be ripped off by builders (hey, note everything so far has been done without paying a single zloty to any fachowiec)!

The bathroom has been emptied of the washing machine, washbasin and other pieces of equipment. The sale of old stuff has fetched a little less than 1,000 zlotys and has left me without a quandary what to do with useless clutter.

Now time to finish concepts how the flat will be furnished, choose the crew of builders and order the first finishing materials. The pace of works so far is dreadfully good, so there is some glimmer of hope I move in by the end of November.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Remont - the first days

Mere 10 days have passed since I took over ownership of my dwelling. Some people move in within such time frame. For me this happy moment ensues, I believe, in the last weeks of the year, since the flat needs a thorough, truly thorough refurbishment. After all the dwelling enchanted me with its location, layout and potential, not the obnoxious state in which it was up for sale.

The first steps made so far were:
1. finalizing all formalities related to changing place of residence,
2. selling most of the clutter, smaller and bigger, the vendor had not bothered to take away – this involved dismantling lots of stuff and a lot of hassle regarding servicing buyers, however now the flat is nearly empty and I have some pocket money (a few hundred zlotys matter as well),
3. setting about getting the dwelling ready for the crew of builders – since this job is relatively simple and can be done quickly with bare hands, my father and I have decided to do it ourselves.

What is in progress:
1. the gas oven, dishwasher, washing machine and bathroom fittings need to be uninstalled and change hands (please, do not kindly inform the tax office),
2. wooden floor panels in the living room and in the bedroom, as well as tiles in the kitchen, bathroom, toilet and in the hall await removal (do be done with bare hands, remnants to be sold for a song),
3. new windows, sills and outside blind roller have been ordered and down payment made (assembly due in the second half of September),
4. I have worked out a concept of how the flat should be furnished and today I plan to begin to write out a detailed description so that the crew of builders know exactly what to do.

The only part of the property which is inhabitable is… the garage and my car was parked there over the entire last working week, sitting there idle from Sunday afternoon until Friday evening, protected from elements of the weather.

Oddly enough, August this year was very busy at work, so the last four weeks were kind of challenging (I have taken four days off to arrange, handle or co-ordinate the property-related stuff). Recently my routine is to leave my rented flat (can’t wait to move out from here) early in the morning and return there after it gets dark (after popping in on nearby Biedronka), do the house chores, take a bath and go to bed. Weekends are kind of busy as well and until all renovation-related stuff is signed and sealed and the flat is ready for letting in the builders, I do not expect to give myself a whole day for relaxing. The September is foreseen to be marvellous weather-wise, but I shall fail to make the most of it. Business before pleasure.

On top, all the flat-related goings on drown out the process of getting over the break-up. Hard to assess whether it is good or bad, but definitely I have little time to dissect it.

I will keep you in the picture at least once a month.