Thursday, September 10, 2015

almost settled in

It's taken me a while, but tonight I finally finished unpacking all my boxes, setting up my two ovens (my microwave plus that lovely convection oven from Charles), filling my bookshelves, and squaring away everything that needed squaring.

A night or so ago, I also went out hunting for a large Home Plus branch: those are the only places where I can find the sticky floor rollers that I use, instead of a vacuum cleaner, to pick up most of the schmutz on my floor. I saw online that the nearest large Home Plus branch is in Jamshil, so I took a taxi there. Funny thing: the driver had no idea how to get to Jamshil Station from Daecheong Tower! I thought that was hilarious, and the cabbie was good-naturedly sheepish about not knowing the route. Luckily, Lotte World Tower—which is huge and very visible from Daecheong—loomed before us, so I told the driver, "Drive toward that." He eventually got me about 95% of the way to the Home Plus branch, which proved to be hidden behind some buildings on the main street. I got out and walked the rest of the way, noting that Home Plus wasn't far from Jamshil Station's Exit 9: just go out Exit 9, do a lazy U-turn, and walk straight down the large street to the store.

I had tried several smaller stores, both Home Plus and not, to see whether anyone closer to me might have the rollers I needed, but no one did. I don't know why these things are so rare, but once I got into the store, I decided to buy two 2-packs: four rollers will last me until well past Christmas. I grabbed a cab to go back to my place... and once again had to direct the driver along the proper route. I think the confusion is partly because the driving route from Daecheong to Jamshil isn't straightforward: there's a freeway that intervenes, causing the driver to jog for a mile or so in the opposite direction. Very inconvenient, but now that I know the subway exit to take, I'll be using the subway from now on.

So I've got my rollers and my wet-cloth floor wipes, so I'm set as far as cleaning the floor goes. I still need to scrub down my disgusting bathroom, which is covered in a cloudy mass of hard-water deposits. The classic solution (catch that?) is a mixture of white vinegar and water, but I've got some cleaning fluids that are ostensibly for cleaning bathroom surfaces, so I'll try those first before I buy myself any vinegar.

Also on the bathroom front: the air conditioner's drainage hose is routed to drip onto my bathroom's floor, which doesn't improve the way I already feel about that part of my residence. A constantly wet floor (expect a "frank" post about all this apartment's problems soon) is a pain in the ass, and I'm not going to buy plastic slippers (which is how Koreans traditionally keep their feet from touching the possibly unhygienic floor) just because the contractors who worked on my place had chosen a third-world way of dealing with A/C runoff. So I went downstairs to the B1-level E-Mart Everyday store and bought a length of transparent rubber hose. It was too small in diameter to fit properly over the A/C drainpipe, so I cut a 2-inch slit up the hose to widen it, fitted the hose over the drainpipe, clamped it in place, then fed the other end of the hose into the bathroom's floor drain. As jury-rigged solutions go, this looks mighty ugly, but I now have a dry bathroom floor.

So that's one project: clean up the skanky bathroom and get rid of all those damn hard-water stains. To be frank, I'd like to rip everything out of the bathroom and have a professional interior designer redo it so that the layout is more logical, practical, and aesthetically pleasing.

Other projects, for much later, include

1. tearing down the ripped-up, filthy wallpaper and replacing it with wallpaper that proudly displays Georgetown University colors (dark blue and gray)!
2. upgrading my current hand-me-down desk to a larger, better-quality desk. This also means getting rid of the current desk.
3. buying a long, heavy-duty folding table from Costco for use as a work space in my kitchenette. I might also have to buy an acrylic sheet to lay atop the table so I can break out some flour and try my hand at some baking.
4. getting rid of my hand-me-down chair in favor of a much nicer, more ergonomic, and less rusty office-style chair.
5. upgrading my kitchen.

My buddy Tom was raving to me about his trip to Ikea in Gwangmyeong City; he said there was plenty of cheap furniture there. I was skeptical; Ikea's Korea branch had gotten into trouble not long ago for gouging its customers. It wasn't hard to imagine that, like Costco here, Ikea Korea's products would necessarily be much more expensive than they are in America. I did, however, just visit the Ikea Korea website, and some of those prices actually seemed quite reasonable—about the same as furniture prices in the Euljiro district.

Improving my place promises to be a long, slow process. It might be more than a year before I deem it satisfactory, and of course, before I begin any major alterations of the interior, I have to check with this building's management to see whether my planned changes are even permissible. That said, I have something to look forward to. Which is nice.



Charles said...

I'm here if you ever need someone to bounce baking ideas off of.

Kevin Kim said...

I'll probably come calling. I've been watching YouTube videos re: shortcut versions of puff pastry ("rough puff") because I want to make Jamaican beef pockets. The Sorted Food guys on YouTube came close to making those when they debuted their sausage rolls (here). Those rolls are easily convertible to beef-pockety goodness.