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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sweden - Week Three - A




Progress:

I now have my residence card and a library card which have enabled me to move a few centimeters away from non-existence. All that was known of me was left behind . . . my history and reputation, gone for better or for worse. My friends and relatives have been reduced to memories and intermittent e-mails.


Earthly possessions, things I've lived with day to day are still at sea, hopefully still afloat and destined to arrive in a few weeks: furniture and dishes, flatware, tools, computers, files and notes. Forgot to pack external hard drives - big mistake!

Car will arrive in two more weeks at Gothenburg, a seaport some three hours by train from our new home. I worry for the battery - almost a month at sea. There will be paperwork, inspections, customs declarations, licensing and fees. Gas is expensive, twice as much as I complained about in the U.S. - around nine bucks a gallon. I have yet to drive here, know where nothing is, road signs and symbols still a mystery.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Buckminster & Amber - 35




Easter in Sweden, and here we are hiding in a closet. Do we get eggs? No. Extra snacks? No.
I tell you, Amber, I can’t take much more of this.

It’s not so bad Bucks. Lighten up. They’re sure to get some furniture sooner or later.

Right. While I’m still young?

You haven’t been young for years, Bucks.

Well I feel young. Young enough to escape from this architectural desert.

But what about the nice little house Willie made for us?

Right, our cardboard condo. First time someone forgets to close the door I’ll be gone like a cool breeze.

You tried that in Seattle, Bucks, and you came back with fleas.

They don’t have fleas in Sweden.

Where did you hear that?

I just know. It’s intuitive . . . animal instinct.

You’re tripping. If you used your furry head you could find new places to hide here.

I suppose you have?

I could if I wanted to. And this closet’s not so bad.

I guess if you’re in love with shoes it’s not so bad, but I’m not into that.

Observing Sweden- Easter



Part of Easter here is much like Halloween in the States. People dress up in costume. I was so surprised when two youngsters showed up at our door and gave us a little hand made card that said 'Happy Easter' and had their names on the back. Really nice!
The hand print is made to be a chicken. People go nuts over eggs and chickens at Easter here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Observing Sweden - 2




Seven below today, under a cloudless sky. Incredibly bright- snow glaring brilliant. Comfortable with medium weight jacket. Half hour drive to buy things we can’t do without. Landscape and towns are snow washed, pristine clean. Feels good to breath.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breaking News from Bucks




News flash:


I can't believe this. My many followers will remember my fear of the wind snake in Seattle, but you have to see the one here in Sweden. The house-woman was fighting with it this morning but was unable to kill the thing. It went back into the wall where it lives. It's like an anaconda I saw on Animal Planet. And me with no place to hide. I'm telling Amber we should move to Kathmandu, but that would mean another plane ride. Yuk.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Amber's Opinion - 1




Well I simply have to jump in here. It’s high time I got more blog space. Where should I  begin? Bucks, I suppose. What is his problem? He keeps running on about catnappers. Give me a break. This place has more alarms than a Swedish bank. He’s constantly complaining about no place to hide, and nothing to do.


I must admit it’s a little spacey here, but yesterday the servants got us a new roller-ball toy. Bucks could use it of course, but it’s beneath his dignity. Girl stuff he says. Whatever.

And as you can see in the photo above, the houseman is building us a condo.


Observing Sweden - Cat's eye view - 1






Marilyn asked me
To share my view
But there’s not much to look at
I’m telling you true

From a window in Sweden
I’m watching the dawn
I used to live in Seattle
But now I’m gone

There's a whole lot of white
And a little bit red
I’ll probably spend the whole day
Under the bed

And don’t be surprised
If you hear me snoring
It’s because this empty house
Is so damn boring.



Monday, March 18, 2013



Money Matters

Oh boy, does it ever, and we’re bleeding cash like financial hemophiliacs. So hard to keep from buying things that we need and already own but are at sea.

Good, Bad and Ugly:

Good - The Swedish kroner is the strongest currency in use today - totally solid.

Bad - The exchange rate for dollars drops a little more each day. Current rate is about 6.3 kroner to the dollar.
Was 6.5 not long ago.

Ugly - The reason of course is U.S. politics. When will the madness end?

More things that make cents:

There’s a deposit on plastic bottles here, about fifteen cents on a litter bottle of Coke. One also pays for plastic bags at the grocery store.

Grocery store shopping carts: 

The lines of parked shopping carts are locked together. You have to but a coin in a box attached to each individual cart in order to remove one. The coin gets stuck in the slot and stays there until the cart is returned, then it can be removed. I have yet to see an abandoned cart left on a street or sidewalk here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Buckminster & Amber - 34






Bored In Borlange

I can tell you what my observations are: Boooring! 

There is no here here - nothing to do. Just  empty rooms and windows.

Everything looks white outside
And inside
I can’t find place to hide.
Pain and fear have been the driving force of great all great poets. I suppose it is the same with me.

What if catnappers come? And what if Willie tries to put us back into those cages? That was so rude!

I know . . . I know it’s Amber’s turn to blog, but I just had to tell you. Now I’m going back to looking out the window. Wow, what fun. 


I can’t believe this!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sweden - Day 5



VASTERAS

Sweden – 14 March 2012



These first days have been filled with errands, paperwork and shopping for necessities that we already own, but are at sea (I hope) somewhere on the Atlantic. We’ve been lucky with the weather, seven sunny days so far . . . and cold of course. It’s twelve below this morning, but a dry cold, not too bad.

We drove to Vasteras yesterday, a city two hour’s drive from Borlange where we live. I applied for permanent residency along with a crowded room of others from a dozen different countries. I was the only American. It was much like going to the SSI office in the States, except the time it took was not so long. I was number fifty three on the waiting list, but it took less than an hour for fingerprints and ID photograph . . . Swedish efficiency.

It feels so strange to be an immigrant, a stranger in a strange land. A trip to the grocery store can be mind boggling . . . to not know where things are. To not know what things are. Nothing is easy even though most natives here speak English. I feel guilty for my impatience with others in my situation Stateside – grocery stores, post offices . . . newcomers trying to explain what they wanted. Why don’t you learn the frigging language? I would say to myself.

Yeah right. Seems like the average word here uses thirty letters. What was it Salieri said when criticizing Mozart’s music in the movie . . . Too many letters notes! Too many letters here. Why do they need so many letters? I suppose I’ll learn . . . I’d better.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

On Leaving America - Part 45




Mission Impossible
Note:
I am without wi-fi, also my regular computer, and still jet lagged. These next blogs will most likely be iffy and probably not in proper sequence. There will undoubtedly be more spelling errors than as I have not been able to find any kind of spell check on this little laptop computer.

*       *       *
Flightmare:

The trip started well. A neighbor took us to the airport . . . four huge check-in bags and each of us with a carry-on and one cat cage. The cats were not happy, but we got on board and soon became a bird in flight. The plane had fifty empty seats, plenty of room and reasonable meals. The cats were wonderful. I was totally surprised, just an occasional meow and not that loud. The ride was long, but uneventful. Ten hours later we set down in Paris. Then the fun began.
We had just eighty minutes to get to our connecting flight, barely enough time, and of course we had to get our passports checked again and go through another security check, but it looked like we might make it.
Wrong!
Enter the Border Police, or rather, don’t enter the Border Police. Where were they? Over 300 of us waited, standing impatiently as thirty minutes passed. Finally two of them showed up and sat at a counter behind glass windows. The process was slow and incompetent. Hard to understand why as all they did was look at our passports and check to see if our faces matched our photos. The process seemed endless and of course we missed our connection.
De-Gaulle Airport is huge, but we found our way to an Air France counter where we were told us the next flight to Sweden would leave in eight hours. By now we’d been up fifteen hours since leaving our place in Seattle. Passage to Sweden would take another two and a half hours. Lou turned the tears on and we were somehow bumped up to a four hour wait . . . not fun. The cats were extremely unhappy, perhaps no more than ourselves. So close and still so far.
At last we were boarded onto a cheesy and not particularly clean Air France Airbus filled to capacity with all the others who had missed their connecting flights. There was barely room to jam the cat cages under the seat in front and no room for my legs, one of which went to sleep. I wish the rest of me could have done the same. By the time we landed in Stockholm Bucky seemed barely alive. His fur was cold and there was no reaction when I reached inside the cage to pet him. Just a lifeless ball of fur. I thought we might lose him.
We missed our connection to Borlange, the town where we now live, but happly Lou had friends in the city. We spent the night with them, rented a car the next morning and arrived home in the early afternoon, totally jetlagged, wired and exhausted. Bucky and Amber recovered more rapidly than ourselves, happily exploring the new and very empty space of our new house.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Buckminster & Amber - 32

A short digression:

I have to tell you what happened. We moved out four days before the silver bird flew off. (You won’t believe what happened there, but that’s another story). Anyway, Henry, the guy that lives across the street, was going on vacation and said we could stay at his house, so the servants didn’t have to sneak us into a hotel. Sounds good right?

Wrong! Henry is Boots’s servant. We were now in a house with Boots and his sister, Lulu. Lulu’s okay, but I knew Boots would be after Amber in a flash, which would mean a serious confrontation, possibly bloodshed . . . possibly mine!

Lulu’s okay; in fact she’s afraid of Boots herself and stays out of his way. Boots was afraid to make a move while our servants were with us. He stayed on top of a cabinet, staring down on us in an unfriendly way.



I'll tell you more about this later. The stewardess just came by and they are putting me back in my cage. This is so unfair! I have e-mails to write. The cool kats will want to know where I am. I wish I knew!