This is so strange. I have this ficus plant I’ve raised from a sprig . . .
had it for over twenty-five years and days of torturing and twisting when it
was young. (There is a name for this plant twisting I can’t remember.) I guess
it sounds crazy but I really love this plant . . . had it for such a long time,
an everyday companion tenderly cared for. So when we were shipping our
stuff from Seattle I trimmed off the largest branches and packed it in a box
with bubble wrap and gave it a last shot of water and a short prayer. I assumed
it would die but thought I would give it a fighting chance. It had survived
some hard times before, but nothing like what was coming up. I decided if it
died I would cut it up and make a sculpture out of the twisted bottom. To my
total amazement when I opened the box here in Sweden it was in about the same
condition as when I packed it! This after ten weeks at sea in a totally dark
and cold container, through the Panama canal and out into the Atlantic which
had to be near freezing a lot of the time – early March when in left.
It is now happy at thriving and putting out new leaves.
Well, I mean, this is so far out. Where was I? Oh yes, locked in the bathroom- all day! We thought it was some punishment because of our escape. We could hear a lot of noise and strange voices outside. When the finally let us out it was another world. There were boxes everywhere, a cardboard jungle - and a couch! I’m so happy I could poop!
So is Amber. Maybe Sweden won’t be bad. I’ve been bird watching a lot. They have magpies here. I’ve never seen those before.
More later, we are still busy exploring; the landscape changes every day - so totally cool!
Help! The houseman’s on drugs and we have been locked in the bathroom. Maybe cruel and unusual punishment because of our escape. I was caught in the yard by the servants and Amber returned on her own a few hours later which was kind of cool I must admit – but that’s another story.
Call 911! Call Animal Rights or the Animal Protection Society or whatever they have in Sweden. Get us out of here!!!
After repainting the deck and moving the lawn furniture we’ve been living on back outside we got a phone call from Gothernberg.
“Sorry,we will not be able to deliver your furniture because we have not received payment from U.S.”
Duh! We paid for this before we left!
And then it got worse. I was clearing out the garage to make room for the stuff that won’t get here tomorrow and forgot to close the door. Bucky and Amber both escaped! I found Bucky in the front yard . . . we're still looking for Amber.
I got my official ID card to day. A little sooner than expected. Amazing!
I no longer need to carry my passport. I can use my Visa card and open a checking account . . . a legal alien at last!
Wife had a doctor appointment yesterday. Copay was $20. No more insurance policy payments. And you can drink the water! Tastes good and is non toxic.
Best of all . . . Our ship has come in! Or almost in - somewhere in Sweden, Gothenburg I guess. With a bit more luck it will be at our place in two more days. Then the fun begins, a week or so of madness, then life can resume as close to normal as it gets.
Our car arrived two weeks ago. Shipping a Volvo from the U.S. to Sweden? Madness you are saying. I agree, but Swedish friends of my wife assured us that it would be a good move. Cars are more expensive here they told us. This is true. Everything is more expensive here. A pair of Levis that cost $35 in the States go for over $100 here. My wife was smart enough to buy a pair of winter boots made in Sweden from Macy’s department store in Seattle. The same boots cost twice as much here.
I've digressed. So far we’ve paid $1,500 for shipping the car and another $800 in fees. More must be paid for plates and registration which we still don't have. Need to get car inspected first. Today was our appointment for the vehicle inspection - $80. They go nuts with inspections here. They took the car for a trust drive. They put it up on a rack and looked underneath. Emission Test and another inspection will come after we get through with this inspection which took about thirty minutes. Guy comes back and tells us the cars in great condition (2004 - low mileage) . . . “But,” he tells us, “there’s a small problem with the turn signal lights.” They are orange. In Sweden turn signal lights must be white and not working together with parking lights. “This is a small thing,” he tells us. “Get it fixed and come back for a re-inspection - only $50 this time,” (about 312 Kroner). And then another fee for the emission test.
We’ve been to three places today, and were told we need to replace the frigging headlights. Best estimate to do this was $1,300. And there might be some problems with the wiring. By the time we get this done, get through this inspection, and the emission inspection, and pay license fees we’ll be well into $5,000. The value of the car stateside was around $8,000. Meanwhile we still can’t drive the car.
Sweden - Land of Prohibitions
No guns, unless you join a moose hunting club, not worth the the paperwork and undoubted fees if the only reason you want one is for self defense. It’s illegal to carry a pocket knife. A pocket knife??? Huge fine if you’re caught with one. Can’t drive over forty mph on a four lane highway that’s straight as an arrow passing through and endless forest of trees where there is almost no traffic. The hedge in our back yard must be kept below a certain height so people can see if there’s car passing on the street behind it. I’m sure there’s a fine if it gets too high. They're big on fines here.Cat poop cannot be thrown in the garbage, it must be taken to the city dump, five miles away.
I’ve never in my life had trouble with the law, but I fear it here. Frustrated to the max. I’m starting to take the cat tranquilizers we didn’t give Bucky & Amber for the plane ride - Alprazolam .25 mg. Works best when taken with a shot of whisky which, of course, is twice as expensive as it is in the U.S.