January 27th, 2014
After some weeks of unsatisfactory performance, our dishwasher gave up the ghost entirely about a month ago. We called out a repairman, and he ascertained fairly quickly that it was the electronics card that had gone out. As luck would have it, the machine is still under warranty so we won’t be responsible for the steep replacement price, but we’ve paid a pretty hefty price in waiting for the repair. It’s been at least three weeks since the part was ordered, and the fix has finally been scheduled for Wednesday of this week. That’s a whole lot of dishes we’ve washed by hand.
Actually, I haven’t been complaining too much. I mentioned to Olof this afternoon that, surprisingly, we’re doing a better job keeping up with the dishes now than when we have the dishwasher to rely on. I think it’s probably because we know that the dirty-dish count will rapidly reach critical mass if we don’t wash up after every meal and snack. Also, I’ve remembered that I sometimes rather enjoy washing by hand if I let myself get a little zen while doing it. Also, there’s something satisfying about a stack of clean dishes sitting next to a clean, empty sink.
Too bad getting the rest of this house tidied up isn’t as quick and pleasant. I’d gladly forgo a dishwasher if there were an automated house-cleaner to be had.
January 22nd, 2014
First things first — it has come to my attention that I never posted here about how it went with my ear when I flew down to Uppsala last week, and I suppose the reason for my neglecting to mention it is that it was entirely uneventful. Yay! Weirdly, about ten minutes into the flight, my ears were popping like a couple of times a minute, but it didn’t hurt and it stopped after a while. So, while that was a little annoying, it was nothing near the agony I feared.
In other news, it felt so good to be back at the university, meeting up with my friends and cohorts and talking history with people whose eyes don’t glaze over with a lack of interest when I bring up my 18th-century priest. I was there only overnight, but it was enough to recharge my academic batteries and get me thinking more seriously about my project again.
This is going to be a busy term, with more travel that I had initially anticipated, and lots and lots of hours spent in front of a computer, getting down on paper (so to speak) the seventy pages that up to now have mostly just been swirling around in my head. I have no doubts about my ability to get done before my deadline, but I’m also under no illusion about how demanding and time-consuming it’s going to be. Even just a week-and-a-half into the term, I’m patting myself on the back for having the foresight to extend the little girls’ hours and pre-school and send Petra to an after-school program for a couple of hours after school. I confess that thus far I’ve been catching up on sleep as much as working during those kid-free hours, but anybody who didn’t see that coming doesn’t know me very well. Such a long period of peace and quiet is too precious not to dedicate at least a portion of to napping.
January 19th, 2014
January 18th, 2014
Thirteen years ago today I embarked on the adventure of my life, moving from Idaho to Sweden. That’s nearly a third of my life spent as an immigrant — where does the time go?!
January 14th, 2014
Today is Yrsa’s birthday, and also Olof’s and my anniversary (11 years!), and I’m heading to Uppsala in a couple of hours. At least I have time to do presents before we all head off to school. I’ll miss birthday cake later, but the bright side is that I don’t have to make a birthday cake!
I’m a little nervous about flying for the first time after my ear operation, but I have decongestants — two kinds — plus painkillers and gum, so I’m hoping that should get me through. A very nice doctor assured me just yesterday that everything looks good with my eardrum, so I’m hopeful that it will go well. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
January 11th, 2014
Mother Nature, that is. In the past two days we’ve got the whole winter’s snow, it seems. There’s about a meter of the stuff covering my front yard right now, and it’s not supposed to stop coming down for at least a couple of hours.
January 9th, 2014
For the first time in nearly a month, I just took a shower and washed my hair without having to worry about getting water in my ear. I don’t mind saying that it felt pretty luxurious. I’d perfected a method for keeping the water out — first I covered a piece of gauze in vaseline and put it in my outer ear, then put a piece of waterproof gauze over that and taped it in place with an adhesive bandage; while washing my hair I then held a paper cup stuffed with a washcloth over the whole shebang and did the best I could to get my hair clean with one hand and a healthy dose of terror — but it’s so much nicer, not to mention more efficient, just to let the water run over my head. Not only that, but I was finally able to wash out my ear. It’s not a body part that I generally think of as getting very dirty, but after the surgery with its blood and yuckiness, a week or two of viscous ear drops, and four weeks of putting a vaseline barrier in it every time I showered, it felt grosser than I care to describe in detail.
As you may have surmised, I did indeed get the all clear from the doctor on Tuesday, and now I can feel free to fly, to take normal showers, to lift heavy objects, to get a headcold — in short, to do all the things people without sliced-through eardrums can do. And best of all, of course, I can hear out of my left ear! It’s not perfect yet, but I’m assured that it takes a couple of months to stabilize, and already I notice a big difference. I wasn’t actually that close to deaf on that side, but I missed enough that it was noticeable. I’ll have my first hearing test some time later in the spring, and I’m looking forward to seeing in hard figures how much it’s improved. Until then, though, I’m satisfied enough with clean hair.
January 8th, 2014
This blurry photograph shows my front yard this morning. Yes, THIS morning. In the second week of January. In northern Sweden. If I didn’t know better, I could easily think it was taken in April (or even early May, to be honest).
What’s even stranger is that it’s not an untimely thaw; rather, this is all the winter we’ve had so far. We have had a little snow here and there, but I’d guess that we haven’t gotten more than six inches all together, and certainly none of it has stuck around for longer than a day or so. We’ve gotten plenty of rain, however, so there’s no need to worry about the water reserves.
I’m assured that in the coming days it will finally get cold — thus far we’ve rarely had temperatures colder than a couple of degrees below freezing — and we may even see some snow. I can’t say that I’ll welcome it, particularly, but I know plenty of people around here who will.
January 5th, 2014
It’s Olof’s birthday today, and this is how he celebrated, at the kids’ activity table in the local emergency room. Nothing to worry about, everything’s fine, but I’ve been having some ice pick headaches around my operated ear and then started getting a little strange feeling in the ear itself, so I decided I should go in to have it checked. Apparently time is really of the essence if I should get an infection and losing my hearing on that side would absolutely suck, so we figured we’d best play it safe.
It’s all good news, though — the eardrum looks good and I got some painkillers/anti-inflammatories to help with the headaches and discomfort. I go back down to Umeå on Tuesday to see the surgeon for another follow-up, and I’m hoping to get the all-clear then!