Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Text from Johan

I received a picture message from Johan just now. He said that little Leila was finally born at 3:40 Monday morning. Mother and daughter are well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I need to mention how impressed I was with Göran's installation inside the house. Everything is extremely neat and professional. The circuit breaker box looks like it could run NASA, and it's obvious lots of care has been taken in the work.

The one annoyance (especially to Janne) is the delay by the electrical company in providing the power to the house. We got by fine with the temporary electricity, but it will be neat to have it all working inside.

UPDATE: Janne just emailed; the power was hooked up today and Göran will be out next week to finish up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too bad this wasn't the game we went to!

Found an interesting news item regarding a Leksand hockey game last week. I asked Wille about it and he said the player in question was a friend of his, whose 13 year old daughter is out of school right now after being teased mercilessly. Those Swedes...

Error in the October photo gallery

I noticed the photo link on the right was faulty, it's fixed now so the photos should be available again. My apologies.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leaving Sweden once again

Another airport post just before we take off. Apparently this flight is oversold, they're offering €300 each to take a flight through Oslo arriving at 9:30PM. That is tempting but we all really need to be back earlier than that.

Anyways, we went to Bauhaus and IKEA first thing this morning to return/exchange/buy more stuff. There was a pretty good scrum at IKEA right when they opened. By 11AM, it was packed. One annoyance is that I need special long screws to attach the door handles. Nobody has them in stock so I will have to try to find them.

Rutger helped me finish the work Janne started on my tax form and that will be mailed off. We believe my bill should be about 6000 kronor a year for a freshly-built småhus like mine.

A last few photos in the webgallery. We are planning to make a 24 hour visit in December when we return for Christmas, so more photos then, but plenty of posts in the meantime.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

By the way....

The kronor is 7.90 today.

And the pound is under 1.6.


Back in Stockholm

Up early after a nice dinner with Janne the night before. We cleared out our guest stuga and decamped to our place to give it a final clear out. Since Janne was staying until Thursday, we took his trash with us.

It was funny to see so many more people on the island Saturday morning, lots of people must have arrived on the early boat. Anyways, we cleaned up and brought quite a load of stuff and garbage to the main dock. The noon boat wasn't full at all.

We loaded up Rutger's car and headed to Margaret's. She took us to a couple of home furnishing stores in her funky neighborhood and we found lots of stuff we liked.

Now we're at Rutger & Marcia's; Rutger made lasagne (after flying in from New York this morning) and Marcia bought my favorite Pripps beer and Vicknings chips. I'm a happy man.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another productive day

Although the weather wasn't that great, we still managed to get a lot done. Grant tended the fire diligently all day and we got rid of all our paper and wood scraps, plus we made a dent in the brushpile.

Inside, we finished a lot of kitchen details, and Janne and Tony stopped by; they provided a lot of insight on a bunch of questions regarding plumbing, storage, woodworking, and electricity, among other disciplines.

And outside, I cleared up a lot of building scrap. Most everything is in one big pile as opposed to all over the place. We're going to carry as much garbage as we can on the Waxholms boat tomorrow, but I am starting to fear we will need to contract Sten to do a garbage run for us in the spring.

Another nice dinner with Janne and then back tomorrow noontime. We're going to see Margaret at her shop, which will be great, but I really hate to leave!

A few photos in the webgallery, including the best shots yet of the house.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just as planned so far

We spent the day clearing up and completing lots of smaller tasks. I put handles on the drawers, which took me way too long, but at least they're all straight. We successfully finished the wardrobe (which had 44 steps in its instruction book and about a half-million parts), and put all the beds together. We also changed the hinges on the fridges so they swung the other direction.

It appears our whole IKEA order arrived complete, with only one tiny damage, which is amazing.

Grant started a fire to burn the paper and wood scraps. He also cleaned up a lot of the building material left around outside, and also ran our well-water tests, all of which were fine.

The October webgallery is of course updated.

UPDATE: I called Johan; no baby yet.

More Kitchen info

It's the next morning and we're about to head back to the house. We had a successful day yesterday, indeed. Johan was an amazingly skilled worker and he whipped through the kitchen in quick order. He lived in Northern California for a couple of years and became an Oakland A's fan. He's also a water polo player, and most excitingly, is about to become a father any minute now. Jenny, his partner, is 11 days overdue so we all jumped when the phone rang.

At the end of the day, we finished up in near total darkness, with only one lamp, and then we all hustled to the dock with Johan's gear, Grant leading the way with his flashlight. The boat needs to be called with a flashlight in the winter, so we waved with all our might, and Johan was rescued to return to his impending fatherhood.

Winston if it's a boy and Leila if it's a girl. I'll be sure to report back once we know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The kitchen is done!

I contracted help for the day, who arrived on the morning boat in the form of Johan. He was a super-nice guy and very efficient. He was able (with our minimal help) to complete 90% of the kitchen today. Grant and I spent the equivalent amount of time making a table, 4 chairs, and most of a wardrobe.

It's late, so more info (and new photos) in the morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm back to end the evening and I have to say I am as tired as I can ever remember being. (And I run marathons for fun!)

The IKEA delivery made it to the dock right on time, two pallets, 850kg just as promised. Janne came with his ATV and we loaded goods on it, and he made 6 or 7 runs to our house. The path up from the Waxholmsbolaget dock is quite steep, so we had to carry everything up a hill that got worse as the afternoon wore on.

And then we had to carry everything overland through the mud the last 300 meters. Man was that tough, I literally ran out of gas and physically couldn't carry any more.

The good news is that everything is up to our house, ready for assembly, with the exception of the fridge, which we wrapped up safely for the last push tomorrow morning when Grant and I get our strength back.

And we will have a helper tomorrow, Johan, who I've contacted to spend a day with us. He's a kitchen assembly expert so we should make good progress under his direction.

Much more to post about but I'm too tired to work the keys. Photos will be updated in the October webgallery.

Back to Aspö (barely)

We loaded Rutger's wagon up to the gills, left early, and made it to Stavsnäs, no problem. The boat ride, however, was a heck of a trip, the seas were rougher than I had ever seen and we rocked and rolled our way across the Baltic.

Once here, it was pretty miserable, cold and drizzly, but we managed to get our stuff over to our house and to set up camp again at Ann and Dave's. We're taking a break for lunch now and will be down to the big dock in an hour to meet our IKEA shipment.

Our house looks great, photos posted later.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Safely in Stockholm

I'll skip over the logistical detail with all the transport, but suffice it to say that Marcia picked us up, and we met Wille at the Globen for the hockey game. With him was his girlfriend Liselotte, and her kids Vandela and Toste.

We had a great time, especially since Djurgården beat Linköping 3-1 in a good game. Mikael didn't play as he's with the youth team, but we did get to talk with him on the phone. Afterwards, we picked up Rutger's car from the glass repair, so all is well.

We talked with Wille about various details and we're going to get together again before we go to Aspö on Tuesday.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I just checked this evening and the krona has plummeted to 7.45! Wow! All that shopping we plan to do this weekend will have a little less sting in it.

Of course, I paid for the house at closer to 6.2 just a few months ago, but even then it's still one of my better recent investments.

But there's sad news, too. Rutger's new Volvo wagon was broken into today. That messes up our logistics a bit, but importantly, it was his baby and Rutger's upset. I will do my best to cheer him up tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More briefs

Writing this on the hoof at Heathrow Terminal 5. I just talked to Wille again; he is really pleased with the way the floors turned out. He also put me in touch with Jonny, a colleague who has a firm that installs IKEA kitchens.

I called and Jonny will be able to send a couple of people to help me move up all the stuff from the dock on Wednesday the 22nd. Janne agrees that will be smart to do as there's 850kg of stuff, including beds, stove, fridge, etc.

Janne also says no electricity drop has been installed yet and he's awaiting word from Vattenfall as to when. We can use our temporary electricity though, so that's not a huge problem.

Wille and I talked about the bathroom. He's going to our house the week after us to finish up, and we might go ahead and waterproof the bathroom at that time. I'm going to do a sketch for us to work from. I hope Sooz and I can decide on the sink and other details next Monday when we go shopping.

Last bit of news before I board- the Cinderella has landed! Janne has brought the electric toilet up to our house...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brief update-2

Rutger called and he had spoken to the IKEA driver today. The full order is now supposedly at the Stavsnäs harbor storage. I say 'supposedly' because the driver said there were two pallets. Rutger feels that is a little suspicious, given the size of our order, unless they are two giant pallets, indeed! He is trying to contact the harbor now to confirm.

And the photo? That's the Sandhamn webcam from today. Obviously there is a bit of construction going on. I thought it was interesting in an oddball way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A brief update

Wille called Sooz briefly; the mobile phone connection was bad. But he's on the island now, finishing up, and he says the floors "look really good." That's good news, because the floors really needed to be done now so we'd be able to get the kitchen in as planned next week. More tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Janne has news

The grey water system has been successfully dug and installed this weekend. We need to take photos to send to the kommun before it's buried, but all was done without trouble. (That's easy for me to say; it was Janne who did the digging!)

The electricity hasn't been connected yet but there has been lots of discussion and some progress. The electric company (Vattenfall) will attach to the pole by Olle's house, and he's given permission and direction for the cable to be dug under his property over to ours. Janne still thinks they may be done when we come, but if not, we'll still have our temporary line from Tony's.

The Cinderella toilet will arrive tomorrow, and Janne will bring it up to our house. He has also moved some of the boulders which were right in front of the small house, so we now have a much clearer path leading up to the main house.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A small delay

Wille wasn't able to go out this week due to a family emergency. He plans to go next Tuesday to do the floors and finish up some small things, so we should still be OK for our big kitchen delivery the week after.

UPDATE: Rutger talked with IKEA; our kitchen order is set to be delivered to the Stavsnäs as scheduled next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sooz received a text from IKEA

...telling her that our order is being completed and that we'll receive a phone call shortly when it is ready to ship.

That call should go to Rutger, who's coordinating the shipment to the storage in Stavsnäs, for shipping to us on October 21st.

So far, so good, but the logistical chain has many links...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Financial Panic

I don't think I had made this clear in the past, but our little house project has been self-financed through savings, no credit worries here. In fact, I'm probably better off then if I had left that house-building money in the bank, or perish forbid, in stocks.

In fact, if things get worse, I could add an energy ball or two, grow some vegetables, and shoot a moose. Then I can live off the grid, as they say.

In all seriousness, Sweden was in a very similar financial position in 1992. The New York Times has a great article on how Swedes reacted to their crisis.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A quiet week, but action next week

I talked to Wille this morning and he'll be back next week, probably October 7th, along with his floor expert, to treat the interior floors and to finish a few snagging items.

And I spoke to Janne (who's on his way for a little warm-weather weekend break with his birthday girl Margaret), and he'll be back the weekend of October 11/12 to dig and install the grey water system.

Lastly, Sooz paid IKEA yesterday for our massive kitchen order, and we still seem to be on track for an October 21 island delivery.

Further news as conditions warrant.