Saturday, July 30, 2011

Other house work

Sorry for the lack of posts. Things have been pretty busy on the Texan front. We've just had our kitchen here refurbished, which went pretty smoothly, overall. Having a huge building store down the street and a bunch of eager tradesman in the neighborhood makes it a lot easier than building on Aspö!

In some ways, though, it was more difficult, for two reasons. First, this is our main house. We were able to gloss over things to some extent in our stuga by thinking, "it's only a cabin". We also didn't want anything too nice out there because we want the rustic lifestyle, and pratically speaking, we will only be in the house a month or two a year. That doesn't apply to our house here. We're living in it most every day, and we also have resale value to think about.

The second problem is that, frankly, we had too many choices. There are hundreds of kinds of countertops to choose from, just at our local store. What material? What thickness? What color or texture? Sooz must have looked at fifty different sink/faucet combos. Our new fridge, stove, and dishwasher were each winnowed down from dozens of candidates and vendors. (The issue of paint colors will deserve its own post in the coming days).

Recent research is finding that having too many choices actually lead to stress and dissatisfaction. When one has many possible choices, it's easy to think "did I make the right one?" Having fewer options makes one much more likely to be satisfied with one's decision. After our kitchen project, I can say the theory does indeed work in practice. Nearly three years ago, Sooz knocked out our whole kitchen (plus a lot more) in one day at IKEA.

The good news is that we're happy with the way it all turned out, and our experience of building on Aspö made us far more educated clients this time around.

Monday, July 11, 2011

All back in Texas

Sooz & Grant made it back to the US with no problem and Ollie was thrilled to have us all back together. It's hot as Hades here; we had become used to the Swedish weather!

There's a bunch of updates coming, so stay tuned while we acclimate to the sunshine.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winding down....

So. It's just Grant and Me left out here enjoying our last day at the stuga for this summer.
The sky is overcast giving the day a melancholy feel. To combat the mood, Grant and I just went out for a walk: specifically to collect some wild blueberries that are just coming into season. Here are some photos from our stroll, including a nice little bowl of our harvest. Wish you could smell them! There is enough for one pancake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm back in Texas

It was fairly cool on Sunday. Sooz and I attended the annual meeting, which was in Swedish of course. It was great fun to watch. Obviously a lot of care goes into running an island association like this one.

Then it was time for me to leave in the afternoon, on to Marcia & Rutger's and then the long trip today from Arlanda back to the 100° heat here. Ugh.

Sooz and Grant follow on Thursday so it's just me and Ollie for a few more days.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday morning

It's warm and sunny yet again today. It seems warm but it's still 30 degrees cooler than Texas!

We had a fabulous dinner of Sooz's Mexican casserole with Olle and Annika out on our well-lit deck last night, and tonight Janne's joining us for a cookout.

We finished the first coat of primer in the little house. Olle loaned me his sander and I touched up a few spots on the deck. We wrapped up well before 3 so we're now just hanging out.

After some discussion and investigation, we've decided to paint the front of the house. Sooz has decided on a slightly yellowish grey, and Janne is going to put us in contact with his painter, who does a lot of work in the archipelago. He may be able to stop by next week before Sooz and Grant leave, it would be better to discuss that in person instead of over the internet!

More details on the paint, and a few other projects, in the coming weeks. For now, it's time to chill.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday Morning

It's been a jam-packed few days. First, we did indeed go boating with Olle and Annika and we had a super day. They took us to the little island of Alskär ("Alder island"), an uninhabited little rock of a place with a great stone harbor and lots of places to climb and explore. They laid out a super Swedish lunch and we relaxed, all alone in our little world, on a perfectly sunny day, all afternoon. To call it blissful is an understatement.

Lots of pictures from that afternoon are on the webgallery. It was truly special.

Yesterday, we decided to go to Nämdö with Janne for a bit of lunch and shopping. However, his boat's propeller developed a fault, so we turned back and went with plan 'B', which was to catch the Waxholms boat. The one drawback to that plan was that we'd have 4 hours to kill before our return boat. There's not much to do on Nämdö; we visited the church, which was beautiful, and we looked carefully at all the groceries offered by Guns Livs. Fortunately, it was sunny, and the bar was stocked with lots of good food and beer, so the afternoon passed quite quickly in Janne's company.

The weather forecast for today is rain, but it's 11AM now and we have sun, so we hope the forecast will remain wrong and we can relax on our deck.