Sunday, February 26, 2006

Why do kids...

I got a call from dagis - seems our future neurosurgeon and rocket scientist, 4-year-old B, put a bead up his nose. At least he had the intelligence to say that it was there so we could deal with it. Fortunately, it came out easily in the children's emergency, and no, we did not decide to keep it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Icy Conditions

We had a great weekend! The children are FINALLY getting to an age where we can do things together, without worrying about strollers, naptime, baby food, etc.

On Sunday we went to the lake to skate. This is such a novelty for me, having grown up in Texas. I am always amazed that one can truly have the confidence of skating without worrying about falling through the ice. Of course, a few days of -20 will do it! And knowing that the plow has already driven on the ice to clear a track helps me feel more certain the ice will - maybe - support my weight.

Once at the lake, A was doubtful that she could actually skate with figure skates, so I took my figure skates as well to either prove that it could be done, or to commiserate that our toe picks made it too difficult. After a traumatic three minutes, she was off! B didn't care about ice conditions - he just ran in his skates... or rather ran ten steps, fell on his butt, hopped up and was off again for another ten steps. (Of course, this proves my theory that boys are fundamentally differnet from girls - A never would have bounced up again without floods of tears... but I digress...). C absolutely HAD to have his skates on, and as long as he was sitting in the sled, he was content. Otherwise, he was a dead weight on rubber legs. After a while, he consented to having snowboots on, and we all enjoyed the day. THIS is why we have kids and live in Sweden!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Murphy's Law and Electrical Wiring

Last November, one of my best friends announced that she would be celebrating her end-of-January birthday with a weekend and party in Marrakech, and we were all invited. Of course, it seemed like a distant and exotic dream to us, unless we decided to make the trek with all three kids. But then, fortune smiled upon us in the form of the World's Best Babysitter (WBB), our first-ever babysitter from 6 years ago, who had since grown up and taught school for a few years, and was now studying again. She came by for a visit to see the kids, and volunteered for the challenging and rewarding (?) position of babysitter for our gang of three, for SIX WHOLE DAYS. We couldn't believe our luck! So we tempted fate, booked tickets and a hotel, and made plans to go.

The day before the trip we made our morning trek to the breakfast table, whereupon my daughter announced that it was cold in the house. I checked the temperature gauge and noticed that it was a couple of degrees below the usual tropical temperature usually found in our house. Just for kicks, I wandered to the basement to check the värmepump (VP) and saw that it was completely dead, as were several lights in the house. I immediately called the plumber who suggested that I buy fuses (the old-fashioned screw-in kind) and he would come by later for a look. On the way back from dagis drop-off, I stopped at the grocery and bought a selection - 8 boxes in various sizes, thinking it was best to be prepared. I changed the VP fuses, and things came back and seemed on track... for about 10 minutes, when the whole system went black again, taking with it a random assortment of lights in the house - kitchen counter lights, but not the overhead lights; the stove top but not the oven; the dining area, but not the living room; the upstairs hallway but not the bathroom - we won't even mention the crazy way the house is wired. Let's just say that we are "fortunate" in that our electrical system is so screwed up that the whole house is rarely left completely in the dark. We then had visits from:

10am - The plumbers - who pronounced a complete failure of every fuse in the panel, and pulled most of them, even ones that were working.


1pm - The electrician - who pronounced a failure of the power from the street, ie. a grid and distribution problem.


4pm - The grid electricians - who fixed the grid problem, replaced the three main fuses for the house, got everything up and running, waved goodbye, and drove off just as the house plunged into darkness again.


7pm - The emergency grid electricians - who said that the problem was no longer in the grid, but in our house and BV.


8:30pm - The emergency BV technician BY PHONE was able to diagnose the problem, talk me through two fuse changes (each one bought us 5 minutes to work with before the lights went out again) and give me instructions to decouple the compressor from the BV, so it would just work on electricity.

9am, day of travel - The emergency BV technician who removed the compressor from the operation.