Saturday, September 23, 2006

Monster baby pram

(Barnevogn). I had my first run in with sticker shock for baby carriages. People take their baby carriages very seriously here in Norway. A base model Teutonia without any accessories starts at about $1000 for a new one. Last year's models are 25% off. But then you need the bags, including the bag for the baby. And they can cost another $500 to have the carriage 'properly' outfitted. It seems everyone has a carriage here in Norway, if they have babies at least. In the US, it seems that infants are rarely seen in public unless they are being carried from a car to a store. We ended up buying a two year old Teutonia used. It came with more bags then we know what to do with. Now we just need a baby to put in it.

I am painting so much that I have to dictate this blog to Lise. It is after 11pm and I'm still at it. Note from Lise: 'He is doing a fabulous job painting our living room'. I don't know what's come over me, but I wish I could bottle some of this energy for future use. Lise thinks it's the paint fumes. We finished the dining room in kiwi green, I think we can live with it. I am now applying 'sand' to the living room. But it looks more like a 'putty'. Special thanks goes to Lise for tolerating my ecclectic music collection.

Friday, September 22, 2006


This spring, it seemed summer would never arrived. I was concerned I would be stuck wearing long sleeves all year. I now believe that the season are later here. I am still biking to work in the early morning wearing short sleeves and bike shorts. It is in the mid-60s usually- in the morning, and the temperature rises just a little to the low 70s this time of year. I see back in Minneapolis it is about 10 degrees cooler these days. Maybe it isn't so bad here after all. With all the biking I do, I can't help obsessing over weather.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Coolest single in quite some time: The Editors, Blood. They are kind enough to give you the entire video. I had to laugh at an interview when the singer was asked what he thought about the comparisons people make between The Editors and Joy Division. He didn't see it at all.

Granted, it is over a year old, but if you want a flashback to the best of the 80s, check it out.

I have been manic painting the house, working late at the office, and avoiding sleep. I'm still calling it jetlag.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Darn Kids!

Today I slept in, then took the Look out for a nice ride. The weather was incredible. Lise was driving her aunt and mother to the airport. Later we went out and picked paint for the living room and dining room. They had a new color chart, and impulsively, we unanimously changed our minds with no arguing. We only seem to argue over home improvement concepts. We also picked up a light fixture for the kitchen. This house came with very few lights, and it is dark earlier. It is 8:30pm and we have the last vestiges of twilight.

I came home and began refinishing the door to the front terrace. I then painted all the blue trim on the fence. The job went quite smoothly. When I was all finished and all cleaned up (with oil based paint), I noticed a set of human paw prints on the threshold from the sliding glass door to the rear terrace. There were further "paw" prints on our kitchen floor... and our new kitchen table. There was some blue-handed kid who snuck into our kitchen, leaving his handprints everywhere. I cleaned them up with mineral spirits (gotta love that name) and we resumed our dinner on our back terrace. Dinner was interrupted by a little black kitten who was starved for attention. Eventually this little guy mad a break for our open back door. He hopped on the wet paint on the threshold and left little blue kitty prints all over our kitchen floor. There was no winning tonight.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jet Lag

I am back at work, back in Norway, back home.

It stinks going back to work when heading east. We were lucky to be on an Airbus to Amsterdam, but the video on demand systems kept me up much of the night. Nothing quite like watching the fantasy plane crash scene from Fight Club while on a plane.

We returned with twice as much luggage as we left with. I am hording shaving cream, so if you notice price fluctuations, you know why. There is almost no selection of shaving cream in Norway. It is probably the absolute worst thing about living here-- so you can see how much suffering I must endure. I also returned with some studded tires. If anyone can explain to me how Finnish Nokians are cheaper in the US than in Norway, I'm all ears.

What else? There is so much. The weather was warmer in Norway than it had been back in the states the past few days before we left. I was up late Wednesday, then rode to work Thursday. I was in a complete fog, albeit very productive. I had warned my boss that I turned into a hurricane while away. I did not disappoint. In my bedraggled state, I actually got off on the wrong floor when taking the stairs, much to the confusion of my coworkers. To be fair, our office was formerly located on that floor, albeit months ago.

Last night I had trouble sleeping, or maybe I only dreamt that I did. Fridays are always the worst mornings, since the crushing cacophany of monster garbage trucks churns trash inches from our open windows in the pre-dawn hours. This morning, I slept past the alarm. I had serious doubts morning had yet arrived, despite sunlight to the contrary. I laboriously rode to work again, cursing the hills and the giant slugs on the trail. It was warm, with that fall-like quality to the air-- the smell of fear that summer is almost over.

The same lame bike was parked near my spot again. I swore it hadn't moved. The previous day it was in the same spot, despite my unusually early arrival to work. I was convinced it was left there. I moved it a few inches. I probably broke some commuting taboo, but I had two locks attached to the post. I leave them there at night. The Kryptonite is developing a dermatological condition-- most likely rust. It is reluctant to open these days. It could probably use some grease. Anyway, I figure I have dibs on the parking spot, since the lock will outlast the building.

Work was uneventful, except the self-imposed stress from feeling my trip to the US was less productive than I had hoped-- from a work perspective. On the other hand, I feel renewed and invigorated about work. I feel validated beyone any shred of doubt that we made the best decision imaginable by moving to Norway. I harbor no fears about missing the US, no envy that life is better on the other side of the ocean. Call it cognitive dissonance or denial, but I think we have a great thing going on here. Except that I have to go to India again in October, then back to the US. It will be jet lag all over again.

I didn't think it would ever be possible to travel too much-- particularly when someone else is picking up the bill. While I am on that topic, I noticed something very disturbing at the Northwest website. Roundtrip tickets originating from Norway to the Minneapolis cost HALF as much as those originating from Minneapolis. Not that I don't benefit from the disparity, but since it is the same distances covered and the same exact routes (only backwards), what is the point? I stumbled across this when I was pricing first class upgrades. Of course, they cost ten times as much as flying economy out of Stavanger. That is too rich for me.

When I arrived home, I was spent. I did, however, manage to hook up a Vonage phone that I picked up in the US so American customers and partners can call me back domestically. I remember life working in the US when even making a long distance call was a paperwork fiasco, and international calls were next to impossible, if not outright blocked. I picked an east coast timezone so I don't receive calls too late, and a 203 area code, like I am from Connecticut just outside NYC, or something like that. Despite all the disclaimers, warnings, and so on, I managed to fool the system. It took my foreign credit card as I used an old US address. Vonage had no provisions for four digit zip codes, country codes, etc. Of course, if someone calls 911 from here, my parents are in for quite a surprise. In Norway, if not most of Europe, they use 111, 112, and 113-- or something like that. They are separated by ambulance, fire, and police, though I highly doubt in that order. A little secret here is that anyone can dial 911 regardless. I have no idea why they don't just use that for emergencies, although 111 is certainly more practical if you are in an awful hurry and you have a rotary phone. A lot can happen while that 9 is taking its time strolling around the dial.

The pregnancy seems to be going very well. All I can say is how amazing it all is. And that we have so much to do around the house!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cyclist Behaving Badly

A few days ago I was driving up River Road to borrow a bike from a friend. I saw some commotion at a stop sign. It was a guy wearing a full Grand Performance team kit, circa 1995, riding helmetless on a celeste Bianchi. He stopped, stepped off his bike, and was yelling and screaming like a lunatic, challenging a motorist to a fight. He looked silly enough riding without a helmet-- but picking a fight?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back in the US

I had no idea what to expect. I spent the weekend at my hometown for my class reunion. It was cool seeing people again, but most people did not make the effort to attend. The usual local boys were there, as were a few from the extended area. Still, there are several interesting people that I have not seen since graduation. My wife was likely bored out of her mind. She receives extra points for enduring the event without a drop of alcohol.

We are back in Minneapolis for a few days. We stopped in at work. It was an interesting experience. I really did not miss work, but it was good to see everyone again. I feel like we did our time in Minneapolis, that our work here was finished, and that it was time to move on. It wasn't nearly as emotional as it could have been.

Tommorrow I will bike. I gave a frameset to a friend before moving. He has since built it up into a cool fixed gear. Thanks Wayne!

What I don't miss about the US? It is difficult to explain. People are much more aggressive drivers. People blast their car stereos in parking lots. People are generally louder and larger than life in their public interactions (ie. scolding their kids, etc.). Manners and proper decorum are relatively rare in the US. On the other hand people are more superficially friendly, say hello to strangers, are more ingratiating, and so on. Beer and gasoline and dirt cheap here in the US. "American" cars look rather crude and unrefined. Distances between things are much further away. The sunlight looks different. It is hot here. All in all, I think I have settled in nicely in Norway. I miss the US much less than I thought. On the other hand, it seems like life in Norway is so far away-- that we never really left. Regardless, I am so thankful that we have what we have. I cannot imagine returning if we were struggling in Norway. As it is, returning only reinforces my belief that we made the right decision.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Kan få to millioner M&M-kuler i finnerlønn

Funny how I jokingly blogged about the M&M reward, and next thing I know, the paintings resurfaces. Looks like the informant can have his candy, although he will have to eat them behind bars, where he is incarcerated for his role in the infamous NOKAS case.