Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On hold

We are spending night #2 in a "vacation house", as we have dubbed our temporary house-sitting gigs, to make it sound "exciting!" and "fun!" and "special!" for Greta. And so far, I think it's working. This particular house has 2 little girls, so Greta has raided their doll supply and is in second heaven. She is also sleeping in a big-girl bed, about my-chest height off the ground. Makes me nervous, but as she announced this morning: "I didn't fall out of bed!"

All of our possessions our out of our rental house, thanks to Erik and his ski-buddy Mike, who spent all of Monday getting our furniture into our new garage. I cleaned and packed, and repeated that process again on Tuesday. Today, I spent nearly 6 hours cleaning our house--our old house, that is, doing some laundry, and finally packing up those horrible odds and ends that never seem to have a proper place to go.

But, we finally have architect news! On Monday we picked up two different plans from Architect #3 (#1 was a no-show and got the boot, and #2 was, hmm, unimpressive, shall we say, and also got the boot). These plans took much longer than we were hoping, but he did apologize for his tardiness, earning a few goodwill points. The first set of plans is essentially what we asked for: a 4x6m addition off the back, living room downstairs, bathroom and bedroom upstairs. But he was more creative with the stairs and downstairs bathroom than we were able to be with our limited imaginations and architectural skills. For that we are very appreciative. His second set of plans was a much more modern take on our request: an angled addition, with floor to ceiling windows and a long sloped roof. Erik and I rather quickly decided we liked option #1, and after mulling it over for 2 days, we still like option #1.

We met with A#3 today, as we are very eager to get some finished plans. Finished plans mean we can order windows, we can start roughing in walls, roughing in windows, and work with the carpenter in getting the new windows in place, putting in the heated floor units, plumbing for new bath and kitchen--all of this before the addition work starts.

Did I mention we were very eager? We have a gutted house. Secure, free housing for three more weeks. A dog. A 3-year old. (Yes, the dog came first in that priority list, as she is more of a problem). 58 boxes in our basement. A garage full of furniture. Warm and cool weather clothes in suitcases, because you never know what you're going to get. A#3 listened patiently as Erik carefully explained just how eager we were to keep moving on the project, and then A#3 reminded (or told us for the first time, perhaps?) that he would be going on summer vacation in two weeks, with the rest of the country of Norway. A 3-week vacation. He said he could hurry with the plans, but there really was no point, as the city housing permit people are also going on the national summer vacation, so no one could process the permit work anyway, so we couldn't really begin any of that work anyway, so why don't you take a little time and decide if you really don't want the modern plan #2, because that's the more interesting of the plans. . .

He didn't really say all that. But if you understand as much (or as little) Norwegian as I do, that was the gist of it. Which leaves us with the looming question of . . . when? When? When? When can we actually get this project off the ground???


  1. Hi Emily. Wow, this must be incredibly stressful for you guys. The summer shut-down of Norway is a phenomenon, isn't it? I guess it's very common in many (most?) parts of Europe, but for North Americans (Canada doesn't close for vacation in July, does it?), it comes as a bit of a shock.

    I want to say something comforting (you'll be okay, it will work out, blah, blah, blah) but it all sounds banal and sort of useless in the situation you're facing. How about, "You have my sympathy" and "Good luck!" Keep us posted!

  2. This 'whole of Norway shutdown' is madness! I would not want to take a whole month off in one go! Also you don't get paid til the end of the working year for your holiday so in August you are broke from earning no money in July! It's insane!

  3. Hi Emily! I posted a long(ish) reply to the last comment you left on my blog---I hope you found it. I can't remember the name of the tile store in Sweden but my husband said he thinks he knows where the receipts are and he would find them; as soon as he does, I'll pass along the name to you.

    Ian (husband) has a cousin who lives in Hamar and we're hoping to visit her some time this summer. Maybe we could extend the trip up your way and say howdy? Let's keep in touch about that! Hope all is well with you and your family, that you're finding some time to put your stress on hold and enjoy the summer. Thinking of you. xxoo

  4. Hah! This reminds me of when we re-did our kitchen 4 years ago. We ordered it from Ikea and then couldn't find anyone to install it for us because everyone was on vacation. We ended up doing it ourselves (which took 3 weeks). Happy July! :)