Saturday, August 13, 2011

How was YOUR summer vacation?

And now for some family-relocating-to-Norway updates. . . (written 2 weeks ago, so somewhat dated). 

We are coming to the end of Norway’s 3-week “felles ferie” which literally translates to “communal vacation”. Most Norwegians took off from work* and headed either to Sweden or Denmark or their hytter (cabins). We, being workaholic Americans who are unaccustomed to someone insisting “You. Must. Take. Vacation. It. Is. Good. For. Your. Soul,” have instead “moved” 3 times in the past month and kicked the home gutting/renovation into High Gear.

Perhaps “moving” is a bit of a stretch, but not by much. We have certainly inhabited three different homes in the past 31 days, since leaving our rental home at the end of June. Knowing we really wouldn’t be able to move into our “new” home, we secured a short-term lease on a house in Biri, 30+ minutes outside of Lillehammer. The prospect of Greta spending an hour in the car every day to and from barnehage, along with staying in a home without internet or TV for two months (TV I could do without, internet. . . not so much), had me a tad apprehensive. I picked up a flier for vacation rentals at a nearby ski resort, and the morning that we were moving out of our last “borrowed” house, we opted instead to rent an honest-to-gosh vacation house in Hafjell for the next two three months. Hafjell is about 10-15 minutes north of Lillehammer, and was the location for the downhill Olympic ski events. Just across the river is Norway’s biggest tourist attraction: Hunderfossen, an amusement park with trolls as their main theme. There’s also a smaller pint-sized amusement park, and a few summer-ski-town attractions, namely downhill mountain biking and gondola rides. Aspen or Park City it is not, but that's not why we're here.

We are living in a 5-bedroom, 2-bath + sauna, “chalet” of sorts, the kind of place that you can ski out the back door down the slopes, sleeps 14 and can get 42 drunk (there are 21 shot glasses and 21 wine glasses in the cupboard). A true alpine ski getaway. You may think we are paying out the nose for these kind of digs, but since we guaranteed the owners two months of occupation and rent, and this is the tail end of the high-season, we got a very good rate. And we’ve got cable TV and internet to boot. Such a deal.

As for the High Gear of remodeling, I say that based only on what Erik reports to me over dinner, during the 90 minutes that he is home while Greta and I are awake**, not based on any personal effort in that area***. Erik has been putting in 12-14 hour days at the house during his 2-week felles ferie, most recently working alongside our builder/carpenter, Bob the Builder (aka Byggmaster Bob). Upstairs floors are sanded, upstairs ceiling and walls reinsulated, re-vapor-barrier-ized, new lath and stud walls up, downstairs we have new stud walls for bathroom, kitchen, entry, hole expanded for stairs, many walls reinsulated and re-vapor-barrier-ized, and new windows framed in (no new windows).

A relaxing summer vacation is not what I would call it. Between stressing out about our next living accomodation, packing/unpacking/repacking/unpacking/repacking/unpacking, trying to simply function in someone else's living space (Do you own measuring spoons? Could this bread knife cut a cracker?Washing machine: yes, dryer: no, clothes-line: no, confusion and avoidance of laundry: yes), entertain a toddler during the barnehage's ferie while all playmates were on their own ferie and we had a suitcase of toys and Norway's rainiest July on record. . . I have not been the happiest camper. Luckily, Erik hasn't been around to notice****. 

All of this while the architect kicks back on his felles ferie, and we wait, withholding judgment, for our final plans.

* This includes the entire children’s department at the local hospital, which I read in the paper is closed for “summer vacation”. Sick or injured children are shipped off to Oslo, which makes me wonder about how the staff at the Oslo hospitals feel about the rest of the country dumping their work on them during felles ferie.

** Note to readers: this is not a criticism of my husband or the amount of time he spends with his family. This is a jointly agreed upon schedule, with the acknowledgement that life will be hectic for a few months. However, that is not to say it is not difficult.

*** This post was written before the button-and-sawdust shoveling began, then set aside for Erik to proof read, then posted anyway, 'cause he's never going to have time to read it.

**** Joke was run past Erik before publication and received a thumbs up. Ok, actually it wasn't, but I had every intention of doing so. I don't think he'll mind.


  1. ah dear, that IS alot to deal with.

    is there something you could do to give a feeling of satisfaction in the moment? i've seen your gorgeous knitting (ravelry). i can't belive you've been knitting only a few years!

    i hope all the things you wish for happen just how you want. you are going through a lot
    (i hope i've not said the wrong thing with this comment!)

  2. I had no idea you guys were getting so much rain up there! That's definitely a bummer, and would get me feeling down, too. The summers here are so short, so they really need to be good. I hope it gets better in the next month!

    Swweeet deal on the awesome vacation pad! You'll be there for how long? There's room for a guest, right? :-)