Saturday, July 28, 2012

A busy Pappa and a Good Dog

Although we've been comfortably living in our "new" house since December (or maybe it didn't become comfortable until February. . . ), we still have a fair amount of work to do. We have an upstairs bathroom that is concrete floors and unfinished walls--plumbing is in, but no fixtures. The kitchen has no shelves, no drawers, no upper wall cupboards. A second bedroom remains unprimed, unpainted. Our closets are still of the makeshift variety. There is a lot of molding/trimwork to be done. And we still make weekly pilgrimages to our basement storage to pull search after one buried treasure or another. Or maybe just a pair of shoes. Or a wisk. Or a pillow for a guest.

But huge progress was made in June when Erik's father came to visit us for a week. He came with the pronouncement that this was a "work week". He had done the sightseeing in Lillehammer on previous trips; this time it was meant to contribute to the project that we've been slaving over for the past year. With some solid prep work from Erik in the days preceeding his father's arrival, we found ourselves with a deck! More time was spent scraping old paint from the side of the house and priming old siding, allowing Erik to take advantage the rare sunny days we've had and paint 75% of the house (the south side remains a bit of an eyesore). It's just the first coat of a likely three, but it is amazing what a difference it makes. Suddenly this addition, which seemed rather conspicuous before, now blends nicely into the rest of the house. And to top it off, our neighbor came over and announced to Erik, "That red is just perfect". Since she's probably going to see the red more often than we will, we were quite pleased by this! 

An excavating machine and dumptruck came one week ago, bringing a few loads of topsoil, and within a few days we had the makings of a lovely lawn. We are beginning to see the fuzzy appearance of itsy bitsy blades of grass. In the meantime, we manage to be keeping both large dog and small child off of our delicate lawn by just a simple rope fence. She's a good dog.


  1. Good work! My parents painted their little St. Paul bungalow that very same red a few years ago after decades of it being white with green trim. Needless to say, it looks fab in the sea of beige, off white, and tan up and down their street. They still get compliments on it.

    1. I have always loved the color red (we have a red couch) and wanted a red house. Luckily this house was already red, albeit a slightly more gammeldags Norwegian browny-orangey-red. Now it's just more solidly red.

  2. The deck looks great! It's funny that our upstairs are similar. Our bathroom is plywood and taped drywall with plumbing but no fixtures (except the tub). Colin too is working on trim. Lots of work to do...

  3. Hi Emily,

    It's been busy around here, so just some quick comments:

    Yes it IS possible to have SAD in summer! If you happen to use the light therapy, well, lights, during the winter, they will be effective any time of year. I use mine all winter long and these last few years when we've had excessively rainy/gloomy springs, I keep mine out, on a timer next to my bed. Odd thing is, I'm the one with the light box, but everybody else in the house gathers round it too - husband, dogs and cat.

    I'm commiserating with you for feeling like the blog is a Norway-gripe - when we were living in St. Cloud, a place I very much disliked, I felt every time I talked to friends, all I had to say were complaints about the place. You've had some serious and justified gripes about the place (um, Norway, you can start behaving better any time now...). If it's any consolation, I'm not coming away with the impression that it's a total gripe fest.

    The RED of the house is wonderful - a really happy color. I've always liked their red houses, but the color you've chosen looks like an improvement over the kind of brick red color one usually sees. Also, while they aren't really my cup of tea, aren't the mustard yellow and the black houses crazy? They certainly do make bold statements.

    On another note, we are in the process of trying to get some info on cost of international movers. Is this something you arranged yourself or did the company Erik is working for arrange it? In the end, were you happy with the movers you used & if you'd recommend them, would you let me know the name of the company?

    Still keeping my fingers crossed that your nursing neighbor will have good news for you.

    Not sure if you'll be in the Twin Cities during your visit this fall, and you'll probably be super busy with family and friends, but if you do find yourself with a free few hours, we'd love to meet and chat.

    Take care! Suzy

  4. I agree with everyone else---the red is beautiful! It's hard to believe the addition hasn't always been there. Very jealous (in a nice, friendly way!) of your deck. We still can't believe we didn't plan for a deck when we built our house. Yet another mistake pga our ignorance. Ahh, to live and learn. Norway is good for that, yes? :-)

  5. Hi Emily,

    I've been lurking on your blog for a while (and also on your parents' :) ). I am feeling a bit desperate trying to figure out some things about a possible move to Norway -potential job offer coming from NTNU which I am going to have to make a quick decision on because I have to decide on another offer here in the US - and wracking my brain trying to think about who might have insight. I have questions about retirement and savings, and moving that money between the US and Norway. Most of the people I know that are living abroad don't have savings, aren't thinking about retirement, or are planning to stay in Norway until they die. From reading, you and your husband seem like you don't fit in any of those categories... It is forward of me, but if you think you might have any insights or knowledge for me, and wouldn't mind chatting, I'd be really appreciative!

    - Kelly