Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bullety goodness

  • I would like to invite my blogging friends, you know who you are, to START BLOGGING AGAIN!
  • I miss you guys. I miss your words.
  • I'm tired.
  • Like, seriously, I am mentally and physically exhausted.
  • Summer was so busy, I was so stressed for a variety of reasons, work was insane, then the move and blah blah blah has just all come together to cause me to want to veg out and not think.
  • I want to ESCAPE. I need a holiday.
  • We got our new bed yesterday.
  • Delivered by two of the smelliest guys I have ever smelled.
  • Like, wow, had to fumigate the apartment AND burn candles.
  • The new bed is pretty sweet.
  • It's very tall and supportive and lush.
  • Why did we wait 14 years to get a new one?
  • From now on, new bed every 10 years, or sooner if it starts to need it. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • My back will thank me.
  • I couldn't get out of the bed this morning. Physically could NOT.
  • So I just kind of didn't.
  • I deserve it.
  • I still couldn't escape the Blackberry though.
  • I saw a strange thing: this chick walked by wearing skin tight shiny latex leggings, a tight sheer sweater that did not cover her bum, high fuck me heels that clicked like hooker shoes...and she had a head scarf on. It was total mixed messages and I am now confused. Is that legal for a muslim chick to dress like a ho but wear a headscarf?
  • It was sort of like a nun in a minidress, like WTF?
  • I had to go to three different stores to get night lights and drain screens.
  • I miss Target.
  • I'm going home for Thanksgiving.
  • Also, I realized something: From now on the phrase "Act your age not your shoe size" can no longer apply to me.
  • My age IS my shoe size (in Europe, which is 41.)
  • Sigh.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rooms taking shape

Oh dudes, I am tired. Tired, but happy that progress is being made and the house is starting to look like a home and not box storage for wealthy vagrants.

We unpacked the Ektorp sofa (we got the three seater with this gorgeous black and white floral pattern) and set it up. It smells oddly of fish, but I have been assured that will wear off with time. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a piece of furniture that has given me this much pleasure. Just looking at it makes me happy. It's black and white! And florally! And squashy! And grown-uppy-yet-Karla-funky! It blends oddly well with our black leather/international bazaar/cheap vintage furniture look we have going already.

Our living room? Looks like grown ups live there. This is a first for me. I've been living on college furniture for 20+ years.

AND? I set up the 'fashion room'. There's this oddly shaped sort of middle room, it's right off the entry and it has a very large built in book shelf. Is it a library? Is it a foyer? I don't know. Anyhow, I got it set up with all my fashion books and my collection of Haeger, Floraline, etc etc, vases, and the cow hide floor covering and some mostly black odds and ends and it has come together as a rather fabulous introduction to the apartment. I am hoping it sets the tone of the whole establishment. I call it "Sophisticated Euro Goth". Not-so-subtly suggested by some big black fashion books, one of which is titled "GOTH", on the middle (Biedermeier) table. I'll post some pictures soon.

We took a break from the arranging today and went for a walk in Frogner park today. It's now my local park. It felt very British, like Hyde Park or something. I've been there before, of course, but not in some of the areas we explored today. It was a beautiful day and the roses are blooming their ASSES off in the rose beds in the center of the park. Gorgeous. I can't wait to spend lazy summer afternoons sunning myself on the rolling lawns of the park. I will say, we had a crap summer, but the Fall has been a stunner.

So now I have some potatoes in the oven, which will be served with a brown sugar/chili/fish sauce marinated grilled pork loin, steamed broccoli and rosé. I'm still getting used to the kitchen, I am pretty sure the oven runs too hot and the cooktop is a bit cool. Also? The counter top plugs only work if the lights are on, which is fucking annoying. But the landlord did get us a new fridge when we complained that the old one was not cold enough, and the new fridge is a million times better than the old one, which had really short shelves and so nothing fit.

All told, it's coming together. That makes me happy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Beer, originally uploaded by karlakp.

A picture of a beer I had tonight at the Oslo Microbrygerri, at least, I think that's the spelling. The beers tended towards the hoppy end of the spectrum, I prefer the maltier ones.

Oh dudes, I am SO tired after this week. I am in severe rest deficit and I don't know when I will catch up. I am on the verge of exhaustion.

The flat is coming along, we got the living room furniture in place and Rich got his new macho biggo TV. I will admit, the picture is about 10000 times better. We still have to find homes for books, tchotchkes and all the glassware that used to reside in the dining room. Oy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Kongensutsikt, originally uploaded by karlakp.

King's view. Norway.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Building muscles, the hard way

Boy we got A LOT of shit done this weekend. So much that my back is totally wrecked and I just had to resort to my emergency stash of vicodine, because the pain, she is too much. I need to find time to go to the chiropractor.

Once the closets were put together it's like a bottleneck was opened and woooosh...everything started falling into place. I've got all my clothes put away, most of my shoes are also put away. Still trying to find some space for some winter shoes and hiking boots and I had to banish my sandals into the attic storage (um is 50 pairs of sandals too many?). Rich is futzing around in his den and I got the entry room sorted now as well. I also managed to find space for all the things that used to be in the laundry room. Surprising how much that room held, and how hard it was to find spaces for all of it here.

Rich bought his long-desired flat screen tv today. He's very excited. He's wanted one for two years, I kept making him wait, as I knew that the minute he bought one, we'd have to go back to the US. Now that we are a bit more settled and are pretty sure we are here for a few more years, he got to get his big TV. It comes Thursday.

I walked to work all last week and LOVED it. The weather was really gorgeous last week, too. It's 2 km each way, about a 20 minute walk, and it is so nice to have that time to move. Walking always centers me, so having that time before and after work to let my mind wander is really nice. Also, it's strange to not be on a time schedule as to when I leave for or from work....I am so used to catching the train. Now, I just leave when I feel like it. The walk feels very European, somehow. I walk down this big road that feels and looks almost exactly like a Parisian boulevard....grand old apartment buildings, some embassies, expensive Scandi-minimalist furniture and kitchen stores. (I don't GET minimalism. You spend a shitload of money to look like you don't have any stuff. You need lots of space to be minimalist, and then you fill it with....nothing. WTF???)

Anyhow, what with the walk to work and all this hefting crap around, I am totally losing weight. I'm tired, my muscles are killing me, I went up and down the stairs to attics 12 times today, and I don't have time to eat, so look for a skinnier Karla coming to you soon.

Ah...the vicodine is kicking in. Lovely. Cessation (or maybe just numbing) of pain. I'm flooooaatingg!!!!

I'll be out of town for a few nights next week, for work, will try to post some pics if I can.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ikea hell

Oh my God, y'all.

I am so over the Ikea.

It got delivered Monday, all 1200 pounds of it. It's been sitting in huge piles. Huge, long, toe-destroying piles. The sofa is not out of its wrappers yet, still on its side. The building of the Ikea closets, she is a slow process.


Today, we have it largely done. The closets are in place. (I have them sideways, back to back, sticking out into the room, so that it creates a sort of room within a room behind it. Yes, pictures later, though I don't know how well it will come across in photos.) The doors are on. That took a lot less time than I thought. I just need to put the shelves in. Then I can put my clothes in. So...woo!

Also? I think this place is haunted. I really do.

The TV turned on by itself last night. Rich insists he turned it off when he went to bed.

Then, at three this morning, he had to turn it off again.


Monday, September 14, 2009

2 steps forward and 5 back

Oh shit.

I thought we were making progress, you know? We've emptied A LOT of boxes. I've got the kitchen 95% sorted. Found my hair dryer. And my underwear. Made a dent in getting the bathroom organized. Hung a shower curtain.

And then they delivered the IKEA stuff.

Five Hundred And Thirty Eight Kilos of it. That's over TWELVE HUNDRED POUNDS.

The sofa is in a box on its side on the floor of the living room. The closets (which even in the boxes look MASSIVE) are in the middle of my future (very far future it feels, now) dressing room, like Mount Olympus has landed there and I have to climb it to get to the other side. The poor transport guys were sweating BULLETS by the end of it all, I tipped them 200 nok and told them to have beers after work.

I look at it lying there, benign, in brown cardboard boxes. Those quiet brown boxes mean at least one screaming match between Rich and I (Ikea construction always makes for fights, running joke in Scandinavia is divorce cause by Ikea), minimum one smashed finger, two sore backs, one very cranky husband and one wife who just wants to run away.

I just want to run away!!!!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Me? Steal Bandwidth? Nah.

Two nights into the new place.

20 things I have discovered about the new flat or moving in general:
  1. There are a bunch of different floor levels in this rambling old place. I am constantly stubbing my toes on high door jambs or falling down into rooms. I have to learn how to get around here. And I need some night lights. Cuz, ow.
  2. I really, REALLY miss my old fridge. That thing was FABULOUS. This new fridge is bog standard, tiny, little Norwegian fridge and I can't fit ANYTHING into it like I could the old one. Everything has to lie on its side. Sigh.
  3. The kitchen does not have as much space as the old one, though it looks like it does.
  4. The ceilings are HIGH.
  5. The tops of the curtains are HIGH. Ladders are very necessary. I hated the kitchen curtains and it was my mission to make them go away. The kitchen, by the way, is done. Mostly. I might rearrange some stuff. And change the light fixture. (I can do that myself, right?)
  6. It's very nice to have a dryer again, though I can't use it much because it's expensive, electricity wise. But, oh, soft towels!
  7. There is a coffee house downstairs, and so the kitchen, which looks down at their back door where the coffee storage is, smells of fresh roasted coffee all the time.
  8. This is fabulous, but also makes me want coffee. ALL THE TIME.
  9. This apartment gets light all day long. It goes in a circle, from the bedroom through the living room and then at the end of the day it bounces off the building across the way and so we get that light too. AWESOME.
  10. I think the dining room is haunted. It gives me the willies. I find myself almost running through it. I'm trying to get over it. TRYING.
  11. Tomorrow IKEA delivers the sofa and the wardrobes. I can't WAIT to get my shit put away. This depends on Rich's puttiny my wardrobes together.
  12. I still have not found my underwear (comfortable underwear, mind you, I found the uncomfortable thongs, lacy things and "butt squoosher" sliminizers), my t shirts, my tank tops or my socks. I just want some damned socks!
  13. Note to self: Make the movers label the boxes more specifically next time. 40 boxes marked, "Karla, Clothes" just does NOT cut it.
  14. One box is labeled "Deco, Leaves, Glass, Misc". WTF?
  15. I have too damned much shampoo. And moisturizer. And shoes.
  16. Also, I miss the big laundry room we had previously (the washer and dryer are in a bathroom here), where we kept all the random crap we didn't know where else to keep. Now? We have to find spaces for all that shit. Does shoe polish go in the kitchen or in a bathroom?
  17. We get, like, 20 channels of TV for FREE here, but only about 8 of them are watchable. Still! TV! Included!
  18. I'm gonna lose weight climbing up and down the stairs all the time.
  19. It's surprisingly quiet at night. No louder than our other place, so that is awesome
  20. I love it here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh. God.

Oh. God., originally uploaded by karlakp.

Bye bye

Bye bye, originally uploaded by karlakp.

It's empty. I'm a bit sad. It was a nice home for 4 years.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last evening

Last evening, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Home for 4 years. Tomorrow, becomes yet another memory.

Live blogging from hell

(though honestly, isn't all blogging live?)

GOD THIS MOVING THING SUCKS. Just as I thought, yesterday we had two little guys packing up, but today 6 HUGE guys showed up, which tells me the little guys went back and were all, "Dude, these Americans have waaaaay too much shit and we need some help, yo."

So we've got a tall skinny metal head Greek covered in tattoos, a very large muscular Norwegian, a nice older Norwegian guy, a German guy, and the previous two, who are from Congo and Romania. I think I understand how it might have felt to be pillaged by Vikings. They come in, take all your stuff away, and you are left sitting there going, "WTF just happened?" Luckily, since it's modern days, this particular pillage does not have part two, the rape, though if someone pulls my hair I'm throwing punches first and asking questions later.

Four of them are now at the new place, taking a load over. I'm left with the Greek and the older guy, who is very calming and sweet. Rich calls me every few minutes asking for directions about something. On my other ear I have the home phone, while I wait on endless hold with IKEA to set up the delivery for our stuff on Monday. I sincerely regret missing both their calls, as I cannot get through to them. Lesson learned: If IKEA calls you, ANSWER. You will never get through if you call them. I've been on hold for over an hour, over multiple attmepts to get through. I'm also getting tons of emails and calls from work on my new, as-yet-despised, Blackberry. I am feeling pulled in 12 directions. And I'm HUNGRY.

I am quite worried about unpacking at the new place. There are so many boxes of shit, it's just incredible. Not much furniture, but a lot of shit. The boxes of dishes and kitchen stuff alone are, from what Rich says, taking up the whole kitchen. So, my questions, 1) how do you unpack when you can't get into the room, and 2) how the hell are we going to find a place to keep the empty boxes while we unpack. I mean, they will need a room to themselves, and I really don't have a room to spare.

And it's a beautiful, lovely, gorgeous day today and I just want to be in the damn hammock, but I can't because it's packed.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


3:45, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I'm ready for wine now. The deck looks like a Moroccan carpet souk.


1:45pm, originally uploaded by karlakp.

Notice empty closet in background

And it starts

And it starts, originally uploaded by karlakp.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Time for a rant. A lefty, liberal biased, nay, might I even say it, SOCIALISTIC, rant.


Here goes.

Hey, you dumb fuck Americans with your tea parties and your reactionary attitudes, all spouting out about the evils of 'socialism', SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO REASON.

I am so SICK AND TIRED of hearing you people, who don't even know what you are talking about, spouting off about Obama's health care plan being "socialist". I mean, what the FUCK? The guy is trying to help you have reasonably priced health care, help you avoid bankruptcy because you get sick, help the poor get health insurance, and basically try to fix the drag on the economy that is the health care system in the States, and you right wing idiots sit there and say shit like "I don't want the government telling me what doctor I can choose!" (Um, isn't that what insurance companies do?)
"I don't want a socialist state!" (Well, I live in a socialist state, and I can tell you, it's working in a lot of very important ways.)
The one that makes me laugh the most (besides, of course, the absurd death panels, I mean, really?) is when people say "Keep the government out of my Medicare!" Um, you DO know that Medicare is a government program, don't you?

Here's what I do know. Since moving to Norway, I have become accustomed to the following:
  • A local doctor, close to my home, who spends as much time with me as I need and listens to may concerns.
  • I can choose any doctor I want. I can do this online, too.
  • For this, for a lengthy visit, where I am a person and not a number, I pay no more than $30.
  • I do not pay health insurance. My health care is included in my taxes.
  • For the record, I pay 36% tax, which includes health care for me and for any kids (kids get free dental as well), retirement, old age nursing home if needed (though apparently those places are a bit harder to get than people like), college for my kids (if I had them), childcare for kids (with maybe a small additional fee), cultural programs such as libraries and so forth, a monthly child stipend (if I had kids, and boy sometimes do I wish I did seeing all these benefits!) and 9 month's fully maternity leave or a year at 80% (with 6 weeks going exclusively to the husband.) What do you get for your taxes?
  • I need not worry about staying with a job just to keep my health care. I can have any job I want, and my health care remains the same.
  • I have health care if I am unemployed.
  • I know I won't go bankrupt if I get sick.
  • Cancer, or a catastrophic disease of similar ilk, is dealt with efficiently, caringly and cheaply, even if you are unemployed or poor.
  • If you wish to have more private health care, there are places that do that.
  • I have never had a problem getting in to the doctor, but if there is a problem and I need to go NOW, I can go to the private health care place and get seen quickly for not much more than a regular doctor visit back home.
  • As a woman, having a baby outside wedlock, or an abortion, or just getting your general check ups and health taken care of, is not a problem, it's not judged, it's not an issue. It's just a part of life. Part of being a human woman. Single mom-dom is not frowned upon. children are supported and given every chance no matter who the parents are. I mean, wow? Can you imagine?
Can you imagine how much American society would change if you just didn't have to worry about your health insurance? If it was just, you know, a part of your life? It was just THERE?

Just what are you protesting against? How is any of the above bad? Seriously? Add up what you pay for health insurance, doctor's visits, your retirement savings + social security, your childcare, your children's college savings, your college loans, possibly nursing home for your parents, AND your taxes......and tell me if that adds up to 36% of your salary....I'm certain it's more.

I don't mind paying taxes if I get something for it. Something more than a war, I mean.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Tanum, originally uploaded by karlakp.

I caught the tail end of a service. The girls in their bunads outside the church is a classic scene that could have been viewed any time over 400 years.


Favorite, originally uploaded by karlakp.

While I have the car I popped over to visit my favorite place, Tanum Kirk. 1000 years old but holding firm. Gorgeous. Peaceful.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Things I've learned over the past two days:

1) When trying to go to bed quietly, and not turning on the bathroom light, a tube of Dermologica Gentle Cream Exfoliator and a tube of Solidox toothpaste feel exactly alike.
2) They do not, however, TASTE exactly alike.
3) It is not possible nor advisable to exfoliate your tongue.
4) Do not take your husband furniture shopping on an empty stomach. He gets very grouchy and you will get into a screaming fight over something stupid like parking and you won't understand why he is being such a BITCH. Men turn into three year olds when hungry. Even he admits it. FEED THEM.
5) When you do eat before shopping, beware of the heartburn effect caused by the Ikea meatballs with brown gravy. Oy. *Urp*.
6) Buying PAX closets at Ikea takes about three hours. If you are buying three. And there are about a million choices and you just want it DONE ALREADY but there is no way you can figure out how to do it yourself. And you know what you want already, and it's NOT the ones on display. And there is no one to help you until the very end when you are rescued by a wonderful Swede. And then you want to cry with relief when he (Jarle! I love you!) FINALLY helps you.
7) Shopping at Ikea is not too bad on Friday night between 7 and 10pm. The rest of the world has dates and, you know, real lives. But get out of there before they close at 11, because holy CRAP the lines. And don't get there at 6, everyone will be in line for meatballs, just like you.
8) That being said, 5 hours is way too long to spend at Ikea. WAY TOO LONG.
9) Ikea delivers.....and they have a "one price we deliver all the crappe you want" option.

Things I've bought over the past two days:
  1. Three closets. Ikea. I discovered, to my joy, that I will have MORE hanging space in the new place than I do now. Thanks to approximately 4 meters of acquired Ikea closet space. PLUS shelving. Degsbo doors and shelves and drawers. HOURS of fun to put those together on the horizon.
  2. A sofa. Ikea. Ektorp, with a cute black and white toile floral print. (I wanted the sofa bed, but the non-sofa bed one was so much softer and squashier that my ass made the choice for me.)
  3. Two convertible ottomans/guest beds. Skeidar. These we found by mistake today, and they are so cool, and exactly what I wanted. They fold up small, but open out to twin beds. We can have guests!
  4. A NEW BED! Skeidar. Glory hallejulah and praise the Lord of your choice, we bought a new bed! It has this flippy option where one side can be firmer and one side softer. Because I always want softer and he wants firmer, and all this firm (because he won that argument 14 years ago and it's now lumpy and old) bedness is killing my back. So now I will have a softer bed and I am SO HAPPY. OH a new decadent to even consider.
  5. Two carpets, 50 candles, 6 pillows, a microwave, two little bookshelves, and some bathroom storagey things.
  6. Yet to buy...Rich's long desired flat screen tv. That's his baby....I'm stepping out of that one.
We haven't bought any furniture in about 5 years, so I guess it was about time to do it all in one swell foop.

Now I have to go pack some shit up.

Friday, September 04, 2009

space ship

I rented a car today, for the weekend, so that we can go to IKEA and other furniture type stores in preparation for the move. (Closets! Must buy closets!)

The last car I bought was in 1997, my Subaru. I bought it new. I thought it was pretty spanky. It had cruise control, a/c, nice stereo, 5 speed, auto locks and windows, etc etc...all the things one needs for a nice ride.

This rental car? Like a SPACE SHIP compared to my old Subaru. A VW Passat diesel, black, sleek, shiny, all red and blue subtle lights and automatic everything and buttons and gizmos. I won't figure out what they all are for before I have to return it. I feel intimidated by its sophistication, but oddly cosseted.

It will make an extremely elegant carrier of flat pack furniture. I'm sure my 1961 2CV in Texas would do the job as well, but with far fewer gizmos and buttons, and, er, roof.

We go to IKEA tonight. Was teased at work for going on a Friday, but most people there said that they go there on Friday, too, as it's less crowded and you can get stuff done. Let the cool people date and go to clubs. I'm buying Pax wardrobes, Schmerglby sofa and Bjørkmeister rug and having kjøttboller for dinner. (Names made up except for wardrobe and kjøttboller, which means 'meatballs' but it pronounced suspiciously close to 'shitballer'.)

Shitballer with fries and that brown cream gravy. Nummy.

And, apropos of nothing: I stepped on a slug today. It was mostly presquashed, and I was wearing shoes, but oh my god it was nasty. I slid in slug guts. I have managed to not step on those horrrible things for 7 years and then, today, I did it. Like nails on a chalkboard, you never forget the sensation of slug underfoot.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Big day today

Today was a big day.

We got the keys to the new flat and got our settlement papers finalized.

First: The flat. It's traditional to have a formal handover with the landlord on the first day of a lease. He is a very distinguished looking gentleman and she is his very sweet, rather elegant mom. Turns out, I knew the man, he worked in the same building as I do! We saw each other all the time in the elevators. Oslo is a lot like Austin in that regard, it's small enough that you start to recognize faces after a while. But to have one of those faces become your landlord...that's pretty co-inky-dinky to say the least. The landlords are very nice, and there is a full time caretaker on the property, which is rare and AWESOME to have on site. The building is big, but so are the apartments, and it seems to be well run by the family who have owned it since it was built, I believe. The mother of the landlady was born in our flat in the early part of last century.

But yes, we got the keys. BOY did we get keys...21 of them! So damn many keys. Keys to about 10 different doors (trappebod, kjellerbod, kjeller, kjøkkentrapp, porten, entre, kjøkkendør, front door, main door, and some others), security key, post box key....oh my god there are KEYS. I'm going to have to be like one of those Victorian chatelaines with the ring of keys at her waist. I'll have to use four keys just to get into the apartment. A far cry from our 'one key fits all' apartment now.

BUT I CAN'T WAIT TO GET IN THERE. (Even if the cellar is VERY SCARY. I'm pretty sure that will be Rich's job, to get anything from down there that needs gettin'. Boo scary.)

After the handover, we went to the UDI to get our settlement permit finished. We applied for (and got) 'permanent' settlement in Norway. It lasts for 10 years. For the past 7 years we had to reapply every year for our work permits, at great cost and inconvenience, with the rest of the huddled masses and refugees. We won't have to do that any more, and oh what a relief of both time, effort and our nostrils (some of the huddled masses really smelled.). And, oddly, the UDI said it would take 9 to 10 months to get our settlement finalized...and it took one and a half months. So, wow.

In one day we got a new apartment and a new country.