So we've made it to Stockholm, but presently life is chaos. The plan was that I drive the household to Sweden by car and Stefan and the babies take a flight two days later so I can pick them up at the Arlanda airport. During packing however, we noticed the car was leaking oil and thought it was a good idea to have this checked in advance of a 1,500 km trip. Turned out the oil belongs to the servo steering and some broken hose would have to be replaced. I'm driving a Saab and the missing part had to be shipped from Sweden. By the time I wanted to leave, the hose was nowhere in sight. The mechanic advised us not to take longer trips. A cheerful Saab dealer however said not to worry, Autobahn is mostly straight driving anyway and who cares about the steering. I got a paper with the number of the broken part and a bottle of oil and he wished me good luck.
To his credit, I made it to Stockholm without problems. Problems started upon arrival. You see, I am living in a one bedroom apartment that's just about large enough for one person. The issue isn't so much lacking space as a lot of bulky, not to mention ugly, furniture of my landlord's wife that I can neither trow away nor sell nor move to the basement because the basement is full with her stuff too. The apartment has a second bedroom that the landlord told me last year he'd move out so we can use it as a nursery. Apparently he changed his mind about this some months ago and didn't bother telling me. The result is that now the four of us live in a clogged one bedroom apartment. One can't turn around without knocking something over and just hope that it doesn't hit a baby.
The internet wasn't working because the account hadn't been used for several months. The contract runs on my landlord's name and the company wouldn't give me the password. I tried to clean the apartment upon which my landlord's 20+ years old vacuum cleaner died with a small poof and a little black cloud and blowing a fuse. I sorted through a huge pile of mail that while consisting mostly of advertisement contains some serious looking påminnelse, and I know just enough Swedish to understand this means I should have done something long ago. I bought a new vacuum cleaner on the way to the airport.
The babies' first flight went well though Stefan reports Lufthansa staff wasn't very helpful. Since the baby seats don't fit on the baggage carts, he actually had to carry both babies and two bags to the gate. The apartment complex I live is gated and when we came back the gate was open. I dropped Stefan, the babies and the vacuum cleaner in front of the door and then found the gate locked on the way out. I noticed then that the key my landlord gave me didn't fit. I jumped upon the next person that came along, but she didn't speak English. After a considerable amount of time, I finally managed to find someone to let me out just to notice that I couldn't park the car in the garage because they were doing some repair. Stefan later found out that I did have a key to the gate, just that my landlord mixed up the labels and the key to the gate was labelled with 'basement.'
Inspecting the fuse box, Stefan reported he'd last seen these things in the late 70s. We spent a full hour searching for spare fuses and found them on the fuse box. Stefan drove to IKEA to get beds for the babies. I noticed that while they do sell in Sweden the formula we're using, they have different labels. Last time I tried to give Lara a different formula she actually refused to drink it, so I meant to call customer service. Just that, without internet, I couldn't find out the number. I had to call my mother to look it up. The winner of the day is the Hipp customer service that actually has human beings taking calls, and a friendly woman answered my question before I had even finished it. (The German A1 milk is the Swedish E2.) The German mobile phone company sends a warning about my roaming fees exceeding EUR 100 this month. A stressed daddy doesn't properly fit the diaper and Lara pees all over her cloths.
Between humoring the babies, changing diapers and noticing we have no diaper pail, unpacking my boxes and trying to fix a leaking tap, I called the social insurance to ask them for the umpteenth time why I still haven't received my parental benefits. A very confused sounding women told me that might be because I'm not registered with them anymore. Didn't I move out of country? (I think the next generation of cellphones should come with a little plastic pad to sink teeth into. Some of our baby toys have them too.) Having convinced her that I actually still live and work in Sweden, she said, well, but my husband doesn't. So they'll have to wait what the Germans do about his benefits. Just that the Germans tell us they're waiting for the Swedes to decide about my benefits. I must have left some impression on the women because she put something in my file that prompted somebody to call me back within 3 hours and assure me they're working on the case. But I estimate chances I'll have any money incoming to my bank account in the near future are slim.
Tried to take the babies for a walk. The twin stroller doesn't fit through the apartment door.
Late May in Sweden the days are very long. Being used to sleeping in the dark, the babies and me were up at 4am, hoping this day won't be quite as messy. Despite the mess, I'm looking forward to going back to work on Monday. Oh, and I wrote a paper. On the foundations of quantum mechanics, no really. I'll upload it sometime next week.
Basically, this is just to explain why I haven't done any substantial blogging for a while. But at least the internet connection is working again. Have to go change diapers now...