Without broadband

Computers, computers everywhere, but not a drop of broadband! Or rather, drop may be what it did.

One of the things I first thought about when the house was sold, was broadband access. I had fiber-optic high-speed access. Kind of overkill, but the price was only marginally higher than the slower telephone  cable broadband, except for an initial investment of around $1000, which I found acceptable given that I was renting the place for five years. That cost would happen again if I chose the same solution (it covers stretching fiber-optic cable to the house, while virtually every house older than 10 years has copper cable already).  I can’t keep stretching optical fibers from house to house every year.

So I looked at DSL suppliers, and decided to go back to NextGenTel (a Scandinavian-only ISP), which I had used for several years until I moved to Riverview. The other realistic supplier was the former state monopoly Telenor, which I used before switching to NextGenTel.

I quit Telenor because of their incompetence. On several occasions I was without Internet connection for a week or two, and calling them just resulted in their helpdesk making up some random story to explain, a story which would depend entirely on who I met when I called. The next day someone else would give another story. An engineer would be there tomorrow. No, it was just a temporary glitch. No, they would get an engineer to look at it. Etc, until I happened on one of the few people who actually knew anything, and who could throw a switch to get my Internet back on.

In all fairness, Telenor is OK as long as everything works. I have them for my mobile phone, at least for the time being.

I ordered DSL from NextGenTel when I was sure I was actually going to move to Mandal. To be honest, I did look for houses in the countryside for a while. If my foot had been OK, I might even have gone for the one that was a 45 minute walk from the bus. (Once the move was imminent, my foot started healing rapidly. Another suspicious coincidence.)

Yesterday I got mail from NextGenTel that they would deliver my broadband on September 20th. That is a bit later than the 2-3 weeks their web site advertises and that is specifically mentioned during summer.  Evidently they had forgotten that their workers have summer vacation or something. I called their customer service which verified the mail. They also pointed out that this was the same for the competition, and I am pretty sure it is. For certain values of competition.

I could get ICE.NET wireless broadband in a couple days, and this is probably true because 1) I have had them before and they delivered fast, they just were horribly slow to stop when I tried to end my subscription, and 2) there is no local driving involved, they just send a wireless modem in the mail. Actually I still have their wireless modem and am testing it right now.

Or I could just continue to use my mobile phone as wireless broadband. It does have a flat rate subscription, and unless they have changed policies without me noticing, the only result of “overdraft” is that the download speed is lowered. I am not absolutely sure of this though, and it would be pretty dramatic for someone in the zeroth world to lose data access on the mobile phone!

About that: I whined on Google+ about the 10 week delivery time on broadband, and was met with absolute icy silence instead of the expected shock and outrage over the cruel and unusual treatment. Could it possibly be that this kind of customer “service” is common down in the first world? Do you still have regional monopolies and stuff? Up here in the zeroth world, every day without broadband is like a day in the Dark Ages. It is just unnatural for a modern human to not be able to videoconference, watch movies almost immediately, and play elaborate multiplayer online games while talking on some kind of IP phone. The death of distance is more or less a part of history for us, which is why being without broadband is so unthinkable.

I may end up getting the ICE.NET wireless broadband to supplement the mobile phone. Between them they should provide me with all the bandwidth I may need during July, August and Septembet. There is as usual a 12 month minimum duration, but the first six months are half price, which is quite reasonable indeed. If that applies also for former customers, I may opt for it.

At least if I have to move again (or find a nice house way out in the countryside), ICE.NET uses a frequency that covers a much larger area per base station than mobile phones, so there is hardly any habitable place in Scandinavia that is not covered. I can bring it with me anywhere there is some source of electricity, basically, with no downtime. That may turn out to be a valuable trait if I keep getting chased from place to place with little time to prepare.

I mean, it is not like you folks want to be without my updates even for a day, right?  Right?

Pigsty Project II

Not literally looking like a pigsty. More like after a tornado or teen home-alone party, some such.

Extremely regular readers – well, probably only myself – will remember the Pigsty Project from last time I moved. It is a year and a half ago, after all. It was quite simple really: Each workday I would carry something, anything, out of the home, never to return. I could be an empty bottle, used batteries (we are not supposed to throw those in the household garbage around here), a used book to give to the second-hand book store. Anything that was not going to be used again, and that did not go in the regular garbage.

I am not sure when I started. If I had been smart, I had started as soon as I heard I would be moving, but I think I only did this the last few weeks. It was complicated by the fact that I also carried things each workday that I would bring to the new house before the actual move, so as to make that less.

I continued for some weeks after I moved too, because frankly there were still things left. Eventually it came to an end.

Yes, I have started it again. Strangely, there was now a multitude of such things. Partly there are new ones, like empty glasses that have held pasta sauce. Partly there are old ones, like the comics I was sure I was going to read again but never did. If I had a couple more months before the move,  I could probably have made it off with them all. But I didn’t.

Needless to say, perhaps, this time I started as soon as I heard I would be moving.  And I intend to continue until I am rid of everything I don’t need. This time, even the old computers will go, even if I have to carry them bit by bit. That is what I think. We shall see what actually happens. Yesterday and today I carried books. For tomorrow I have set a bag of comic books by the door. I brought along the glasses (as opposed to setting them adrift on the river) so they will also have to go.  I think most of the rest I need to get rid of will be fit to throw in the garbage bin.

I got my own garbage bin! Even though it is only half a house. It is certified family residential unit so evidently I get my own. That should help. Well, if I don’t fall back to keeping everything “just in case” once I forget the packing and unpacking. What is the chance?

I have moved!

Double the chaos, double the fun!

I want to write this while it is still fresh, before I take it for granted and forget to mention. Or even, Light forbid, edit my memories the way humans do, so the memories fit better into their life narrative.

A few days ago I realized that boxes would be great for moving. I have not used special moving boxes before, just various leftover cardboard boxes. At first I did not think they were available locally, and felt stupid for not having ordered some. Then I discovered that the local Clas Ohlson supermarket had them. I went and bought 6 of them, and carried them home over the course of two days.

Yesterday I bought 6 more, and carried them home instead of food or my work computer – the packs of flat-pressed boxes are not all that heavy, but unwieldy.

Moving boxes are Heaven’s gift to mankind. Blessed be whoever came up with that idea. I wish I had bought twice as many, truth to tell. They certainly made this move at least a bit smoother than usual. Of course, usual moving for me is somewhat nightmarish.

The landlord had made an appointment to show up with a van and workers at 10 today. During yesterday afternoon I started to realize that I was falling behind on the packing. I had mostly ignored the whole thing, except for carrying bottles out of the house every day since I heard of the move. And except for filling six fairly large sacks with things to throw away, not counting filling the garbage bin to the top each week. I had some stroke of insight as the weekend approached and defrosted the fridge, which was finished sometime Monday.

I did not sleep quite as well as normal tonight, as can be expected. While I did not actually panic, I felt pretty rushed through the morning as I packed and packed an packed and cleaned (which was, incidentally, a waste of time: The house is going to be razed to the ground, really really. I asked again. Well, at least its last inhabitant was someone who appreciated it… eventually!)

Around noon the landlord appeared with the van. I was just starting to pack down the computer equipment, that is to say, pretty much everything in the home office. At least I had turned it off before he came, although I had not unplugged most of the stuff. He went home and ate. When he returned, I had more or less finished. He brought two boys who look like the have barely started school, but worked like teenagers, except for not whining. I was kind of disturbed that he let them carry beds and stuff, but they evidently do this habitually. They must have been lifting weights since they were babies or something.

They did not take the washing machine though. Adult workforce arrived later and took the heaviest stuff. I did not touch the washing machine with a finger. It has it in for me, I feel. It has been close to killing me a couple times already.

It took two turns, but we did it! Everything is now in the new apartment, the lower half of a fairly large house in Mandal. Despite the landlord’s assurances that the apartment is at least as large as the old house, that is just not true. But it may well be 75% or even 80%. The living room is huge, probably the largest I have ever lived in. There are two fairly large bedrooms, the largest of which is becoming my home office. If I stay till winter, I may consider moving the computer desk into the bedroom so as to heat one room less, and heat the bedroom with the computers. Of course, it is possible that the next winter will be normal, with temperatures just barely below freezing and no howling arctic wind. Those who live shall see.

I knew the living room reminded me of the Chaos Node. The windows are smaller (thank goodness, I could barely even wear boxers in the Chaos Node during summer) but the wallpaper is exactly the same. It is kind of ridiculous to see, I get this flashback feeling when I look at a wall where there is no window. It is even longer though, and wider at least in the sense that there is no kitchen area taking up part of the space. Possibly wider even apart from that. It is ridiculously huge for what must have been a middle-class home.

The kitchen is reasonably large, although it would be crowded if it was used for eating, which it probably was. Here is shelf space, shelf space and more shelf space. For some reason the washing machine is attached here, instead of the bath. The bath is fairly spacious because the toilet is in a smaller room with a separate entrance, so I can shower without guests peeing their pants. This might come in handy if I actually had guests.

I mentioned the two bedrooms. The inner bedroom is facing north, and there is a large outhouse / shed across a small backyard so it is very sheltered. For good measure, a giant cherry tree is overshadowing the place. The street is to the south too, so the bedroom is quiet, sheltered and cool. I may appreciate the north-facing less when winter comes, I guess. The windows are single-glass, something that is almost extinct in Norway. That implies the whole house may be poorly insulated. At least it is sheltered from the howling winds that howled on the open fields of the river valley.

Barring divine retribution, I think I will indeed be here this winter. I had not expected to fall in love with the place, but it is very nice. If I get along with the family upstairs (as in, have nothing to do with them) it seems a very nice place. I love the huge number of wardrobe closets in the bedrooms. I have an insane amount of clothes.

People, let me talk about clothes. I had no idea how much clothes I had. I have used 3 pullovers throughout the winter and spring, but it turns out I have something like a dozen of them! What the Hell* was I thinking buying that many pullovers? And how did I forget it? I knew I had a multitude of shirts, but it turns out that I have more than twice as many trousers as I thought too. I probably have enough socks for the next 20 years too. This is just crazy.

(*Hell is here used in a religious sense, just not as an expletive. The urge to amass random earthly things far beyond my needs is definitely not divinely inspired.)

As I kept carrying clothes, I realized something hugely ironic: If I had saved that money instead of buying unnecessary clothes, I could have owned a place to keep those clothes I did not buy. These were not cheap labor class clothes either. The cost of them would in fact have given me enough starting capital to buy a flat and pay about the same on the loan as I now do in rent. Or buy a house in the countryside, I guess, although not like the place I lived.

Don’t get me started on the hundreds of computer games I bought in the past. Well, all this is long ago now. I usually buy a couple expansion packs to The Sims each year, and that’s pretty much it. How did I have that kind of money back then? Well, the rent was lower. :p

The rent here is the same as for the house. I can see why he thinks that is fair. While not new in any sense, the house is not near collapse from old age either. It lies in a quiet part of town. Taking a short walk, I saw middle-aged and older people in several of the well-kept yards. You don’t feel surrounded by roads – I can neither see nor hear any road to the north, and the road passing on the south has very little traffic. Most homes are painted white, as is the custom here on the south coast, and seem to be in good shape. There is a bakery and something like a convenience shop so close that I could have gone there even if my foot had not recovered.

The foot did recover, incidentally. Despite the overuse yesterday, it is fine today again (unless I walk an hour again, I guess.) On the other hand, I think most of my body is going to hurt tomorrow. And I dare say my blood sugar is not dangerously high right now. I have worked hard and barely eaten until now in the afternoon, so I was starting to get weak. Well, that is good. Emptying the glycogen reserves means the blood sugar will have somewhere to go now that I have food again. Yogurt and rolled oats! The heroes of breakfast!

I have inhaled a year’s worth of dust and muscles are hurting that I did not know I had, but I am happy. The move was completely amicable and while I will miss the beautiful landscape and the sight of the river, the truth is that I only spent an hour a day in the landscape and most of the rest looking at a computer screen. Which I still do.

Continuing to speak about walking, a couple minutes from the house (but on the other side of a small hill, it seems) is the town bridge. It connects the sleepy residential south side with the shopping district on the north side, and conveniently also the bus station, about 5 minutes from home. Unfortunately the bus station is on the other side of the main street, which may prove a problem during rush hours. We shall see. People on the south coast are not exactly known as speed demons, so I am optimistic.

Now, what to call my new domicile? House of Cherries? Cherryview? The Half Home?  Wardrobe Central? Or perhaps Double the Chaos, since it reminds me of the original Chaos Node but with twice as much space? It certainly looks like chaos now, with dozens of bags and boxes and scattered commodes and two vacuum cleaners.  (The landlord let me keep the one from Riverview, and it turned out there was one here already. A meaningful coincidence?)

I don’t intend to put it all in place immediately either. Each thing, before I give it a place in my home, will have to pass examination: Will it go or will it stay? I am not going to drag this sea of unnecessary things with me one more time. Not again. Not ever again. Well, perhaps the shirts, as it is kind of nifty to go a decade or two or three without buying a new shirt. You don’t know how close I was to setting some of the other things adrift on the river last midnight while the neighbors were sleeping. I would have gotten away with it too.  There was a door on the river side of the house and no neighbors at all that way. I was tempted. I was so tempted.

But now: First night in a new home!

Foot and move update

Today I had a lot of errands in the city, and had to walk back and forth between a number of different shops and offices. I probably walked for well over an hour. Amazingly, it took about that long before the pain returned after a weekend of only occasional biking on the exercise bike. So that was a pleasant surprise. Of course, I actually did use up all that recovery, but it seems there is some hope that it may heal if I could avoid returning to my old habits too fast.

Ironically one of the longest treks was diagonally across the town to the private clinic that took the x-rays my doctor had requested (and that were almost certainly not necessary). At least, with it being not state-owned, the waiting time was minutes rather than months.

If that sounded like it had an edge to it, it is probably because in 2005 I had to wait all summer for being checked for a potential cancer. Luckily it was not cancer anyway, but if it had been, waiting from June till August might mean the difference between certain cure and certain death. Since I doubt I was singled out for special treatment, that probably means any random number of people die from de facto health care rationing in Norway. On the bright side, health care is generally cheap here. Having long lines makes for great planning ability.

More about 2005 later, Light willing.

At the end of the day I had to choose between carrying home food, my computer, or six more moving boxes. I chose the boxes. You can eat fresh food almost every day, but you only move once a year.  In my case, that is tomorrow.

I wish I had even one more week. That way I could get more stuff out of the house that should not be in the new apartment. I have been carrying one bag each day (except a couple days in the beginning when I forgot) and if I could have done that for just one more week, it would have really helped.

I can’t help but remember an earlier time I tried to move to a smaller place than I had before, the landlord threatened to crush my kneecaps unless I gave him the keys and the contract right there.  (Today I left the contract at work.)  I also lost 3 months of rent and found myself with a weekend or so to find a new place to live. So, I really don’t need a repeat of that.

Of course, that is why I wish I had thought of getting moving boxes earlier. Dozens and dozens of moving boxes.  I usually use black garbage bags to keep my enormous mound of clothes dry and clean during the transport, but evidently this causes an automatic train of thought in certain people going like this: “Black plastic bags – garbage – flies and stink – AARGH – HULK SMASH PUNY HUMANS! RAAAHR!”  This is not a good development on moving day.

That said, I actually have 3 garbage bags with actual garbage, in a manner of speaking:  One with old worn clothes, two with old computer games and DVDs. But neither of these stink. Nor do the 3 paper garbage bags with paper and cardboard (that I had thought to make fire with next winter). I feel confident that I could have left the house as it is right now for four months and come back and there would be neither flies nor stink. (The reason I say four months rather than years is that after four months the winter descends and pipes would freeze. I cannot guarantee that this does not cause a stink if they burst.)

Anyway, tomorrow it is really real for real! Will I survive, or will I try to lift the washing machine? If I survive, will my kneecaps and my glassware be unbroken, by and by?  Light knows, but Light rarely tells. That is why life is an exciting adventure rather than a boring rerun. Even mine.

“Austerity measures”

My own austerity measures: The first sacks of things to throw away before moving to the smaller place. More sacks to follow.

I have written a few times about the near future, after peak oil and peak metal and so on. What I have sketched is not a disaster scenario. Disaster scenarios are good for selling books, and I agree that if we act like complete morons, we can make a disaster out of it. Then again we can make a disaster in paradise itself, as the Jewish creation mythos so beautifully explains. This tendency lies in us all and must be watched.

Seeing pictures of Greeks rioting in the streets not only brings home this human tendency to make a mess of things, but also an even more ingrained human tendency: To never give up something you already know from experience that you can live without. This is not a pure evil: It is kind of helpful for a marriage, for instance, that you won’t give up on your spouse at the first bump in the road, even if you survived for several years before even meeting them. But for the most part, it is people torturing themselves.

I am going through my own austerity measures these days. Getting less for the same money is the trend of the future, and I have started (somewhat unexpectedly, in my case) since I have to move from a house to half a house for the same rent. In the process, I am once again going through the things I’d like to bring along, and sorting out things that I won’t realistically have room for. The thing is, I started my adult life with much less than this. It took many years before I even had my first bookshelf. It is like my material riches have increased by 1000% and now I have to go back to 800%. Not really something to riot over, I think.

I can see how people who planned to retire at 50 will be upset that they can’t. The whole thing I am going through now is an exercise in how to (not) react when you find out that people break their promises if they have the power to do so. That is unfortunate, but when the promises were a bit too good to be true, when we were living our dream, simply going back to reality should not be the end of the world.

Retiring at 50 or even 55 is certainly dreamlike, at least if you have a job you hate. But the best response to that is to either get a job you like, or like the job you have. Almost all jobs consists of helping other people (because that is the only thing people are likely to pay for, if they have a choice). So by rising your love to a very high degree, you can usually find satisfaction in any work that is not contrary to law or decency.

I have every intention of working till 75 if my health holds up. That is not a certain thing, of course. But as far as I see it, retirement is not natural. It should not really exist. Rather, people may get disability pensions when they are no longer able to work, whether it happens at 20 or 90. If you want, you can of course quit your job at any time, but I don’t see why one should be rewarded for that. The way Europe at least has organized this, people have paid for other people’s retirement for decades, so it stands to reason that they want to get their money’s worth. But that money is not saved anywhere. It is already spent, on other people’s retirement. So it is not like you can give them back the cash. Given that we all face a period of austerity, I think it is more important to support those who are actually ill, over those who are actually lazy.

When the money is gone, it is gone. The tooth fairy won’t bring it back even if you break somebody’s teeth. It is like that with all things. The only certain thing about anything on earth is that it will end. As the Buddha said: “All things that have form are subject to decay.” I hear even the protons will decay some hundred billion years from now. We should salvage the happiness we can find during our journey through time, collect the good memories and learn from the unpleasant. For each of us there will come a time when we won’t get any more memories from Earth. There is more joy to be had from austerity than from rage. Believe me, I have tried both.

Goodbye Riverview

Here today, gone this summer.

When I rented this place, it was for 5 years minimum. The owner intended to give it to one of his own children when they grew up, which is still a long way off. But things have changed. A relative of his wife and close friend of the family has returned from China and really wanted to build a new house on this spot.  (It is close so children can run over to each other at any time of the day or year.) And he was willing to pay a lot for it. So the landlord sold the house to him.  They are going to tear it down and would like me to get out of here as soon as feasible. I’m moving on the 7th, Light willing. Two and a half weeks from now.

At least this all happened without any threats for bashing my kneecaps in or anything. On the contrary, the landlord offered me a basement apartment of roughly the same size in Mandal, the nearest large town, in an old quiet part of town with little traffic. I went and looked at it. It is OK, and probably 100 years younger than this house. There’s lots and lots of wardrobe space. And it is bound to be a lot cheaper to heat during winter. Plus it is a few minutes’ walk from the bus station, where buses go every half hour instead of twice a day.

So, it is not a complete disaster. But neither is it a cause for joy. I have dreamed of living far from the crime and grime of the city, surrounded once more by green fields, farms, hills and flowing water, like in my childhood (when I, shame to say, did not know to appreciate it). I have lived that dream here. But dreams end. Life itself, after all, is one such dream from which we are going to wake up.  This is much smaller than that.

And yes, I feel a bit betrayed. But not very much. If I cannot forgive such a betrayal and bless them from my heart, I would not be worthy of ever uttering the name of my hero and savior, Jesus Christ, who prayed for those who killed him. This is pretty far from that (unless I have to help carry the washing machine again, in which case I can make no guarantee of my survival.)

I understand that the future of a relative (especially of the wife) is more important than a legally binding contract with a stranger. I don’t want to make more trouble for them than necessary. But even so, starting today I am looking for some other place to move to, eventually. Either cheaper than now, or out in the countryside again. Most people want to pay extra for living in the middle of town, but for me it is the other way around.

One thing that is still sinking in:  There won’t be stone left on stone of the old house. I am not sure that does not hurt me  more than simply having to leave. I know I complained of how cold it was during winter, but it is still a home. Here have generations grown up and lived. People lived here before electricity came to Norway, probably huddling around the wood stove on cold winter evenings, wearing thick clothes. People lived within these walls the summer when Norway became an independent nation for the first time since the Middle Ages. People lived here when the first cars began to roll on the roads, but not on the roads here, which were only suited for horse wagons.  Some family lived here during the harsh year of the Nazi occupation, when the future of the world itself, much less the country, was uncertain.  They lived here when spring came and the King returned to a free Norway once again. The previous owners lived here when the big, straight road was built a minute’s walk from here, straight through the valley.

Now I live here. I am the last human these walls will ever protect, the last of my race to seek shelter under this roof.  It is old, and beginning to grow frail, but it has served for a long, long time. It has, in fact, done nothing else but serve.  For a few more days shall I avail me of its protection, of its familiarity, Light willing. Then it will be empty again, but this time no new humans will come to live here. One day soon it will be razed to the ground, to give room to a new, large, modern house. Only memories will remain, and a few pictures.

It is an irony that I cannot hold back my tears on behalf of a house, even though I have buried two grandparents and one parent without shedding a tear. But then again, I doubt houses go to heaven when they die.  Of course, many people doubt that about humans too. Perhaps I too will doubt when my time comes.

But moving one more time will hopefully not be the end of me. It will be the end of Riverview though.  (And the pretty pictures.)


Well, at least now I know why these lines from an old hymn in Norwegian have been on my mind over and over these last few days. I noticed them but did not realize what they predicted, of course. The Light knows the future, but cannot reveal it fully to one such as me.

To my Lord my soul has said: You are my dwelling, my castle. He who has entered a covenant with you, sings praises in the midst of all sorrow.

All dwellings on Earth and probably even those in Heaven are temporary. Only the One is forever.  All that I had, all that I am, has always belonged to God and no one else. “God, you have been a dwelling for us from generation to generation.” Let it so be, world without end.



A day without blizzard

The Batman does not shop here.  (The Mothman, on the other hand…)

When I say “A day without blizzard”, I am not referring to a certain computer game publisher, for I have not played any of their games in… a couple years?  Possibly a little more.  No, I am referring to the somewhat sensational fact that there was not icy wind and whirling snow today. It was overcast and a couple degrees above freezing. It actually tipped above freezing yesterday sometime.  I think this is the whole full day of so mild weather here since the Copenhagen climate summit. Certainly since I moved here, but that is barely a month ago. No, it has been icy cold much, much longer than that, since sometime in December at least.

Speaking of the moving, and it being a month ago, my old landlord called on Thursday and expressed very vague worries.  This is a trait of the family, or at least shared by his mother and grandmother, that they tend to be extremely polite to the point of just barely hinting at anything at all, but evidently he is worried about his house somehow.  That is not without reason, because his family got another house soundly trashed by an immigrant family before they rented out this. If he hasn’t been and looked at it, he cannot know what state it is in. On the other hand, I don’t see what keeps him from going there, seeing how I had emptied my part of it when last we met (when he came with the key to the basement door so we could get my washing machine out). Given that it was empty then, he is well aware that I don’t live there, I would think, so there is no reason to be uncertain about whether or not I should have paid rent for this month.  I did politely inform him that I am still paying the electricity.

To be honest, I thought this was a pretty good arrangement for all involved.  I have been kind of busy moving in here (and keeping the place from freezing over or getting lost in the snow) so I have only rough-washed the old place and not yet hired the cleaning company to complete the job. (Actually I e-mailed them a bit over a week ago, but I guess they don’t read mail, at least not at the mail address listed on their web site.)  It was my distinct impression that my landlord was not going to rent the place out again, but would clear the whole house out and sell it.  Now, clearing the basement and loft and the stuff they had standing in “my” part of the house is itself a labor of Hercules and will likely take them months.  So I rather felt I was doing them a favor by paying the utility bill for their house until such a time that I could get it sparkling clean.

In any case, the landlord seems eager to get the whole thing over with, for some reason. Perhaps he has reconsidered and wants to rent it out again?  Or perhaps that was the plan all along but he was too polite to say so?  I guess I can find out in a couple months if I really am that curious. As it is, however, I went over today and did some more washing of the bathroom and picked up some things that were left behind during the two days of moving. Light willing I may go there again on Monday late in the afternoon and try to get the vacuum cleaner with me home on the bus. It is not really too large for that, although it will look slightly humiliating to drag it around like that.

On Tuesday, I promised the landlord, I will leave work a bit early so we can look at the place together.  He really wanted to do that on March 1, but I have an important thing to do at work that day which won’t be finished early.

He is a nice guy and I have only had good things to say about him, but honestly? If I could get a stranger to pay my utility bills on the coldest winter in decades, I should have been grateful, not suspicious. Just saying.  It is not like I’m skipping the bill or anything.  His grandmother knows where I live, after all.  (She has a daughter not far from here, and it is a very transparent little place. There are probably already all kinds of rumors about me. ^_*)

But today was a day without blizzard and very little sleet.  I came home with a bucked (which I had used in the old house) filled with canned food. Then I walked to the local grocer, pictured above.  Yes, it is really called “Joker”, but in Norwegian this means “wildcard”, not Batman’s arch-nemesis and the incarnation of postmodernism. It has a surprisingly broad selection for a rural shop, but relatively few of each thing.  I bought three of the four (or was that five?) packets of  really cheap noodles.  Well, really cheap by Norwegian standards, about half the price of others. They taste much the same to me, and each packet has five smaller packets in it, each of them just about the right size for a full meal for me.   One of these keeps me fed pretty much all evening, for pocket change.

On the other hand, there’s half an hour of brisk walk each way, so there goes some of the calories before I even get home to cook them.  Not having a car certainly pays off in the form of exercise. Of course, you could still walk even if you had a car, but the flesh is weak.  My flesh would definitely have been weaker, not to mention softer and more plentiful, if I had a car.

The fields were white, pretty much everything was except the road and some of the houses, when I walked home with my bag filled with food.  (I also bought some yogurt and juice so I had a full bag.) But I enjoyed the mild weather, amused to think that just above freezing actually feels mild to me now.  In fall, I would probably have been freezing.  But for now, a day without blizzard is a blessing.  I am sure it will be hot enough come summer.  May we all be there to whine about it. ^_^

Washing machine or death!

The road is opened! In the background my nearest neighbors. Did you know that here in Norway, the traditional unit for measuring the distance between neighbors is in stone throws?

Two updates in one day! It is a breach of tradition, and that on a Sunday. But what can I say, since it is slice of life and it happened today.

We brought the last van-full of stuff from the Fortress of Solitude to Riverview. I cannot find a couple small things from the kitchen, and there is a small bag that should have been in the garbage, but overall the move has been a rousing success.

The big thing today was the washing machine. Well, the commode was about the same volume but not nearly as heavy. The weight of the thing was horrifying. Why don’t they come with wheels, or at the very least handles? Are they all delivered by Superman? I feared for my life and that of my companion, truth be told. And indeed, when I dragged the thing into the new house, I felt a sudden headache (on the right side, near the temple); but it has faded and I am still alive some hours later, so I guess I did not burst any blood vessels. Still, this is far outside my normal range of intense activity. I am more of a slow-moving person. (I started to write slow-mowing, which is also true.)

The washing machine is now in place, but some small piece is lost so it leaks a bit at the water intake. I will have to get that part replaced, or perhaps the whole tube. But at least not the whole machine. If I have any say in it, I won’t touch it again for the next five years, and even then I better think of something if I’m still around. Right now I’m just glad I am still around NOW.

And it could have been worse. Yesterday and today we had to carry everything from the car to the house, or at worst drag it on a broad, flat two handed snow shovel (the English name of these implements is still unknown to me). But, eerily prescient, my friend wanted to carry in all the other stuff before the washing machine. I would have taken it first while we still had more energy, such as it was. But luckily I said nothing. When we had carried in the last of the smaller things, a guy on tractor came. He said my landlord had asked him to clear the road to the house. So we waited while he cleared the road, then drove the car nearly to the door, and took the washing machine from there, quite possibly saving my life. (We shall have to see whether it worked over the next days.)

So, better late than never. I now have a clear road and nowhere to go. Well, I could take a walk. But the north wind has picked up and the cold is pretty bad. Just keeping the house warm enough to not need outerwear is enough for now. Outside in the wind… no thanks, not today.

Tomorrow begins my new life, if any. Bet the bus drivers will be surprised to see me wait at 8 in the morning instead of 20:25 in the night. But the bus back should be the same. Well, in the long run. Tomorrow I intend to go back to the Fortress and wash down the first time. I may do this once or twice more, before sending in a professional cleaning firm to finish it. Or that’s the plan. But I am never going “home” again.

This sea of crates and bags is my home now. The bed I am a little afraid of sleeping in is my home now. The bedroom without wardrobe cabinets is my home now. The steep stairs whenever I go to the bedroom or the storage room is my home now. The thin gap between the wall and the floor that I had to put a rag in to stop the wind blowing in on my feet is my home now. … It really feels like home. Except there are not bookshelves all over the walls filled with books. I guess you can’t win them all!

One funny side effect of the two days of moving is that I was ravenously hungry both evenings. Hard work and little time to eat earlier in the day seems to have made my stomach bigger… My body seems to have forgotten that I have 20 pounds of non-essential fat, enough to tide me through weeks of under-eating. Oh well. Food tastes good. I should eat it while I am alive, as long as it does not stop me from continuing to be alive.  And at least in the short run, I think washing machines are more dangerous.

I am home in Riverview!

This is the kitchen. The living room is far worse. You may think this yet another Chaos Node, but I have a new name for it: Riverview.

Also known as the Mothhouse, although obviously there are several houses at Møll. But mine seems to be widely known as “the red house by the river”, and so I am thinking of changing the name to Riverview. There are of course layers and layers of meaning to this.

Most obviously, “Riverview” is the name of the second neighborhood in Sims 3. It does not come with the game but is a free download, and was the only other neighborhood (after the included Sunset Valley) until the first expansion pack came out and the neighborhood creator tool was released. It is also my favorite. My SimSelf has lived there since his teens. It is also where I play my current Sims 3 game, the Doomed Adoptacy. But you would probably be reading my Sims Livejournal if that was what you were interested in.

The other part of the name Riverview is that in Nynorsk (New Norwegian) it can be directly translated as Åsyn. Å is an old name for river, although mostly replaced by the newer word “elv” now. “Syn” is a direct translation of view. However, the word Åsyn actually already is in use: It is a poetic, mostly religious, word for face. I believe you would normally use “countenance” in its place. “Let Thy countenance shine upon Thy servant.”

Anyway, I am here! No, seriously! Not to hang up curtains and see if the water pipes are frozen. Not as a guest. I am home. Finally, I am home. In a house without other people and without other people’s stuff. On the other hand, lots of my stuff. Too much of my stuff. And I have not even moved everything. The washing machine was left, because it was too late in the day, and the bedroom commode, and some of the food I think, and lots of power cables, and my stack of Magnus Robot Fighter comics. Even so, there is an insane amount of stuff. A sea of it. But there was that last time too. Most of it got stowed away eventually. The rest of it stood in its bags or crates until I took it here. This time it’s for real. Each book that does not bear good fruit will be cut down. Yeah, verily. Probably.

Who will I be while I am here? I do not know for sure, but I noticed that as soon as I was alone, I started recalling more and more of an old hymn from Smith’s Friends, one I had forgotten for years. Of course, this could likely be because it was an old friend from that church who helped me drive and also did the heaviest lifting. He helped me last time too, when I botched the move and had to suddenly get a lot of moving done in a very short time. Hopefully it will be a long time till next time. And hopefully there will be a lot less stuff. I intend to see to that.

We did throw away three big black garbage bags with stuff, including many computer games that I had saved last time but not opened, not even looked at, in the meantime. And there are still a bag or two of games that could have gone the same way. Some of the games that are gone were my favorites in the past, but if I have not touched them in 4 years, chances are I won’t play them for the next five years either.

Even without those games and various other garbage that had not been visible until I moved, there still was a lot. A lot. I am quite tired and worn, even with my friend doing the heavier part of the lifting. I don’t plan to unpack it all tonight, or even this weekend. Many (most?) of the books and comics I intend to move directly from their crates to carrying bags to take them to the used-book shop in the city. It is strange, I did not feel that I was able to part with them, now I don’t feel they have a place in my life anymore. I should read books of the Truth. I should let the true Light shine into my life, so I can spread happiness in every direction.

First to my sims in Riverview…

No Moth today either

As I was logging off at work to go to the Mothhouse with the rest of the curtains and some other stuff, I suddenly realized that I had not done an important job on the databases. This is funny because I spent much of the day studying and doing piddly things because there was nothing major to do that I already knew, but actually there was and I did not remember it until it was almost too late.

Then when I was about to go home with the next bus, 55 minutes later, I found out that one of my coworkers had not done it either (although he had on a few bases – I have no idea what happened, but I hope he is OK). So it was quite a bit into the evening before I returned home. No Moth, of course – it I want to take the last bus home from there, I need to take the bus right after work (17.15) to Moth.

Oh well. It is not like I need those curtains immediately anyway.

Another thing I didn’t mention a few days ago, I met my current landlord’s grandmother by the shop.  I mean the landlord here in Nodeland, where I have still not moved out. Anyway, she knew more about the house I am moving to than I did! I honestly have no idea how she even knew that I was moving to that particular house, but I suppose all of Holum (the church and mail district) is abuzz with the news of the madman who is moving to the Red House.  One of those people in Holum turns out to be the daughter of said grandmother (and thus presumably an aunt of the old landlord).  The world is a small place, and Holum in particular.