Tomorrow is the first day of the next phase in the life of our family. Both girls will go to kindergarten and for the first time in close to two years, both of us will work. The previous phase has been fantastic. To have Ilse in our life and to see her grow into a small girl is a gift that is difficult to describe. Ebba-Stina has really developed in this period aswell. She’s a fantastic daughter, friend and sister, although she’s struggeling from time to time. It is not always easy to only be five and the big sister at the same time….
Sweden is a marvelous society, that offers the possability for us to take care of our children in their early ages. The children need it and the parents need it. Sweden is also a modern society in the sense that we have come so far in allowing the fathers to take a big role in the life of our children. Although my wife think I blooged more about my new Weber than the children at the end, I realise how fortunate I am. But I’m also proud that I took the opportunity. It was not a given decision for me and of course I have to thank my wife for pushing me (she can be very persuasive) in that decision.
As I will be a controller again tomorrow I have to mention some statistics. 93 posts (including this one) in 150 days is more than one every second day. Quite amazing to have so much to write about when you are on paternity leave. What is even more amazing to me is that on average 10 persons a day has been interested in our whereabouts. The most exotic visit was from someone from South Korea that wanted to read my post about “The Things You Do For Love”. I’m not sure what he or she was looking for, but I hope I gave some inspiration.
Today the girls and I spent half an hour at the play ground. It was a typical early autumn Sunday. Rain or drissle through the day and that particular light that tells you that the summer is over for this year. It used to be a time when I felt really down on those Sundays. Some might say it is a sign of age, but now I love the last day of the week. Sundays are THE day with no “have to’s” and when I see the early signs of Autumn I just look forward to it. I believe my girls (all three of them) has helped me develop in this. Take a look at Ilse on the picture. She doesn’t care about that it is Monday tomorrow and that she’ll go to kinder garten. She just want me to order a meal at her fantasy restaurant, right there and then. She’s unaware of the Euro development nor the weak marine industry. She just wants me to order, serve me some wood chips and get paid in stones.
That is what I have appreciated the most during this period, to be “here and now”. Children are good at that and I have become better at it…
To My Girls – I Love You!
Today was, formally, my last day of paternity leave. Tomorrow it is weekend and then it is “back to the mill” on Monday. This will not be “the sentimental last blog occasion” (you’ll have to wait until Sunday evening), but I must admit I’ve had the time of my life!
The plan for today was to leave the girls at kinder garten and then go to the golf club to try my new clubs and have a loooong lunch in the sun. The sun was there, no bad planning in that sense… However Ebba-Stina woke us up at five in the morning feeling sick, so I spent 2 hours sitting (half asleep) at her bed side. After that we didn’t want to send them to kindergarten, but when she woke up at 9.30 she was more alert than ever and ate breakfast like a horse. I spent the day with my blondes at home instead, which was very nice aswell and the golf clubs are still shining on me every time I open the storage.
In the afternoon, in the sun, to the tunes of Springsteen’s “I’m on fire”, we lit up the Weber for the first time and I caught fire as well (not literary). It is magnificent piece of art and the steakes became absolutely perfect (beginners luck?). If I hadn’t been married to Lotta I would have proposed there and then…(luckily I’ve come to my senses).The feeling with the grill exceeded my expectations by l”ight years” and I had to go up to the terrace to “pat it good night” before going to bed.
The odds for steak tomorrow aswell does not even give your money back! Before that, though, the plan is to take the boat for an ice cream at an island in the southern archipelago. The morning plan is 10k along the river and bringing a nice piece of bread home from the bakery on the way back. I better go to sleep now…. and I know what I’ll dream about!
An “Unidentified Flying Object” has parked at our third floor. So far it seems like it has only friendly intentions….
We expect it to start hiss and burn our steaks within soon, but first we have to get some European standard spare parts and some fuel.
It took me 2h15min to assembly the beast, with no swearing, curses or phone calls to the “Weber Hotline” needed. I guess the swearing starts when it is time to lift it out on the terrace…..
Now it is time to start with lunch, unfortunately not on the grill!
Since I was in the age of my two small blondes I can remember the “Ice Cream Van” (Hemglassbilen) coming every second week or so. It drowe through the neighborhood playong a very specific tune (still the same tune today). It’s like “Maslow’s dogs”, you think of icecream without even seeing the van and children immediately start to try convincing their parents to go out and buy ice cream.
Today it came and the girls started to jump up and down and using their marvelous eyes. Of course it worked…..! As you can see Ilse enjoyed it in full!
Lotta could simply not understand why we needed another barbecue when I ordered it. I guess it is one of those “male mysteries” that are very difficult to explain….?
I must admit that it was somewhat bigger then I anticipated. It didn’t look so big in the store, but once in inside a home environment it was huge! The box filled the entire trunk AND back seat on my XC60. Once back home I asked our well trained neighbor Fredrik to help me carry it up to the third floor. We gave up after 4 steps and had to open the box and carry the grill up in pieces. Now I have an interesting project tomorrow in assembling the master piece.
The girls and I has made a small cottage out of the box in the living room. Today they where 4 girls in there, with matresses and blankets. Ebba-Stina wanted her and Lotta to sleep in it tonight, but fortunately (for us both) I have my dear wife beside me in bed!
I look forward to dismantle the box and get it out as it takes most of the free floor space, but I’m afraid it will be there for awhile!
Today it is Ebba-Stina’s fifth birthday. The celebrations are not far off a wedding in India when it comes to the number of days of receptions and the number of gifts (grand mother is involved). We started already on Friday last week with grand parents and relatives and continued with a small family celebration on Saturday, when we went to the piercing studio to do the holes in the ear lobes she has been longing for since Lotta did her in April. We took a small break on Sunday, but continued today with a short boat ride and ice cream, followed by thai take away in front of a Barbie film (everything according to the wishes of the small princess herself). On sunday the kids party will take place. I asked Stefan if I could start on Tuesday next week to recover, but he didn’t approve… Maybe I have to invite him to the party for him to experience it!?
Today was also Ilse’s first day at kindergarten. Lotta was with her during the full day (three hours) and it seems like Ilse enjoyed it while Lotta is not looking forward to leave her there. The first day we shall leave Ilse I’ll be the one to do it, which is probably for the best! Ebba-Stina went on her new, pink kick-bike (birthday gift) to kinder garten. “It is much faster than the old one, but mother showed me how to break!”. Now Ilse will inherit the old, slow one and I guess the consumption of “princess band aids” will go up in the coming period, but knees are there to be scrubbed I guess!
Today has working day for daddy as well. Plan meeting at Hotel 11 with a view over the inner harbour of Gothenburg. It is end of August and the weather has been absolutely brilliant, but the only movements on the water are Marine Commercial. With that scenery in the back ground it was really pleasing to hear that the commercial segment is prioritised again. We’ll all learn about them, but we have five KFAs (Key Focus Areas) in the company now and growing the Marine Commercial business is one (Congratulations all MC lovers!) It was great to be back, not only to meet all the people again, but also to start to dig in to all the challenges we have. When you step out of it for a while and come back, you view things with “slightly different eyes” and that is inspiring in it self.
Yesterday was the birthday of young Jufors, so we got some nice steaks and cold beer. The children do really have fun together so it was “two sleeping sand bags” that we carried down to the boat in the evening. We slept in the boat and let the ropes go quite early this morning to team up with our friends Emma and Christer at Rörö. Rörö used to be THE place for us for some years as it is a nice sailing trip from Gothenburg, if you have more barbecue- than sailing ambitions. It’s an island in the nothern archipelago of Gothenburg, with a fantastic nature on the west side and a very well protected harbour facing the south east. The only negative thing is that the guest harbour is quite big, so it is not so picturesque. The kids love it though, so we still go here now and then. There is a fantastic hiking trail on the west side, over the stony beach with the horizon as company. Today, the sea was flat, but on a windy autumn day it is a magnificent scenery. You do not want to get an engine failure out there.
The children started off with crab fishing, but after dinner, with barbecued marsmallows pumping sugar into their veines, they decided to take a sim with their clothes and life jackets on (which was lucky in a way). They all ended up in a hot shower, happy but a bit cold. Now we have soaking clothes hanging all over the boat and two sleeping beauties in the aft. I assume the Berntsson kids also sleep well down in Osprey. We had a typical Swedish summer dinner. Typical in the sense that the will to dine outside overcomes the obstacles, in terms of tempetature and precipitation, to do so. It was a quite mild evening, but at one point I had the umbrella up to protect us and the sea food from getting moisty from the drissle.
Tomorrow we head back early to Gothenburg for a children’s party at the neighbours. I will use the time for cleaning around the house. We have had the house re-painted due to “default from manufacture” and the garden looks like a war zone. The result on the house seems OK, but it is remarkable how the guys and girls have managed to mess it up around them. The system with contractors and different sub-suppliers is really a poor model. I wonder for how long it will continue until the pendulum strikes back and sound entrepeneurs realise the financial benefit of taking a total ownership. To do it right from the beginning and avoid “after market costs” must be the biggest potential for increasing profit in the housing construction industry. If we let Anders Nilsson dig around in the hidden after market cost of the contractor (I will not disclose the name of the company, but it is owned by the city of Gothenburg) for some month I believe they would take some serious measures.