Monday, October 29, 2012

Neighborly help

Sooz and I are in pretty regular touch with Olle and Annika through the magic of iPhone apps. We play Word Feud on the iPhone, sometimes in Swedish and sometimes in English.

When I play in Swedish there is a lot of guessing involved. But sometimes I get lucky and score a good word! When I play Olle or Annika in English, however, they're both very good. I have to work hard to keep up my linguistic pride.

WhatsApp is another useful way for us to stay in touch. Annika uses it to send me her beautiful photos, which I post on the blog.

This picture isn't one of the pretty ones but I am very happy to see it in any case. I asked Olle to check on my heating setup in the bathroom. As you may recall, I keep all the freezable items in there with a radiator set on 8°C. I'm always worried that I set everything correctly, and I feel a lot better now that Olle has confirmed that the temperature is just right. (Too cold, and I get potential damage to the goods and plumbing; too warm and I spend a fortune in electricity and attract critters to the warmth).

It's great to have neighbors who can look across at my house on occasion, it really eases my mind!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I took a look at the blog's readership stats, and it's clear that Cinderella is the most popular subject here by a huge margin. In fact, toilets in general are the biggest source of new readers.

Given the new-found focus, I thought I'd recap our recent trials and tribulations with our own Cinderella toilet.

The cooling fan is set to turn on as soon as the lid is lifted. The fan is very important, given the heat generated by the combustion process. Without proper cooling and ventilation, it could be quite dangerous. That's one of the advantages of the Cinderella over other incinerating models; its sensor and fail-safe system is quite sophisticated.

Sooz found that the fan didn't come on when we turned it on, and a quick review of the manual indicated a fan failure. A call to Johan, the Cinderella expert I first met 5 years ago, confirmed it. Johan arranged for a new fan to be sent out along with instructions (in Swedish) and a little repair kit.

There was a bit of confusion in which the fan was sent to Stavsnäs instead of direct to us, but Sooz retrieved it and I was able to indeed replace the fan simply.

I was a bit miffed that the fan failed. After all, our Cinderella doesn't get continuous usage, and I keep the bathroom warm when we are away so it isn't subject to below-freezing temperatures. Then again I suppose not using it on a regular basis might be bad, too.

Johan softened the blow by not charging me for the fan, even though the warranty is only two years. He's a good guy (and so is everyone else I met in the company), plus he knows I am an influential blogger on the subject of incinerating toilets!

All's well that ends well, and our Cinderella is safely shut down until next year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Settling back

I find it hard to come back to 'regular life' after a week on Aspö. Especially now that we're living in Texas, our little house seems so far away. Easter is the earliest time we realistically would come back, so we're talking six months at least. That makes the house feel even further away, both geographically and on the calendar.

I do have a few interesting subjects to write about in these intervening months, not least our paint experiment. There are a number of cultural subjects to address, as well. So the writing pace may slow through the winter, but it won't stop, don't worry!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back in Texas

Sorry for the lack of posts. A combination of being busy, being lazy, and an annoyingly poor internet connection combined to keep me off the blog. But all is well. Lots to write about in the coming weeks.

At least I've been updating the photo album!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lazy afternoons

It was cool this morning, but not as cold as Stockholm; Marcia said she saw frost when she got up!

It's still a bit too wet to paint or wire the extra deck lights but I plan to do that tomorrow as Thursday and Friday will be dry.

The Cinderella is working fine, in fact both Sooz and I think it is quieter now. Perhaps there have been improvements in fan technology over the past 4 years...?

I'm catching up on email and Sooz is working on a jigsaw puzzle. It's quiet and peaceful. Bliss.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Good news! The Cinderella is back in service. The fan arrived today (although Sooz had to make a quick round trip to Stavsnäs to pick it up).

The instructions were clear and the whole job was as straightforward as I had hoped. It took less than an hour and there were no parts left over.

The best news was the sound of the whirring fan as soon we hooked it up! Success!

I'm off to the main dock to help Janne with moving some wood. Then we'll all have spaghetti for dinner.

The rain is supposed to stop tomorrow so everything is looking up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

We're here... but with a snag

The good news is that the drive, shopping, and boat trip all went perfectly. The house seems to be in tip-top shape. All is well except for one detail.

The Cinderella isn't working.

It powers on but the fan does not start up and is therefore inert. The blinking light code indicates a fan fault.

I called Johan bright and early and he also thinks it's the fan. He is going to mail a new one out to us today and we should receive it on Aspö tomorrow morning. He also emailed replacement instructions and it seems pretty easy to change.

The Cinderella came away from the wall pretty easily and I took the back off. Everything looks to be straightforward. Now I just have to hope the replacement fan arrives in the post tomorrow. Sooz does not want a second day without a toilet, and I can't say I blame her!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A busy weekend!

We've been quite busy these past 48 hours. Yesterday was shopping (clothes for the girls and linseed oil for me), then last night was a fantastic dinner at a trendy spot in Stureplan for Camille's birthday. In fact the place was so trendy, we saw Eric Saade (Sweden's Eurovision representative last year), there on a date! Not to worry, I didn't go up to him, although everyone dared me to.

This evening, Tim's American football team has their championship match, and we'll all be there to cheer. Then it's a short night as we're up early for an 0800 boat.

Photos have started on new Flickr set. More added soon!

UPDATE: Tim's team lost, sadly. They fell behind early, but made a damned good game of it in the second half.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Almost there

I'm writing from the BA lounge in Heathrow, hoping to meet up with my lovely wife in a little while. Our flight is in two hours. It's a good thing I had extra time because the vigilant folks at Heathrow security spent quite a buit of time looking at my carryon bag filled with light fixtures and wire. They were very professional about it, though.

My mother sent me a link from the Minneapolis paper; the King and Queen of Sweden are in my hometown, while I am in theirs!! What are the odds of that?

We'll be taking the 0800 Monday boat from Stavsnas. This weekend will be jam-packed with lots of social activities, which I'll report on later.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Preparing our Departure

Only time for a quick post, things have been pretty busy here in Texas!

Sooz just left for London a couple of hours ago, and the plan is for us to meet up in London this Friday afternoon for our trip to Stockholm. We have an action-packed weekend with Rutger and Marcia (more details on that to come). We're off to Aspö very early Monday morning, just a short week from today.

To say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement.