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The Secret To Life By Another Bob

A Bob sure does know some stuff, and contemplate some stuff, probably thereby in time growing to know that stuff which you might find unusually enlightening and have potentially permenantly alter your perspective of personality, ambition and life, like this little bit right here...

Overflowing Propane Springs

I'm waiting on a welder. A propane implementation for our air heat pump. Apparently it's been leaking - probably lightly over a long period of time. There was barely any coolant left. I wonder how much of a fire hazard it's been during that time. Right now plenty of windows are open - and there's a device in the washing room to erase any trace of potential propane that may there linger - we have additional ventilation in the washing room too. But during winter the windows definitely aren't so open.

Have we lit any matches there recently...

We've had an issue with odors seeping in via our neighbors too. The best way to troubleshoot such an issue is to light a special kind of match close to wall and ventilation - coincidentally very close to the propane-leaking air heat pump - and see where the smoke goes...

I got up at 7 AM today for the cause. The troubleshooting. The fuming looming. They had two big-ass fire extinguishers with them for worst case scenarios, and I'd cleaned out the washing room yesterday, which was a big-ass job. Wealth accumulates. A wealth of dust. A wealth of items. Cleaning utensils pots paper and boxes full of empty glass jars in abundance.

It's currently 10 AM, and they're still working the issue. I didn't expect it to go on this long.

Since I abide my time upstairs as they do their bidding in the downstairs area - wary of whatever hazardous gases may seep through those rooms - I've been impressively productive this fine morning. And since the sun is still on the bedroom side of the house (just across the hall, a few meters away, but still) the computer area's remarkably airy and cool, still. This is the usual time I rise. Around ten. A little earlier more recent weeks.

It feels good. To maybe not be up with the sun, but to be up, and cool, and managing. Early enough to feel good about it.

I meant to write up a post about how haywire this Spring's been earlier.
I asked a friend a stupid question yesterday - been overthinking mortality in lieu of mom's ongoing heart palpitation issues post-covid. They're doing better though, and I'm feeling better today. Watched a video of a nurse-in-training who'd managed to make a Camper out of a Camaro, and boiled shrimp from the backseat. It looked a little cramped, but also tasty, with sesame seeds noodles and some extra spice...

Maybe this Spring isn't so bad after all. It's all relative.

Celebrated Midsummer with relatives last Friday. Celebrated a cousin's 30th Birthday this Monday - bestowed upon him a promised round of Minigolf at this place, one of the oldest Minigolf courses in Sweden, with an adventure golf course and a normal one, and an unlimited number of rounds for the same entrance fee on a good day. Looks promising.

The Poland trip was nice too - taken earlier with that same cousin.

I do mean to post a recap eventually - hopefully before Christmas.

I also managed to time in the best weather ever on my two trips up North so far. Not a cloud in sight. Sunshine all day all night. And relatively warm water, but cool enough that it'd be refreshing after a session of body-building ardor in the advent garden.

Here's a list of unfortunate events thus far this Spring though - I scrawled them down earlier so I might as well post 'em - though better to move on:

  • Mom caught covid. Still has heart palpitations and a loss of taste a month later.
  • Dad caught covid after her. He's doing better.
  • I caught covid first. All good now though.
  • The cousin I went to Poland with caught covid too. His mom had a stroke. They're doing better.
  • Air heat pump broke. We've had issues a couple of months now - hopefully this'll get resolved today.
  • Car broke down earlier this Spring - fortunately right by the repair shop. They replaced the fuel pump for the third time within the last
    ~2 years. For free, since the last time they replaced it was a month ago. They'd forgotten.
  • Car broke down again one day before the drive North. Had to be towed to a repair shop - apparently a hose to the fuel pump had come loose - lost some fuel.
  • Car was still not running perfectly during the trip - which made it a somewhat nervous trip. Tried adding a bottle of fuel injection cleaner along the way and eventually it seems that might've fixed this!
  • Car is difficult to start sometimes after fuel pump issues, seems like the ignition cartridge may need replacing too.
  • Greenhouse collapsed entirely this winter. Neighbor let us know. I've picked and vacuumed most of the glass shards, at least some ~50 kg glass. The partially intact frame remains. We ponder potential uses or dismantling actions this summer.
  • The car battery on my little VW Polo did not survive the winter this year. Ordered a new one - it arrived this Monday - hopefully I'll get that car going again on the next trip.
  • Had to cancel six flights due to those covid and heart palpitation uncertainties (four of mine) and move a hotel booking to October.
  • My work days were cut in half from May to August - at least - we'll see then. Company finances are strained and uncertain.
  • Train issues, strikes and delays all Spring - due to limited staffing they'll have replacement buses from the start of July until mid-August. I'm fortunately away most of this time - or working from a distance, but the one day I will have to commute in it'll take ~5 hours back and fourth. Airport trips have become a bit more difficult too.
  • Airport strikes may happen just in time for my main trip. Hoping they come to an agreement before then.
  • Big bro's girlfriend broke her shoulder.
  • Big bro and girlfriend bought a new puppy that does not get along well with their other dog, and it seems she's allergic to it. Thus the puppy cannot stay.
  • The puppy developed difficulties moving around. Apparently it's sick. They know not with what. It may be genetic. It cannot be returned to buyer. They're insured for 100,000 SEK and have used up a third of that on treatments thus far...
  • I broke one of our lawnmowers. Metal handle just snapped in half.
  • Broken bee glass, broken umbrella foot, broken zipper on my favorite jacket, broken other things, I thought our freezer up North was broken too... had just missed a switch there though! Whoop. Though all newly stocked freezer contents simmered in room temperature for three days and spoiled.

I was hoping to attend some Gröna Lund concerts this Spring/Autumn, but by means of budget I think I'll skip those this year. The artists aren't that great overall, and MGK plays on the wrong day, though I would have liked to see Trippie Redd. Plus commuting time there suddenly doubled due to those limited staffing issues/replacement buses.

One of their rollercoasters just derailed and one gal died too - something that has never happened before, not since Gröna Lund first opened way back in 1883! Nor in (the current owner's) Park & Resorts proud and safety-attentive something like fifty-year history!

They still have no idea why or how it could happen.

The Swedish Krona is currently at an all time low compared to the USD/EUR - which will further impact import prices and finances, but interesting things are happening in Russia, with the Wagner Group potentially dissenting, and the weather's been beautiful - barely a single drop of rain for a month or so here - surrounding lawns are parched and yellow.

I've watered mine though. I tasted my first home-grown strawberries (Fragaria × Vescana actually - it's a hybrid between regular strawberries and smaller 'wild strawberries') yesterday - we have those too, and it hasn't been too hot for comfort thus far.

I sleep alright. My bedtimes are improving. I do alright in daytime too. I've eaten out a few times (did I mention Bro Park?), cleaned up the house, packed my stuff already - mostly, have plenty of fresh Moroccan mint in the garden and a commercial haircut for a change - presently I feel good!

It is raining up North, and our crops there are as of today finally all planted and ready - some actually sprouting already. I did my bidding while I was there, managed most of the groundwork - recovering parents are busy fixing the rest for the next week or so, and then...

Fingers crossed everything goes as it's supposed to now!!!

Hope my flight leaves as it should. Hope I'm on it. Hope I don't catch something before then (I have been feeling something...). Or after, for that matter.

At least I'm getting a tan man. At least I'm moving. At least I feel good. So maybe things aren't all bad. Maybe things are turning around after all.

This spring blows. But the wind blows too. Through the windows June... I'm heading back to fan land.

And I'll dig dirt till I can't stand in that grand land.


Education, The Path...

Education: The path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.

Where I've Been By The Way

Up North! Two trips at four and six days apiece. I drove a thousand kilometers and flew back and fourth and back again and now I'm back to catching up and doin' all but nappin' in...

Shall hopefully post a bit more before it's summer for real. Two weeks.

Irrelevant but here's a cool cause to potentially help fund, this place serves REALLY GOOD LUNCH and if you ever wondered if EV's grow on trees (?)... they don't, but in fields, apparently. And here's what I'm playing right now.

Stay crunchy y'all.

The National Swedish Day Spring

Happy Swedish National Day y'all! It is that.

Raised a table flag for the occasion. 🇸🇪

The SAAB 9-5 With Inferior Spring

We postponed the plotted, customary, essential North-going trip with one more day. Just a day. Maybe mom would be well enough to join me on the long ride North tomorrow. I've been packing prolifically. The living room's chaotic but in order - most boxes are full and ready to be carried to the car. Plants are still on the tables and windowsills awaiting last-minute packing. Food's still in the fridge and ditto.

This morning I was plotting to take a quick drive to the supermarket and shop a week's worth of food for my still somewhat sick dad, check the tires, refuel the car, and have it all ready to go tomorrow morning...

And it wouldn't start.

I turned the key. It almost started. The lights flickered. The engine sputtered but didn't start. I waited. I tried again. I waited. I tried again. I waited. I tried again.

I popped the hood. The oil was OK. Nothing seemed broken or out of place. I tried again. I tried again. I tried again.

Finally it did start! I rolled out of the parking space, and started down the driveway.

The engine stalled.

I started it again. I drove down to the street, the car started shaking, it stalled again...

I parked it by the curb, right before it stalled again. I started it again, parked better, and ran the engine on idle a while. Though it did not stall then it seemed like it might occasionally. It does not run well.

There's something wrong with the engine, though it ran fine last time, and that is an unavoidable fact. I had a moment of angst. Everything's ready. I'm ready. We've been delaying this trip more and more with each passing day, and now that it's finally almost time to leave... it's just not possible.

Potential backup plans? I've pondered the alternatives...

1. Book a flight instead.

In which case I need some kind of transport arrangement from the airport to the summer place up North - buddy Andreas might be able to assist there - he's heading to his place this Friday. Otherwise the best bet would be the bus, but it doesn't go all the way. The only cheap flight this Friday leaves Stockholm Arlanda at 5:55 in the morning. The first bus leaves Bro somewhere around 4:40. The first commuter train to the bus leaves 5:30 - if the car worked I could've gotten a ride there instead. It's about an hour and a half to the airport. The times do not align. The only viable alternative is thus a taxi. Expensive. Another alternative's a hotel near the airport. Expensive. Another alternative's another flight. Expensive too. And I'd be there just two days then, with questionable transport alternatives back to the airport as well...

2. Buy a new car.

Or more correctly an old car. I've gone through the local catalog now. Found a neat little Toyota Starlet from 1989 - my birth year! Most cheap cars have defects. Maybe this one does too. It has a rusted hole by a wheelhouse. The used car market overall seems a bit lacking... or expensive.

3. Rent a car.

Expensive too. Renting a car for one month would cost almost as much as buying one, and the allotted mileage with the cheaper rental alternatives wouldn't even cover the first portion of the trip. So it'd cost more, or not be a viable alternative after all. Then you'd need to drive it back again. Factor in fuel costs and time - two days there, two days back.

4. Take bus or train all the way from Stockholm.

That'd be more expensive than a flight, and time-consuming too.

5. Ask my nephew who's coming to visit next Sunday if he could borrow my big brother's car...

...instead of him taking the train, and if maybe we could drive it up North and back again, at which point it'd be shorter for him back home than it would be back to Stockholm - so he'd shave a bit off the return trip. I'm relatively certain my big bro needs the car though. They lead a busy life. Worst case though it wouldn't hurt to ask...

There really are no good alternatives.

Once someone is up North it's easy to fly there. Whenever tickets are cheap. Especially if you plan ahead. When nobody is, and when we have a car full of goods to bring with us, all of which wouldn't be possible to bring by plane... there really is no option. We need a car.

Today's a holiday here in Sweden, so there's not much we can do today. First thing tomorrow: call repair shops. We have a list of three to call; hopefully one of them can have a look on short notice. If not we'll have to contemplate our options again. Do we just buy a new car? Do we rent a car? Do we wait? How long do we wait?

If we do get time for a check-up tomorrow I'll be going with the car, dad will be staying home to oversee the air source heat pump check-up in parallel, and best case scenario *fingers crossed* the car gets fixed and the pump gets fixed and we're ready to take this trip the day after... by which time I'll be getting virtually no time at all up North before it's time to head back again, and work, and fly back up again. But then the car would be there, and so would the folks, and even if the main car breaks down again I have a spare up there. My lovely little bright red '95 Polo. Props Andreas. In times like these it's a pretty awesome reassurance to have around, I just need to take it in for a yearly check-up before it's allowed back in traffic again, it should be all good, it ran perfectly last year...

If no repair shops have time and all other plans falter maybe I can head up North and breath some life into my Polo instead, maybe I could drive it back South and up again, with all our stuff. That'd be expensive though.

I could leave it at the airport for the two day duration before I'm back up again, too. If I do book a new flight.

There are options.

None as ideal as it would be to head North in the car we already have here, but lately it seems you'd best be prepared for anything.

Have been looking around at new greenhouses btw. They're expensive too. Hope that wooden frame reinforcement idea and temporary sheets of plastic work fine for now...

Seems like I'm just blogging about depressing things this Spring, but that really is the kind of Spring it's been, thus far! Just one problem after the other. If ever there was an ideal time to just write and vent around here though why not now. That's what this place is for after all.

I did have a fun trip and visits in the midst of all this ongoing seasonal madness, though elements of planning collided there too. Wonder how things would've turned out if I had headed up in the beginning of May after all, maybe we'd have had the greenhouse fixed and an alternative car at the ready already, maybe it wouldn't even be broken...

Best let bygones be though. Whenever these initial travel issues settle maybe I can. Here's hoping tomorrow solves all.

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