Archive for the ‘The Good Life’ Category

Bye-bye leper car

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

1999fordtaurus3723-300x189I got a new car. Well, a new old car. My previous one, a 21-year-old Toyota Camry that I’ve written quite a lot about in my previous blog, was still working,  but since I was offered to buy my wife’s grandma’s car (Ford Taurus ‘99)  that she is no longer using for a good price, I grabbed the opportunity and upgraded.

While the new car isn’t exactly new or, how do I put this gently… sexy (according to SNL it’s the car that many thirtysomethings drive to show the world they’ve given up on their dreams), it does possess some features one would consider useful or maybe even necessary for a functioning vehicle, such as a heater and A/C, working radio and both tail lights intact.

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Alien no more

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

american-flag-3It is now official. I am American. I still don’t feel like an American. But then again, I never really felt very Swedish either. Or Polish for that matter. Having Polish parents while living in Sweden has made me somewhat confused over where I really belong. I have always conveniently chosen to answer where I’m from depending on the situation. When someone made fun of Sweden, I was Polish. When someone teased me about being from Poland, I was Swedish. It worked out great, and sometimes I felt sorry for those poor kids with only one country of origin. How did they manage?

Now, I have yet another identity to delude my sense of patriotism.

The ceremony was pretty nice. It was me and 850 other people from 93 different countries who took the Oath of Citizenship at the same time. Pretty neat. The only thing I found somewhat ironic was when they played “Born in the USA” through the loudspeakers, before the ceremony, in an auditorium full of 850 foreigners just about to become neutralized naturalized.

We celebrated afterwards by eating out. I had ribs, coleslaw and a Budweiser, instantly feeling a lot more American.

New Job

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

I guess this isn’t news anymore, but I did actually manage to find a job finally…… even after I banged my face up on a plate glass window.

man_gets_jobNeil and Buzz should be happy that they got the easier task……

Farmer FAIL

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Earlier this month we started planting tomato and other vegetable seeds for our vegetable garden. We got a little planter box and happily planted our seeds expecting outstanding results. After all, how hard can it be right? We grow weeds all over the backyard without any effort. Surely this can’t be much harder.

A week later the first seedlings started popping up and happiness ensued. We were on our way. This had to be the hardest part, to get them to actually surface, I thought.  Another week went by and they kept growing. I was religiously putting the boxes out during daytime for maximum sunlight and taking them back inside overnight, to avoid the frost getting to them. All was great. Time was now our only obstacle. Soon enough we’d have tons of tomato plants and we were already making plans to give some of them away, once they matured some more. We did after all have so many and couldn’t possibly keep them all.

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Lame duck

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Not too surprisingly, I passed today’s citizen test and am almost a US Citizen now. I’m in, what might be called, Citizenship purgatory, or maybe even better, a form of Resident Alien lame duck status. Either way, all the hard work as been done and I’m now awaiting the Oath ceremony where I get to hold up my right hand and swear to only do good things and always be prepared. No wait, that’s boy scouts…

To say the test was easy would be an overstatement. There were 4 or 5 questions on basic US history and government asking things like, what the capitol of California is, etc and for the English writing and comprehension I had to read this sentence: “Where is the White House?” and write “The White House is in Washington DC”. I think my daughter who is 5 could have passed that.

A short moment after the history and English test, another person went over my application with me again. I had to restate that I hadn’t overthrown any governments or joined any terrorist networks since I first filed to become a citizen. And shortly after that, I was done. Just like that. And in a month or so, if they don’t change their minds, I’ll be allowed to start my campaign to run for Governor. Move over Arnold.

Time to take a test

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

american-constitutionSo, tomorrow is the D-day for my naturalization, as I understand it. I’m going downtown to take the test to become a citizen of this glorious country. I’m still a little confused about the process. I’m not sure if I just take the test, and then leave to come back for the swearing in ceremony, or if that’s done there the same day? I guess I’ll find out soon enough. (if I even pass that is, don’t want to assume too much).

I’ve been studying for the last few days, so I think I know more about the US government than most natives of this country. Usually, when in doubt, the answer any question on the test, is George Washington. By answering that, I’ll at least get 3 or so questions right. Probably enough to get me deported.

In any case, wish me luck.

Catch 22

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

uscisSome of you who take interest in my transatlantic journey know how I’m aspiring to become a fear-mongering/freedom-loving citizen of this wonderful land. And lately it seems that the only thing obstructing my goal, is US Immigration. This of course is a little like saying that the only thing standing in between you and a Nobel Price is your abnormally- low, Forrest-Gump-like IQ.

So today, I received a letter from Immigration telling me how I missed my interview appointment with them a few days ago, that I never knew I had. All because the letter with that information never reached me. I picked up the phone and called them to clear things up and reschedule another appointment.

The number provided was, as one might suspect, to a convoluted automated phone system with 543 menu options, none of which were in any way related to why I was calling. I randomly navigated around for a while and after having the phone system hang up on me 3 times, I finally managed to stumble my way through to a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub menu option closely resembling something that might be related to whatever it is I thought I might have been calling for, 10 hours earlier when I started dialing.

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Password cracker

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

safeWe, as most other people these days, have a computer at home. And our son and daughter sometimes like to play with it. Surf some kid sites, or just play music on iTunes, or whatever. Once in a while however, we lock it (the good ol’ ctrl-alt-delete) to prevent the kids from messing with it too much when we have important things we’re working on at the moment.

This of course, is not very popular. Especially with our son. He just can’t stand the fact that there is a password to access the computer that he doesn’t know. So, the questions keep coming: “What is the password?”, “Why can’t you tell me?”, etc, etc. And when it becomes obvious to him that I’m not going to tell him this time either, he starts  his brute force attack. I see words such as: “administratoror” (misspelled), our last name and his first name, random object names visible from where he’s sitting like “pen” and so on. It seems to me he’s trying his first dictionary attack. I feel proud.

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Last minute ski trip

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

I bought a pair of old skis today. I figured that’s the first step to actually going skiing. I didn’t want to have an excuse to not go when there’s time, even though renting is pretty simple. It’s just a mental block I guess.

I got the skis off of craigslist.org, since I didn’t want to spend a fortune on equipment that I’ll probably end up using once or twice a year. For 80 bucks I was set. Skis, ski poles and boots. Pretty sweet deal I thought. And after I came home, I realized we didn’t have much else planned today, so why not just trek up the mountain and try them out.

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Friday the 13th day of Christmas

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

I’m sitting here on the couch at my in-laws house. It’s the day after Christmas and I’m the only one in our family that still hasn’t thrown up.

The wife’s cousin decided to show up with her sick kids for Christmas dinner after they’d been puking for the last week or so at home. This was actually the second year in a row she’d done that, but last year we avoided getting sick somehow. This year, not so much. We thank them for delivering this wonderful gift of infectious disease right to our doorstep.

After I came back from the store, the house looked like a horror movie with bodies scattered all over. And in the middle of this, the wife’s aunt and family arrived, from Indiana. Great timing. Not that they could help it, but it was a little comical to have them walk in as the rest of the family was running for the bathroom.

Now, I’m wondering how long it’ll be till this virus thingy claims its next victim. And who will it be?