Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Randomness

1. Swine Flu, or should I say vaccinate or not. Here in Sweden, they're saying not to vaccinate under 3. The little guy turned 3 at the end of July. Contemplating. Some factors to consider:
- We have confirmed cases around these parts.
- Little guy goes to daycare
- We spend a lot of time with dear friends who have a daughter with a serious heart condition and they are urging all close to them to get vaccinated

2. The little guy is almost always jolly and generally well-behaved. We are truly blessed. May he stay this way. Well tonight at dinner his father told him not to play with his drink. He didn't listen, stuck his finger in the cup and...spillage. Dad raised his voice. Little man has the same reaction on the odd occassions this happens and it literally breaks your heart because his little heart is breaking. He repeats what Dad says, mimicking the same dissapointed tone and begins to cry. It's not a pity cry. It's a I-know-I-did-wrong-and-feel-so-horrible cry and it has both Dad and I with tear-filled eyes and feeling remorse. Unfortunately it can't be helped as he needs to know when he's misbehaved. But about GUILT.

3. Little Man's former Nanny's birthday tomorrow. Really look forward to Skyping her with a birthday song but as the days goes by, want so badly to see her in person. Our Montenegrin Mary Poppins.

4. Hubby's working too hard. He really needs a vacation. I admire his drive and faith but worried about him and wishing we could all take off to lay somewhere in the sun.

5. My comfy pants are history. I found these amazing not lycra or spandex but some lightweightish semi stretchy, slightly baggy (depending on the weight fluctuation state) workouty kinda pants in Montenegro, made by a Serbian company called Gajic. They are the bomb. I even took to buying them for friends back home they're so awesome. But my two trusty pair are on their last legs. Some thread pulling, actual wear (where you can begin to see my actual ass) and well, they just look like I've worn them nearly everyday for the past two years (which I likely have, even if just in the mornings before I get actually dressed). I may have to send them to comfy pant heaven. But before I do, I may have to beg some Montenegrin friends to make a trip to Budva to pick me up a few more pair.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Great Swedish Haircut

So I've been procrastinating on hair maintenance...severly procrastinating..since this past March procrastinating. My roots are a few inches long and my hair was down past my bra strap. I personified trailer trash and couldn't live with my greasy-looking but not greasy hair a day longer so I bit the bullet. What bullet you ask? Just book an appointment, you say.

I'm convinced hair salons in this fair country are criminal organizations. Every time I take my son or my husband or my big son to the hairstylist I want to scream at the absurdity of the prices. Average salons here charge over 250 SEK (that's like 40 CDN dollars) to cut my little boy's hair. My husband's hair, we're looking at 350+. My hair cut was gonna cost me 400 the conversion. You don't want to know how much colour costs. But I'm gonna tell you anway...around 2000 SEK (that's $277 USD!) at an average salon.

I've been holding out because I've not-so-secretly been longing for a week's vacation back in our old home of Montenegro, where'd I'd be paying a max of 70 euro for a beautiful colour, cut and style. Focus on that last word for a I'm still half holding out...I decided, at the very least, that I needed to CUT this shaggy mop.

When you leave the hairdresser, don't you expect to walk out feeling like a million bucks? I mean, who can do our hair better than a trained professional, right? The soft, silky, glowing, frizz-free, fresh-out-of-a-magazine hair style...ahhhhh...

I am NOT CHEAP. I tip generously too. But yesterday afternoon was a different story.

She cut my hair...quite a few inches off so now it just rests on my shoulders. And then she proceeded to finish me off. But no happy endings here. WTF was she doing? First she sat me under one of those helmet dryers. Then she comes at me with a heat-blowing curling iron. The result was a fuzzy, frizzy mess. And she has the nerve to monkey around in it with her fingers, like she's putting finishing touches on it or something! I guess her fingertips must be numb as she's obviously NOT feeling that my hair is still HALF WET.

The word "anger". "Please help me understand the hair styling process here in this country. Back *home*, when we pay for a haircut, a hair style is included in the price. Is that not the case here?" - "Oh yes," she replies. "Do you not use round brushes?" "Yes, we have them".

I honestly don't see one anywhere. If you have long hair, like I do, you fully expect the hair stylist to blow your hair out with a round brush and sometimes even use a flat iron. How else can you get it to look flawless?

What I should have said, in hindsight, was "Would YOU leave this salon with your hair looking like THIS?" There are a lot of things I should have said but I was boiling over with rage and wanted to get the hell out of there and home to my family, who experienced my wrath, and my flat iron.

Hair stylists in this country are likely the best paid and treated in the world. They get their five weeks vacation just like everyone else. They also have special chairs they sit on to cut your hair (which I think is smart because I have a lot of friends who are stylists that have problems with their backs and legs). In Montenegro, hairstylists are likely the worst paid and work the hardest and still, for 7 euro I can get an amazing wash and set from a talented girl whose arms are like steel from roundbrushing hair all daylong.

And yes, I fully expect to pay more in a country with a higher standard of living, an expensive country.

Hair stylists in this country are just plain LAZY. You're probably wondering if I encountered this before at different salons. And yes, I have. Three to be exact. So I am full justified in painting them all with the same round brush.

These pretty girls need to get their shapely butts over to Montenegro, or America for that matter, and take a few lessons. The next time I won't be walking away with pent-up frustration and without leaving a tip. The next time I will leave a tip: I will demand a round brush, a blow dryer and show them how it's done.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Whatever the reason, DO NOT BE LATE

Oh boy...One thing I've noticed since moving to this country is that Swedes are chronically ON TIME. If you're having a party, like we did for hubby this weekend and tell guests the party starts at 7pm, the guests either arrive at 6:45pm or right on the nose at 7pm. So my usual buffer of "casually late" which I've become accustomed to in North America is gone. This is not so much a problem for me, really. But my chronically-late husband needs to get his ass in gear.

So my poor son has been sick with a cold since Friday. No fever. Just a runny nose. They called from his school to suggest that I pick him up early. And sure enough, hubby and I both fell ill after our party guests left Saturday night. Today is Monday and time for school. After gauging that Joe was just fine, save for a runny nose, it was off to school for him. Last night I decided we were sleeping in. No waking up at 7am to get him to school for 8am. In fact, we woke up at 8am and my plan was to call the school (like a good and respectful parent) to advise them Joe would be late.

I proceed to explain to the teacher that answered the outdoor phone, to which she replied, clearly aghast, "Oh no, what happened?" I was not expecting that kind of What-terrible-thing-could-have-happened-to-prevent-you-from-respecting-the-rules-and-being-on-time reaction so I blubber, "Son's sick, I'm sick and we slept in". I then had to backpeddle a bit to explain that son was actually feeling better (really, he's well enough to come to school, I swear). "Oh, I think you should speak to Anna" (the boss).

I had composed myself again, apologized, but my son would be late. He would arrive at 9:15am. " know that the children are inside at that time and that you will be interrupting things. Please make sure we make eye contact before you leave. That's very important."

Suddenly sleeping in didn't seem like a good idea anymore.

So we show up at 9:15am (on time, the new time that is). Of course, son had expected to walk down the rock path to join the children in the park and was visibly upset the routine had changed and we were going inside instead. I am not stupid. I do realize that this change of routine would impact him. But in my defense, I had planned to make it on time for the park drop-off and blame my boss for calling me with a work emergency that delayed the "getting ready for school routine". Anyway, I drag him inside and Anna comes over to greet us as the other children look on. She, of course, notices son is a bit "out of sorts".

"The reason for your lateness doesn't concern me," she states, "Please remember that it is extremely important to follow the routine and that your son is confused now because the routine was broken."

"Yes, I realize that," I try to explain. "It was a bad morning."
"I'm sure it was," she said. "But please try to be on time."

Translation: Dear Bad Mother, Get your lazy ass out of bed in the morning and get your son to school on time.