The Air Shipment Arrives Tonight
The good news is our air shipment is arriving tonight, ahead of schedule. The bad news is…it’s wet. They’re bringing it early because they’re concerned it could be damaged. 900 lbs of everything we deemed most essential to have in country before the rest of our household goods arrived, in other words, our best stuff. Well…no use worrying…I’m still celebrating our first take-out pizza. Two thin crust “family size” pizzas for 400 SEK. Swedish Kroner. (To convert, divide by 7.) In American currency that’s…yep, $57.00. It’s the most expensive pizza I’ve ever eaten and I wish I could say it was the best. There were seven pepperoni, almost zero cheese, and the center was soggy. Still, outside of our anniversary dinner, it was the first meal I didn’t have to cook and that was something to celebrate!
We’re limited in options here on the island. They won’t allow fast food—it’s not healthy—and most people don’t eat out weeknights because it’s expensive. Stockholm is just across the bridge with plenty of restaurants to choose from, even McDonald’s if you’re desperate, but then you have to figure in the bridge toll. I’d rather it be a bridge troll. Until a few days ago, we didn’t know there was a camera taking pictures of our license plate each time we traveled the 800-meter (about 1/2 a mile) stretch. Even though there is only one road off the island, you pay about 7-8 dollars to cross, one way. A train ticket will cost you the same. There is a free alternative, biking or running. I’ve seen women in nice dresses on bikes; grandma’s juggling shopping baskets, men jogging with backpacks, (their work clothes inside). Now I know why. I’ve been driving Cooper to and from work, morning and evening. So what’s that…like $30 a day? If nothing else the toll inspires people to exercise. I’ve yet to see a fat Swede even though they eat so much bread and cheese!!!
I’m starting to get the hang of grocery shopping. I remember now to keep a 10 Kroner coin in my purse (that’s what it costs to borrow a cart…divide by 7 it’s about $1.30). I keep bags in my car, most of the time anyway, because you have to pay for those too. I know a kyckling is chicken and detergent is rengøringmedel and ham is shinka. Our latest trip we we’re all so hungry our cart was overflowing with fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice, Coke Light, milk, juice, snacks…I also stocked up on cleaning supplies. I wouldn’t be telling you this except for the fact you need to understand, for the story to make sense; we had A LOT of stuff—the most stuff I’ve bought since we’ve arrived. The idea was to do a big shopping trip and not have to go back for at least a couple of days.
So we get to the checkout–a narrow conveyor belt about half the width of an America one–and the woman wearing wool gloves and a coat sitting at the register gives us an odd stare. (I should mention they don’t heat the grocery store and it’s freezing. If I had winter attire I’d wear it too.) The woman starts passing things over the sensor onto the next conveyor belt as I unpack and suddenly I realize the conveyor belt on the other side never stops. I mean if you have, say a bag of peaches and then a 12-pack of Coke coming down the line, those peaches are going to get smashed. Add to that the cleaner, a large laundry detergent box and so on and you’ll have yourself peach sauce.
We hurried with our empty bags, scurrying to pack. I felt like Lucy when she and Ethel were working at the candy factory…remember that episode? They couldn’t pack the chocolates fast enough so they began stuffing them in their mouths. It was a miracle nothing broke or spilled. We finished and I paid the $2,189 SEK—I didn’t do the math, and left.
Pushing the cart to the car of course was another challenge. For one thing the pavement to the parking lot slopes and for another the wheels on the cart go in every direction. Imagine a cart with 4 bum wheels. As Jonah remarked, “We have to pay for this?!” In two weeks the boys go back to school, typically a time I look forward to, but selfishly I’m thinking, I’m going to have to do this all by myself AND with Maggie? Well…we could always order pizza.