Author Archive: hjonasson

A passion for chainsaws

These job ads get more specific every day. Today’s copywriting ad states that they would prefer an applicant who is really into chainsaws.

If I come dressed as this guy, do you think I’ll get the job?

leatherface.jpg

Advertisements

Stakeholders

Every time I read a job ad that includes any mention of “stakeholders,” I just think of an angry mob chasing Dracula and then I forget what the job was about.

Typical Swedish magazine

While waiting in line at the grocery store, I spotted the magazine rack, which is pretty much what one would expect in Sweden:

IMG_6651.jpg

Yes.

I never read the context of these articles. I pretend they are direct questions posted to me and then I answer them. On to the next headline…

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 07.46.51

Dress Code

In my old hometown newspaper from Texas, there is an article this week about a sophomore student in high school asking the School Board to remove the ban on boys wearing earrings in school.

I have tried to explain to my Swedish husband that when I went to school in Texas, you could not dye your hair, boys could not have hair past their shoulders, no facial hair and no earrings for boys. That was combined with the usual skirts past the fingertips for girls and no hats allowed for anyone.

Apparently the schools in the place I grew up finally took away the rule about long hair for boys (fairly recently). I know the earring and facial hair rule are still in effect, as well as the skirts and hats, and I’m not sure about hair dye but I think that is still banned as well.

When my husband went to high school here in Sweden, he went through purple hair, bright red hair and blue hair, among many other colors. He also had an earring. And no one cared. He was a smart and great student. No one in class was “distracted,” as some Texas schools like to say in these situations.

Imagine at your job if a man walked in with an earring (many men at your job probably already wear one or more), facial hair (shocking!) and purple hair. You might say, “Whoa Todd, cool hair!” and then do your job. I can’t imagine anyone saying, “There is just no way I can file insurance claims when I can’t take my eyes of Todd’s earring.” or “I would save this woman’s life, but I can’t perform surgery when the ambulance driver who brought this patient in has purple hair. It’s too distracting.”

My oldest son dyed his hair orange most of last year. All this week he has been wearing fake mustaches to school, nerd glasses and a hat that looks like Sonic the Hedgehog. Surprisingly, this does not affect his work or the work of his fellow students, some who have dyed hair, wear shorts or even a rabbit suit pullover (yes, I’ve seen this twice).

I live in the real world. I ride the subway. I’ve seen people dressed as zombies, people with face tattoos, people with piercings and chains. I don’t mind any of those people as long as they TAKE A SHOWER (and don’t eat my brains, of course).

DSC07299

My oldest son has worn this to school every day this week (with a different mustache every day).

 

One step removed celebrity recipes

A family member posted a recipe today for a Pinapple pie. The recipe was listed as being “Johnny Cash’s Mother’s Recipe.”

Why would this make the pie any better? As far as I know, Johnny Cash’s mother was not a famous cook. Also, Johnny Cash did not always look the picture of great health or “fun” eating. Just saying.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 08.05.24.png

 

5cc7452c0bd7509ea3216ebe150ad2e7

Just because I SOUND like a caveman…

This past weekend, I took a shortcut past a brand new tram stop that had not yet opened. A very confused looking woman asked me in Swedish when the next tram was coming. I explained to her, also in Swedish, that the stop would not open until the next day, as it was a new stop for the new line. 

From her confused look, I deduced that I had once again messed up my Swedish grammar in some way. However, I’m fairly certain I got all the key words correct. “New station” “Opens tomorrow” I’m not THAT terrible at Swedish. 

It seems the problem may have been that this woman was not familiar with Stockholm and it’s transportation system. She kept insisting that she arrived at this stop a few hours ago and was trying to go back. Figuring she most likely was not a time traveler from the future, I tried to tell her that there was a different train (not tram) stop about 400 meters up the road just behind a large building. Perhaps that was where she arrived?

But because of what I can only assume must have been bad grammar ( “Different train, you go other side of building, different station.”), she did not trust my local knowledge. In a move I’ve experienced a few times before, she stared at me for a beat, then proceeded to approach another person to ask the exact same question. 

It’s so frustrating to take time to help people when they totally ignore everything you say, even if it is in a caveman-like accent. Just because I’m missing a few adjectives doesn’t mean I can’t answer your question! 

I need to find out the Swedish equivalent of “But that’s what I said!” and “I told you so!”  Otherwise, I might just practice a standard phrase in perfect Swedish and use that for any question from now on. Example: “You only need to wait here 5 minutes. Have a lovely day.”

This will be my response for all future questions, whether they are “How long until the next train?” or “Where can I find something to eat?”. People will trust my confident, perfectly-spoken answer and wait for something that will never come unless they dare to trust information from someone with an accent. 

Cavemen have feelings too!

Modern orienteering

Orienteering has been the theme for my son’s gym class the past few weeks. Today he had an assignment to find his way from his school to a place about 2 and a half miles away.

So of course, we showed him how to use the Uber app on his phone.

orienteering-banner.jpg

Tourist activities

Another trip to Italy coming up this fall. What do you think of my itinerary?

We can start at the Egizio Museum, have a coffee at the Piazza, swing by the GATES OF HELL and maybe round up the day at the cinema?

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 11.04.47.png

Toothbrush thoughts

My son had a good dentist appointment this week and the dentist gave him a new toothbrush when he left. He took it out of the wrapper and slowly ran his fingers up and down, over the top.

“This is so soft. It’s like when I touch your toothbrush. It’s soft under my fingers. My old toothbrush feels like straw.”

I realized I hadn’t replaced the kids’ toothbrushes in a while. I told my son that I didn’t know his toothbrush was so hard, and that he should remind me to replace it more often. 

I gave him a hug and told him he could go on ahead of me to see if his neighborhood friend was home. As I watched him run down the sidewalk, I thought about how happy I was that he didn’t have to suffer through all the problems I had at his age with my teeth. What a healthy kid. He eats well, exercises and….

Wait a minute. 

“Why are you touching my toothbrush?!” 

How to disappoint your kids

Unintentionally fashionable

When I fell off my moped this weekend and ripped up my jeans, both of my sons said, “Well, now you’ll be in fashion.”

I saw this ad today on our neighborhood sale group for someone selling jeans. It translates to “Jeans with tears, completely NEW

I guess you would have to emphasize that they are new, because you just never know with that fashion.

Now I’m thinking I can sell my ripped jeans on the neighborhood sale group too! My ad will read, “Jeans with tears, completely AUTHENTIC

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 07.33.25

Bicycles and mopeds are a conspiracy to sell more bandages

I haven’t been writing much lately as I don’t have time between having accidents, putting on bandages and bleeding everywhere. Also, wearing a bandage on your face really brings your self-confidence down.  Speaking of that, why did all my appointments and meetings have to be scheduled last week when I was forced to wear a bandage on my chin in front of people? You know everyone probably thought I was covering up a zit instead of the half-dollar sized bleeding scab. Swedish culture dictates that it’s not polite to ask why someone’s face is all messed up. That’s why I prefer other immigrants like me, who flat out say, “Whoa! What’d you do to your face?!” Let’s just get it out there.

After going through a set of bandages and almost an entire box of Band-Aids for my chin and hands, I was finally presentable enough to take them off by Friday, a week after flying off my bike like a moron by hitting a curb full speed at the wrong angle.

So what did I do to celebrate? I took out the moped Saturday and ran it into a curb at the wrong angle, falling down and ripping up my knee, as well as my new jeans. Plus my whole right leg is covered in bruises. My husband was sent back to the store once again to purchase more large bandages that I will run out of soon because somehow my knee is still bleeding 2 days later.

I’ve learned two things over the past 2 weeks:

  1. “Flesh”-colored bandages on your face make you look like a serial killer.
  2. I should not be allowed to ride things with two wheels.

I’m leaving the house in a few minutes and walking to the subway, where I will trade in disgusting sores and bruises for contagious colds and flus. Instead of financing the bandage industry, I’ll be moving on to tissues.

Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 08.36.45

And THAT’s why you always wear a helmet!

Today I learned that you can’t jump a curb full speed with your bicycle if you’re a 42-year old with bad coordination and a history of extreme clumsiness.

In my head, I thought, if you just believe in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to.

Nope.

So now I have a busted up chin in a huge, hideous bandage and a mild concussion. But on the bright side, you really get to know your neighbors when you smash your face on a sidewalk. They were all helpful, and I like to think I added to their day by giving them a good story for work. “So this moron tries to jump the curb and goes flying ….”

I’ll wrap this up by reminding everyone that no matter what those inspirational books say, believing in yourself is not enough. Wear crash pads everywhere.

Overheard conversation between my kids

Boy 1: Are you ok with guacamole on your tacos?

Boy 2: You don’t seem to understand the meaning of tacos. With tacos, you can add what you want – meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato…

Boy 1: Yeah, but would you eat guacamole?

Boy 2: I could do it if necessary, but I just don’t see the point.

angryava.jpg

 

Fancy dishwasher

Our new dishwasher is too complicated for me.

We had our old dishwasher replaced after it finally refused to wash the top level of dishes. It had been hanging on for a few years, through duct tape on the outside handle to superglue on the spinning arm, but it just couldn't take the barrage of dirty dishes that a family of four tends to load every evening.

Enter the NEW dishwasher. It has a digital display. Can someone explain why this is necessary? I tried to push the button to start an empty run. This happened:

NEW Dishwasher: You haven't inserted to extra fancy cleaning solution in case I feel the need to clean my insides when there are no dishes.

Me: I put a regular tablet in you. You're brand new. I think we have a few weeks until a cleaning. (Push button again)

ND: There's not enough salt.

Me: Are you mimicking my husband? You sound exactly like him at dinner time. Also, why does a dishwasher need salt? (Push button again).

ND: (let's out a watery sigh). Fine then 50 degrees. This will take 2 hours.

Two hours??!!! There aren't even any dishes!

Why can't we buy a machine with one button? Clean dishes. Or two buttons at the most. "Clean dishes" and "Forgot for a few days and now it's all dried up so better use the power jets."

The only good thing is that because it's so computery, I can honestly tell my husband that I won't be able to load or unload dishes anymore so that will be his job.

Perhaps the new dishwasher isn't so bad after all.

How to get kids to eat less chips

“Well kids, they might be chips and they might be cobras. How about a nice apple instead?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 07.46.42.png

Dress her like a squirell

Saw this graffiti on my vacation. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

IMG_5783

Bathroom decoration

My son ran out of a restaurant bathroom in Italy very frightened.

“I can’t go! This man with a huge head keeps staring at me!”

So of course I had to check it out.

He was right.

Air raid / get to know your neighbors

We’ve just arrived home after 3 weeks vacation to a city that is mostly empty, as Swedes generally take the month of July off. I was wondering how many people were left in our apartment building yesterday and happened to get my questioned answered about 10pm last night when the city’s air raid sirens suddenly went off.

Stockholm has air raid/emergency sirens that are tested every 3 months at 3pm on a Monday. My 43-year old husband has NEVER heard the air raid sirens at any other time than that during his entire life and I would think most Stockholmers have not either.

So imagine how completely freaked out the entire city was last night when the air raid sirens started to sound around 10pm. Every person at home in our building and the one across from us immediately came out from their balconies to look at the sky. Then everyone started shouting to each other from balcony to balcony and across the courtyard “What’s happening?” “Do you know what it is?” “Are they saying anything on the news?” etc.

And during this time of possible obliteration, I had 2 thoughts:

  1. Why didn’t we come back home from our trip a day later?
  2. I think this is the first time I’ve heard neighbors speak to one another in this building. It’s kind of nice!

Apparently it was some sort of technical fault, so luckily we can all continue to enjoy the summer if we made it through the panic attacks last night.

On a side note, our kids who were reading in bed never asked about or mentioned the blaring air raid siren. Glad to know it’s not just parent voices that they are able to completely tune out.

media-radio-wireless-test-radio_warning-broadcast-pknn1124_low.jpg

%d bloggers like this: