On the road again

This might be it for a few days. We fly out of here tonight for a midnight trek into London. We have morning plans for tomorrow at Buckingham Palace. Seems they do some thing with the guards there, I hope it isn’t their clothes they change, it could be weird. Anyhow don’t get alarmed if you can’t get a daily update from “WLL” as I’m calling it today. Anyone who wants to post an entry can send me an e-mail address and I’ll fire back the super secret author link. You would be on your own for instructions.

Keep checking in…you never know where I’ll find an internet connection. I might try to see if I can get a picture with the queen and I have no doubt Sam will find a fountain.

Important people

Look at these mugs! I wasn’t sure there was any evidence of last months visit to Kansas City, but alas…

Carroll Family (3)

Central Perk

We have learned so many lessons during this trip and hopefully some of them stick. We have grand plans and changes we are planning to make and I’ll let you know how we do. One of the lessons I’ve learned is to reach out to people you have lost contact with. I didn’t just figure this out after visiting Eirik, but it dawned on me the success we have had recently finding long lost friends. I added it up the other day and collectively we had to make up about 60 years of lost time with the people we did find. Loluca from Spain who we found has a wonderful family in Madrid and great memories of our father Bob. Lisa from Africa who reminds us that no matter what struggles we might have it doesn’t even compare to some that she has seen. Eirik from Norway who is just one of those great guys that you meet and really should not pass on the opportunity to hang out with. Looks like Wilma wins again. She has been giving me the business for years about keeping in touch with old friends. I can’t promise to collect all my old friends, visit them, get pictures of their kids…but I will try harder and be an advocate for getting together. Here are some of our friends.

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Why you don’t park in front of a fire hydrant


from: http://www.myconfinedspace.com/

Some catching up to do

There are probably going to be more times in my life that I wish I hadn’t waited 25 years to do something. Yesterday was one of those times. My mom has been telling me for 6 months that I HAVE to call our former foreign exchange student Eirik when I’m in Europe. Sure it makes sense, but for whatever reason actually doing something that simple had eluded me. It did take until the last week of our travels to finally get the logistics worked out, but we did it. Wilma can scratch it off the list.

Eirik and his family travelled from Oslo to visit Gothenberg, the famed home of the Liseberg amusement park, and summer vacation home of the Carroll family. WE met at the park to give the kids a distraction while we talked of Orion, families, home exchange and about 8 hours of other stuff. Eirik is exactly how I remember him, funny, good to talk to, nice guy, and he now has the added bonus of a wonderful family. Here they are at the park yesterday.


Here is where I come up short on the needed details. Eirik works for a large newspaper in Norway doing what we decided is chief editor type work for their on-line edition. Who goes where?, who writes what?, Where things go in the paper? Pretty impressive stuff. I know everyone’s name, but I’m going to wait until I see it written down before I screw it up on the blog. I will say that Sara was very happy to try her Norwegian skills again with Phillipa, Eirik’s 6 year old daughter.

I could go on for another few pages about our visit yesterday, but we are having them over again today before they return to Oslo and I’ll save it for later. I will close by saying that we both decided that 25 years was a silly time frame to not re-connect and that we will do better now. Here are a few more pictures. I realized after adding them that I have some good shots, but they are kind of haphazard pairings. I’ll do better today.

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I’ve decided to take the opposite approach to dieting when I return to Tampa. No, I’m not going to eat everything in sight and hope that I lose weight. They say that you are not supposed to weigh yourself very often or something like once a week. I’m going to weigh myself every day. Since I’m a spreadsheet and database geek I’m going to track everything and provide myself inspiration. I’m going to make it into a kind of video game. Oh sure…there are other things I’m going to do, but none of them are quite as cool as this. Check this out.


It’s pretty pricey, but right up my alley. Check it out. (Click here)

You matter

  • When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
  • When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
  • When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
  • When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
  • When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
  • When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
  • When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
  • When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
  • When you inspire a Nobel prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
  • When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
  • And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.

Seth Godin

Winding down

Another Swedish dinner under our belts. Our exchangers from this house, now get this, came over to their own house, brought food, cooked us dinner and then went to stay with another family. It just keeps getting weirder to stay here. We had a great time talking the pros and cons of home exchange. Who broke what? Do the neighbors here in Sweden have those 3 a.m. parties often? We talked about favorite restaurants and things to do. It was fun. Today we will meet Eirik and his family as they have travelled from Oslo, Norway to visit us here in Gothenberg. The plan is that we are headed back to the Liseberg amusement park to keep the 5 and 6 year olds calm and maybe even keep Sara from telling her million “When we were in Norway…” stories. No pictures from last night…not sure why, but we will get some shots with Eirik and his family. Promise!

Rambling wreck

Today I’m struggling with something to write. You can tell the kids are getting antsy to get home as every little thing gets them going. Subliminally I think moving the clothes into piles and getting our stuff together gets them anxious and excited. We are leaving a bunch of clothes behind here in Sweden to try to avoid the RYAN Air weight debacle that makes me nervous. For some reason approaching the ticket counter at the airport annoys me and I’m obsessed with the weight of our luggage and not paying someone an extra $50 for what amounts to a few pounds. We all have our thing, this must just be one of mine. I’ll come up with something else later in the day once work starts. There’s nothing better to free my mind than being “at work”. I probably should use that time for the actual work, but I always get it all done. More later…

Winners and losers

SKYPE phone (handset)LOSER - The handset I bought to log into random wireless networks to have SKYPE usage turned out to mostly be a dud. Even on the home wireless networks it dropped signal about every 4 seconds. Sara used it the most since it was the only phone we let her use.

REBTEL phone serviceWINNER - (www.rebtel.com) This service gave me a local number in each country we moved to that was updateable on the web. I had super low rates and could just put $10 at a time in the account. This saved me a LOT of hassle from work. I set up the APC 800 number as one of my favorites and had quality voice service that never dropped.

On-line bankingWINNER – I haven’t written a check in 6 months and every bill I have gets paid on-line.

Friends and familyWINNER(s) – Everyone has been very supportive and we appreciate all of you. We could not have done this without a LOT of help. We had a great time with our visitors and hope that if we continue to travel this way that we can have more people join us along the way. Since this is my blog and named after Larry I’m giving my parents a special thanks for watching the dog and being so understanding.

British AirwaysLOSERS – It has been almost 6 months since we flew into London on BA and we are still pissed at them. They didn’t break our guitars, but they sure screwed up the start of this trip. Don’t tell them I labeled them LOSERS until we get back home in Tampa though.

More as I think of them.

Visiting hours

Hey there! I took yesterday off from writing to organize the house and organize in general. We had Roland, our exchange families father, and his wife over for dinner last night to repay the wonderful dinner we had with them the previous weekend. We had a great time sitting around talking and at one point singing Swedish childrens songs. I promised Jen that she could use the video of that for Homeroamers.com, so keep checking back with her. We did get a surprise visit from our exchange family who are back in the country. They are very nice and we have dinner planned with them tomorrow night. I think we are in for some more traditional Swedish food and stories from Land O Lakes. It will be interesting to hear about their visit in our home and tell them our stories.

Apparently my mom and dad spent the day yesterday entertaining visitors. My mom sent an e-mail telling me a list of people who dropped by for food and games. My friend Mike Locander and his family apparently put a claim in on our dog while they were there. All in all it sounds like the Carroll family had a great day off yesterday. It seems a little boring to write about, but I’ll take a day like this anytime.



If you would have told me that I would take my 5 year old to a place where he was given a stick and told to whack something really hard…and he would be challenged by this, I would have laughed. This is the same kid who walks around the house and grabs anything near him and proceeds to hit you quite hard and accurately with it. He eventually caught on and Sara did a good job too. I don’t remember that mini golf was as challenging as it was when I was a kid, but maybe it is a Swedish manliness test or something. We didn’t keep score, so I have no doubt that I won.

Mi Casa is su casa…no really, it is.

We are about to enter territory we’ve never been in before. Our exchange family from Sweden is coming home tomorrow. We don’t leave until next Friday. This could be weird. They are staying with some friends to fulfill the time frame we agreed upon, but I assume they will stop by and visit us at their house. Strange. We are very respectful of other peoples things, but I feel that the next week we will have to be super careful to keep the house, yard and car exactly the way they would like it or I would feel bad. On the other had we are looking forward to meeting them and sharing some stories and time before we leave. Stay tuned as I’m sure I will have some pictures and stories about this upcoming week.

They really do break guitars

Ok…I don’t think posting videos on the blog works very well and a lot of people have trouble seeing them, but as you can tell I like them.

I’ve heard about this video for a couple of weeks now, but thought it was just a silly output of some guys anger at United Airlines. I finally saw it referenced for the millionth time and since I have a pending flight coming up I thought I’d see what it was about. This isn’t some guy with a handheld video camera sitting on a stool bitching about United Airlines, this is good stuff. Quick background is that this guy and his band flew United and during a layover in Chicago a lady on the plane noticed, and brought to other peoples attention, that the baggage handlers were tossing around guitars. Well this video he made is haunting United and has cost them WAY more than a guitar.

I might buy this from iTunes just to make a point and maybe it will save my luggage some day.

Good stuff

As I think about it, THIS is how weddings should begin. I know some of you have link issues with pictures or video, but I hope you can see this video. I found myself getting a tiny bit bored, but I kept hanging on to see the end.

Shutterfly updated

The huge repository of pictures has been updated by Jen. It is probably what made her sick.


Find this logo on the main page…eyes right…and click.


Since I’m not superstitious I’m going to type this post and then sit back and watch. We began our trip with a plan, certain things we needed, and our good health. To this point….everything has happened according to the plan, we didn’t really need more than we had, and we have all been healthy. Now to qualify this, of course Jen is sick this morning. We have only had one computer failure, well two, if you count me forgetting to bring a power cord. I fixed the other with a $3.00 set of screwdrivers. Out of all our moving around and hustling from here to there we have only missed one train and that cost us an hour. Nothing major has happened at our exchange houses or our home, except a strange shower mishap in Holland that the “shower guy” assured me was not the fault of anyone, just inevitable. I hope that worked out ok. So…in an effort to remain non-superstitious I am typing this all here as an experiment. I am now on the hook for whatever might happen, but I think it would be that way anyhow.

Just plain funny



Mario, Luigi, and me

I can’t decide if it is cool to be a hero or not. It would be cool to be a hero for the right thing I guess. Saving a busload of people from some disaster, getting a kitten out of a tree, you know the drill. I’m a hero in a whole different world. For the past few months every time my kids get stuck in Super Mario Bros. I get the call. For a while it was cool. I’d hear, “Get daddy…he’ll be able to do it, he’s the best at this game.” I’m now concerned that I might have hit my highest point. What if this is it? Long after I’m gone are they going to sit around and talk about how good I was at a kids video game? I guess I’m scared because we watched a documentary the other night about some SUPER geeks that had the world record for another video game. I watched it thinking, “Man, these guys are seriously impaired”. I think I might be one of them. I’m going to go out and lift some weights and build some things with power tools now.

No we aren’t going to China

For those of you that might have caught on to this blog and know me from high school, we have another OHS person travelling and blogging about their adventures. David Wells (Class of 85) is in China for two years for some teaching gig and has started a blog to keep track of his families travels. I’m not sure how often he is going to be updating it, but even if you don’t know him he is hilarious and will give you a good diversion.


No topic. Randomness ahead

You can tell we are getting to the end of our trip because I’m starting to hear a lot more “When we get back to Florida…” and “You need to finish this when we get home” statements. I think the best part about getting home will be that it will seem like an additional vacation getting back to all of our favorite things. At some point we will miss everything we had here, but I give us 2 weeks of “feel good”.

I’ve heard enough back from everyone to know that I’m going to keep the blog going after I get back. I think everyone will enjoy having a place to check in on my dad and the family even if nothing is going on. I won’t have a travel theme either, so it may turn into a lot more of my ramblings. Joe and Chris, my neighbors, will have to be on good behavior because I’ll get tired of writing about my silly adventures and start picking on them.

Last note for this entry. Eirik Frogner and his family are coming to Gothenburg to visit us in our last few days in Sweden. For those of you that missed it, Eirik was an exchange student in 1984 that stayed with me and my family in Orion. Yes it’s been 25 years. We picked up right where we left off on the phone harassing each other like it’s only been a short time. I’ll make sure I get some pictures, don’t worry Mom.

More later when my brain is awake.

Really? Another fountain?

One quick post for “Fountain tour 2009 – The Sam Carroll edition”


Halmstead, Sweden - Carl Milles’s fountain “Europa and the Bull.”

Fika and a Fokker

Around 2:00 on most days you will notice that the Swedish people start to get a little nervous looking and jittery. This is because they all partake in something they call “fika”, or in my world, coffee break. I think the traditional coffee break in America is going by the wayside, but here everyone very much looks forward to dropping into a cafe and grabbing some coffee and a piece of cake. During our travels on Saturday we noticed that Roland was getting a little wild eyed at around 4:00 and we realized we had skipped his fika and he must be suffering from withdrawals. We did stop at a rather unusual location for fika, but it accomplished two goals. Coffee and Sam intervention. Take a look.

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Out in the middle of pretty much nowhere was a car and plane museum. Normally people weren’t allowed inside any of the aircraft, but the Swedes are a very accommodating lot and let the kids in a couple of the exhibits. Jen even found a model of car that once belonged to her father.


We had a pretty good time wandering around looking at old cars and planes. It’s amazing how some of these items found their way to the Swedish countryside.

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Little houses on the hillside…

As promised I have a couple of leftover stories from our weekend visit to the Swedish countryside. They both involve little outdoor houses.

The first little outdoor house was very intriguing to the 5 year old. As you can well imagine, country houses might have limited “services” available to them strictly due to their remoteness. I’m not talking about internet or television service, but the restroom services. Yes, the first little outdoor house of today's blog entry is the outhouse. The stuga itself was quite old and rustic and apparently the opportunity to add on to it had never involved indoor plumbing. When we got there we got the whole outhouse lesson, in case we weren’t sure of the procedure. This was the kid’s first experience with the outhouse and likely their last. That ought to make them appreciative right?

The second little house story is much more interesting to me because I spend a lot of time thinking to myself..”That would never happen back home”. This is certainly one of those instances. We have seen many signs for produce during our travels to Norway, Holland, Belgium as we passed through towns and country sides, but I had never figured out the process by which many of these things are sold. I now have the scoop. Located behind the farmhouse with the sign for potatoes was a little shed. Inside this shed was various produce items, a refrigerator, and a table. On the table was a notebook and a metal box. Here is the process. Poke around someone's unlocked shed full of produce. Pick the things you would like. Put money in the box to pay for the things you are taking and make change with whatever money you need from the box. I think the notebook was simply the ledger for the transactions, but it is the least interesting to me since I was already running through the reasons why this would be a disaster back home. We purchased some potatoes, but there was honey, eggs, and some other mysterious items in bottles. Even in the most trustworthy communities in the states I think this system is a stretch. Run this through your head and see if you can make it work. Maybe I’m too cynical.

Here are the rabbits that were guarding the produce hut.


Lazy, hazy, crazy

Before I go back to the Stuga stories I’d like to tell you about one more thing that I’m not going to miss from our trip. Stairs. Every house we have exchanged has had stairs. Stairs make me realize that I’m lazy. I know this because each time I need something that requires navigating the stairs I sigh and do that trudging walk that you do when you don’t really want to do it. While we are on the subject of lazy. Have you ever done those “no one is looking” lazy maneuvers? The kind of thing that if someone was watching you would never have done it? The funny thing is I do those things and then tell myself that “You are seriously not THAT lazy are you?”, and then I go and do it the right way. I guess as long as I do that I can’t be that lazy can I?

A day in the life, Swedish style!

What a day we had yesterday!

When we started this trip one of our goals was to involve ourselves in the culture and customs of other countries. Yesterday we got the full on Sweden experience. Let me see if I can break it down into useable parts.

A lot of Swedes use the summer weekends to get away from their daily life and the best way to do this, they think, is to spend some time at their Stuga, or cabin. Most of them only travel a small distance and most Stugas are very simple and small. We joined Roland and some friends at a Stuga that they use yesterday for breakfast, a tour of the area, and then a BBQ. Let’s start with breakfast.


We sat down to a very traditional and challenging breakfast. Traditional in the sense that we were served anchovies, half boiled eggs, liver pate, and some caviar in a tube….a favorite of the Swedish. I managed to try a bit of everything, but Jen and Sara struggled a bit. Sara is a vegetarian and won’t eat fish, and Jen is a “don’t talk about my food as if it walked the earth” person. The worst part was the anchovies. I’m not a fish person either and having one raw and staring at me was tough. The caviar in a tube is one of those items that Swedes get very worked up about. They can’t get it in very many places and, like Americans and their peanut butter, miss it when they travel. I can’t figure out why. We didn’t tell Sam what the liver pate was, we just put it on some bread and handed it to him. Our hosts were very polite and didn’t seem to take offense at our struggles. Oh yes…I forgot about the yogurt and cereal. That was the saving dish for the girls as it kept them busy and made them look like they were eating.

“The tour”

Roland, the father of our home exchange family on the fathers side, never misses a chance to take us “around”. We have been on a couple of his tours previously and we now know that this tour can be long and sometimes, well, let’s just call it wide ranging. Yesterday the highlights were visiting the Pippi Longstocking playground, the beach, and berry picking along side of the road. I’ll save one of the other stops for further down the page. Here are some photos of “the tour”

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I was skeptical when we stopped the car in the middle of the road. Roland has a habit of driving his car anywhere he pleases, so I was ready for him to turn into a field and start chasing cows. Turns out he wanted to let the kids pick some flowers and wild raspberries. We all got into the act. It was fun, the setting was beautiful, and my favorite part is that it included food. More pictures.

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The tour consisted of at least 3 other interesting stories, but I’m saving them for later. I am also saving “Dinner” for later. Trust me there is a reason dinner is in quotes. Even if I can’t describe it in writing, or it isn’t as interesting to others as it was to us, it deserves its own entry. I’ll leave you with some additional pictures from the Stuga and our group. Come back later or check www.homeroamers.com later for more on yesterdays adventures.

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25 years

Too funny. In a long shot I asked my friend Bill Kalman to see if he A) Had our high school yearbooks still, and B) if he could find and scan me a picture that I knew was in one of them. Bill is good. He came through. I’ll add him to the list of people I owe a beer.

Here is a shot of Me, Eirik, Muhleman kid who I don’t remember his first name or how to spell his last, and Bill himself. I asked him to send it to me so I could show it to Eirik when we meet next week. Too funny. I’ll post a follow up shot of the two of us. I know I look the same.

I want to ride my bicycle…

So….Who knew that pumping up a bike tire would be so challenging?

We went to go for a quick ride to the local golf club for lunch. A nice, easy fun ride to get the kids out into the fresh air. The problem is…How to get the fresh air into the bike tires? The funny part about this little story is that the bike tires don’t REALLY need air, I’m just being vigilant and topping them off. By now most of you are saying to yourselves, “What? Is he stupid? You just pump the tires up.” Life should be so simple. It seems that like the metric system, things have to be done just a little bit different. Pump won’t fit the stem, stem doesn’t seem to be adjustable, unscrewing stem a little bit results in rush of air from the tire, game over. Instead of having a slightly underinflated tire, I now have a flat one. Good one Jon. I guess I should have watched this video (click) prior to attempting. I have no adaptor which equals no bike riding. Presta valves? Who knew? It’s always something with me. We went to lunch anyhow and had a great time. Here are a couple of pictures.

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or treat?

Remember the other day when I mentioned that I have trouble with doors around here? I tried to remember the word for push or pull. There’s a reason I keep getting whacked by a door.

Here’s why….it’s a


We are stirring

So the next couple of weeks have a couple of twists coming up. This weekend we are traveling to the south of Gothenburg to spend the day with the father of our exchange people, Roland. He has promised a day of nature, culture, and BBQ. I’m interested to see what a Swedish BBQ consists of. If they break out some big old salted fish, I’ve leaving. He has some other visitors, so we will be able to get a true Swedish experience. The week after that I’m hoping to catch up with another blast from the past. 25 years ago the Carroll family had an exchange student from Norway stay with us for a year. I called him, after some serious nudging from my mom, and we talked for about half an hour. We tentatively made plans to get together a few days before we head back to the states. This would be a great way to cap off our trip. I know my mom is interested in seeing us get together, and after talking to him I am too. Stay tuned.

Morning Joe

Big decision coming up when I get home. What to do about the coffee. I’ve been a coffee nomad ever since I started drinking the stuff. I started drinking coffee only because I got a coffee break when working for the Village of Orion, and if you didn’t drink it, that break lasted 5 minutes until the coffee drinkers started looking at you funny. I moved to Rhode Island where everyone got their morning jolt from Dunkin Donuts every morning, so I adopted iced coffee. I’ve been hooked on the Nescafe instant packet stuff since arriving in Europe because it’s easy and available in all the countries we’ve visited. Maybe it’s time to quit? I’ll have to let you know how it ends up. Until then you are going to have to live on the edge of your seats waiting to see how it turns out.

Larry update

Haven’t actually talked to Dad in a few days, but the message is that he’s doing ok. My mom gave me a little grief about referring to him as “ex-sick”. I didn’t really mean to say he wasn’t sick anymore, just glad he isn’t as sick as he was and causing headlines. All of his blood work sounds like it is holding steady or in some cases getting better. It’s the breathing and coughing that is the tough stuff. It’s hard to believe that it hasn’t even been a year since things started going down a bad road. Anyhow, the message from Orion is that things are ok and say hi to everyone.


Soon….hamburgers. Soon.


Silly kids

This picture sums up all that is right and wrong about my kids.


  • One kid is trying hard to help the other.
  • Neither of them sees the flat tire.
  • They are in the middle of the road
  • The big kid is making the little kid pull.
  • They are together.

What to do, what to do?

I mentioned the other day that I have to figure out what to do with this blog when I get home. Here are the options as I see them.

  • Keep plugging away. Joe the neighbor says that there is enough goofiness happening in our neighborhood that it could keep me busy.
  • Shut it down in celebration of Larry being a boring ex-sick person.

I started this post thinking there was a list of options, but it appears that there are really only two. It’s hard to gauge the level of interest there is in reading what is posted here, or if people are just checking in to make sure my dad is ok.

If you read this post in the next few days, let me know in the comments what you think, or shoot me an e-mail. joncarroll01@gmail.com

It’s the little things

I had no idea that so many things were different. I knew the languages and the settings and various things would be different, but there are some tiny differences that seem to haunt me.

Washer and Dryers – I find it funny that all of our exchange families knew that there were differences in the washer and dryers and left instructions. We, however, left none for ours. I think the people living in our house probably got by since they could at least read the instructions. All of the washers and dryers we have come across have had multiple little tubs to fill with liquids that you better not mess up. None of the dryers we have had have had drains, but instead they have reservoirs that need emptying each time. Add in the language barrier and I end up wearing dirty clothes rather than letting the washing machine make me feel dumb dumber.

Cross walks – I’ve mentioned this in a prior post, but I’m still amazed at the confidence people here have in a cross walk. They don’t think twice or even look one way or the other in most instances…they just plow their way across the street. I really hope I don’t run anyone over in the next couple of weeks. I have to remember REALLY hard to pay attention when nearing a cross walk.

Doors – This one is very subtle, but the most of the doors swing the opposite direction in most places we’ve been. I know I’m crazy for thinking this, but once you take a couple of shots to the fingers or head from a door you thought was going the other way, you’ll see what I mean. I also had to quickly learn the words for push or pull. You really feel dumb pausing at every door you come to.

Tipping – I have taken an approach to tipping that will probably get most of you in trouble when you get here. I don’t tip at all. I used to over tip in the states, but since I can’t figure out how it works here I just don’t tip. I think this is because every time I thought I had to tip someone, they just shooed me away. Anyone who should have received a tip? Sorry.

Walking in the bike lane/path – Sam is super concerned about this one. He is hyper vigilant about NOT walking in the bike lane. He will chide you if you step in the wrong spot and has had minor freak outs when Sara would tease him by walking there on purpose.

Sorry if I’ve recycled some of these, but these are the types of things that keep my mind busy.

A joke….just for you.

A police officer pulls a guy over for speeding and has the following exchange:

Officer: May I see your driver’s license?

Driver: I don’t have one. I had it suspended when I got my 5th DUI.

Officer: May I see the owner’s card for this vehicle?

Driver: It’s not my car. I stole it.

Officer: The car is stolen?

Driver: That’s right. But come to think of it, I think I saw the owner’s card in the glove box when I was putting my gun in there.

Officer: There’s a gun in the glove box?

Driver: Yes sir. That’s where I put it after I shot the woman who owns this car and stuffed her in the trunk.

Officer: There’s a BODY in the TRUNK?!?!?

Driver: Yes, sir.

Hearing this, the officer immediately called his captain. The car was quickly surrounded by police, and the captain approached the driver to handle the tense situation:

Captain: Sir, can I see your license?

Driver: Sure. Here it is. It was valid.

Captain: Who’s car is this?

Driver: It’s mine, officer. Here’s the registration.

Captain: Could you slowly open your glove box so I can see if there’s a gun in it?

Driver: Yes, sir, but there’s no gun in it.

Sure enough, there was nothing in the glove box.

Captain: Would you mind opening your trunk? I was told you said there’s a body in it.

Driver: No problem. Trunk is opened; no body.

Captain: I don’t understand it. The officer who stopped you said you told him you didn’t have a license, stole the car, had a gun in the glove-box, and that there was a body in the trunk?

Driver: Yeah, and I’ll bet the big liar told you I was speeding too!

from TikiHumor.com

The great debate

Ok, so maybe this is dumb but I am intrigued. You know how everyone in the peanut butter world is kinda the same as the real world? You can draw your own connections, but I see the peanut butter world as you are either a chunky person, a smooth person, or can go both ways. I’m not sure what I discovered today, but there is another category. Peanut butter with very small chunks. This is amazing to me. I hate chunky peanut butter, but I like this stuff. I can’t figure out if this is a good thing for the peanut butter company though. Do families with both sets of peanut butter people in the house buy two jars of peanut butter? Do they buy two different brands? Would people eat more peanut butter or less? These things actually went through my mind as I ate some toast this morning. What type of marketing do you do? Do you try to lure the “smooths” over to the chunky side by proclaiming it as the “New cool (almost) smooth”? Or do you try to get the “chunkies” over by some sort of “Save your colon” campaign. Note to self…call Jiffy.

Mow, mow, mow the lawn…

I’m getting “greener” as time goes on and this house has offered a unique opportunity to test my resolve. It’s the lawn mower. The lawn here is super small and doesn’t really meet the requirements for buying a real lawn mower, or so I thought. These guys have a manual push lawn mower. You know the old school, spinny blade if you stop pushing, it stops working type? Here is a picture just so you know what I’m talking about.


Here are the aspects one might not consider when purchasing such as item. First you have to mow the lawn about 5 times. Back, forth, side to side and back again. Some might say that if your blade is sharp you shouldn’t have to. To those people I say…baloney. You also don’t seem to be able to get as close to edges as you might like. The last point is probably the one to consider the most. When you are mowing the lawn with the old “polluter”, it’s nice and loud. You can’t hear the kids bitching at each other, you can’t hear anyone telling you to do other things, nothing. Sometimes at home I mow our lawn 2 or 3 times just to have some peace and quiet. At my house I have built in free time. If I say I’m going to mow the lawn everyone tells me to have a good time and doesn’t question me. I’m pretty sure it is because they don’t want to do it themselves. If they only knew.

Brusha, brusha

We are going back to life observations for a bit…mostly because I have one.

Something has been bothering me. Toothpaste. It’s not about squeezing from the middle, or putting the cap back on, or even that annoying crust that forms at the spout. It’s about how far is too far. Sam’s toothpaste container is down to the end…or what I think is the end. Actually what I thought was the end passed about a week ago. I’m a math person, so at the point where I have to strain to extract the last quarter ounce of toothpaste from the tube, the cost vs. pain in the ass factor has been reached. Jen, however, derives some sort of pleasure out of those last few ounces. The other day I even contemplated telling Sam to forget about brushing his teeth, it was just too hard. Jen put the kabosh on that and between the two of us we managed to get the toothbrush a whiff of toothpaste. Yes that’s right. It took two of us to get the toothpaste out. This, I believe, is the breaking point. The last 5 pennies worth of toothpaste can go to whoever find it in the garbage and has a really good friend who will help them retrieve it. See what happens when I take a day off from posting to this blog? Seriously deep, thoughtful contemplation.

Blog day off

Taking the day off today. It’s been one of those weeks. Rainy weather and the whole bit. We have about 3 weeks left traveling and it’s almost time to start talking about logistics.

Hope everyone enjoys their day. I’ll be back tomorrow.

There was an old lady…

This little old lady needed a ride the other day.

Seems Sara and Jen like to dress Sam up in costume. I’m not sure how this kid is going to turn out, but he seems to have fun letting them mess with him.


International relations

I owe some random guy 12 KR…about $1.50. I probably won’t find him again, so I guess I’ve got to use the “pay it forward” method. We were stuck at the parking kiosk, I know, big surprise huh? I should rename this blog “I hate parking”. We didn’t have enough coins and didn’t have the right card. A random stranger asked us how long we were going to be there and swiped his card through the meter for us. Pretty cool. Before I get too much further, does anyone still have a Diners Club card? I could have used that to pay for my parking, but not VISA or MasterCard. Funny. It also occurs to me that we might be ok in the generosity department. We came across a young lady crying in the airport in Madrid. She had fallen prey to the Ryan Air fee ghouls. Seems they wanted an extra 20 euro because she didn’t check in on-line. We were a little short on cash at the time, but it seemed silly to let the poor girl get stuck at the airport for $25. Jen dug out some cash and chased her down to give her the money. I think I’m going to pretend that we are always one favor behind and keep paying off my 12 KR over and over again. Who knows when we are going to have to cash it in?

A very short and quick update…

A quick Larry update. Nothing! When the daily struggles are figuring out how to mow the lawn and if the Cardinal game is on TV you are doing good. The visitation for Ron is today, so it won’t be a happy day. Here is the information for anyone who is connected to our Orion family. (link)

A friend…

I still haven’t titled this post yet because I can hardly believe I’m writing it. Our neighbor, Ron Farwell, passed away today after a short battle with cancer.

I have so many memories of this man and his family and my heart goes out to them. I feel so bad that I cannot be there to pay my last respects and to share some time with them while they grieve.

Farwell family – it may take forever to get this note while you filter through all of the messages, hugs, and prayers from others. Ron and Tina were with me at a very tough time when I lost my grandfather. You guys were always there to help, care, laugh, and cry for everyone else. Someone will have to stand in for me in person, but my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. 

Love, Jon Carroll and family.

Cheap batteries?

Just to break the monotony.


Rayovac AAA Maximum Plus Alkaline Batteries: 100 Count (Approx. Ship Date: July 15)

Bottom Line: $8.99 | Street: $89.99

Very sad, but it seems even battery companies are concerned about their image and some batteries just aren't pretty enough to make the cut. These Rayovac Maximum Plus Alkaline Batteries are cosmetically imperfect. So yes, when your friends and family open your remote control, your mp3 player or your child's toys, they're going to get a glimpse of your embarrasing battery blemishes. However, if you can overcome the name calling "Blemished Battery Buyer Person" and the like, your in for a heck of a great savings. But beware, these batteri (more...)

Oh Lucy!!!

All of my transportation troubles aside we had a great time today wandering the Sjöfartsmuseet, a museum dedicated to the maritime history of Gothenburg, Sweden. There was an amazing collection of model ships for what seemed like every ship that must have sailed into the port. It occurred to me that I didn’t take a picture of the statue outside the museum that is a big deal over the skyline of Gothenburg, so the one I posted below is “borrowed”. We started calling her “Lucy” when we were looking for the museum as she was “in the sky” and our landmark to figuring out where to go. The reference was lost on Sara who prides herself on knowing everything like all 14 year olds. If you notice a stranger in the picture with us, it is Lisa, a visitor from Zimbabwe, and a friend of the family. I have no doubt I’ll be writing about her visit later as she is a VERY interesting and nice person. A couple of pictures in the meantime.

DSCN3262 DSCN3269

DSCN3267 Lucy

Here is a good write up about “Lucy” if you are inclined. (from Henrik)

One of Gothenburg's most famous sights is the high statue of "Sjömanshustrun" (the seaman's wife). It was built in 1933, in memory of all the swedish seamen that were killed during the WW1. 690 swedes, from 98 different ships, were killed during the war. And then Sweden wasn't even the war. Talk about stupid!?
Sjömanshustrun is a huge tower, 60 or 82 meter high (depending on how one counts) and is the highest monumental sculpture in Sweden. The symbol is that the wife is waiting for her husband to return, which he sadly enough never will. A strange thing is that she isn't looking out over the ocean, which she should be doing logicaly, but instead looking straight over the river, at the island Hisingen. One would think that it was me she was looking for, but the truth is that she's turned that way for a esthetic reason. As she stands now she's seen in profile from both the ocean and the harbour. It's possible to climb up in the tower, from where one will have one of the best views in the whole city. Unfortunately it's open only during the summer, although one can make a special request to be allowed in also during the rest of the year. Not sure how easy it is to get a permission though...? Seems like only school classes will be allowed in.
Once inside one can either take the elevator, or climb the 205 steps. At the bottom of the tower there is a huge sign with the name of all the killed seamen, where it also says which boat they were going with. The statue itself is five meters high, and made in bronze. It was built by the sculptor Ivar Johnsson and inaugurated by former swedish king Gustav V in 1933.