Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My dad is a total Mr. Fix It. But, he's no Tim (the toolman) Taylor, stuff actually works after he fixes it:) Today, he came over to watch the boys and I complained that our fridge was flooding with water on the bottom. Right away, he suggested what might be the problem. I emptied the fridge and freezer and what do you know, he was right, the refrigerator drain tube was frozen solid. He proceeded to thaw it (with the help of my hair dryer) and now it works like a charm. In the process, parts of our fridge and freezer were lying all over our kitchen. One of less faith would have wondered whether our fridge would ever work again. But I knew. My dad KNOWS how to fix stuff.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Black Shoes

I sort of bought another pair of black shoes today. Its actually my sixteenth pair of black shoes. Pentti thinks I am crazy (I think he has one pair of black shoes, maybe two). But let me explain.... First of all, the shoes were from Winners and didn't cost a lot. But more importantly, they fulfill a specific "need" that I had. They are slip on, semi casual and have a bit of a heel. I swear, in all my other pairs of black shoes, no others fulfill all these requirements. In fact, no two pairs of shoes fulfill the exact same shoe needs. (Well, except one pair which I loved so much that I bought another pair that was exactly the same. But, I bought the second pair from craigslist, so they don't really count). Anyway, like I was saying, all the shoes meet different shoe needs. Some are for fall/winter and some are for spring/summer. Some have heels, some are flat. Some are open toe and some are closed toe. Some are casual, some are dressy and some are in between. Some are better worn with skirts and some are meant to be worn with pants. Three pairs are sandals. One pair is a pair of boots. Three pairs are loafers. So there you have it. I may be a tiny bit of a shoe freak, but I'm no Imelda Marcos. Besides, there are worse addictions than shoes, right??? ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

London Heathrow

I hate London's Heathrow airport. We had to stop there on our way home as there are no direct flights from Finland to Vancouver. Here's what happened:
Heathrow is a busy airport. So, we sit in the plane circling and circling and circling around the airport for at least 20 extra minutes before we are given permission to land. Since our plane was a little delayed in taking off from Finland, we are already running behind and an extra 20 minutes of waiting is not time that we have to spare. So, we embark off the plane straight onto the tarmac outside and onto a bus (I hate it when you have to do that). We sit on the bus for 10 minutes which takes us to one of the terminals. Not the terminal we need of course, so we have to get on another bus that takes us partway back in the direction from which we just came. Finally, we get to the right terminal. We go to the airline counter to try to change our seats, but get a useless guy who types into his computer for 1o minutes, but says he can do nothing. Thanks buddy. Then we line up to have our passports checked. The line snakes around three or four times. Great. We pass through and go to the security line. Its huge. We have 40 minutes until our plane takes off and about 50 people in front of us. They don't care or prioritize in any way between people with 2 hours until their flight leaves and people with 40 minutes (or 10 minutes for that matter). I should mention that they do make an exception for those flying in first class. How nice. Anyway, by this time I am really upset and sure that we won't make our flight. Some guy about 15 people in front of us actually leans over and says we can go ahead of him. I actually start crying I am so relieved. So, we wait a while longer and its our turn to remove all coats, shoes and baggage. Even my 3 year old has to remove his shoes and gets really upset because he doesn't want to, thinking he won't get them back. At this point I am ready to run through naked as long as it speeds things up. Well, we are (obviously) traveling with a baby. Problem. All the food, water and formula we have for him has to be tasted/tested in front of them. Excuse me, what?! We have about 5 glass jars of sealed baby food and I am supposed to open them all and taste them?? With no refrigeration, they will of course spoil within an hour and we have to fly for nine hours. I protest and explain what will happen. The girl goes to ask her superior. Meanwhile, the male security guy asks me to taste one of the (six) bottles of water. Ah, whatever he says. The girl comes back and says, fine, I only have to taste one jar as long as she can choose which one. Fine, (just hurry up!!). So, she chooses a jar of strawberry dessert. Thank goodness for small favours since I would have thrown up if I would have had to taste the squash turkey stuff. Anyway, finally, we are able to pass through. But, we still have to catch a train. We run to the train, get on and hope for the best. We run (along with a lot of other people) to the gate and make it with no time to spare. None. I guess the most important thing is that we made our flight but what a stupid airport. There are tens of escalators you have to ride up and down, buses, and trains to take from one terminal to another. And the business of testing the baby food? Come on. I had heard of this happening, but if its so important, then why is it so random? Some woman is suing an airport because they made her dump 1.5 litres of breastmilk that she had pumped. Do you know how many hours of pumping that is?? Why did I have to taste the water that I brought, but they didn't even look twice at the formula powder that I had brought along? Why did they insist that I had to taste everything and then agree to let me taste one jar and one bottle of water? I don't get it. If its up to me, I will never fly through London again.

Friday, July 4, 2008


So, our trip to Finland is drawing to a close and I thought that I would add some random thoughts about what its been like here, in other words, some more of the good and bad.
I mentioned previously that the toilets are clean and that still holds true most of the time. All of them are still cleaner than what you would find in Canada. However, a lot of them also cost money. I find this bothersome,especially since they only accept euro coins. What if I don't have money?
The smoking here bothers me too. I think that the new BC smoking laws have cut down on how much I am exposed to smoking and smokers in public places. Here, it seems to be rampant. A lot of the women here smoke, which I find especially repugnant.
The shoes. I am a bit of a shoe freak. It really irks me that the shoes here don't tell you where they are made and what they are made of. I have to know whether the shoes I am buying are leather or not and sometimes its really hard to tell.
Graveyards. People here have a strange fascination with visiting graves. Granted, they are really beautiful with manicured lawns and park benches, but I still find them creepy. People here visit graves and plant flowers and at Christmas they bring candles. I guess its really thoughtful to remember the dead, but I find it a bit weird.
Tuulipuvut. To my delight, the Finnish jogging suit syndrome is dying. We used to joke in Canada that the Finns would wear a jogging suit everywhere, even to a wedding. Anyway, I have only seen old people wearing jogging suits. Clearly the younger generation is much more fashion conscious (and sane). Thank goodness.
Dryers. People don't have them. Even people with kids don't have them. I find this insane. Do you know how long it takes for a pair of jeans to dry? Not only that, but once they are dry, you have to iron them because they are so crunchy that you can't move or sit down in them. Also, some clothes stretch out like crazy if you have to line dry them. I can't wait to see my dryer at home. I am actually excited to go home and do laundry. LOL.
The Finnish Eeyore attitude: Oh woe is me, I am nothing. I have a little bit of this syndrome myself, but boy is it annoying on a grand scale. Humility is one thing, but to be so overly proud of being ordinary is annoying. Saying something nice about someone is not going to ruin them. Giving someone a compliment is not supposed to be reserved for funerals. Being proud of your child for an achievement is not something that you need to whisper and apologize for mentioning in case its misinterpreted as braggery. This attitude is often coupled with thinking that all Canadians are boastful and arrogant. Canadians (and here I am talking mostly about Finnish Canadians) know how to enjoy and celebrate life. What's wrong with that? Life does not have to be all about trudgery and bleakness. Personally, I think this is why Finns love their cottages so much. They actually 'allow' themselves to enjoy life there. What a concept.
Finally, I have to say that I have been very pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of people here. I have been told that it is only in Eastern Finland that this is true, but I don't know. I have visited Eastern Finland before and I didn't find it so before. Anyway, this time around people have talked a lot to me (a stranger) and have just been really pleasant and conversational. I find it to be a welcome change.
So, I guess that's it. We fly home to Canada on Sunday and I am not looking forward to the 20 hour trip home with two kids in tow. But, I will be glad to sleep in my own bed, use my espresso machine and hug my dryer.