Posted by: jeanne | June 22, 2017

good news and bad news

the bad news, as you’d expect, is that today i said goodbye to jim and avery.  it was the solstice yesterday, or the day before, and i’ve been more than a little anxious, with dreams about losing things, walking away from things, seeing things i’ve taken care of being trampled by strangers.  the symbol of riding on a kid’s bike with a flat tire is particularly resonant, as is the dancing in a ring i did at one point.

there was a wild wind last night that whipped all the grasses and bushes, moaned thru the window cracks, sent the temperature plummeting.  i was afraid it might affect jim and avery’s trip thru the highlands.  but by daylight (hahahah i mean the middle of the night), the wind ceased, the sun came out from behind clouds, and it started warming up.

yesterday i had my first migraine in iceland.  at least this trip.  that was bad.  it’s always bad.  and i might have brought it on myself by overdoing the shoulder massage jets at the pool.  else that or propping my neck on pillows to read jim the final chapter of our book.  anyway, i’m forgetting the chronology.

tuesday avery had a soccer game in dalvik, and i put jim and connor on the bus with him because i had to go take a full car of residents to siglufjordur to visit the museums.



i had arranged it with them first, before i found out about the game, or i would have gone.  avery had a blast, connor played with all sorts of kids, they ate pizza, and jim read his book.

but yesterday – wednesday – i woke up with a headache, took the boys swimming, went back to bed, got up to pack the suitcases, went back to bed, got up and ate a piece of toast and went back to bed.  used all the ice packs, yelled at the kids once or twice, let jim fix leftover spaghetti for the boys and gobbled down what was left, then went to bed.

in the middle of this i realized that the notarized letter of permission for minors that i’d had avery’s dad sign, notarize, and scan back to me was incorrect, and that it wouldn’t be valid if they decided to ask for it.  you can’t leave the country without a similar letter, and i’m used to surrendering it for inspection at ticket desks and immigration points.  but i had neglected to include jim on the one we came here with.  i emailed the embassy in reykjavik and asked them, and they were rather lackadaisical about their reply – it shouldn’t matter, they said, we take more care in people leaving than in returning.  but that’s not written in stone, and one bureaucrat’s answer is another one’s anathema.  so i got on to avery’s dad and asked for another one, and sent them the form all filled out – wrong.  so it came back yesterday – wrong, and even tho i sent them the corrected correct form, it was already too late to get a notary to sign off on it.  i decided the best i could do was to give jim avery’s family’s phone numbers so maybe the immigration people could call.  fat chance, right?  so that’s one of the things that kept me up last night.  that and the idea that i’d forgotten to pack their passports, and that i hadn’t written my phone number on jim’s itinerary, and i forgot their toothbrushes, and blah blah blah.

so at 1am i woke up because the printer beeped in the living room.  this never happens.  the printer was off.  i checked the boys, who were sound asleep inside a blanket fort, and the cat, who was wandering around innocently.


i lay back down, but my mind was churning about the paperwork, may it be uncalled for.  all the bad things that could happen – they wouldn’t let avery board, jim didn’t board either, the tickets being nonrefundable and my having to buy last minute tickets ($1100 on icelandair, $299 on wow), blah blah blah.

but there in my mailbox was the correct form, magically signed and properly filled out (thanks elves).  so i printed it out and packed it with the rest of everything.  i know it was elves because of the timing, and the malfunctioning of electronic equipment – a hallmark of gremlins.  in this case, they were working for me, rather than against me.  thanks, elves.

so i went back to bed, and slept until 5 when the alarm went off.  jim made coffee, i wrote down my strange dreams, we talked until 6, when i got the boys up and made them breakfast.  it took almost half an hour to get the boys going.  avery flatly refused to get up, and his behavior went downhill all morning.  i think he didn’t want to go, but that’s a funny way to show it.

we got in the car; it was raining.  we got on the eyjafjordur side, and it was still raining.  the boys were fighting, i was sad to be losing my family.  waaaaah.  we got to akureyri with half an hour to spare, and i wanted to walk around, but avery flatly refused to get out of the car until grandpa hovered like an enforcer.


and then he dragged himself down the street while i showed jim some of the old houses.


then we went back to the parking lot with 10 minutes to spare.  there were no other passengers.  the old bus station building was empty and for sale, and seemingly had moved across the street, but was not open.  there was a bus map taped to the window.  then the clock struck 8, and i started to wonder.  i had sent an email to the main office, and they’d assured me i could get the bus exactly where i was, but maybe not, because it was now a construction zone.


finally, at ten after, i looked up the phone number for sba norderleid akureyri, and asked them if i was in the right place.  i said i was going on the kjolur route, and they sounded very surprized, and said they’d come pick us up and to stay right there.  wtf.

by this time connor had climbed to the top of a black sand hill and was throwing rocks at the elves, and this got avery out of the car and back into a good mood.


but then the sba car pulled up and the guy said no the bus stop is behind the hof, where straeto buses stop, and whisked the boys into the car and spun out of the parking lot.  i followed with connor, and by chance (thanks elves) found the bus station.  i got out and asked; they knew all about my plight, said that the guy had  had to chase the bus, but that the boys were on the bus now and everything was okay.  i reported what my email said, and they told me that reykjavik is out of touch.  hahaha.

so connor and i proceeded.  we found the art supply store in its new location, and got a can of chalk powder (for making up your own oil paint) – $4.  i was going to get some dry pigment, but it was $70 a jar, and that’s outrageous.  i will get jim to send some, or ask a future resident to bring some in their luggage.

then we went on to the bonus grocery store, but it wasn’t open until 10am.  so we went on to the byko store to check out a microwave oven.  most of them cost between $149 and $249, but there was a tiny one on sale for $70.  oooooh decisions – a jar of dry pigment or a microwave?  i got neither, and settled on some flower pots for my oxalis corms, but then i discovered that i didn’t have my credit card, and had to go back to the art supply store.  at that point i went up to the salvation army, which wasn’t open either, but the lady said if i could come back at noon they might have one.  but i can’t afford to travel 100 km to go shopping.


so we came home.

dig the angle of that slope.  they take their rock slides seriously here

our friends eygir and linda live along the way, and they sent me a map reference so i could find it.  we pulled up with only about 10 minutes to visit, but they were expecting me tomorrow and were still asleep.  so i got a picture of their famous tree, and we came the rest of the way home.


there was time for a glass of water and a bowl of skyr, and then we had to go to the pool, and we were almost late again (we were late f’real yesterday because of my migraine).  but we made it thru class, and i sat around for awhile afterwards in the hotpot while connor went down the big slide.


ancient stitching methods

the mayor’s assistant (who also works at the pool, i think) stopped me, showed me his brother’s knitting – wonderful ancient-knitting techniques with modern touches, like dreadlocks – and told me that he was asking for permission for me to paint the sports center.  we went and looked at the wall – truly enormous – and discussed the subjects – a swimming troll, and trolls playing handball, soccer, and some other sport with huge rocks.


then we scampered home, had i’m not sure what, i made connor’s lunch, and we ran down to the soccer field.


but we were way early, so we hung out until i was sure there was going to be soccer practice today.

connor misses his brother

then i started my work.  i actually got work done today, solely because i went around to various houses with my drawings.  jim’s drawings.  first i stopped in at the junior college, where gisli had photoshopped our drawing onto a photo of the building, and it looked great.


then to inga and ingimar’s, and they loved the standing troll holding his crutch out to serve as a landing place for a raven.


it’s symbolic of his struggle toward health after a car wreck.  then i went to find asta, but couldn’t, and asgeir the factory owner, and couldn’t.


fresh, just off the processing line at the factory

then i walked up to the mechanic’s shop with their drawing, and they were tickled pink at the idea, and we talked about where i’m going to put it.


then a quick shop at the store, and back to check email and sit for a moment.

goalie connor

then it was getting on for 2:30, so i went back to get connor, and took steps to enroll him in the playgroup.  it costs $50 a week for soccer and playgroup for 3 hours a day.  well worth it to keep connor occupied while i get some work done.  it ends in late july, tho, so we’ll see.


speaking of which, i’m signed up to go to akureyri next tuesday, to participate in the rot project (which doesn’t mean compost).  i’m supposed to be there at 9 until at least 6 in the evening, and i’m taking at least one resident up and back with me.  so far i haven’t been able to scare up childcare, so it’s likely i will be bringing connor – surprize!  the trip will involve mileage charges to the residents, which they don’t like, but i’m being charged 40kr/km, which is about $.80/mi, and i’ve already put 500km over my allowance onto the car.  worked out, it’s really expensive, and now that the boys are gone, i’m rethinking my expenses big time.  which is why i didn’t get a microwave at the store today.

and a good thing, too, because when i finished showing the drawings to inga and ingimar, she asked if i was still looking for a microwave (i joined several facebook pages for buy/sell in fjallabyggd and posted, but the only response i got was a suggestion that i comb the dump in siglo for one).  anyway, i said yes i am, and she showed me one in their ground floor storage room, and said she’d bring it by.  hurray!

so as i write this, jim and avery are completing the last leg of their trip to reykjavik, and siggi and runa are on point to pick them up, give them a bed for the night, and deliver them to the airport tomorrow.  i spent much of today being sad (the bad part), but with all the finalized permissions for murals, i’m pretty happy,

connor and i made spaghetti (again), and we’ve finished dinner, and we’re both pretty tired.  but it’s only just past 6pm our time.  i’ve done a load of sheets and comforter covers, and have to scare up seconds while those dry.  the cat loves us, and i’ve got loads of work to do in the town, more than i can finish.  so it’s been a pretty good day after all.



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