Happy Holidays to all 'here & there' from "Wattsbo" in Norrbyggeby!
We began our New Year with Kajsa & Rich in their new home outside Wilmington, Delaware. Had a wonderful holiday helping out and fixing in their newly bought home and getting to know their neighborhood.
Spring brought a lot more "overtime" work in the Kista Borough for Gail - a final push to get the new Borough's IT systems in place. And in Södertälje, school authorities decided that Jane's school would be transferred to municipality control after many years of Stockholm County control. So after 26 years with the County medical educational system, Jane began to think about beginning a consultant in health care development and teaching instead of changing employers. We also thought, "why not leave the city noise and crazy pace, get nearer to nature, and begin a new chapter in our lives. Thought and done. We started by looking for a new house!
So out to the countryside. Almost daily during May we drove north to Roslagen - the northern part of the County of Stockholm - following up tips from the real estate agency internet web sites. During May, Jane was also in the Netherlands staying with Hanny and her husband, Grosse. Hanny had been with us earlier for a week as part of a teacher exchange program. We even took part in a lovely May wedding of Kajsa's cousin, Pontus, and his Hey-Young.
All we looked at seemed too expensive, so we decided to wait until 'next Spring'. Jane then left after school was out to visit Kajsa & Rich for 3 weeks and give them a Swedish "Midsummer" celebration in Delaware. But while Jane was in Delaware, Gail continued looking "for that dream" and found what he thought Jane would really want. Jane said OK via telephone from Delaware, "give Avtagsvägen, our home for 14 years, to the real estate agent and see what happens." It was almost sold before Jane got back from Delaware. And Gail even dared to buy a much-needed new car while Jane was away.
Jane came home from Delaware on a Friday. Saturday we looked at the "new" country home along with Åsa and Sten. After 5 minutes in the house Jane decided that this is what we wanted. Paper work and the move were completed by the end of August. Thank goodness for six-week Swedish vacations for packing and moving!
Our aging cat, Snorries, made the move so easily, but soon got into a fight with another cat which led to a few September veterinary visits. City cats need to be taught some countryside lessons!
Kajsa & Rich surprised us with a visit just after we moved to Norrbyggeby. So all the cupboards had expert help in being filled and arranged! And Rich became a professional at running the motor saw when we took down a couple trees on our two acre lot in order to facilitate TV and Internet signals via satellite. Rich also planted an apple tree. And Jane and Kajsa even made it to the baptism of Kajsa's cousin, Pia, and her husband, Michael's, new baby, Minna, in Dalarna.
September was election month in Sweden, but Gail had already "retired" from that after 20 interesting years. Stockholm City Hall changed regimes to a 4 party non-socialist coalition, but the Social Democrats hung on to the national "power" in a 3 party coalition after their worst election results in over 40 years.
Gail started his 55-minute commute to Kista, and managed to get permission for telecommuting one day per week. Now all the need for his "overtime" has even tapered off. Jane began the long commute to Södertälje from Norrbyggeby, eased by "over nighting" a couple nights each week in Solna - all while caring for 2 cocker spaniels for Åsa and Sten, who are away working in the Emirates - and providing extra care for Mormor Karin who had a six week hospitalization. In November, Jane went down to halftime to finish with Södertälje in order to begin "free lancing" during 1999.
Soon we had fixed and loaned out a paddock for three horses belonging to our neighbor's teenagers and began our small projects on "Wattsbo" in Norrbyggeby. -Chopping wood for the open fireplace, restoring a small summer cottage we have on our lot to be Kajsa & Rich's (and yours when you visit us!), cleaning up the bastu house (sauna in Finnish), cutting some tall grass, planing for the six turkeys we'll raise in a hunting dog pen, and even chasing a few small rats/mice who thought they had found a "safe house". Collecting mushrooms in the woods, chatting with our new neighbors (we are about 10 families live year around in our village - including Ann-Marie, Jane's cousin, whom we didn't know lived in the village while we were in the buying process - indeed a very small world!). All the joys of country living! Gail has even found a little time to help out a nearby home improvement center and saw mill with their web site and other PC concerns.
Doris Anderson, a Warren High School friend, was at Avtagsvägen with her two young adults on a quick visit on their way to Norway. And Kajsa's good friend Monica, newly moved to Georgia, came "home" to show off her (and Mike's) new baby, Christopher, was with us on Avtagsvägen , just as we started moving.
John Kulp, one of our 'regulars' at the Avtagsvägen B&B was here to inaugurate our new and coming Norrbyggeby B&B. He was in Sweden after one of his many trips to the Thailand banking world. Joe & Pat Mestenhauser , from our University of Minnesota days, were here for a fast visit on their way the St. Petersburg.
So now, friends, it's your turn to come and visit. We await visits from Sicily, Netherlands, France, Northern Ireland, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Texas, State of Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, California, Indiana, Maryland, and even more! We do hope we can convince Farmor Cora to come next summer for her 85th birthday and Mormor Karin's 90th ! Perhaps Cora can even bring along Mary Lou. Brother Tom is also welcome.
But in the meantime, we wish you the best in this holiday season.
PS. You won't find Norrbyggeby on the map. It's at the end of the road, but in the middle of everything --- 1 mile to Rånäs, 2 miles to Edsbro, 25 miles from Kista, 15 miles from Uppsala, 15 miles from Norrtälje, 75 minutes from downtown Stockholm, 40 minutes from Arlanda airport.
All the important facts:
Jane & Gail Watt
Norrbyggeby Box 1429
SE-762 96 Rånäs
Tel +46 8 175-65155
Fax +46 8 175-65150