Notes From Sweeden...

(notes from Sweden, 8:30 a.m. Saturday)

Lights are intermittent. Even with water and wind for electricity,
there's still some problem with getting power around the country. I
wouldn't know this if it weren't for neighbors and friends who are
well-versed in this stuff.

We sat on the terrace most of yesterday with the neighbors. Lights
would blink for a while, then go back off. John and I did go back
inside for a bit to make sure most of our major items were unplugged
to avoid surges. We went to bed with just the LEDs next to my side of
the bed still on. They don't pull much power.

We're getting such limited news. The radio doesn't seem to pick up
much more than static most of the time. I'm wondering now if I should
have joined Mom back when I was a teenager and taken Ham radio
classes. I don't even think I can remember most of the Morse code I
once knew, but a radio with actual news would be a good thing about

The hardest thing for me at the moment is the lack of communication
with my family in the states. Mom lives alone. Has my brother gone to
check on her?  My kids and grandkids are all in different homes – only
a few miles apart, but how are they all coping? Without the internet
or telephones, I'm truly cut off from them. How did Mom and Dad manage
when I went on my cross-country jaunt as a teenager and didn't call
home every day? I think I understand her frustration now.

Because we seem to have what I know as a brown-out – limited
electricity, lights not quite as bright -  we are not using the
microwave, stove or television all that much.. just trying to make
sure we keep our laptops and phones charged. I don't know how many
batteries we still have though. Maybe we can get back to shopping
later on. The trains are running now and then. It's about a quarter of
the normal activity for a Saturday. The buses seem to be on a regular
schedule, though. And they've added a few as replacements for trains.

I still don't know what's wrong with the internet – but if there's no
electricity in the US, the backbones are probably affected.

I can't shake this “something's wrong” feeling, though. Seriously.

(notes from Sweden, 10:30 Sunday morning)

I'm very annoyed that I can't reach my family in the states. We have
no real news aside from there is a power outage covering North and
South America and parts of Europe having problems. Where we sit, it's
somewhat okay. But we have turned off everything that isn't needed for

The weather's been nice enough for us to sit outside and chatter with
the neighbors. I'm not the only one in a bit of a state over not
reaching family. No phones and no television and radio is
intermittent, so everyone here in on the terrace is a little worried.
Nothing serious yet, just concern. Those with elderly parents (like
me) might show it a bit more than the others, but generally we are
keeping up good faces. There are two children in this building, and
especially for them, nobody is really sounding  upset.

I'm glad we went to the store, though. Food is in good shape, but with
the trains running so oddly, we can't guarantee good delivery. A few
people have reported that the gas stations aren't always open –
evidently the pumps run on electric, and the card readers need phone
lines, so unless you are sitting on cash, there's no way to get gas. I
hadn't thought of that, either. We do keep a bit of cash on hand.
Tracy and I discussed that several years ago, when I first moved to
Sweden. As Americans, we were used to cash, credit cards, debit cards
and checks. But Swedes were already going away from cash, checks were
rare things anyway – what happens when the card readers go down?
Swedes are not used to dealing in cash all the time. We'd get stuck
someplace and not be able to get home. So she and I vowed early on
that our households would always keep some spare cash. Enough for at
least a couple of days. Now I'm wishing I had enough for a week.

And that's another thing. She only lives a couple of hours by train
from me, but I can't even reach my best friend to find out if she's
okay. Without the internet, without telephones...

Yeah, something is bad wrong. What's happened? And where?
Sunspots? Attack? What took down the satellite communications so
harshly that we don't even have television or satellite radios?
Kicking myself seriously now for not going ahead with the Ham radio
course when I had the chance. At least I would be able to reach Mom.

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