Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snow Storms and Laundry

Right now it is -13 degrees Celsius. About nine degrees Fahrenheit. It has snowed a couple of inches and continues to snow. And I just spent the last forty minutes of my life locked outside.

Not because I forgot my keys, not because I locked them in somewhere, not, for once, because I was an idiot. I was locked outside for forty minutes because my keys froze in the lock.

I was trying to do laundry. Get up relatively early on a Saturday and be responsible. It doesn’t happen all that often. I put on some sweats and a fleece jacket. I was just running to the laundry room. I took my cell phone and keys. But not my wallet.

Going to the laundry room involves a trek into the outside world. I braved the elements and arrived unscathed at the laundry room door. I placed my key into the door as any self-respecting potential laundry-doer would do. Nothing happened. Which wasn’t strange, this door is notorious for not always closing all the way when locked. I pushed the door shut and turned the key. And nothing happened. Which I thought was fine, I would just pull the key out and try again. Nope. The key was stuck. I couldn’t turn it left, I couldn’t turn it right.

A girl walked by and, being a resident, knew about the notorious door, she suggested I push it shut some more. I explained that the key was in fact stuck. After a brief moment of condolence, her parting words? Hoppas du inte behöver stå här ute länge. Hope you don’t have to stand out here for long. Me too. Me too.

I suddenly began going through my options. I could run to the store and buy some of that lock spray that is essentially straight alcohol. No, I couldn’t. I didn’t have my wallet. I could run back to my apartment and not be cold. No, I couldn’t. My key was stuck in a different lock. Things were not looking promising.

At this point I became somewhat agitated and may have kicked the door in disgust. Which in cold weather just hurts. But the aggression cleared my head. The other laundry room was open, and there was running water. But I had no container. In a stroke of genius, I ran to the recycling room and dug through the metal return bin for an old can of tomatoes. Back to the laundry room. I cranked on the water and let it run hot. And filled the tomato can. Ran outside, dumped the water on. Tried the key. Nothing. Repeat. Nothing. Repeat. Nothing. Repeat. Nothing. I dumped at least eight cans of hot water on the lock before it finally released my key from the bowels of hell.

Sweet relief. At this point my hands were cold and wet which meat I was starting to stick to door handles. And anyone who has ever seen A Christmas Story knows that wet skin and cold metal do not mix.

I headed back to my apartment with no clean clothes but a key. I put my key in the door and felt it stick. And immediately pulled it out. It was still a bit wet. Damn it. I stood outside drying the key with numb finger tips. After a couple minutes, I felt confident enough to make another attempt. I did. The key turned, the lock clicked, and the door swung open.

Welcome to Sweden. And weather cold enough to lock you outside.

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  1. Even doing your laundry is a potential death trap in Sweden!

  2. Haha, how funny and also bad luck! Found your blog today, maybe you can do a text about yourself? If you haven´t done one before, of course.

  3. Haha, when stuff like that happens you know that you live in a to cold country.

  4. Yikes!! What a horrible laundry experience and bad way to start the weekend. I hate laundry in general. But look at the bright side: Sweden beat Russia 4-2 in Olympic hockey news, and there's supposed to be another game vs. Finland on Sunday. Enjoy the weekend! -S :)

  5. @Anonymous: That wasn't Russia, that was Belarus. And games against Belarus are not supposed to be that dramatic. The sad truth is that Tre Kronor wont get any medal this Olympics.

  6. You never gonna stop experiencing the odd things man! and let me tell you that you have a point on wet skin and cold metal not going along but i'm gonna add that tongue and cold metal objects also aren't very friendly. Believe me.

  7. Funny! Had the same experience today, but with my front door. Well, the key wasn't stuck, but I couldn't open the door. Fortunately my neighbor was home, so i borrowed a lighter, and actually burned myself in! :)

  8. Simon: Dont be like that, ofcourse they'll win a medal this year too. Sweden are always a bit slow in the beginning.

  9. I was just going to do a post about the blizzard that hit.
    it snowed 1 foot here, probably more!!! and the snow is already all the way to my hips. I'm 178 cm!! its INSANE. and I'm CANADIAN!. thankfully its not cold, just snowy :P

    why didnt you remove your key from the ring, and go back to your apartment and then contemplated what to do?!?!! :P
    or are they the same keys?? :)

  10. Good thinking with the hot water there Hairy. And sorry you're gonna gave to turn your underwear inside out..ha!

    I can't believe how crazy the snow is! Insane! Here in Uppsala we're already up to our knees in it and this just takes the cake. It hasn't stopped all day and we're in the middle of moving.

    Better luck next laundry day.

  11. Did you ever get to do your laundry?
    What a bummer!! Hope you go buy some of that stuff to spray into the lock and just keep in your pocket perhaps?
    It is snowing here today also but not quite that much and not quite so cold 28F.

  12. then i guess i probably shouldn't say that i've been enjoying the sun all day?

  13. I think I've heard men peeing in locks when that happen, could have been an option? :)
    I'm disappointed the woman walking by didn't try to help you.

    Congrats to Sweden to their Gold and Bronze in Cross-Country Skiing!! wow what a race that was!

  14. I did my laundry this Saturday too but fortunately enough just had to walk the stairs down to the basement, never even saw the snow! ;) And since this is the first real winter we've had since 1985 or something I won't complain even if I have to go outside. (I might if the key get stuck though...)I love winter and as my dagmamma always said; det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder! ;)

  15. @Juni. No offend but even imagining a man who pees in a lock disgusts me the most.

  16. @Simon – seriously. Its just not fair.

    @Evelina – Glad you found it. The text about me kind of just weaves its way through the blog. But I suppose the best would be the first post called Welcome to Sweden. Theres a link over to the left.

    @Toc – agreed.

    @anonymous – Well they beat Belarus. White Russia if you will. Sweden Finland should be a good one.

    @Simon – I think they’ll pull something off. Sweden seems to struggle with Belarus. And Belarus s sneaky good.

    @Tod – seriously, I don’t know how I end up in these situations.

    @oso – that’s smart thinking. Maybe I should start walking around with a lighter at all times.

    @3Crowns – I agreed.

    @Lost – Unfortunately, they are the same key. Come on now, give me some credit here.

    @SwedishJenn – I managed to get my laundry done this morning. I didn’t even try to put my key in the evil door.

    @mamma – did it today. Im just not doing laundry anymore I think.

    @chanellacapella – why must you taunt me?

    @Juni – maybe… although at that temperature I try to avoid exposing skin. Especially that skin.

    @Maria – damn you and your interior laundry room.

    @Tod – you do what you’ve got to do.

  17. Wow reading this post (along with the ones about the perpetual darkness) makes me glad I live in the South (US). Although we've actually experienced a real winter this year. The last six weeks have been cold, snowy, icy, and COLD!

    My husband and I live on a ridge and we've had to walk "1/2 mile up hill in the snow" twice due to the ice making the hills too dangerous to drive. But one AWESOME swedish invention made that a little less disasterous than it could've been. THE BABY BJORN! I carried my pudgey little 7 month old in that instead of having to heave her from one hip to the other all the way up!

  18. You are clearly missing out.

    The Swedes do have some creative solutions. I blame the snow. and the dark. Now if they could only solve the public transportation problem.