Dec 25, 2017

Santa Leif

It’s Christmas day. My house is quiet and warm imbedded in the white snowy northern Sweden landscape. It’s -8°C outside (17,6°F) and comfy cozy warm inside. Did I mention it’s warm inside?

This is the story. Or, let me begin here: Christmas in Sweden is a 2 week stretch of Holidays when the country pretty much shuts down. It’s a good thing to not get sick at Christmas, your car better not break down and pray to that newborn Jesus that everything in your house works as it should.

Now, this is the story: the morning before Christmas I suddenly didn’t have any hot water. You really don’t want that to happen, especially since the day before Christmas this year was a Saturday. So no plumbers on duty for two weeks.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had my own special plumber, his name is Leif. He knows my house, plumber-wise, in and out. I’ve lost contact with him though since he changed employer this spring, and here I was, the day before Christmas Eve without hot water and didn’t know what to do.

I tried to calm myself down with the fact that you can always boil water. Being without heating in your house this time of year, now that’s a real problem!

Still, a bit desperate I tracked Leif down, so grateful when he picked up the phone. We tried to figure out what’s happened and still quite don’t know. But over the phone he guided me in the menu of my heat pump (which is only two years old and have worked very well (as it should) so I have had no reason to become familiar with it. Happy and grateful I could actually take a shower in the afternoon.

Christmas Eve morning I woke up and my house was cold. The floors downstairs (floor-heating) were cold and the radiators upstairs too. What?! I can’t believe this is happening! My consolation was the house would be filled with family in a few hours, we would keep warm together and I wouldn’t have to be alone in the cold, But that’s just today…

In slight panic I called Leif again. What now? He had arrived in the mountains for the Holidays. But he is just the kindest. Once again he was guiding me in the heat pump and found something irregular. Now Maria, he said, you will have to do a Norwegian restart… I found the head switch for the pump and turned it off. Then on again. And there is was, the missing thing (I can’t even explain in Swedish)!

Did I mentioned my body had turned really bad already the day before and not at all up for any acute technical adventures?

I had contacted my Christmas Eve guests and called on them to dress really warmly, so at their arrival we agreed on pretending we were in one of those Christmas movies wearing all wool, wrapped in blankets in front of the fire place. An adventure!

In a while though, my floors weren’t as cold any longer! The trick worked! Eight people plus two toddlers helped too of course, as well as the fire place and tons of candles all day long. And the warmth between siblings, cousins, parents and children. 

The Christmas Eve that started in cold Holiday panic turned into a warm, fun and memorable celebration. It was also the year of the return of the Santa. My father used to be the fun and crazy family Santa, but since his passing we have celebrated grown up Christmases. With two little toddlers though it was time for a new Santa era. 

Trouble 2 has axled his grandfather’s matel, although the outfit is all new. So is his approach. But of course we closed the Santa ceremony as we always did, singing the Swedish national hymn, Du gamla du fria. For the record, as far as I know, this only happens in our family, it is not a common Swedish tradition.

But the real Santa this Christmas is Leif who with his good heart and calm voice made my water and house warm again. Uh, come to think about it, that sounds a bit like Jesus, right…? 

Happy Christmas all of you!

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