Neverending winter

 Ken hasn’t seen Kaarna in days, so he goes to visit her and notices the dozens of drawings everywhere.
- You’ve been really productive!
- I’ve been drawing and painting all the time! I can’t stop! I’m a maniac!
- Haha! It’s not a mania, it’s a flow!
- I’m so happy! Zero worries!

- But listen… I’ve been invited to my friends’ wedding in Germany in the end of April…
- No! You can’t go! What if Putin attacks Finland while you’re away!? I can’t…! I can’t….
- You can’t even? I know that, so you have to come with me. And Putin won’t attack us. Just keep drawing.

- Look. I wanted to drive there and sleep in Herbert, but with the diesel being so expensive, it’s not possible. Ryanair offers cheap flights, but…
- But?!! But?!!??? I hate buts!!!!!
- We can only take hand luggage. And the cheapest flights take off at inhumane hours and we can’t take a straight flight.
- Oh no….
- So, are you going to join me and suffer uncomfortable travelling or stay here alone worrying?
- Fucking lousy options!!!

Hector comes to pick Ken up. He needs some furniture in his rental flat and decides to drive to Ikea. Ken doesn’t need anything though.
- My life is very boring, so any activity is a welcome change. I haven’t stepped out of home town in whole four months!
The three hour drive goes nicely.  But since it’s Saturday, Ikea is packed! Ken didn’t even remember what it feels like being in the crowds of big cities.

Hector has a list of the things he wants to buy, but they also walk through all the showrooms.

Ken had also forgotten how much Hector loves shopping! Phew, only following him around is hard work for Ken.

Luckily Ikea sells the best treats in the world: punsch-rolls! Fast energy! Ken can keep a smiling face during all five hours of Ikea hiking.

They find the chairs and a table Hector needed and after picking up some more punsch rolls they are ready to drive back home.

- The thing with Ikea is that I always buy something that I don’t really need, just because it’s cheap and cute.
- You buy two of something that you don’t really need… I could store my drawings in a crate like this.
- Take the other one then.
For the first time ever Mari has invited Kaarna to her home. Kaarna looks around in the flat.
- Is that a piece by Kuutti Lavonen?
- Yes, I love his work.
- It looks real.
- It is real, silly!
- Wow, must have cost a fortune.
- It’s rented. I pay a monthly fee and when I get bored, I can return it and get something else instead.
- Relax, babe.
- I can’t just yet. Everything looks so clean. I fear that I have paint spots on my clothes and I mess up all the whiteness… Why did it take you so long to let me come here?
Mari leans on Kaarna and explains:
- My life is hectic and social. I never invite anyone here. I want to keep my home as a sacred place to relax. For the same reason I don’t want much furniture or things around. Tidy and simple are features that calm me down.
- But I’m here now ruining your feng shui?
- Well… don’t make me regret this.
Kaarna opens her bag and says:
- I brought the micro popcorn like you asked.
- Thanks. But before anything else we’re going to take a shower.
- No sex?!
- Yes sex! In the shower, babe!
- Nice… We haven’t tried that before.
- There are advantages in having a bathroom in the house, Mari giggles.
Ken looks out of the window and feels devastated. 

- Thank god Kaarna has Mari and the drawing. She has some joy against this never ending winter. However, I don’t know how much longer I myself can take this. April… seriously? More like April’s fools…
- If the winter keeps going on, let’s do winter stuff then, Ken thinks and crawls under a blanket. He selects a romantic movie and decides to enjoy chocolate in all its forms. Let’s just be grateful of what we have.

Kaarna wakes up, blinks and rubs her eyes but she can’t see anything! She has gone blind!
After a few seconds she realizes that her eyes are fine, but there isn’t anything to see - only white.
She didn’t sleep much. They went to bed way too late and the bedroom was too hot, even though Mari’s futon is wide and nice. 

And now, waiting for hours for Mari to wake up, everything sucks. What can one do in someone else’s home except surf online? The insane snowing continues so there’s no going outside either.

Ken reads the news every morning. Kreml has threatened Finland again. The horrors that has happened in the occupied areas in Ukraine show that Putin only follows his own rules in wars. Hospitals, ambulances, schools, residential areas destroyed, civilians executed and used as human shields. This is worse than war, this is hell.

Ken thinks:
- I have always loved living here near the Russian border. I have loved visiting Russia. But now the 10 km distance to the border is a scary thought. I must make a list and prepare Herbert for a quick evacuation if the worst happens. But I will not say anything to Kaarna, she’s going to lose her mind if she knows that even I am starting to fear.
He needs to do something nice today, so he goes to Lotta’s for an afternoon tea.
- Do you think this fabric could be used for a dress? And is there enough of it?
- Definitely! Such a pretty pattern. I think there might be enough for two dresses even.
- Great! When my financial situation gets better, I’ll ask you to sew me a dress and an apron.
- Oh… aren’t things going well with the cafeteria?
- It’s been quiet lately. People seem to save their money rather than spend it on cakes. The uncertainty of the future and higher living costs maybe…
- Understandable. Hey, what do you say if I sewed you a dress and took the rest of the fabric as a payment? No money involved!
- You’d do that!?
- Sure. When I saw this fabric I instantly wanted to have a dress myself!

Muija heard about the Gayle´s Lounge arty at @backpulver.1969 . She has never missed a party and she won’t miss it tonight either! The dress code is black, white and silver. She’s wearing a silver dress, she has lost her other black boot already and the snow is supposed to be white. She can´t wait being able to dance with Balduin!

Unfortunately she has drunk her packed lunch by the time she passes by Mocambo. Better to go in and get some energy before continuing the trip to Germany.
- What the hell is going on here? Kaarna yells when the girls come in.
- Great timing, bitches. Help me lift her on the pool table! Taylor replies annoyed.
- I’ll turn her on her side in case she vomits.
- Why don’t you just call Reiska?
- Can’t do that. He’s at the military refresher course…. Mari, go and get the blanket from behind the counter. I promised to Reiska I will let her sleep here until she sobers up. My job really sucks. I hate my life, you know?

Easter is here, despite of the winter that refuses to go away.
Since the world seems to be turning more and more unpleasant, Ken decides to cheer himself up by doing something he hasn’t done since childhood.
Ken doesn’t enjoy decorating the branches as much as he did when he was a kid, but maybe he will master the self decoration part.
The Easter witch is ready to go! He plans on surprising Hector’s mother. On his way he surprises the locals too, because sadly dressing up as a witch is not a part of the traditional #virpominen in this part of Finland.
Ken flies on his broom to Hector’s mother’s door and rings the doorbell. She is happy to see him and Ken says the spell:
- Virvon varvon tuoreeks terveeks, tulevaks vuodeks…
- Thank you Ken! I’ve been hoping for seeing some kids today, but no-one has come!
Ken gets an Easter egg as a reward and an invitation to come in and play a game of Yatzy.

Hector’s mother has missed playing with Ken.
Suddenly Hector enters the kitchen and slams a bucket on the table.
- Surprise! Did you really think you would walk out of here with only one Easter egg? Hector laughs.
- Yayyyy! Tons of goodies! 

Hector is famous for always exaggerating on the rewards.
Lotta had found the fabric in the attic of Jussi’s home farm. These vintage cotton fabrics are the best treasures and they make sewing a great pleasure for Ken.
Ken wants to finish Lotta’s dress as quickly as possible, so that he could start sewing a dress for himself too. Lotta is happy. Finally her uniform goes together with her cafeteria.

Ken boils eggs and Kaarna brings some colors.
- I haven’t decorated eggs in decades, she says.

- This is so difficult! I can’t keep my hands steady! This egg is crappier than any shit ever made!
- They are not supposed to be masterpieces! Just draw something, anything. The point is to have fun! Or something religious maybe… I have no idea where this tradition comes from.
I want to smash this stupid ugly egg. I need chocolate! Give me chocolate! You can’t eat all those by yourself!
- Only after you have painted one egg.
- Oh, you’re a tyrant! May black hair grow between your toes!
Although chocolate is always good, nothing beats MÄMMI. Ken and Kaarna can’t have enough of it. That’s why they only let themselves buy it during Easter, because they would explode if it was a daily thing.

Ken only accepts one mämmi brand, which is made in the traditional way, without added sugar. Most of the commercially made mämmis don’t taste as good. Nowadays some people eat mämmi with vanilla sauce instead of cream, which Ken finds unacceptable! Also there are some insane mämmi variations at the stores these days. Appalling! 


In other parts of Finland there are green grass and even small flowers coming from the ground. The spring obviously needs some help. Ken splits the hard ice on the path by banging it with an iron shovel.
The snow has melted at least on the roads. Getting on the wheels feels like freedom! Kaarna is fed up with walking.