Sunday, February 10, 2013


Is he really posting something for the first time in over a year-and-a-half???

In fact, the last time I posted something, people actually still said O-M-G!!!

I'm going to try to recap the major events of the past 20 months in a couple minutes or less. Ok, here it goes...

Home: We hired an architect/designer and a contractor and began a MAJOR home renovation in September 2011. What started as an idea to tweak our house basically turned into a complete gut. The final inspection for Phase I will finally happen this week, and then we'll begin Phase II which will be much less involved (basically remodeling). The renovation involved not being able to live in our house for about 5 months, lots of stress, and LOTS of money!! We're happy with the results, but I'll be ecstatic when "The Beast" (that's what I call our house now) is finally done. I won't bore your with a zillion before, during, and after pictures. Here are a couple of pictures of The Beast as it looked yesterday, the day after a major snowstorm.

Mrs. TBF: Healthy, happy, beautiful, and working hard. Her job - while managing to be stressful, aggravating, and rewarding at the same time - is going well. She's in London on business through Wednesday. Hmmmmmmmm... maybe I'm blogging because she's not here, there's no more football on TV, and there's not much else for me to do right now? We celebrated 25 years of marriage with a trip to Barbados this past November. The traveling has definitely slowed down since moving back to the U.S. 2.5 years ago, but it'll pick up again after we're done with the house.

Family: My parents are doing well living in Florida full-time. They are warm, tan, healthy, and happy. Jo Mama - Mrs. TBF's mom - is feisty as ever in Chicago, and doing well. My sister, brother-in-law, and their four kids moved to New Jersey for his job last year. They live about a 90-minute drive from us now, which is nice.

Me: Other than the all-consuming renovation of The Beast, my day-to-day life is pretty much the same as it was in Switzerland. OK, minus the German lessons, taking public transportation everywhere, being treated as "the foreigner", not being able to make any noise after 10 p.m. Ummmm.... OK.... I take it back. My life is nothing like it was in Switzerland. I turned the big 5-0 last September. What else? Nothing much, I guess. I'm still retired (4,525 days, and counting) other than my "job" making sure that all Mrs. TBF does is work and relax, and that's about it.

I'm not going to make any promises about blogging in the future (you see how well that has gone over the past couple of years), but I may surprise you.

I pretty much did this one because I wanted to see if I still knew how to access my blog.

Is anybody still out there? Let me know if you are.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Over The Pond... AGAIN!

Ok, so here's why I haven't blogged in over a month.

Our trip to London went well. We visited with friends (one of whom was celebrating his 50th birthday), saw a show (Million Dollar Quartet), took a self-portrait in an actual polo field, ate out at a couple of nice restaurants, and came home.

Then, Mrs. TBF went on the strangest business trip in history (Poland and India in the same week) while I stayed at home and... OK! I could have blogged then, but I forgot. Also, I'm happy to say that, due to the kindness of two different neighbors who had me over for dinner, I managed to eat very well while Mrs. TBF was gone.

Let's see... what else happened?

Oh! I was at our local grocery store, and two nuns in full nun-regalia were standing in front of me in the check-out line. I deliberately grazed one of the nun's habits, thus obtaining a nun "booster shot" from when I deliberately grazed a nun's habit who was standing in the security line in front of me in Lisbon Airport last spring - thus, obtaining (in my mind) an excuse for pretty much never having to go to church again (as long as I can manage to keep touching a nun). Ummmm... Actually... I'm guessing I shouldn't advertise it. I'm thinking I could probably be put in jail for that.

And now? I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Paris.

First, we spent four nights in Basel - my first trip back since leaving last July (Mrs. TBF's second) - and now we are spending four nights in Paris. We're currently staying in a hotel (it semi-sucks!) that Mrs. TBF's company arranged for a conference she is attending. Tomorrow, after checking out, we will head over to our regular hotel (which definitely does NOT suck!) for the last two nights of our trip. We'll chill for a couple of days, do some shopping, and eat some good food. Then, it's back to CT on Sunday.

Then? The home stretch to home renovation which will begin around August 1st. We have to finalize plans with the architect/general contractor, arrange for a mover to pack and store our stuff (we'll have to move out for about four months), and about a zillion other things that I don't really care to think about at the moment.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Over The Pond...

We're heading to London for a few days for a friend's 50th birthday celebration. to you next week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cheap American Gas!

It seems like everybody is complaining about the price of gas around here. Apparently, Connecticut has some of the highest gas prices in America. This morning, I paid $4.39/gallon for gas. And what do I think about it???

cheap, Cheap, CHEAP!!!!!

I'm not sure what the price of gas is in Switzerland these days, but the lowest I ever paid in the 10 years we lived there was about CHF 1.20 per liter. Using today's exchange rate, the current price of gas in CT - about the most expensive in the country - comes out to about CHF 1.00 per liter. That's right! Gas in CT is still cheaper than the cheapest I ever paid in Switzerland - even when oil was $50 per barrel.

People have gone completely crazy. I buy gas at possibly the most expensive gas station around because it is right along the edge of the Merritt Parkway. The Mobil I go to has its own exit. I pull off, fill up, and go right back on. It's convenient, and I don't drive any extra miles (it's on the way to/from Mrs. TBF's office) or spend time idling waiting in a line to buy cheap gas.

The alternative is going to the cheap gas station which is about 2.5 miles past our exit. There, I can save about 10¢ per gallon, but I'll have to wait in a line stretching into the street. Given the current price of gas, and calculating our 18.3 mpg average since buying our vehicle last September, we pay about 24¢ per mile for gasoline. That means, going out of our way to save 10¢ per gallon will actually cost us $1.20 to drive the extra 5 miles. Even if our 19.2 gallon tank were nearly completely empty (it never is), the 10¢/gallon times 19 gallons would save us $1.90 minus $1.20 driving to the cheap station. A total savings of 70¢ for the hassle of waiting in line with a bunch of tightwad geezers telling me about how they remember back in "the good old days" when gas was 19¢ per gallon (Yeah, and you made something like $75 per week!).

The only reason people are freaking out about the price of gas is because it's one of the few commodities where the price is posted on lit up signs all over town for everybody driving by to constantly see what the price of that commodity is.

Apparently the price hasn't gone up enough yet to cause people to change their habits. Most cars I see on the Merritt have only a driver, so people still aren't carpooling. I still see parents waiting at the bus stops in the morning with their kids in the back of an idling SUV - walking distance from their homes. I'm still not seeing that many hybrids or small, fuel-efficient cars on the road. It's a perfect example of people complaining, but then not doing anything about it.

It's going to take gas prices hitting $7.50 gallon before anybody does anything about it. And... THE OIL COMPANIES KNOW IT!!!

Enough ranting. I feel better now.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is There Anybody...


Yes... WE'RE ALIVE!!!!

Have you all forgotten about us?

Does anybody still care?


I think it's time to start blogging again.

I know, I KNOW... I said that about eight months ago, but I'm going to try to make a real effort to set aside time every single day (or... every few days... let's not get carried away here!), to once again put my thoughts on the blog whether you want to read about what we're up to or not.

That's right, people! You're powerless to stop me!!!!!!

How can I quickly recap the last eight months?

Here goes...

Mrs. TBF is doing very well at home and at work. I drive her to work every morning, and I pick her up in the evening. Fortunately, her office is only about 15 minutes from our house, so it works out great. In fact, we still only have one car, and we have no intention of buying a second car in the near future. We thought we'd try it for a couple of months, all went well, so here we are with me serving as Mrs. TBF's personal chauffeur. Maybe I'll buy me a chauffeur's cap.

I continue where I left off in Switzerland: full-time retired person. My job continues to be to make sure that all Mrs. TBF has to do is work and relax. I take care of all the stuff around the house, finances, shopping, etc. I joined a gym where I swim three times per week, and I manage to keep myself busy AND out of trouble. The two major differences between here and Switzerland are that we now have a car, AND I don't have to take language lessons since I am fairly fluent in American English after nearly 50 years of practice!

Let me tell you something...

Not having a language barrier is a HUGE deal!

Mrs. TBF LOVES our house, and I pretty much decided after about one month of living here that I HATED a lot about it! Therefore, we have decided to do a MAJOR renovation on our house that will require us to move out for a few months. The hope is that we will BOTH love the house after the renovation. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing major wrong with the house. It's just that we want to bring it into the 21st century and make it completely our own. We've been working with an architect/designer and a contractor for a couple of months now with the goal of coming up with something that will (hopefully) end up being pretty spectacular, and we plan on beginning the work sometime around the end of July or beginning of August.

Other than that, just your normal getting-used-to-a-new-house-and-new-area stuff. New York City is only a 40 minute train ride away, and we've been enjoying going into the city for dinner, etc. Also, let me say this: It sure is easier having West Palm Beach and Chicago only two hours away instead of twelve hours away when we want to visit family and friends. Plus... no jet lag!

That's enough for now. I'll just start blogging again (tomorrow?) in stream-of-consciousness like I normally do, and then I'll throw in the occasional flashback from the last eight months. It'll be easier that way.

Whew! My brain is exhausted. I need to rest!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fueling The Economic Recovery!

Along with buying a new house, we also bought a new car this past weekend. We looked at a couple of beastly SUV/gas pigs, but then eventually bowed to environmental guilt by buying a mid-size, 6-cylinder SUV that averages about 20 mpg. We'll make do with one vehicle for now, and then we'll buy a sedan next month after we get settled-in to the new house. The SUV will be Mrs. TBF's so that she can ride high. I'll take the sedan, lean the seat back, and ride low.

That's how we roll!

While in one of the showrooms, we sat inside a sedan (to see if I fit). As Mrs. TBF was getting out of the passenger seat, she noticed she was sitting on something. It turned out to be a shopping list that had fallen out of somebody's pocket or handbag. Naturally, I told Mrs. TBF we had to keep it so I could try to return it to its rightful owner.

Aaaaahhhhhhh, the power of the internet!

It's a good thing I covered up the person's middle initial and last name in the photo because... I just went to Yahoo People Search and found the person's address and phone number in about five seconds. It turns out that she lives about five minutes from our temporary apartment. How convenient!!

I hate to think about the "strain" Maria's been under these past few days because she lost her shopping list. I think we might have to drop off an anonymous care package for her this evening.

Don't worry, Maria! You'll soon have strong bones, white teeth, and be strain-free! We're coming!!!!!

Things Are Moving Along...

We'll be closing on our new home in Stamford two weeks from this Friday. The inspection went pretty well, the sellers agreed to fix a few things before closing, our financing was approved in a couple of days, and a home insurance policy has been purchased.

Now... we just wait.

Actually, we haven't just been sitting around waiting. We've looked at hardwood flooring samples (we're going to rip the carpets out of the bedrooms and install hardwood floors), visited furniture showrooms, etc. We're well rested after ten years of renting, and we're looking forward to the challenges and rewards of home ownership.

I won't bore you with a bunch of pictures of the house, but here are a few:

The TV/family room. It's right off the kitchen, and I think it'll be an area where we end up spending a lot of time.

The great room... into which I'm thinking of putting one of these things. The room has soaring ceilings, wide-plank hardwood floors, a nice fireplace, and it'll (hopefully) end up looking pretty nice... even though I think it kind of looks like a barn right now.

This is the view from the kitchen toward the breakfast area. It was updated a few years ago. It'll be nice being able to cook without constantly bumping into each other.

The front of the house. WE HAVE OUR OWN TURRET, PEOPLE!!!

This is part of the backyard. The property is really nicely landscaped, and there isn't too much grass to cut so there's no need to buy a rider mower.

Yeah, the house is big. However, it has a nice floor plan which makes it feel cozy instead of cavernous. Ok... the "barn" room feels a bit cavernous, but a little creative interior design work might correct that. If not...

...we'll just get a pet cow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Hunch Was Correct!

The past few weeks in a nutshell:

Mrs. TBF and I looked at the Connecticut houses with the realtor, and we liked all of them better that the NY house.

We put an offer on a really nice house, negotiated back and forth a bit, and a price was agreed upon.

I side-swiped a concrete post in our parking garage with the rental car (Who the hell put that there?!?!?!?), and the impact did an impressive amount of damage to the car considering I was only going about 5 mph. The worst part was that it happened while Mrs. TBF was in Dubai on business. Since she had signed the rental contract, I had to wait three days for her to return before I could switch the car for another one. That meant that I had to drive around like a hillbilly for a few days with my side mirror duct taped to the car.

**cue up Dueling Banjos music now!**

I drove to our potential home in the hillbilly-mobile, and a home inspection was performed which turned up a bunch of major problems, so we backed out of the deal.

After Mrs. TBF returned from Dubai, we looked a few more homes. We put in an offer on another house, negotiated back and forth for about 30 minutes, and agreed to a price.

Andy, Di, and the kids, AND Jeanette all came to White Plains for a quick weekend visit. We all went into NYC together (first time ever for the kids AND me), and had a great time.

I went to my second home inspection in one week's time (this time Mrs. TBF was in London). All went well this time. Unless something really unexpected comes up, we should be closing on our new home around September 10th.

So much hunch was correct: it looks like we're going to be living in Connecticut.