Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Grass Is Always Greener...

...on the car?

...on the side of the building?

We recently saw two strange lawns within a few days of each other.

The first one was spotted on this Citroën while driving down a highway in France on our way back from the Champagne region. We passed each other a few times before Mrs. TBF managed to get a photo.

Then, a few days later, I noticed this building during our (supposed to be 90-minute but turned into nearly three hours due to traffic) double-decker bus tour in London.

How the heck do you mow these things?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Healthy As An Ox...

I had a follow-up appointment to see Dr. "Black" (just substitute the German word for black) at his office this morning. A couple of weeks ago, I had my once-every-few-years-or-so physical, and I had to go find out my test results this morning at 8:30 (argh!).

I'm happy to report that I'm a very healthy physical specimen.

All my levels are completely normal (including a VERY low cholesterol level), my lung capacity measures WAY above normal, my EKG is fine, and my body mass index is also in the normal range.

The martini/wine consumption has been a little heavier than usual over the past few months, so I was sweating (not really!) the blood sugar and liver function tests a bit. However, I'm relieved to say that these levels also fell well within the normal range.

Dr. Black (who, by the way, could be the separated-at-birth twin brother of Al Bundy) also took an x-ray of my massive lungs, and I'm pleased to report that the smoke from the occasional cigar has not had any impact.

All in all, I'm 99% pleased with the care I received from Dr. Black and his staff. He actually told me that my results were "boring"! Which, I guess, is a good thing. My only complaint is:
the chest hair has not yet grown back in the spots where his assitant shaved me for the EKG!
I know...too much info!

Catching Up...

We've been really busy over the past few weeks. I was in Chicago twice in three weeks, my sister and I drove from Chicago to northern Ontario, the bro-in-law and sis-in-law came to visit, we all drove up to Champagne for three nights, and then we all went to London for a couple of nights. Tomorrow morning, the in-laws head back to Chicago, and then Mrs. TBF heads off to the U.S. on a business trip.

Now that I just finished getting caught up on my blog reading backlog, I'm looking forward to getting back on track as far as my own blogging goes.

Mrs. TBF will be gone for a week, so I'll have a lot of spare time on my hands...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Just A Quick Post... let you all know that we (Mrs. TBF, TBF, bro-in-law, sis-in-law) are back in Basel, and we're now getting ready to head off to London for a couple of nights. We have a 6:45 a.m. flight to London tomorrow morning, and yours truly is going to have to do some serious lighting of fires under the asses of our house guests to ensure that we all make it to the airport on time to catch our flight.

Champagne was good; not great, but just good. I enjoyed the time we spent with our friends eating our meals as one big group and also touring the caves of Moët (pronounced mo-ett, not mo-ay, by the way) & Chandon, Pommery, and matching food to Dr. John's clothes.

Time with friends and family is always good.

What I was a little perturbed about was the quality of our hotel. It's really a shame because the hotel could be great with a little tweaking, but they seem to settle for being average. Question for the staff: Would it kill you to smile?

But hey, whatever...

Now it's time to move on to London. We'll be staying at a hotel that we've stayed at a couple of times before which we know is great. Restaurant reservations have been made, guide book pages have been earmarked, and the weather looks like it's going to be warm and mostly sunny.

It's always warm and sunny when we go to London.

What's a guy gotta do to get some typical London weather?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Changing History...

I'm back in Basel after two 14-hour airplane journeys and two 13-hour car rides in six days. bumped to business class (for no reason) on the way back from Chicago. YES!

I received a call from my dad this morning at 7:00 a.m. He told me that he doesn't want me to write anything about my mom's current condition on the blog, and he asked me to delete our previous posts. So, here is my official statement:

My mom is getting better. Thanks for keeping her in your thoughts.

That's all I'm going to say about my mom for the time being...

Some visitors will be arriving from America later this morning, and then a bunch of us will be driving up to Champagne for a long weekend. I'll be bringing the laptop, and hopefully I'll have time to do some updates.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I've Got My Eye On...

...this grill!

Yup! We have a grill (a.k.a Helmut) that's not even two years old, and I'm already thinking of buying another one.

...gotta have one for the balcony AND the rooftop, right?

Mrs. TBF and I, instead of blogging like we should have been, did a bunch of things over this past holiday (May Day) weekend. One of those things was going to our friendly, neighborhood Wyss garden center to buy some plants. While we were there, I pointed out to Mrs. TBF the Weber grill that had received (on previous solo visits) some gentle caresses, whispers of sweet nothings, and perhaps a dry hump or two from yours truly. She looked it over, and gave me the thumbs up!

Then, we saw the Weber Summit S-650!

Let me tell ya, it's a thing of beauty; burners galore (including a side burner), a spit fork rotisserie with motor, a wood chip smoker box, etc., etc. I was practically weeping. However, cooler heads prevailed and we decided to get the lesser model...which was still really, REALLY nice (and half the price!). We didn't order it there and then, but I figured I'd just go back and order one (the Swiss pretty much never carry any inventory!) after the holiday.

That's the problem: I had time to think about it.

I decided over the past couple of days that I would go back to Wyss and order...the bigger model. That's right, I convinced myself that we needed a total of 72,000 BTUs per hour. Sure, Mrs. TBF and I agreed on the lesser model,'s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission, right?

No need to ask for forgiveness...

I decided to do a quick internet check, and I found out that I could buy this grill from Abt Electronics in Chicago for about $1,775 (incl. tax) with free Chicagoland delivery. The price here? CHF 3850! That comes out to about $3,150!

I just can't do it! I can't justify the 75% surcharge.

Want it? Yup! Need it? Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-Y-... Nope!

I'll just wait for when/if the day ever comes that we move back to America, and then I'll buy a top-of-the-line grill. In the meantime, we'll just make do with Helmut and the old charcoal grill.

The Summit S-650 would be a waste here in Switzerland anyway since the meat (except for pork) is waaaaaaaayyyy better in America...