Thursday, January 20, 2005

We're in the home stretch...

We get the keys to our new apartment this Friday night, and our focus has turned from packing to moving. This Saturday morning, we're going to drain and disassemble the water bed. Then, we'll bring it to the new place and set it up. Our plan is actually to begin sleeping at the new place this Saturday night so the pets can get used to it as quickly as possible. Along with the bed, the first things to be moved will be the coffee maker (top priority...waking up on Sunday morning without caffeine would not be a good thing), toiletries, pet supplies/medicine, toilet paper (the coffee maker takes priority) and paper towels, dining room table and a couple of chairs, etc., etc. I have a whole list of things. On Sunday, we'll just haul boxes from our current place, and put them into the storage area at the new place (I have a feeling that moving things up to our apartment in the elevator on a Sunday would be taboo!).
Yesterday, I packed some of the stereo stuff and most of the bar stock. I had an incredibly anal 2½ hour period of labeling all of the inputs and outputs on our stereo/satellite/T.V. combination so that I would have some hope of reassembling it correctly after the move. Everything's still hooked up, but we don't have surround-sound any more. I'll probably leave the T.V. hooked up until Wednesday morning, and then we'll be without satellite T.V. for probably about a week. YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

It's nice to know...

...that I can still find my way around a hardware store.
I had to go to OBI today to pick up a few things, and I suddenly realized that I had know idea how to say "steel wool" in German. Even though I don't really go to OBI that often, I figured that it had to be organized pretty much the same way as Home Depot, Menards, Builders Square, etc. And I'm happy to report that this son-of-a-carpenter managed to find the steel wool in all of about 15 seconds.
On the way out I noticed that they were having a big sale on sauna kits, thought about buying one for the roof-top garden at the new apartment, and then decided that the one at the gym satisfies my sauna needs....for now!

Monday, January 17, 2005


Do you ever wake up with a song going through your head, and then you just can't shake it for the rest of the day? My song of the day is "Alone" by Heart, off of their 1987 "Bad Animals" album. I saw the video for this song last week, and apparently some type of delayed after-effect has taken place. Actually, I really like this song. Especially that one point where Ann (Or, was it Nancy? I could never keep those two straight. I just looked it is Ann! That's right, Ann was the chubby siren, and Nancy was the blonde vixen.) just wails half way through the song!
I tried recreating the wail for Mrs. TBF this morning shortly after waking up, and my morning voice wasn't quite there yet. I'll have to work on it for when she gets home tonight.
Really, Mrs. TBF shouldn't complain too much. Over the Christmas holiday, I woke up one morning with the song "Hot Diggity" (not sure of the title) going through my head. You know the song..."Hot diggity, dog diggity, ooh what you do to me...). For about three days I just kept spontaneously repeating the song with obsessive-compulsive fervor. Plus, I replaced the "ooh" with a very resounding "BOOM!". At first, I think Mrs. TBF thought it was kind of funny. But after about three days, I do recall there being a rather threatening "enough already!".
Where the heck did that song come from? More importantly, how many of my blog readers...are now going to be humming that song for the rest of the day?

Goose...the other dark meat!

We barbecued a goose on the Weber last night, and I have to say that it was pretty darned tasty. The great thing about goose is...that IT'S ALL DARK MEAT!!! What more could you want? I think we kind of overcooked it, but it was still good. We figured that it would require eleven minutes per pound (just like turkey) on the grill, but I think that eight minutes per pound is a better estimate. Also, it wasn't the big grease explosion that I thought it would be. And the skin....MY GOD!!! HEAVEN!!! That kind of reminds me of something funny I saw on The Simpson's (quickly becoming my favorite T.V. show) last week.
Homer ordered some carry-out chicken, and he asked for "extra skin". Is that possible?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I'm not asking for much.

Why is it so hard to get a DECENT TOMATO at the grocery store in January? Suddenly all the tomatoes are a pinkish hue, and they look like they won't be ripe until at least March.
With all of our technological advances, you'd think that man could develop some way to solve this problem. I mean, its exactly the same as it was thirty years ago. Come on! I'm slicing up pink cardboard balls and sticking them on our salad. This is an unmitigated outrage!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Lunch fit for

You just have to love the French. Where else could you buy canned Saucisses aux Lentilles a la Graisse d'Oie (sausages with lentils in goose fat)? I paired up this "low fat" wonder with a Croque Monsieur (basically a Monte Cristo in America), and voila!!! Of course, I had to share some with Dominique. Posted by Hello

We interrupt the packing of moving boxes... bring you a NOT so important bit of information.
I was about to crumple up a page from The Mail to put in a moving box when I noticed the following article:
A president who's as exciting as concrete
It was a review of Jimmy Carter's new book. At first, Carter is praised as "...the first former United States president ever to have published a work of fiction." (Hmmm...has any current U.S. president ever published a work of fiction...other than most speeches and press conferences???) However, the praise quickly takes a turn for the worse when the reviewer goes on to state "...that Carter is an absolutely dreadful novelist: his dialogue and characterisation are not so much wooden as positively concrete. He would be well advised to stick to non-fiction in [the] future."

Friday, January 07, 2005

75 years old...and counting!

Yesterday was my Uncle Elmer's (it's actually Ilmari, but everybody calls him Elmer) 75th birthday. So, Mrs. TBF and I called him at his home in Beaver Lake, Ontario, Canada to wish him a happy birthday. All I can say is that I hope I'm in as good shape as Elmer when I'm 75 years old. He uses a wood burning stove as the main heating source for his house, and he splits all the wood by hand. And I'm not joking, his wood pile must be the equivalent of about fifty cords of wood. He goes hunting and fishing, rides one of those four-wheel all terrain vehicles, goes curling twice a week...just real active and a real outdoorsman. I wouldn't be surprised if he's still doing all of this stuff when he's 100 years old.
I also spoke with my Aunt Astrid who pretty much sounds exactly like my mom except she has a stronger Canadian accent, and my cousin Ken who was in town for my Uncle's birthday. It was nice talking to all of them. It was actually the first time I had spoken with Ken since our wedding 17+ years ago. He lives on a farm outside of Edmonton with his wife Kathleen and their horses, dogs, and cats. Just for fun, Mrs. TBF checked out flights from Basel to Edmonton. We'd have to fly from Basel to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Calgary, and Calgary to Edmonton - a total of 16+ hours of flying. Plus, Ken told me that it was -38ÂșC one morning a couple of weeks ago. So, maybe it would be better to go there during the summer months.

One thing I didn't learn in my German class...

...was how to say "moment of silence" in German.
As I was walking into my gym from the parking garage this past Wednesday, I heard an announcement being made in German over the P.A. system. All I caught was that something was happening at noon. I took the elevator up to the reception area, and said hello to a couple of staff response. I walked a few more feet, said hello to a couple more people...blank stares. Suddenly, I notice that the entire gym was silent and that all the people were standing with their heads bowed. As it turns out, there was a three-minute moment of silence at noon throughout Europe for the victims of the tsunami.
So that's what the announcement over the intercom was all about. Doh!!!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A clean sweep...

Ahhhhh, Switzerland. It's 8:04 a.m., and the street sweeper is already shwishing down Langruttiweg - the walking path in front of our house - for the weekly street sweeping. I'm sure that the profession of street sweeper is highly sought after in Switzerland since it must provide forty-hour per week guaranteed lifetime employment. Afterall, the job of cleaning the Swiss roads which don't really need cleaning is a never-ending job, isn't it? Ah...there he goes again for his second pass at 8:14 a.m....chugging along at about 1 mph in his neon-orange jump suit looking all smug in his little plexiglass cubicle.
I wonder if he actually drives his little street sweeper home at night and parks it in front of his house to lord it over us. If so, I bet he has the cleanest street in Switzerland.

Monday, January 03, 2005

A shot in the arm.

That is what I unexpectedly received this afternoon.
Last year, I went for a physical and ended up receiving a littany of vaccinations after my doctor found out that I hadn't had any shots for about seventeen years. I ended up getting shots for polio, tetanus, and hepatitis.
The hepatitis vaccination is a three-parter. You get one shot, wait one month, get another shot, wait six months, and then get the third shot. Being that I had the second shot on March 22, 2004, I guess I was due for the third one in September. Naturally, I never got around to it...that is, until this afternoon.
This afternoon I stopped by Praxis Reinacherhof to make an appointment for my third hepatitis vaccination. I was totally expecting them to tell that they'd be able to take me in about nineteen weeks. So, imagine my surprise when they told me that they'd give me the shot right away. Although, I think they were a little alarmed that I didn't have my World Health Organization International Certificate of Vaccination book on me (do people actually carry those around with them?). Actually, they weren't quite as alarmed as when they asked me for it a year ago when I received my first vaccinations, and I told them that I had never even heard of this book. I'm sure this episode reinforced their belief that America's health care program is second rate.
The final outcome is: I'm unofficially up to date on my vaccinations. It won't be official until I go back to the doctor's office with my little W.H.O. booklet for the doctor's stamp and signature.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Guess who's coming for dinner.

General Tso...that's who. A few days ago, Mrs. TBF decided that she was going to cook a New Year's Day Asian dinner extravaganza. She asked me if I had any requests, and I told her I wanted General Tso's chicken. She did a quick search on the internet, found a recipe, and my culinary wishes are going to come true. It's been a long time since I've had "the General", and I'm really looking forward to it!

We should be packing more moving boxes...

...but we've been pretty lazy today so far. We woke up around 10:00, ate some lunch, took Dominique for a long walk, and then we came home intending to take down the Christmas tree. At least that was our intention until I noticed that Uncle Buck will be starting at 14:55 on BBC1. So, who knows when that tree's going to come down. A John Candy movie takes priority over most things (God rest his soul..just added by Mrs. TBF who's in the kitchen getting dinner started).

Happy New Year!!!!

We had kind of a late night last night at John and Rammy's house. As usual, the food and drinks were great (including a MASSIVE beef roast). However, the highlight had to be the fireworks display provided by Henry and Susan.
Henry bought this big box of fireworks at a store in France for about 85 Euros, and it certainly did not disappoint. After lighting it in John and Rammy's backyard at the stroke of midnight, it churned out a rather impressive fireworks display for several minutes. Amazingly, no buildings, trees, or cars were set ablaze, and no Polizei showed up. Sure, we heard a few neighbors yelling out complaints in Swiss-German, but we couldn't understand them, who cares?
Nobody really overdid it, and I ended up driving myself, Mrs. TBF, Andy, Di, Sam, and Alie down the Bruderholz hill back to Reinach around 2:15 a.m.