Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I was bitten by a 24-hour flu bug. I started feeling a bit not right early Sunday afternoon. On Monday, I took a two-hour nap in the middle of the day which is definitely not normal even though our friend Andy thinks I should make it a daily habit. On Monday evening I was back to normal.
This is the third time I've have the flu in the last year. That's more flu than I've probably had in the past twenty years combined. What gives?

Damn! Having a car in Switzerland is expensive - especially when you don't drive it very often! Not only parking (not included in our rent), insurance (ridiculous...I'm going to shop around for a new policy this year!), gasoline (approaching $5.00/gallon), but also things like the annual license plate fee which I just received yesterday (about $525 U.S./year), and repairs.
Speaking of repairs, I brought our car in for an oil change last week. I received a phone call from the technician at Emil Frey a few hours after dropping it off, and he was speaking to me in Swiss German. I understood part of what he said, but I really don't know how to say certain auto parts in German, and I definitely have a difficult time understanding numbers in Swiss-German (i.e. sieben und dreizig becomes "zeeba-dreetsa", etc.). I broke out in a flop-sweat because I could tell he was rattling off additional repairs, and he was talking some serious money... I ended up speaking with another technician who spoke English very well. The conversation went something like this:

Technician: "The profile of your tires is not suitable for driving in snow. They are ok for driving during the summer, but you may not drive into the mountains with these tires. The cost for new tires is 1200 CHF [$925 U.S.].

TBF: [YES!! A valid excuse for not having to drive into the mountains!!] "Ok...Let's skip the tires for now, and I'll have them replaced later in the year."

Technician: "We are going to put on a new brake assembly that Jeep has come out with. This should reduce the vibration and excessive brake wear that you have been experiencing." [That ended up costing something like $750. NOTE TO JEEP: Your braking system on the 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited, IN MY OPINION, is a piece of shit. This is the third brake job we've had in six years, and we drive our Jeep less than 100 miles per week. You should have done a recall - SHAME ON YOU!]

TBF: "Yeah...go ahead and replace 'em. Ya gotta have good brakes [TBF nervously making small talk trying to break the tension...]

Technician: "Yes...AND you need new front shocks...[I wasn't really listening at this point, and I just began agreeing to everything. I think he somehow managed to hypnotize me over the phone].

TBF: "Wow, this is like having two rent payments this month...heh, heh, heh [nervous laughter...still trying to make small talk].

Technician: "Sorry?"

TBF: "Never mind."

In the end I agreed to new brakes, shocks, an oil change, and "routine service" whatever the hell that means. I guess it's not really that bad though. The car IS over six years old, and I guess it's time we had to put a little money into it.

I'm enjoying Blogpatrol.
They provide the counter that I have on my blog. Plus I can access it to find out who's been looking at my blog (...get back to work all you people at Mrs. TBF's office!), and what "keywords" people use to find my blog when doing internet searches. My favorite keywords so far: "saunas men basel" [must have been that thing I wrote about the cleaning lady walking into my shower at my gym] and four or five searches with the words "finnish mustard" [I wrote about Finnish mustard when I was in Finland this past summer.] Man...there's a lot more interest in Finnish mustard out there than I thought!

It's Chicago-cold out there today! Well, not really, but as close as it gets to Chicago cold around here. It was -7˚C / 19˚F this morning when Mrs. TBF left for work. That only happens a few times a year, and it kind of hit me in the face when I walked outside this morning.
Poor Mrs. TBF...the tram's always so crowded on cold days because some of the Swiss actually opt to ride the tram instead of riding their bikes to work. But, believe me, many still ride their bikes to work in frigid weather. Yesterday, for example, I drove Mrs. TBF to the train station early in the morning, and we saw people riding their bikes. It was dark, -2˚C, and they weren't wearing hats. But, they were saving the tram fare. Nicely done.

Ok...I better stop now because I'm sure you find this blog entry even more boring than I do. Not much has been happening lately, and that's the major reason why I haven't blogged. Hopefully, things will begin getting a bit more exciting around here soon.


CanadianSwiss said...

Good to have you back on blog, TBF. Hope you're feeling ok again. I just hate these 24 hour bugs. They seem to cost you more energy than a real cold. BTW, I had totally forgotten about what I could do with blog patrol. After all, I have to do the office's monthly Web stats. ;)

Unknown said...

Your ramblings are still amusing. :) Looks like Gretchen might have gotten that stomach bug also. I feel for you on the car. We are experiencing some needed car repair delimas also. Oh well life goes on..

Hey you could take a few pics while you are out. Even at the tram/train or while you are out at the gym. Just an idea for those who never see Basel each day. :)