Friday, October 31, 2008

So Far In Chicago...

...I have:

smelled TWO skunks!

eaten corned beef hash and Fritos (not together)!

had a minor dispute with a cashier (I won!)!

seen a friend I haven't seen for over a year!

watched a grade school Halloween parade!

I hope the excitement doesn't escalate: I don't think I could handle it!

I'm enjoying beautiful, warm, and sunny weather here in Chicago. I just wish I had brought along some shorts.

Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lounge Rat...

Here I sit in the midst of (yellowing) palm trees in the Swiss Lounge at Basel's EuroAirport. I don't really have anything special to blog about, but since the lounge has free internet access I thought that I should at least use it for a few minutes.

I mean, SOMETHING FREE IN SWITZERLAND!!!! What's going on here???? Can't pass that up!

In about thirty minutes, it will be...ONWARD, HO!*

*If Mrs. TBF were here, she'd tell me to quit calling her a "ho". I hate traveling without her. Sad...

A Quickie..

I'm in a hurry...

We had a great time in Paris, and now I'm getting ready to leave for Chicago. While I'm in Chicago, Mrs. TBF will head to Singapore on business. That means that we'll be pretty much half-way around the world from each other...which is sad.

I'll blog about Paris (and Chicago) after I cross over the Big Pond.

I'm counting on you, King, to hold down the fort while we're gone.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Rude Awakening!

I woke up this morning to what sounded like a 747 about to land in our bedroom - according to Mrs. TBF's alarm clock, it was 5:22 a.m.

One question: Why would an alarm clock manufacturer make the numbers so dim that it's nearly impossible to see them even in a dark room? Just wondering...

Anyway, getting back to the plane...

I thought that planes weren't allowed to land at Basel's EuroAirport between midnight and 6 a.m. But I guess I was wrong. A quick look at the EuroAirport Daily Flight Plan - Arrivals webpage (OK...geeky to some, but of great interest to us), informed me - much to my surprise - that a number of (mostly) cargo planes land regularly between 5 & 6 a.m. And, it looks like the culprit was a FEDEX cargo plane (FX5083) arriving from Paris with a landing time of 5:27 a.m.


I have to say that I've never been woken up before by a plane landing at EuroAirport this early in the morning. What I'm wondering: is this something new? How could I possibly have never heard these early flights before? The noise was so loud that Mrs. TBF had to get up and close our bedroom window. Seriously, this plane flew only a few thousand feet right over our apartment!

I guess Mrs. TBF is going to have to begin getting up right before 5 a.m. every morning from now on in order to close the window. I mean, I'd do it, but the window's on her side of the bed. So, it...

...officially counts as her responsibility.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Two people (no wonder things are so expensive here!) showed up at 3 p.m. this afternoon to replace our washing machine. It's now 3:30, and they're already gone.

So how's the new machine, you ask?

It' the new machine.

It turns out that there has been some sort of snafu (I just LOVE that word!). The company ordered the wrong size machine, and the new one wouldn't fit into the spot where the old one was. Since the washer and dryer are stacked on top of each other, the washing machine has to be exactly the right size.


The repair "couple" put the old machine back in place, so at least "we" (read: "I") can still wash clothes until the new machine comes. I'll tell ya, being without a washing machine here would REALLY suck!

When I asked the repairlady how long it would be until we get the new machine, she told me that they could probably get the replacement for us by the end of the week. We're leaving for Paris on Friday morning, so this week is probably out. If they can't get it for Monday or Tuesday, then Mrs. TBF is going to have to deal with it on her own (yikes!) because I'm leaving for Chicago next Wednesday.


About the washing machine, that is - not about Paris or Chicago.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Another Step Closer To The Urn...

...or is it farther?

I brought King in for his annual check-up this past Wednesday. All in all, this trip to Dr. Boozer's office was rather uneventful; unlike last year when he dropped a bomb in his crate just before returning home.

Dr. Boozer gave King a blood test, and I called yesterday morning for the results and...


Sheesh! I mean, I'm not hoping that King dies a horrible death or anything, but...


OK...I guess I fudged that a bit. He does continue to have his thyroid at least there's hope for his demise at some point in the next decade (Did I say that out loud?), but Dr. Boozer had to send some blood to a lab for that test so I didn't get the results until today. And...the verdict?

I need to up his thyroid medicine...or maybe I won't...Mwaaaaah-ha-haaaaa (STOP THAT!)!

Great! Not only is the beast going to live forever, but...he's going to begin costing us even MORE money than he does now. I had just calculated that he costs us CHF 135 (about $115) per month just for food, medicine, and kitty litter. If you add in the visits to the vet...jeez...I don't even want to think about it. Doesn't he know that there's an economic crisis goin' on, for Chris'sake?

That crisis thing's still going on, right?

Es riecht wie Zwiebeln!

Our washing machine is on its last leg. A repairman came out last Friday to take a look.

Repairman: What seems to be the problem.

TBF: When I use the gentle cycle, the clothes seem to be coming out partially wet and partially dry. I don't think enough water is going into the machine. Sometimes, after the cycle is done, the door won't open without me pressing a bunch of different buttons. And finally...the machine smells like onions.*

Repairman: What?

TBF: The machine smells like onions.

Repairman: (sticking his head into the machine) You're right! It does smell like onions.

TBF: We don't really eat that many onions, so I'm not really sure where that smell is coming from.
The long and short of it was that the repairman called the building management and advised that our 13 year old washing machine would cost CHF 600 ($525) to repair, and a new one would cost about CHF 2000 ($1750). After he got off the phone, he told me that the owner would have to decide between repair and replacement.

This afternoon, I received a call from the repairman. Our new washing machine will be installed next Tuesday afternoon. Man, I LOVE it when things go the way I want them to go!!

One problem is solved (Thank GAWD!!!) But now I have another problem:

How am I going to get rid of this craving for French onion soup?

* Since the repairman spoke absolutely zero English, I had to speak in German. For the reader's benefit, I wrote down in English what I THINK I was saying in German. Just transpose some of the words, completely leave out others, and throw in a dash of gibberish (while gesturing like a mad man), and you'll have a more accurate idea of what I was actually saying to the repairman.

Gone But Not Forgotten...

I did something different this year, and I think it's going to work out well.

We have some really big potted plants in our rooftop garden that have to come in for the winter. Namely: the bougainvillea (just ignore the Green Bay Packers fan in the foreground), the bottlebrush plant, and a rather large hibiscus. Over the past couple of years, I've brought these plants into the apartment where they've proceeded to drop a bunch of their leaves for the sole purpose that King can bat them around all night causing me great annoyance.

The plants survive the winter OK in the apartment, but they pretty much look like they're barely clinging on to life when I return them to the rooftop in the spring. Yeah, they bounce back. But, for example, the bougainvillea doesn't begin blooming until about July 1st. The bottlebrush plant, which normally blooms at the end of May, began blooming in September this year.

I'm a greedy gardener - I want to maximize bloom-time.


This year, thanks to our friend Dr. (pharmacology) Rammy, our plants will bask the whole winter in summer-like warmth in a greenhouse. She arranged for her gardening service to come pick up our plants this week, and they were whisked away at 8:00 a.m. this past Wednesday morning.

As my babies sped away down the road in the Alabor trailer, I felt a twinge of sadness...and happiness.

For how many more summers will I enjoy their blooms?

Mixed emotions...

Update later: I just noticed that on the first glance of this post that it appears as if I am eulogizing Dr. (entomology) John. Let it be known: DR. JOHN IS NOT DEAD!!! Although, he is a Green Bay Packers fan. And that, in my opinion, officially qualifies him as disabled.

Friday Flashback: 時間は行進する!

I can't believe it's been a year since we got on the plane, turned left (thanks to Mrs. TBF's BA gold upgrade coupons), and raised our glasses in celebration of our 20th anniversary trip to Japan.


One year, people!

ONE YEAR!!!!!!!!

Last night, I mentioned to Mrs. TBF that it had been just over a month since we were in Amalfi. felt like FOREVER ago.

Isn't it strange how sometimes things that are recent seem like they happened ages ago, and things that happened a long time ago feel like they just happened?

I mean, it feels like just yesterday that I was running around with a full head of hair and six-pack abs without a care in the world.

Oh yeah...that was last night...


Speaking of dreams...

Hey, Mrs. TBF: How's that Japanese schoolgirl uniform coming along?

I Didn't Even Notice!

Has it really been over a year since we sold the Jeep?

Why...yes it has!

Have I missed it?


Have there been times where I wished I had a car?

No! OK...maybe once or twice.

The Mobility car-sharing program has worked really well for me, and I don't regret getting rid of our car at all. In fact, I've only really used Mobility cars about ten times over the past year, so that's not even once per month. And...some of those times were when I didn't really even need a car, but I just felt like driving around in order to cram a bunch of errands into one day.

Yes...the tram, bus, taxis, and the occasional rides from friends have served us well.


That was easy!

Who would'a thunk it?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Got A Package, People!


That's how I describe our door buzzer, AND that's what I heard yesterday afternoon. Hmmm...that's funny. I wasn't expecting anybody. Then, I walked over to the intercom:

TBF: Hello?

Mystery Swiss Caller: Squoli squonk...squonk...squonk...squoli...squonk-squonk!!!

TBF: Wie bitte?

MSC: Paket!

Got a package, people!!!!!

Hmmm...that's funny. I wasn't expecting a package. Could it possibly be all the wine I ordered from last weekend's Weinmesse? Already?

When I got down to our lobby, I saw two delivery men standing with a pretty big box. It was then that I realized that I was about to get some head!

Actually...two heads...AND a big plate!

Seeing how busy I've been over the past month doing...well...pretty much nothing, is it any wonder that I'd forgotten that we bought some Italian ceramics while we were in Amalfi last month? Actually, I seem to recall that I remembered the ceramics for a split second last week, and then my one second attention span moved on to more unimportant things, and then I just forgot about them again...until yesterday.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah...

I unpacked the box and found that Mrs. TBF's "people" had used an interesting combination of styrofoam "popcorn", styrofoam sheets, and empty plastic water bottles as packaging material. Then, each ceramic piece was wrapped in foam rubber and two layers of bubble wrap. I'll be recycling/throwing out packaging material for the next week, but I'm happy to report that all three pieces are intact and the new heads will soon be joining the existing heads on our "head wall".

The plate? I have NO idea where we're going to keep that thing seeing that it's too big to fit into any of our cabinets. Mrs. TBF wants me to hang the plate on the wall. I, being the sole operator of the hammer-drill, have vetoed that idea, so I'm just going to have to buckle-down and find a place for it...somewhere. I guess that means I'll be doing a lot of walking into a room and then wondering why I actually walked into that room over the next few days.

I like that game, and I have to say that I've become pretty good at it over the past eight years. Practice makes perfect.

Colour My World...

Man, we've had some nice fall color here this year. In fact, Mrs. TBF and I think that Fall 2008 has been the most colorful one we've had since moving to Switzerland.

How's the fall color where you live?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gotta Love Them Pets!


There's nothing like waking up at 1:45 a.m. to the sound of your cat coughing up a gigantic hairball.

Not so bad?


There's nothing like waking up at 1:45 a.m. to the sound of your cat coughing up a gigantic hairball, while standing on top of the duvet, between your legs, and then splattering cat spit, fur, and chunks of cat food all over said duvet and onto the floor.

Forcing myself out of bed this morning at 1:46 a.m., I wiped up what I could, surveyed the rest of the vomit-spray, cursed King and decided that there was NO WAY I was spending the rest of the night in that bed. I told Mrs. TBF that I was going to sleep in the guest room.

About one minute after getting under the duvet in the guest room - yup, you guessed it! - King decided that he'd like to reclaim his spot on top of the new duvet between my legs. I told him to get the Hell out, and...he did; not to be seen for the rest of the night! Mrs. TBF slid into bed next to me a few minutes later, after opening the window, because "...the guest room smells like eggs!" (sorry about that!), and we spent the rest of the night sleeping in our guest bed. Or, should I say...NOT sleeping?

First, it took both of us about an hour to fall back to sleep. Then, I woke up at some point (4 a.m.?) and saw Mrs. TBF hopping around the room with a cramp in her leg. At 7 a.m., the bells, loud and clear because of the open window, were clanging away at the local church.

Why do the church bells clang at 7 a.m.? Why?...why?...WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY???

I got up and made us both some coffee, and brought a cup into the bathroom for Mrs. TBF just in time to hear her telling King:

"You just came one step the urn, MISTER!"

He didn't seem to care one way or another.

Out With The Old...

...and in with the new!

Here she is...Miss Switzerland 2008: Whitney Toyloy (great name!)!

While last year's winner showed a lot of promise by being "up for it", she definitely pales by comparison to Miss Boy-Toyloy!

One question:

Does Miss America pose for photos for a lingerie collection a week after being crowned?

Ummmm...didn't think so!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I've Got The Blues!

No, not those kind of blues. I guess it would be more accurate to say that I'm SEEING blue, and I wish it would end. You see, the Blue Man Group is coming to Basel at the end of October for a 2.5 month stay, and...I CAN'T WAIT!!!

No, not because I'm going to go see them. I'm not.

No! The reason I can't wait for them to come to Basel is that it means that they'll also soon (January 11, 2009) be leaving Basel, and then...


Sheesh! It's been on billboards, buses, trams, and every other place I've set my eyes since the start of this year, and...I'M TIRED OF THIS STINKIN' POSTER!!!

There is one thing I do like about it though...

Doesn't the Blue Man on the left look like Bob Denver from Gilligan's Island if he had a blue face and...oh...

...wasn't dead?

Laughing... somebody else's misfortune.

Mrs. TBF sent this video clip to me yesterday. I've watched it several times, and I'm still laughing my ass off.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Eight Down...

...and NO MORE than two to go!

Today marks eight years since the beginning of the Swiss chapter of my life. You can read all about it right here if you like.

I recently began
The Final Countdown. No more than 730 days to go!


The low-tech version, that is.

Dr. Andy and I went to a wine tasting in Basel this past Saturday afternoon. We were there for a couple of hours, and we sampled (and bought) a lot of wine. Really, if you added up all the sips, we probably each drank only the equivalent of two glasses of wine. However, there was a lot of slurping and swishing and at one point I said to Andy: "I hope my teeth aren't as blue as yours." As turned out, they were even bluer.

Time to break out the Crest Whitestrips.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jumping On The Bandwagon!

For the first time in more than a century, Chicago has two chances at a Major League baseball championship, and my upcoming trip to Chicago will coincide with games 6 & 7 of the Cubs/Sox World Series.

So who's getting me tickets?