29 June 2008

Project: Get Organized

On Friday afternoon GLH and I made a resolution.

This resolution came as my sister-in-law and I sat in nearly 90 degree heat surrounded by between 70-80 old cans of paint and slowly, at times painfully, opened them one by one and stirred cat litter into them. The employees at the paint store recommended it as the fastest and cheapest way of drying out cans of paint so they can be safely thrown away and not leak toxic chemicals into the water supply.

The occasional lighter-weight can of paint that rattled was cause for celebration. It meant the paint had already completely dried and we could just toss it into the enormous garbage skid we had rented for the week. The skid that was full by the end of the day and will need to be replaced with an empty one so the process of cleaning out the house can continue. Dealing with forty years of accumulation followed by a year of illness is not a quick process.

At one stage GLH's brother stated "If I had known I would one day be doing this, I would have loosened the lids on all of these cans years ago." He actually used other words, but I try to avoid obscenities in my postings.

The paint cans were just the tip of the iceberg. There was so much we did, and so much more that needs to be done. We accomplished all we could while we were there, but we couldn't stay longer. The responsibility of finishing will fall upon the shoulders of GLH's brother and his wife. We can help with some of the paperwork issues, but the back-breaking work will need to be done by them. For that we are sorry.

So what is the resolution?

GLH and I hereby vow that we will get organized and stay organized in order to reduce the burden on the shoulders of each other or our family should we unexpectedly die or become incapacitated.

Our home is actually somewhat organized. I've always been a "purger" and tend to go through our possessions about twice a year, ridding us of unneeded or unwanted items. A skill learned from my parents and through years of moving frequently, usually without professional movers. And fortunately, GLH did not inherit the Pack Rat Gene. He doesn't feel the need to hold onto things that are not actively used. He is also very good at keeping all of our paperwork organized and has an electronic filing system to limit the stacks of paperwork that can accumulate. But there is always room for improvement.

And we need to look carefully at estate planning, wills, living trusts and so on. This is especially true as we hope to soon become parents and we need to plan so that our child/ren will be cared for and financially secure at least through college graduation. Compounded by the complication of living abroad, there is a lot work to be done.

It is always frightening to face the reality of mortality and so easy to put it off because we are still young and unlikely to die any time soon. But it is far better to work through the fear and denial than leave a difficult situation for our family to untangle, likely after paying substantial fees in probate court costs and excess "death taxes."

We will start this week and build a schedule into the process to keep it current.

It may be one of the most important things we ever do.

While the People Are Away...

We returned home this morning to a note from our friend, who cared for our cats while we were gone...

O.K. So you need to know there was an INCIDENT OF THE GREENIES while you were gone... Left the top drawer open and T 'n M got the greenies and had a wild Greenie Party getting both packages no less! Tilly looks like she got the lion's share of the greenies... So they must both have very sparkly teeth now!
By the way, the package advises no more than 10 greenies in a day or they can get sick. They are little rascals. And no more greenies for them until we have time to get to Qualipet.

Both of them still have very stinky cat breath. I guess it wore off.

22 June 2008


In the United States due to a family emergency.

Blogging to resume in a week or so.

18 June 2008

Good-bye, Old Girl

A Very Special Dog
Shown walking with my nieces in 2005

14 June 2008


This week I realized I have worn my hair in a ponytail virtually every day for close to a month. For me, that means only one thing. I am tired of dealing with long hair.

So this morning I went down and had someone cut my hair off. Unfortunately, it was a bit too short to be able to donate for a wig for children who have lost their hair.

But I am relieved to report, it is NOT a Vokuhila (Mullet).

I am now sporting a *chin-length bob. It will be months before a ponytail is even a possibility.

Ah. Much better!

*NOTE: Most definitely NOT the kind worn by Posh Spice. I don't "do" trendy. And besides, that hairstyle looks like a Reversed Mullet (long in front, short in back).

13 June 2008

Wildlife Filming

I know the basic rule of wildlife filming. Regardless of what happens, the film merely documents events and the camera crew should never step in and interfere with the natural order of the environment. Which means that if the lion kills the baby zebra, you simply film and allow it to happen.

What I didn't know is that those rules spill over into reality television with people as well.

On Airline there was a young man who forgot his passport. His brother was on his way to deliver the passport to the airport. Unfortunately while he was waiting, he fell asleep and did not hear the repeated announcements to come to the desk. You'd think the camera crew, who stood and filmed him sleeping, might have woken him up at some stage. But apparently that would have violated the prime directive and disturbed the natural order. Perhaps even created some kind of a time/space continuum anomaly?

I wonder if they would have helped if a lion had somehow escaped in the airport and began killing people? Or would that have been too much of an interference?

08 June 2008

Why Aren't I Blogging?

I've received a few e-mails concerned about my lack of blogging. Is there something wrong? Did I need another break? What is happening?

Well, as my previous post mentioned, I cut my finger. Deep enough to require a trip to the hospital. It's alright, but banging it against a keyboard kinda hurts.

I'll blog again when it doesn't hurt to type.


04 June 2008


That's the German word for "accident prone."

Which I have once again proven I am.

Earlier today I was chopping onions for dinner and the knife slipped a bit. I was pretty amazed at how much blood could pour so quickly out of my finger.

About 45 minutes later, even with constant pressure and keeping my hand up in the air, it became obvious that the bleeding was not going to stop on its own. So GLH and I made our first visit to an emergency room together. (Well, except for visits with Max the Cat to the animal hospital because he once again ate a non-food item. But that doesn't really count.)

After a two minute wait we were in the back, being examined by a nurse. The doctor arrived a couple of minutes later. The cut had to be soaked in a disinfectant that also helped to stop the bleeding. Then an embarrassingly enormous bandage was applied and we were walking out the door.

Almost the entire situation was handled in German, which impressed GLH quite a lot. He didn't know I was that good at "spreckling the Deutsch."

Have to admit, I was impressed with the efficiency. Approximately 40 minutes after walking into the emergency room, we were done and walking back out.

Worst thing about the whole situation?

Our cats seem to think the enormous bandage is present for them. Perhaps a special chew toy? They might need to be kicked out of the bedroom while the bandage is on. Much harder to protect while I am sleeping...

02 June 2008


Last night we had a few friends over for dinner.

While we were eating, one of them mentioned she's been a lot healthier since she moved to Europe. She was convinced her lack of colds had to due with radiated heat instead of forced air heat, which tends to dry out your nose and throat.

I was thinking about it some more today because I have also been healthier since moving here. But I think it is more as a result of not working than anything else.

Here are the reasons:

1. I am no longer sleep deprived. Before I married GLH I actually worked two jobs, my full-time job and a part-time job. As a result, three days a week I worked from 8 am until 11 pm. I also worked at least two weekends every month. Even after I quit the second job (because GLH and I were rarely able to see each other), I worked long hours as a manager. With all the things that must be done at work and at home, plus a desire to also do fun things, I rarely got to bed before midnight and then was up again by 6 am.

2. We rarely eat away from home now. When we were both working, we would get home exhausted from the day and then try to figure out what to have for dinner. Cooking seemed like a lot of work. Not to mention cleaning up afterwards. And the grocery shopping to ensure we actually had things to eat. We would frequently end up eating at a restaurant (or picking up take out) simply because it was late, we were hungry and it was so much easier. Now that I am not working, I have time to grocery shop and do actual meal planning. Plus the cost of dining in Zurich is so high that I am reluctant to pay those prices for what is usually mediocre food. (The good restaurants are even more expensive!)

3. Exercise is an integrated part of my daily life. Since I usually take public transportation most everywhere I go, I do a lot more walking. Plus I will frequently meet other Haus Fraus for a bit of walking as well. I typically average an hour or more of exercise every day. That's a fair amount of exercise. Far more than I used to do even when I planned it into my schedule and visited the gym.

4. I am no longer exposed to so many germs. Do you have any idea how many germs library employees come into contact with on a daily basis? Large public buildings, filled with people of all ages, but predominantly children, tend to generate a lot of sickness. I love children. Really do. But they are germ factories! There's just no getting around it. Because I do not work, I come into contact with far fewer people. And unlike at work, where people may come even when they are sick, Haus Frau events tend to have only the healthy people there.

So, yeah, I am healthier and catch far fewer colds and the like. But I don't think it's got anything to do with our radiated heat!

And I am healthy even though we generally leave our windows open for the cross breeze. But that's another post altogether. (I bet others living in German-speaking areas know exactly what I am talking about!)