Sunday, January 20, 2002

Diary: 1/20/2002

Appologies for the lateness of the diary this week. Some last-minue developments have gotten in the way of normal life.

Starting on Monday, the wallpaper hangers arrived. We can't say that they were the best we've ever seen. In fact, they were probably closer to the worst. On the first day they came in and were clearly told to begin work in Joram's room, and not to start anything until that room was complete. They immediately moved furniture out of 3 rooms, took all the face plates off the electric outlets (Jorma had always wanted to see what was in those), and to go into Joram's room. Where they proceeded to smoke while they worked. "Furious" does not come nearly close enough to describe our reaction.

In the end, the work was done and we now have some brighter rooms. But the process of getting there made for a very rough week.

Also new this week is our dryer. After looking at the "old" one (dryer #2, delivered 2 weeks before) the service tech stated that there was no way the machine could ever have worked. Just out luck that *we* got the special one.

Also during this week the window repairman came. Nearly every window handle in the house was defective - they didn't close all the way - and the weather stripping had to be replaced as well.

On Wednesday, we celebrated Isabelle's birthday with all the girls from her class. Actually, the party was held at Isabelle's friends house - Joana. We combined parties to save on costs, headachs, and stress. For the most part, this plan worked. Although we're not sure if you can ever reduce stress when inviting 14 6 and 7 year old girls.

On Thursday we received a rather rude shock - our first electricity bill. This covered our first month, from mid-November to mid-December. The total was 1,075 swiss francs (roughly $662). Talk about sticker shock! We are still working with the rental company to work this out. The previous tenants paid an average of 350 swiss franc a month, so we assume that there is a problem in the electrical (heating) system. At least, we HOPE there is a problem.

On Saturday there was a hot-air balloon festival in the village of Chateau d'Oex. We've been to the festival in Chagrin but there was no comparison. About 75 balloons were launched at this one, all of them floating gently in the cold still alpine air. Some of the pictures should be spectacular.

We had some friends over for dinner Saturday night, which was a great way to end a lovely day. Then on Sunday we went over Leon's boss' house for a traditional Spanish meal. It was a great evening.

But one more surprise lay in store for us. When we got home, Debbie wanted to dry some cloths so that she had everything she needed for her trip this coming week. After putting the close in, she turned it on and was treated to a beautiful display of sparks and fireworks. The lights in the house went out as the main fuse tripped.

When the smoke cleared and the lights were restored, we were left with another dead dryer!

For those who read this and think that we must have been in tears, you should understand that this week has been too overwhelming from the start. By this point, it was down right surreal! We shut everything down, packed up for the night, and figured we would handle it in the morning. How, we are not sure.

This coming week is going to be intersting.

Of course, Debbie is flying out to Cleveland on Wednesday. For those who want to check in with her when it's not an international call, the number is 330-405-1357. And she flies in on Wednesday Jan 23, and flies back again on Wednesday, Jan 30.

This will leave Leon to fend for himself against all manner of strangeness - from what to serve for dinner to getting the dryer fixed. We hope.

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

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