Sunday, February 10, 2002

Diary: 2/10/2002

Dear friends and family

On the one hand, a quiet week. On the other, it was another one of those "We don't want a week like this again" weeks.

Debbie and Joram spend all weekend, and most of the week, getting over their cold/flu/creeping crud/whatever it is. For Debbie it manifested as extreme exhaustion, coughing fits, and headaches. For Joram it was stellar fevers, runny noses, and a light cough.

So it seems that the week Debbie was in the US was a "dress rehearsal" for this week. Through sheerest luck, Leon was able to manage everything in the house and give Debbie the breathing room (no pun intended) she needed to recover. But that was only because Debbie had done such a good job of preparing him from before the US trip.

It was also a good thing that our SKY satelite box (british TV) was installed. That way Debbie had something to watch that didn't require non-stop interpreting. This allowed her to discover "Ready, Steady, Cook" ( "Emeril Live", this ain't. To give a brief overview of the show, you:

Take two normal people from the studio audience, who are asked to purchase 5 British pounds (approximately $7.00) worth of food. It can be anything. One guy bought nothing but a big bar of chocolate. Most people opt for a potatoe or two, some type of vegitative matter, and perhaps meat or something in a can. Then two "celebrity chefs" are invited on and given 20 minutes to come up with something to cook from whatever was brought. The audience member is supposed to help, which is why most chef's require lots of boiled water. The audience member usually gets in the way even doing that. The chef who comes up with the most original and best-presented idea wins. Wins what? It's not terribly clear. Nor does anyone appear to care much. The point of the show seems to be "See, with just 20 minutes and some basic items, you can make this lovely meal". They always forget to mention that you might also need a chef with years of experience. Where can you get one of those for less than 5

Did you know that 104 degrees farenheit is the same as 40 degrees celcius? Why do we mention it? Because that is the temperature at which you should bring your child to a hospital for medical attention. Yes, on Wednesday afternoon Joram decided things were too quiet, and gave us a scare by spiking his fever so high we thought his brain would boil. So Leon rushed him down to the hospital (at least we know where it is now!) to see what to do.

We would like to state, here and now, that the Swiss fascination with sticking things up their rear end is nothing short of a sick twisted compulsion for which the entire medical community ought to be locked up. 3 rectal temperatures and 2 medicinal suppositories later, Joram's temp was certainly down. Personally we think it was because he realized they were going to continue to stick things up there until he got healthy. No wonder nobody in this country get sick! Who would want to go for treatment? Definitely the Marquis de Sade school of medicine. Oh sure, they say that the temperature readings are more accurate and the medicine works faster that way, but a whole world full of people popping pills stands in silent testimony to the contrary. If medicine really worked faster that way, you would be able to identify junkies by their permanently bow-legged walk.

On Saturday, we spent most of our time watching the Olympic opening ceremonies on TV. That same day Leon started coming down with his own version of the creeping crude, so this coming week should be another fun time.

Finally, on Sunday we went over Paul and Rorie's for pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and an afternoon of good company and conversation. It was a chance to finally get out of the house but not risk pneumonia at the same time.

For those looking for a little dose of Swiss-American humor, here is a list going around the Nestle teams lately. It mentions some fairly standard Swiss practices. We are happy to explain any that don't make sense. OK. So all of them may not make sense, but we're still happy to explain what some of them mean.

You know you've been in Switzerland too long if:
you think getting up early is good.
you throw a party and expect everyone to leave by 11:30 pm.
you clean up during parties.
you expect dinner guests to help with the washing up.
you actually get interested in the local elections.
you become concerned about the colour of your neighbour's curtains.
you expect the shop clerk to say goodbye after you purchase something.
you try to defend cartel based economics to a visitor.
you think that plaid jackets with flowery ties don't look that bad.
you think it's fair that you can only wash clothes once a month.
you wonder why anyone would want to shop outside of working hours.
you think it's OK to drive slow on Sundays.
you feel like you're broke if you have less that SFr. 300 ($184.00) in your pocket.
you dress up to go grocery shopping.
you understand why Chinese food should cost more than normal food.
you prefer Swiss wine.
you wish that your hometown had expensive garbage bags too.
you think it's OK for a Chinese restaurant to be run by a Swiss and staffed by Spaniards and Portugese.
you start thinking, 'Why can't they just speak Schwizerduetsch?'
your German is better than the waiter's.
you think Thursday night shopping is really convenient.
you think that large American cars are 'cool'.
you think it's cool to drink expensive imported American beers.
you prefer fizzy mineral water to tap water.
you begin to understand the subtlety of the Swiss cuisine.
you appreciate the differences between the cantons.
you feel really hungry if you don't start eating lunch by 12:00.
you have breakfast cereal for dinner.
you say Gruezi to everyone, and consider it impolite when they don't say it back.
you don't mind paying SFr.16 ($9.80) for a paperback book.
you think that Swisscom approved telephones are better.
you buy a new one instead of getting it repaired.
you think that 3% unemployment is high.
you believe it was through its own efforts that Switzerland stayed out of World War II.
you consider getting goats and sheep to graze in your backyard.
you only eat fondue in winter.
you complain to your neighbour about the noise when he flushes his toilet after 10 pm.
you become interested in the myriad of insurance offerings.
you volunteer to help organise the village festival.
you expect to be delayed by road works every summer.
you put Aromat on all your food.

Debbie, Leon , Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

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