Dear Friends and Family:
The rollercoaster picked up speed again this week, just as Leon was preparing to leave for Switzerland again.
The beginning of the week was very slow, with not much happening. It is hard not to let panic set in when you hit a lull in course of things, and we did our best to focus on what we could accomplish, and what we wanted to do as a family during this week.
On Wednesday, after the end of Passover, we celebrated Leon's birthday. For those who might not know, Leon's birthday is variable. It is scheduled to fall on April 3 as long as that date is not covered by Passover. If it is, Leon's birthday is pushed either earlier or later. One too many matzo-meal cakes, coupled with a deep-seated love of DairyQueen ice cream cakes with the fudge and chocolate crunchies in the middle are to blame.
By Thursday we had just about made up our minds to start the process of building a house. It would be expensive, and we might have to live on macaroni and cheese and peanut butter for a while (not many in our family consider that a down-side anyway), but in the end we would have exactly what we wanted in a home. We had already called the builder and set a meeting to go over the final details.
Then we got a call about two new houses on the market. We ran out to see them and, to make a long story short, put an offer in for what is probably the best house we've seen since our arrival. It has all the features we wanted, all the space we needed, and for a price that is far below a new-built home. Plus it already had a yard! There are some things we plan to change, but it's all cosmetic and we are very excited to have a firm picture of where we will live. You can have a firm picture, too. We're posting photos of the house on the web site (http://www.angelfire.com/home/adato) within the next couple of days.
We will also get into this house a lot sooner than we could with new construction, and that is a definite plus! We have already heard from friends that there are some great families on the street, and introductions will be made soon.
But the most surprising item came after we had bid on the house, and had come back for another look around - both the owner and his son work for Tivoli! They are on the sales side, but Leon had a nice time sharing some war stories and everyone laughed about keeping the house "in the family".
Having a house contract also meant we could enroll the girls in Solon schools (and not a moment too soon!). We had all the paperwork done for Twinsburg, but the Solon Board of Education was open Friday (despite this being a vacation week) and Leon raced down to get all the forms filled out. The girls are slightly nervous, but overall also very happy to get back into the swing of a "normal" day.
Also on Thursday, we found a car for Leon. While this was not on the immediate schedule, a sweet deal came up and we had to take advantage of it.
So what was it we said 3 weeks ago? Car, House, Cell phone. Check check check. Nice how you can wrap things up with a bow sometimes, huh?
On Saturday morning, Leon left for the airport and headed back to Switzerland. Once again we find ourselves divided by long distances. While it is something we've been through before, it never gets easier. We can only hope that things move quickly and that the final day in Switzerland arrives in short order.
To help keep track of the time, Leon's reset the countdown clock on our home page to show the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until he comes back.
Next week begins our schizophrenic diary entries, because we have to cover what's happening in Switzerland *and* the US. A short summary looks something like this:
Debbie has to get the girls ready for school, and then help them navigate that all-important first day. She also has to schedule inspectors for the house, and contractors for all the work she wants to have done.
Leon has it much easier. He just has to organize the house and get it ready for packing, distribute and/or sell the old Swiss stuff that won't work in America, and run around to pick up some last-minute souvenirs that we want, but don't want to carry back (ie: put it in the boat shipment.
As always, we appreciate the outpouring of love, compassion, and support you have shown us. It makes the load easier to bear and the road easier to walk.
As a reminder, you can email Debbie directly at
Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram