Sunday, April 28, 2002

Diary: 4/28/2002

Dear friends and family

This is just too important not to put at the top. If you want our new address and phone number, here it is:
The Adato Family:
34091 Summerset
Solon, OH 44139
phone: 440-542-9659

OK. Back to the regularly scheduled weekly letter....

It was another exciting week, but relatively positive all around.

On Monday, Leon was able to finalize his return date to the US: May 17 will be the last working day, and he'll return after that, probably on Sat. the 18th. This was possibly only through the brilliance of Martin, who continues to soak up new information like a sponge. While it is "only" two weeks closer, every minute matters.

This week Leon worked with Martin via phone and email from the UK. This was because Leon would be out most of the week packing the house, and so it didn't make sense to have him out for just 2 days or to work without guidance. Also, this way Martin can tell his son Charlie more stories about oompa loompas and making chocolate!

Monday also saw the sale of Debbie's Swiss car, the Opel Zafira. Nestle purchased it back from Leon and the two parted ways in the afternoon.

Our friends from Solon, the Knox's, helped sooth Leon's sorrow and loss by feeding him to overflowing with dinner and then driving him home (since he was carless for the moment). These are the friends that welcomed us on the weekend we arrived, and have stood by us through everything. We can only hope that our families will get a chance to get together again.

The movers arrived on Wednesday morning, and by Thursday night the house was packed up into a remarkably small number of boxes. In the meanwhile, Leon had done some of his own packing and was fully moved into a one-room efficiency in Vevey. By Friday at 3:00pm, he truck was packed up (all 76 cubic meters) and driving away.

The rest of the weekend was remarkably busy - some co-workers were in from California, and Leon spent Friday night and Saturday running around seeing/showing some of the sights. Everyone took a run up to Gruyeres on Saturday, took in a movie in the afternoon, and dragged around Montreux for dinner. In between all that, we spent time at Paul and Rory Saunders eating pancakes, or pizza, or whatever. Rory is due to deliver their first baby within the next 1 to 2 weeks, so how she kept moving is beyond me.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
...OK, so Nancy's house is more of a bi-level than a ranch, but it was too good a lead-in to leave out.

Debbie spent the beginning of the week with the phone glued to her head. If it wasnt' contractors calling with quotes, it was Debbie making arrangements for the phone, gas, electricity, cable, and (most importantly) the internet access!

For those who like to keep track of things, our new phone number and address is (or at least will be):
The Adato Family:
34091 Summerset
Solon, OH 44139
phone: 440-542-9659

For those who have been emailing Debbie: Please do not take her lack of answering as anything more than the fact that she has had NO time to get to the computer. Leon is now printing and faxing her emails to her, just so she can stay up to date.

Next week
Monday afternoon is the dreaded "etat de lieu". For those who don't remember the last time we wrote about it in November, this is very similar to the Spanish Inquisition except that the Inqisitor doesn't even like their job, and a white-glove-test is thrown in for fun. Every speck on every wall, every nail hole, every smudge is recorded and compared to previous notes. Exceptions will be paid for by either the tenant or the owner, depending on the nature of the "issue". We've heard of people having to pay the equivalent of a new oven just because theirs wasn't clean enough. It can get pretty ugly. Leon has been busy scrubbing and buffing all week, and he believes we now have the cleanest fireplace on earth. No joke.

Aside from that, we'll just have to see how things pan out.

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Diary: 4/21/2002

Dear friends and family:

Given the amount of things to be done, this was a remarkably slow week for us, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Leon spent a large part of his time training Martin, his replacement. This went amazingly well, and they covered a great deal of ground in a short period. Of course, in the name of being a supportive team member and helping Martin to find his way around the area, Leon had to accompany him to dinner on several occasions!

Martin, who lives in England and travels to Switzerland each week for work, had some trouble getting out of the house. His youngest son, Charlie, didn't want to see Dad go. So this is what Martin said:
Also I have convinced Charlie that I work in a chocolate factory and make the chocolate (he is like his mum a little sensitive) so each time I go away he gets upset.

But spinning the yarn about the chocolate and the fact that if I don't go to work then no children would get any sweets as a result of that he seems more happy for me to go and the fact we watched Charlie and the chocolate factory about 10 times yesterday goes without saying.

Plus I told him that you are chief oompa loompa and we have to stay in touch so the chocolate flows all the time.

Aside from that, it was pack pack pack. There was also a chance to sell a few more of the Swiss things, so that the house is looking emptier and emptier every moment.

For Debbie and the Wild Kid Posse, it was a pretty regular week. The girls continued to settle in and get down to business at school, Joram continued to find new ways to get into trouble, and Debbie continued to negotiate with contractors, get plans rolling for the move into the house, and to make sure all her old shopping haunts were up to snuff.

Our friends, both in Switzerland and America, continue to be the blessing of our lives. Leon is well-fed and occupied in those quieter moments, and Debbie has found support in her moments of need. And for this we are deeply grateful.

This coming week should be exciting, as the house is packed and loaded on a boat. Leon then goes to a small apartment in Vevey, and will need to find some other activities to fill the empty hours (besides working, of course). This will hopefully yeild some interesting stories for you.

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

Sunday, April 14, 2002

Diary: 4/14/2002

Dear friends and family:

Welcome to the first of (hopefully only a few) Schizophrenic Diaries. In these issues, you will hear about happenings from both the Swiss and US side of our lives. Hopefully in some kind of coherent order.

Back in the land of cheese and chocolate, Leon arrived home and found out, early Sunday, that all the windows and the cars were dirty. Really dirty. He didn't give it much thought until he saw the next day that many cars were equally dirty. After asking around, he was told it was sand. From where? The Sahara. I am not making this up. Apparently a wind blows across the Saraha desert, and picks up sand particles which flow all the way over mountain, hill, and dale to Switzerland. Sometimes, Leon was told, the sand is red. Go figure.

It has been a busy week, trying to get back into the swing of things at work, and sell off all the Swiss items which won't work or aren't needed in the US (microwave, TV, cars). He's doing pretty good, and we're down to just a few more items. Even one of the cars has a buyer!

Also on the "good news" side of the page is that Leon's replacement on the project, Martin, starts Monday. This means that he can get started training, and the project can continue on without a hiccough once he leaves.

Aside from that, the house is getting organized for the movers, who arrive on April 24.

From the world of the Blond Squad, Tuesday marked Heather and Isabelle's return to Solon schools. Their teachers welcomed them with open arms and everything got off to a great start. The girls were just happy to have some kids their age to play with, and that they didn't have to go house hunting any more!

On Wednesday, Debbie went to the new house and helped about 2 million contractors come in and give quotes on everything from paint and wallpaper to a fence for Tova. We're gathering the paperwork now and trying to set work dates so that we can get into the house as soon as possible after we take ownership (May 30).

Finally, it is good to know that the International Corps of Tooth Fairies is on the ball. They efficiently registered Isabelle's new location, and were able to find her on Saturday night after yet another tooth was yanked free. Isabelle performs this service of her own free will and with great zeal. No strings or doorknobs needed here!

Debbie had another chance to work in Isabelle's grade this week, since another teacher was out sick. All in all she's been able to move back into her routine as much as can be expected.

As always, we hope that this letter finds you in good health and better spirits. We are looking forward to the time (this summer) when we can open the doors to our home to you again.

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Diary: 4/7/2002

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 ( 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

And Leon at:

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram