Sunday, April 29, 2007

Grandpa Paul's Visit

Waiting for our ferry back to Locarno.
A funicular and aerial cable allowed us to reach these heights. Of which we couldn't really see anything because of the haze. I'm sure the Swiss/Italian Alps are beautiful here - when you can see them.

My dad (Susan's) came out for 10 days of experiencing life in Switzerland with us. He survived several days of no cold water (ie - filling toilet tanks so we could flush), no water, hazy skies in Locarno, eating long lunches/dinners (educated him on the idea that you must ask for your check - they do not volunteer it nor drive you away from your table), eating dinner on the terrace almost every night due to unseasonably nice April weather, roasting marshmallows with his grand-daughters, enjoying Le Gruyere cheese, trying the local dishes AND helping his oldest grand-daughter with math homework. YEAH Grandpa!!!!!

As an electrician for more years than either of us would like to count, he enjoyed looking at the ongoing construction and the differences between the countries. And many times, when things did not make sense to his reasonable mind, I just had to remind him that things are different. When you live in a different place, you adapt, you don't try to make it your old way. Part of the learning process we go thru. And I warned him, but, he still tried to talk to the electricians in the grocery store AND not a lick of English in the bunch. Is this where daughter get to say "I told you so" to the parent? We had a great time and were soo glad he came out.

So Dad is safely back in the US of A and we are still on a fast track. Bart worked about 70 hrs last week and is working today, May 1st, a holiday (May Day) so that he can 1) just get everything done that needs to be done for 1st Qtr reports (lots of changes which I will not bore non-finance people with) and 2) so he does not have to work such long hours as I am catching a flight to New York tomorrow morning. Yahoo!

So I am paying the price that all moms are willing to pay to get a few days of girl fun. The schedule for pick up/drop off from school and friends, suggested lunchbox menus, phone #'s, medications/dosage is done, Rachel is packed for her class trip next week, housework will be done, all laundry is washed and then I will do housework and laundry when I return. I'm sure I will forget something BUT Bart is very capable with the girls. I told him I was more worried about my plants than the girls. Therefore, I am able to leave with confidence - unless someone gets sick. So please pray none of them get sick. Because then I will have guilt and more guilt for not being with them.

Rachel leaves for a week long class trip to Verbier (Swiss French Alps) next Mon. just as I will be on a train coming from the airport. We are very bummed about this but found out too late that the trips coincided to make the changes very well. I have never, not seen her for that many days. So will let the teacher know that she should be allowed to call me if she needs to (they really discourage calling parents on the trip as there are only so many hours in the day and the kids do better on the overnights if parents are out of sight and out of mind). Rachel is really looking forward to her trip and I hope to let her post a blog about it later - she is taking a disposable camera and enjoys taking pic's. I hope Mom survives the week!

To make matters just a little crazier - it is May Day today. Zurich is a Protestant Canton and May Day is a big holiday. Apparently not all the Catholic Canton's take this as a holiday. But, it essentially means bus service is nonexistent, trains are limited, stores are closed, etc... Like Christmas all over again. But I'm not sure why? So will need to Google the origins of May Day but haven't the time now if I want to finish this blog that has taken me 3 days to get done - so I can leave for NY! Just another infamous European holiday - you really have to watch out in May - many little holidays. And I think the European holidays catch people by surprise because they are not consistent by country and/or cities (or Canton's). Switzerland is divided by Canton's - kind of like mini States/County's - and they are either Catholic or Protestant. This will determine whether you have All Saint's Day or May Day as holidays AND certain cities have holidays or half day holidays as well. Keeps you hopping.

So with that long-winded explanation - I came off a weekend (think ALL stores closed on Sun.) having to do groceries for the family while I am gone (Wed. - Sun) on a Monday because then all the stores are closed again on Tues. for the holiday. Not that Bart can't go to a store but, it has been a while as he's been working so much. I always suggest he take the girls because they know where things are :) . Once again, life is just different here. And we are still enjoying it.

'Til I return from NY (with my bag full of US goodies - incl. a promised trip to the American Girl Doll Store for my sweeties).

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