Sign here

You can let me know if you think the sign posts are dumb. Sometimes I just put things here to amuse myself, so it would probably be in vain. Here are a couple from Germany.

    This one kills me. I think there is a certain order of expertise you want in any business that comes to your house to work on anything. Here are the choices:

    • Johnson and Sons – this conveys a long history of service passed on through the generations. Mr. Johnson even took the time to teach more than one son huh? Nice.

    • Carroll Family Furniture – Nice family business. Add the “Est. 1859” and you’ve got yourself a winner

        Or you could pick this guy out of the yellow pages.

      DSCN2716You better hope that Romer Bau shows up also and doesn’t just send the Putz.

      Here is one that is either chastising you for not being healthy, or maybe it is just talking about the woman in the picture. I guess it’s probably ok to be a wellness schmuck.

      DSCN2728This last one is for my mom. This isn’t a vanity plate. The plates in Germany, I think, are coded by region and number. I guess you’re just lucky in this case if you have the correct name.


      Nice car mom.

      Weighing on my mind

      Let’s take a little walk down memory lane. It was only a few posts ago that I detailed the amount of luggage and how much we were carrying around, the whole scoop. I can’t even count the number of airports and flights that this hasn’t been an issue. Plop the million pound bag on the conveyor, spread papers and passports on the counter until everyone is duly impressed, pick up everything and move into the next line. Well apparently working the Ryan Air counter in Barcelona is very boring and since they are the new owners of the European cup they are also a little power hungry. I really don’t remember the counter “lady’s” name, so I’m just going to refer to her as “B”. I’m not sure if it was the Barcelona altitude, poor scale calibration, or a secret “Screw them” button that was in action, but all of a sudden our packs weighed 3-5 kilos more than they ever have. “B” also suddenly became the only Ryan Air employee to ever look at the scale. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Ryan Air, it is a discount airline in Europe that is known for its low fares and high fees for everything else. Overweight luggage is probably a line item on their P & L statement because every kilogram over the limit is €15. Now…let’s make a long story a little longer. The 15k pack became a 19k pack. There goes €60. The 14k pack became a 17k pack. €45 more. You get the picture. At this point we were directed to step out of line and check our bags on their other scales presumably to prove some sort of point. A British couple was watching this whole debacle and became quite amused that every scale we put our luggage on showed a different #. They even offered to act as witnesses. At this point I really will shorten the story as we returned to talk to “B”, who had hoped we had just gone away. She called over her supervisor, Mrs. BigB who didn’t have any interest in the scale story. We eventually settled on a €30 “Get out of Barcelona” fee, paid them and ran to the gate. I’m adding Southwest airlines to the things that I miss.

      Orion Gazette – hope they don’t mind

      For those of you who rely on this blog as an update on my dad I will not disappoint. I talked with both of them last night and 99% of things seem to be fine. My mother is dealing with the nightmare of insurance agencies and co-pays and even words relating to insurance I have no idea what they mean. Donut holes? Either she’s opening up a Dunkin Donuts franchise to pay for his medicine or I’m out of the loop. Dad himself seems fine. We are sill waiting for the chemo free rotation to roll around where his body doesn’t get hit with the offending chemicals. This upcoming Wednesday will be two weeks and 1 day after the last chemo round. It’s my theory that this is when the healing starts. Hope along with me. More from Sweden later. I have a couple of my funny sign pictures that I’ve been saving.

      Hasselhoff would be proud

      Today we are spending a single day in Germany as a layover adventure on our way to our final home exchange in Sweden. We arrived in a small airport outside of Frankfurt and took a limo to a small town nearby. Oh wait…it wasn’t a limo, it was just a cab with limo pricing. The price was well worth it as we arrived in a lush valley overlooking the Mosel river. Funny thing is that they also tucked a small town in this alley also. I’ve only spent a few hours here and definitely have to remember where this is….it’s very quaint. Heck…you guys remember it for me. Traben, Germany. We had yet another quiet meal at a small pub tucked in an alley and funnier yet I place the meal on the top ten list for the trip. Who knew? The highlight of the night was responding to screaming and crying from Sam, who had disappeared around the corner to play near a fountain he had discovered. Of course he had fallen into the fountain. I hope he scooped up enough coins to make it worthwhile. I have at least one picture of the offending fountain…pre Sam swim.

      A little Spain for your brain…

      Well we jumped off the grid there for a while, sorry. I really had no idea how hard it would be to get internet service in various places. I think I left off that we were in Barcelona and headed to Madrid. It was in Madrid where civilization took a right turn. We were visiting Madrid to visit friends of the family and we had a great time. I will let tell the story because it is yet another one that is best told in Jen’s words.

      While visiting Madrid we had a great opportunity to spend a couple of days in the foothills of Madrid. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the area, but we definitely enjoyed living a brief and authentic time in a Spanish village. We had tapas at the local bar, spied the local castle, and generally tried to drink in the experience, and on occasion, a couple of cervezas.

      I did manage to get off a couple of e-mails by stealing some wireless signal from an alley downtown, holding my iTouch above my head and spinning slowly in a clockwise circle. Curiously no one in Madrid thought this was funny. Here are a few pictures from out time there while I try to remember more interesting tidbits.

      DSCN2646 DSCN2648

      DSCN2652 DSCN2656

      Pack mules

      Just a short post before we depart for Madrid. I think we’ve complained about lugging our, well, luggage through the airports and on trains, but we’ve never quite outlined what this really means. The best way I can do that is by showing you a picture. This picture is EVERY single bit of stuff we have with us. Since this is my blog I’ll get in my complaint about who carries what. 5 bags….3 of them are mine. I think mine weighs the most, but both Jen and I drag about 32 lbs. per pack. Sara’s pack is about 25 lbs. and the Sam pack is probably 15. Add in the APC backpack with my computer and we are at about 110 pounds.

      Take a look. I get to carry the black pack, the red pack, and the small blue back pack. Jen gets the pink one, Sara gets the blue and Sam just has to pay enough attention to stay with us.


      Eiffel, Eiffel everywhere

      Sam has a gift…well actually he has many gifts. For some reason people seem compelled to give Sam things. I know he is a cute kid, but c’mon. Sara bought Sam a little Eiffel tower souvenir at the base of the actual Eiffel tower They were being sold by vendors that would get run off about once an hour by the Paris police. Apparently it isn’t quite legal to sell these little trinkets. As we were leaving the tower one of the police officers stopped us…I thought, uh oh..what obscure Parisian law did  break? Was it the socks with the sandals? Was I too polite? Did I forget to cut the line? No…he walked back over with a handful of confiscated souvenir Eiffel tower trinkets and dumped them into Sam’s outstretched hands. Sam was amazed! We all were amazed! An outpouring of international friendship from the French police of all people. Now that story is funny / interesting enough except that when we hit the port in Le Havre we were browsing the post cards and other junk when the owner called Sam over…oh boy, here we go again. What did he hand him? Of course….the same Eiffel tower trinket we already had a suitcase full of. Sam, being the ever enigmatic child, decided that he was going to award this Eiffel tower to the “Employee of the month” on the cruise ship. This also makes for a fun story for later. I think I’ll take Sam for a walk in front of the bank…maybe they will hand him some gifts from the vault.

      Oh yeah, and we saw a naked guy on a bike.

      Wow…where to start? We are in the midst of a flurry of travel as I mapped previously. I finally got the chance to connect the computer here in Barcelona to update you. I also got the chance to talk to my mom and dad and check in. Seems that everything is almost all good…dad is having a little trouble getting his clotting measurement where they need it to be, but it mostly just means a bunch of finger sticks and repeated tests. I think my mom gets more worked up about it than dad.

      Here’s the update so far. You read the post that Le Havre sucked, but I can’t type it enough. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why it is a stop on ANY cruise itinerary. This statement sums it up...from the UNESCO web page. “Le Havre is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture based on the unity of methodology and system of prefabrication, the systematic use of a modular grid and the innovative exploitation of the potential of concrete".” Potential of concrete? Super boring and Soviet era buildings for blocks. I’ll find the single picture I took in Le Havre and post it for ya.

      Guernsey – channel islands was a bit different and we enjoyed it, but it was a very short visit, not enough to get the full look. I’m not sure I would make it a priority however.

      Barcelona, after a one day visit, is pretty nice. Beautiful architecture and great weather made for a fun day. We did our usual bus tour to make sure we made it to all the “sights”

      I’ll save my humorous stories for later and throw some pictures at you. Kids are holding up well…a little high strung. We arrived at 1:00 a.m. after a 1:30 bus ride here in Barcelona, so I’ll catch them a break….a very small break.

      The title came last. On our way to the beach today here comes old naked man on a bike. What more can you even say about that?

      In England. Can't type on my iPod

      Cruise went well. Europe has their share of fat cruisers. We are in a "Yotel" in Gatwick waiting to fly to Barcelona. Look up the "Yotel", it's interesting. Can't type more on this pod, it's rough blogging.

      How much? Really?

      Gotta type quick. .75 cents a minute.

      Le Havre sucked. We made it through Rotterdam fine, luggin 500 lbs of luggage. Cruise is interesting. NCL Jade. Guernsey tomorrow. If there is anything important e-mail me. Ship phone is 732-335-3280.

      Everyone is good. Eating to our hearts content. Hamburgers and ice cubes are rampant. That's you $2.25 worth.


      Trying to make a living and doing the best I can…

      This is going to sound silly, but it’s vacation time. I think that a lot of people following this adventure we are on, think we are on one big vacation. In a sense we are, but in a lot of ways we aren’t. I put in my 40+ hours a week tackling the everyday problems of call center math. Sara logs a bunch of time trying to finish the eighth grade, and Jen runs the show….which is more daunting than anything I do. I’m REALLY looking forward to being on the cruise ship for a few days. It was really cheap and an easy way to get from A to S. As "at home” as we feel here and in Norway, there is always a nagging feeling in the back of your brain that says “Don’t break anything” “Be very careful”. It’s not like you don’t do these things in a hotel or cruise ship, but if you break something you don’t have a personal connection to Norwegian Cruise lines. Anyhow…I think I’ll be able to update the blog as we travel this week. I’ll make an effort. Here is the plan.



      Thank you everyone for sending my father best wishes on is first day AC. My mom printed the post from yesterday and I have no doubt that it lifted his spirits even more to know that everyone was rooting for him. You guys are the best.

      As most of you know by now, if you read this blog long enough eventually I get philosophical or introspective enough to write a big long diatribe about what’s going wrong in the world, or what I think is strange, or even about hamburgers at some point. Wait no longer. Today is one of those days.

      Today all it took to get me thinking was returning one of the rental bikes. I got up early enough that I decided to ride one of the bikes back to the shop and walk home, therefore making it logistically easy to return the other bikes. Trust me…I have it all diagramed out in my head. This is one of the reasons I need early morning walks. On the 2’ish kilometer walk back from the shop some things occurred to me. I will now share them with you.

      It requires another story to kick off this thought process listed below, so you are going to have to bear with me. I think I’m screwing up some rule of paragraphs trying to put this all together. Sorry. Last night Jen and I were talking about how funny Sam is. He’s a typical 5 year old goofball, nutty, brat at times and then he gets these “moments”. Jen was talking about how she had cleaned the bathroom here and Sam overheard her. He doesn’t like the bathroom here, not for any other reason than it is dark and downstairs. When he heard that Jen cleaned the bathroom he turned around on the stairs and said “Thank you for cleaning the bathroom mommy”. What 5 year old says that? What 5 year old sincerely means it? Later that night Jen was explaining how he came to be 5 years old and how she carried him around in her tummy for an eternity and helped him live and grow. I guess Sam was on a kick for the day because he listened to this, thought about it for a second, and said “Thank you for helping me live mommy”. I have a ton of thoughts that follow that statement about what I’ll miss, what a great time we are having, who the important people in my life are…..but you know what? It sums it up.

      To my mom and my dad, to my wife and kids, to my brother and his family and the rest of my friends and family. Everyone should turn around and say the same thing to the people that mean the most to you.

      “Thanks for helping me live”

      Love, Jon


      Thanks everyone, again, for your concern and prayers.
      Hooray!! he is done and now we have to work at getting stronger, gaining weight, and doing more things he wants to do. One day at a time and hope each day is a good one.
      Love to you all Wilma

      Last day of chemo!! – Send messages!

      Welcome to Larry day. I’m going to dedicate this last day of chemo treatment to him, a celebration of his end to treatment and a beginning of getting better. I think I’m obligated to mention, again, that is is also Sam’s birthday and he is happy that it is shared with the above. I asked Sam what day it is today, thinking that he knows it is his birthday and telling us he is going to be 5 today…he said “It’s last day of chemo day!!” That’s pretty cool.

      Here are my collection of wishes / comments so far from friends, family, and strangely….just some people. I’ll explain that one later. Most of these are from my facebook account, but I will update this post all day long with new stuff as it comes in. To add your comments / wishes / thoughts to this page, just e-mail me at

      My initial entry on facebook:

      Jon Carroll is happy his dad only has ONE more chemo treatment left. Go Larry! Love Jon

      Wendy Rogers Worley  I am happy for that too! Go Uncle Larry!!!

      John Longo  Good thoughts for Larry - (friend of mine from college – fraternity brother who remembers my dad)

      Jay Parrott  Jon, my thoughts are with you and your family. (another fraternity brother who met my dad)

      Beth Wrenn YAY! We love Larry!!!!

      Paris K. Krupnik  Hope he is OK Jon! Been there, done that. 21 year Cancer survivor. (old casino friend)

      Dear Dad C.,

      Gratulerer med dagen!  This is Norwegian for Happy Birthday on Sam's 5th and your 1st birthday.  It's been a long and difficult past year, filled with the frightening unknown and many tough days, but new and healthy year begins!  Today, when you leave that final chemo treatment, hold your head high and yell out "CHEMO SCHMEMO!" Sure, you'll scare the hell out of everyone, but that's part of the fun, isn't it? Just kidding. The fun part is that chemo is finished and you can concentrate on beating this thing. That's the plan - adios, sayonara, see you later, alligator. So anyway, I am so proud of you for getting through this rough time, and am looking forward to celebrating next year's birthday...did you say we're going to run a marathon???

      With much love,


      Tell your dad congratulations from all of us in the Farwell clan!
      Ed Farwell

      Pat and Leo  So happy this day is here. Go do things and enjoy yourself. Come to Kc and see everyone here. Love Pat & Leo

      We are Jim & Gloria Howley friends of Larry &  Wilma from our USMC days in Albany, Georgia.  Please tell your parents Congrats on the final treatment, Semper Fi, never give up, keep up the good fight and our prayers are with you & your family.  (Go Red Wings!)

      Marc Carlson  - Way to go Larry, keep up the good fight!

      The Godfrey Carrolls say “Happy Day” to Larry and Sam. We will be to Orion soon to celebrate this wonderful day. So, be looking forward to the carrot cake and ice cream. We are so proud of you!!

      Larry, Wilma, Jon, Jen, and all the other Carroll crew. It is great to be writing a letter to say:“ Way to go Larry and family for fighting this together and supporting each other !! “ I am eagerly awaiting a planned Locander invasion at the Carroll household in Orion where we can sit back eat some food, and make fun of Jon and his exploits over seas. I really have enjoyed the updates of the life as a homeroamer and sometimes laughed a little while reading the daily entry. I never lost sight of the true inspiration for this blog which was to support a good friend and respected family during a tough battle. Keep us all informed on any updates. The Locanders will be in Orion soon with hungry appetites, and visions of the 2009 Chicago Cubs dream season.

      See you soon …Mike

      Just wanted to send our best wishes to Larry and Wilma and all of their families.  We are so glad that Larry is doing well and finally done with the Chemo.  We know it can be really rough on Larry, but also the family.  Great job is getting everyone through this.  We are looking forward to seeing Larry and Wilma in Gulf Shores.
      Your buddy's from Michigan and LA (lower Alabama) .
      Al and Pam Mason

      Some pictures to commemorate the day….Most of them have both Sam and Dad. Those are the ones I can get from Holland. Send more if you want them posted!

      Benjamin Cards

      DadSam2 Helper

      4 Bday MomDad

      Larry’s 1st birthday is tomorrow!

      Well I finally checked in on Orion and everything is as expected. Quiet. I’m not sure where to put the final exclamation on the end of chemotherapy. I think we will wait until it is over tomorrow and make a big splash. I know the end of chemotherapy brings with it other things and doesn’t necessarily solve all problems, but it is a good start.

      It will probably take a few weeks to recover from recovering. So on May 19th 2009 on his grandson’s birthday I declare a new birthday. I know it is short notice, but I’m sending an online birthday card…

      Starting right now I would like to collect a bunch of wishes from you guys and I will post them all tomorrow on this blog. Send them to me at and I will put them on the page tomorrow. Mobilize people!!!

      I can’t even come up with a title.

      Writers block today so I’ll post a few pictures and get some REAL work done. The kids have had a great time with the animals on this trip…somewhere in the file of digital pictures, on some hard drive somewhere are more of them feeding the horses. This will have to do for now, my brain won’t operate.

      DSCN2316 DSCN2261


      Easy, Breezy

      Something I’ve forgotten to post about and have been in awe of since arriving is the proliferation of wind turbines in this country. When most people think of Holland they think of wind mills, but not these bad boys. I imagine that by now the locals see these turbines as no big deal, but in today’s environmental state these things are pretty cool. Here is a picture I am crediting off of the web, and one of my own through the windshield.

      There are almost 2,000 wind turbines in Holland, which is only about twice the size of Massachusetts.

      Take a look.

      Call me Carmen

      Well it’s almost time to pack the backpacks again. We did manage to drop our winter clothes on Grandma on her way out of town. She brought the super sized luggage so we could send the stuff back with her. We’ll see how much weight and bulk we lose. I’m going to take a picture of the packs on our way out this time, especially my 3 bags….mine, laptop bag, and Sam’s.

      We also have to figure out our travel strategy for the next few hops. There’s nothing I have hated worse on this trip than looking at tickets and computer generated itineraries for information. Since there are 4 of us there is always 4 people worth of information, 50 different travelling tips, all the luggage rules, you know the drill. I just want a line by line way of seeing our flight, time, destination, reservation number. To illustrate my point…think how this next round of travel would look.

      Middelburg to Rotterdam to catch a currently unknown Norwegian cruise lines ship.

      Rotterdam to Guernsey

      Guernsey to Le Havre

      Le Havre to Southampton (England)

      Southampton to Madrid

      Madrid to Barcelona

      Barcelona back to Madrid

      Madrid to someplace in Germany

      Germany to Sweden

      All of the above is going to happen in a 7 day time frame and it’s likely that I forgot something in between. We’ll see how many blog posts I fit in there. More soon. I hope to check in with Orion today at some point. Check back later.

      I don’t Ghent it….

      Today was a day full of much travel. This morning we had to say goodbye to Grandma Jacobs. We took her to Brussels, to the airport, to travel back to Pine Island, Florida. We made it to the airport in plenty of time and we already miss her.

      Once we jettisoned Grandma we headed to Ghent, Belgium. This is another of the 4 major cities in Belgium that everyone has probably heard of. (Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges). We arrived there courtesy of our ever diligent GPS, navigated the parking, and hopped out into the rainy, overcast, bleary sights of Ghent. It wasn’t shaping up to be a very good day. We saw some churches, some monuments, some sights, a guy peeing on the street….tried to sneak that one past you. This is NOT the first time we’ve witnessed this performance. For all of our American faults, at least we don’t just pee wherever we feel like it. (Major sporting events excluded). I will also allude to a trip down a street that can only be described by the Homeroamers blog. Let’s just say I never saw any red lights on this street, so it was quite unexpected. Give Jen a couple of days to come up with the words for that aspect of our trip. I’m sure it will be worth it.

      The day cleared up a little later, but for the most part our trip through Ghent was fairly uneventful and we all agreed that the towns closer to us held more allure for their cleanliness and interesting sights….or lack thereof.

      Here are a couple of pictures of us goofing around in Ghent. More soon.

      Want a lick? Psych!

      I have a theory. Forget everything you’ve learned about child development and determining how advanced you child may be. It’s all about the ice cream cone. Here are the 5 main development stages for a child as I see them.

      1. Rolling over

      2. Talking

      3. Walking

      4. Potty training and

      5. Being able to navigate an ice cream cone successfully.

      Think about it. What happens in the early stages of ice cream cone eating? One of the first and most frequent ice cream cone errors perpetrated by children is the ice cream plops off the cone. They can’t factor in the “everything has an opposite and equal reaction”. If you press your face into one side of the cone, the friggen ice cream is going over the other side. Next is the rotation. Kids just want the ice cream. As long as it appears in front of them that’s good enough. Forget that the ice cream is melting and dripping down the other side of the cone and making their little kid hands all sticky. Last there is the ice cream face. The last step to adulthood, as it applies to ice cream, is being able to keep the ice cream from covering your face. I’ve seen kids who have mastered the first steps, but you can walk up to them, take a look, and tell what flavor and how long ago they had a cone. Not cool.

      We are almost there.


      Hey dad! Put down the paper…

      This post if for my dad. The only reason I post it here publicly is that maybe some of you are in my little stories and can hopefully smile along.

      I’m writing this list that hopefully will jog my dads memories of funny, silly, or just dumb things that might make him smile or laugh. I’m getting the impression that he is getting tired of being sick and could use some good thoughts. Sorry if some of these things don’t make any sense to the general public, but it is “We Love Larry” after all.

      • Remember the time we rented the rug cleaner in Macomb and stared at that thing for 15 minutes and eventually ended up cutting off the plug? What the hell were we thinking? Remember when we eventually saw the directions?

      • I remember a time when you were coaching our soccer team in Muscatine and you got so mad at them for their antics that you pulled us all off the field and we just forfeited the game. That was classic.

      • I also remember a soccer game against Palmer that they were objecting that Tim and I were too small to play against them and I think both of us scored a goal that game and we won. You yelled over to them after one of the goals…”How small are they now!”

      • One time we picked up Grandma Carroll in Kansas City and were driving her back to Galesburg or Orion and I was the navigator. We ended up travelling across Missouri in the funniest and probably longest trip she ever had. The whole time she sat in the back and gave us a hard time.

      • I remember water skiing all day long with the Brudnells and Brodskys at the Lake of the Ozarks with you driving. You must have been crazy driving us all day, but we had a blast.

      • I had a great time at your retirement “party” at now “Old” Busch stadium. The whole gang was there. I don’t even know who won!

      • Having a blast playing water volleyball in the pool in your backyard. I think Louise was cheating.

      • Pinewood derby.

      • Sitting at the intersection of 13th avenue and I think 4ths street for the Fall Festival 5/10K run. So dumb, but we sat there with Darryl Kelsall for years throwing rocks at the stupid sign like it was some sort of skill. We never did get the “good” corner did we?

      • Remember that time me and Tom Tholl and whoever else came home after a rain storm covered head to toe in mud. We had been running and sliding all over the Love Park ball diamonds….man you guys were mad! What a bunch of dopes we were huh?

      • I think you were involved in the infamous “broken desk” caper with Mike Locander. I think my desk flew out of your truck on the way to my apartment and that funny guy put it back together from its mangled pieces IN my room. I can still see him rolling on the floor when I walked into the room and ran my hand over it in the dark yelling “It’s scratched!!” Then he flipped the light on and it was basically a big pile of broken wood.

      • I remember doing a lot of fishing off the docks at “The Flame” and sitting there with a bunch of Cardinal fans listening to the game and trying to catch something.

      I could go on and on but until I get word that you smiled at one of these you aren’t getting any more   : )

      Love you dad.



      Here are a few pictures that haven’t made the pages yet.

      Cell block

      Sorry for all the profound observations lately, I guess I’m just in one of those moods.

      I realized the other day that I kinda missed having a cell phone. This will probably change when I get home, but after 3 months without one it’s getting to be a pain in the butt. I was never one to send text messages 24/7 or feel out of the loop if I didn’t have it ringing. I just want to be able to call people when I want to call them and have people call me when they want to call me. There have been numerous times during this trip it would have been helpful to have a cell phone and zero times when it would have a bad thing.

      Second…Jen stole the pictures from our outing the other day. If you don’t already drop by after you read my craziness, you should stop over there and see those pictures. I think I already broke the promise to have the other shots uploaded to shutterfly. I’ll do that today…no really!

      Time is on my side

      I think somewhere much further down in this blog I was debating the merits of our current schedule. Today I decided to actually think about it and have made up my mind. If I could get the clocks to cooperate I would much rather work this schedule. Consider my day so far.

      8:00 – 8:30   Wake up, grab some coffee, see if the Cardinals won the night before and catch up on e-mail.

      9:00   Get dressed, take a shower, get some breakfast and take in the morning.

      10:00  Go for a morning bike ride or walk, run some errands, play with Sam and Sara

      Noon   Lunch time

      1:00    Write an entry in the blog, get another cup of coffee, take in the last hour of freedom.

      2:00   Go to work.

      After that it’s boring, but I end up shutting down the computer and going to bed after a bit. It also forces us to eat dinner at home, since I can’t really take a bunch of time during what is normally a lunch break. It’s much easier to get going for work after I’ve been up for a few hours and not trying to get my wheels spinning. I find it interesting, also, to deal with the people at work from about 8:00 a.m. (their time) until about 11:00. Everyone else is still getting going, grabbing coffee, lamenting the week ahead. I’ve already been through that process and I’m ready to go. I definitely think I’m on to something, problem is….the damn time zones won’t cooperate.

      Random mumblings

      Not much to tell today, although it looks like the weather might be bike riding nice. I have a theory that my mother-in-law brought bad weather with her so she wouldn’t have to ride bikes. So far she has pulled it off.

      Time to rouse the troops and see what kind of trouble we can get into. Yesterday we took a ride and for fun the kids were counting the number of horses they saw. We only drove a few miles and the last number I heard from the back seat was 28. The kids are really enjoying the animals and outdoors here. I don’t think we’ll be buying any chickens when we get home though…except, well…you know.

      Not much longer here in the Netherlands and then it’s off on a vacation to Spain. I know the concept of taking a vacation during this trip is funny, maybe I’ll just call it “time off work”. More later. Time to check to ACTUAL weather rather than thinking it looks nice out.

      At the car wash

      Just a short Larry update to tell you there is no update really. I called mom on Mother’s day and was going to talk to dad, but he was up washing his truck. Maybe I’m crazy but this made me feel really good. Knowing that my dad is off washing his vehicles makes me think that he is on the mend. Having clean cars has been a thing of his forever and if he is spending time doing that I know he is on the right track. I have also read that Ron Farwell is progressing well with his treatment and is in good spirits which also makes me feel pretty good. First person who ruins my mood now is going to get it!

      Just a bunch of bullets

      I thought I’d take a moment and give you my impressions of Paris, the ones that you can’t see in the pictures.

      Just some stuff
      • Interestingly I have now navigated my way through the subways of New York, London, Paris, Boston, and Baltimore. I like the subway, but there is no room for loiterers or much time for learning on the subway. I paused to look at a map in Paris and a soccer mom grabbed me by the shoulder and tossed me aside. I didn’t even have time to react and she was gone.

      • I didn’t find the Parisians to be as rude as they are rumored to be. I did, however, find them amused at us. When it became apparent that we were Americans or outsiders, they got this little smirk on their faces and I think they slipped us different menus. We had two completely different experiences dining in Paris. We had two meals that were wonderful, fun, interesting and had none of the brusque manner I expected. The rest of the meals were either not very good or were served with a smirk and enough service to get you fed and out. I will let Jen blog about the two great meals. These types of experiences are better served by her writing style.

      • I think you would need to dedicate about two weeks time to properly experience Paris and that is just to get a well rounded experience. To REALLY experience it I think you might have to live there and I don’t think I could afford it.

      • We really should look into the situation in Sri Lanka. I only mention this because the protest that went on outside our hotel every night makes me wish there wasn’t a situation in Sri Lanka.

      Funny things that happened
      • I almost drove us on to the tram tracks in Brussels. Sorry Piet, but your car almost became part of the Brussels public transportation system.

      • I watched the most inept fire juggler in the world. I only watched him for as long as I did because he had a huge dreadlock hairdo and I was convinced that he was going to turn into the best fire dancer in the world at any minute.

      • Curiously I only came up with 2 funny things.

      Here are a couple of random photos from the trip. The rest are going on to shutterfly today for your complete perusal.

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      To the Tower!!

      It’s unfortunate that blogs read the way they do. To get the whole Paris experience you should probably scroll down and start from the beginning.

      We decided that the best way to see as much of Paris as possible in the limited time we had was to take the infamous open top bus tour. For those of you that read our London exploits you will know that this is Sam’s favorite way to get about town. He actually sits there with 20 cent headphones plugged into their jack and most of the time listens to the guide in the proper language. I can’t be sure he is paying attention, but maybe if even a little bit gets in there by osmosis we are ahead of the game. Since we are on the topic of Sam, you might also know that Sam has created a “list of things to do before I get too old to do them” list. On that list was to visit the Eiffel tower in Paris. He might now be the only child I know to not only have a “list”, but to also have crossed off a major milestone on that list. Once again Mr. “I’m too tired” knocked us on our heels and proceeded to tromp up the stairs of the Eiffel tower like a champ. Apparently there are roughly 1700 steps to the top, top, top of the tower. I think we managed to do half of them before rain cut our trip short. Here are a pile of shots from our Eiffel experience.

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