Now the eyes really do have it…

and when I refer to “it” I mean sight.

Just talked to my dad and he is done with his cataract surgery and is doing well. He says he can see great where he could previously see not much. Cataract surgery is pretty routine nowadays, but given his track record with medical procedures this is a big win. Having near blindness in one eye restored to “not blindness” is going to make many things easier for him. I’ll be happy to hear from him over the next couple of days to see what else he thinks about having this fixed. Whew! At least that’s out of the way now….get out the crossword puzzles dad!

The eyes have it

Eye surgery tomorrow for my dad. As some of you know, among the various ailments that have plagued him over the last year, one of them is a significant cataract in one of his eyes. Apparently it isn’t run of the mill cataract surgery and has been a long time coming as his health hasn’t permitted them to fix this until now.

I will let everyone know how this turns out, and if there are any best wishes left in the well, break them out again. I’m sure my dad can’t wait to read the newspaper in full resolution and watch the first place Cardinals continue to tear up the central in September. Sorry Mike…had to be said.

Write or wrong…here goes

Due to my obsessive need to post something every day I am announcing that I have written 3 pages of the yet unnamed book of our adventurousness. There is more to it than just the trip that we went on, as there is much behind the scenes things that went into the process of deciding to take such a trip. As with this blog I will be writing it with my usual disregard for grammar and rules, but will be trying instead to tell a story. I will let Jen fix the typos and big mistakes, otherwise I get too bogged down in the rules. I’m sure there are a thousand writers out there who will say to do it differently, but hey, I’m not a writer…just a person who writes.


What was the last thing to go through the crash dummies mind?

Why is it that when people get in a car they are somehow transformed into an angry, hulking, unstoppable force? The same person who will get into a “No, you first…no really go ahead…I don’t mind” argument with you in the supermarket checkout line is the first person to cut your ass off at the stop sign in the parking lot. You can see people yelling at each other and sending hand gestures, but if the same two people came across each other on the sidewalk pushing baby strollers they would smile, say hello, give each other plenty of room and move on. Can you imagine this scenario? Two guys are at Wal-Mart when one of the guys suddenly turns in front of the other one and the carts bump…One guy says “Hey a$$hole..look where you’re going!” the other guys says “Screw you” and next thing you know fingers are in the air, groceries are flying across the aisle and the 94 year old Wal-MArt security guard is fishing for his bullet. Of course not! Although here in Florida it might be an opportunity to see whose gun is bigger. If this actually happened at Wal-Mart each guy would smile meekly, mutter an apology and slink off to electronics or meats so they could redeem their manhood. Seriously. Please remember. Being behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound vehicle does not  make you invincible, invisible, or some other “I” word. Smile and move on.


Happy Birthday!

On August 29th the best thing I can write about is the person behind the man, behind the “WLL” blog. My Mom. It’s her birthday today. A while back she told me the best thing I could get her for whatever holiday it was, was write a letter to her. I’m not going to use this as a replacement for a letter, but I do want others to read some things I have to write about her.

I’m almost sure that without my mom, Larry might not be here with us today. She will tell you she wishes she had seen this, and done that, but I have no doubt that without her care and concern that things would be much worse than they are, or were. My mom has always been the caretaker of “this is what you should do” to the point that we all give her a hard time about nagging us about doctors, dentists, and everything else. The thing we sometimes miss is that she wants everyone to be the best that they can be and not to suffer or be hurt in any way. As an adult with two growing kids I have no idea how she managed all the things she managed while we were growing up. I had the childhood dream. I played baseball, soccer, went to Cub scouts, camped, hiked, boated, skied, mowed the lawn, slept in a tent in the backyard, had a pool, had a paper route, walked to school, made snowmen, rode my bike all over town, all because of my parents and very much because of my mom. They made sure I had such opportunities growing up to do so many things that I apparently decided to grow up and take my family on the adventure of a lifetime these last 6 months. So…if you get a chance, drop Wilma an e-mail or give her a phone call on her birthday. She is a special person to me and if you are reading this it’s likely that she is special to you also.


Love you Mom,


Thomas Paine don’t live here

At what age do you learn common sense? Is it a gradual thing? Is it a genetic thing? It’s driving me crazy. My kids do the craziest things because their brains haven’t figured out the proper way to do them. As I type I’ll try to think of an example from my own kids, but here’s one from a few minutes ago. I stopped to let some kids cross the street as they made their way home from school. What I didn’t know is that one of the little goobers was going to take that moment to stop in the middle of the road, take a moment to collect his wits, get his bicycle all set up nice, and THEN pedal away. Did it not occur to this kid that the middle of the road wasn’t the place to figure all of this out? My kids are constantly saying “I can’t find (insert dumb thing here)” Inevitably I walk into the room, assess where “dumb thing” is most likely to be and find it in 10 seconds. It only takes a modicum of common sense. There is a twitter feed that some guy keeps up and it’s simply a bunch of crazy stuff his dad says. Here’s the link. (CLICK). It’s accurately titled “Shitmydadsays”. I think I’m going to start my own…”shitmykidsdo”. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Only 17 days left…

Ok, put this one down as kinda weird / kinda cool. (Why does spell check not like the word “kinda”?)

Wired magazine has an author that is running a contest where he has decided to disappear from everyone for 30 days. Basically a giant game of hide and seek. I think this guy is living in Orion for 30 days and laughing at everyone.

Interesting idea, but who has the money, time or whatever it is to find this guy. It is worth $5,000, but that’s not a ton of money. I’m keeping my eye out though.

Here is the link( CLICK)


For fun…

Some links to keep you busy, amused, or annoyed.

Rules of thumb – I thought these would be more dumb than helpful, but I was pleasantly surprised. Here is one to help you decide if you are going to click it or not. People are willing to walk for seven minutes to get to a McDonald's. That's why you'll find McDonald's restaurants a 14 minute walk apart in downtown areas.

List of pasta names – You want to click on it…mostly because you think to yourself. “How many could there be?” Go ahead. It has pictures.

Space meals (Apollo 11) – Ok…kind of dumb, but I kept scrolling wondering how in the world they survived on that stuff. I get all mad if someone takes some french fries from my McDonalds value meal.

I’ll find more stuff…really.

Not much to report from Land of the Lakes….let’s cobble something together for you to read.

The Mike Locander of “many comments in this blog” fame has a letter to the editor that was published and worth reading. When he isn’t a blog comedian he has some good points.  (Click here)

We had some kid from Estonia hit us up for some door to door educational book sales deal. I didn’t think twice about it until I saw our neighbor was visited by the same guy. He seemed harmless, but apparently in the course of his sales pitch for educational supplies he mentioned to her that basically “Americans are stupid”. As soon as he left her house our neighborhood got drenched. Take the worst pounding rain you’ve ever seen and imagine that poor kid walking to the next house. Always be closing kid, always be closing.

The plastic snake in my garage scared the crap out of me the other day…especially when I realized it wasn’t plastic. I hate snakes.

Have you ever taken apart something and not be able to put it back together again? Put bike gears and brakes on the list. I’m sure I’ll eventually figure it out, but I’ve done this many times with many different things. At some point I’m going to realize that I don’t know everything and wise up.

I wish Southwest would send me free drink coupons for a local bar rather than their flights. Drinking on an airplane is just odd to me. The bathroom is always crowded, you are basically sitting there alone and trapped. I think this is one of the signs you might be an alcoholic actually. Maybe a coupon for a sandwich, or a coupon to cut the line to get on the plane. Note to self…call Southwest.

Sometimes no title is the best title…

Ahhhh yes, yet another post that may only be funny to me. It involves another one of those signs that you spot and look twice at. I’ve been driving by this sign for a week now and every time I smirk at what I think it says, even if I might know differently. Who knows? Maybe I’m reading it right and the local veterinarian is forming a wind instrument ensemble. I don’t even want to speculate on the belly dancing part. Overall I would have to say that whoever put this sign together needs some sort of help next time.


Dumb things I have done this week

- Poured orange juice in my coffee rushing to get Sam his breakfast.

- When the phone rang I had the TV remote in my hand. I instinctively tried to answer the remote.

- Went to the car to with my phone and wallet, realized I forgot the keys, went back to get the keys and left my phone and wallet inside. Rinse and repeat.

- Sent an e-mail explaining a file that was attached..forgot to attach to file. Went to send it again and after explaining how I forgot to attach the file I sent it again…without the file. Take 3!

- Told the girl at Publix “Thanks” when checking out…in Swedish.

- Put Sam’s shoes on the wrong feet. How do I keep doing that? I’m looking down at my feet now to make sure I didn’t do it to myself.

Dear old golden rule days…

Well the first day of school has gone better than we hoped. Apparently when you become a high school administrator (paper shuffler) your skills get a little better. They basically had no record of Sara at her school this morning, but they made some calls, printed some forms, faxed some stuff and she became a student. If they could just do those things and get her to turn in her homework this year we are golden. After months of traveling abroad and encountering travel related troubles, we have pretty much shrugged off encounters like this and we even have kind of a laissez faire attitude toward bureaucracy and paper shuffling. Maybe this is where the French get it from? Sam, I could tell, was a little bit skeptical about going to school today. He wasn’t very talkative or excited, he went Larry on us and became reserved, nonchalant, and went into observer mode. If we can just get them home after the first day we will call it a success and check the entire year off the list of “things to figure out”


Stolen thoughts

Someone posted a bunch of these on Facebook today and I thought a lot of them were hilarious.

The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

Google really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

My 5-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

(Insert title here)

Sorry I haven’t written much lately. Between getting the house back in order and “real life” it’s been tough. The other thing that is hard to figure out is what people might be interested in reading about. A lot of the time I just write whatever comes to mind and most of the time it’s to amuse myself. You are lucky you didn’t get a post about another haircut or one about Mike Locander, although Locander is still on my radar. School starts around here on Monday and it promises to be a bureaucratic nightmare. You know how some families get everyone organized with all the accessories, new outfits, and have everything in place? Yeah…not us. I’m not even sure Sara is enrolled in High school since she had to do the second half of last year as a home school / online student. We don’t know her schedule OR what time school even starts. We are taking it easier on Sam. We have visited his school and we have a vague idea what time school starts there. I guess we are saving his trauma for a later date. Enjoy those stories when they arrive.

Put the metal on the pedals

Patting myself on the back. I apparently opened a bicycle shop when I returned unbeknownst to me. There are approximately 5 complete bike and parts of like 3 others in my garage as we speak. I know you are counting and coming up with the same number of people in this family that I am, FOUR! The reason I even bring it up is because it allows me to write about my geniusness. Spell checker tells me that this isn’t a word, but I’m making it one. About a week ago Jen ordered a 1950’s ancient children's bike seat so that we could rig it on her bike. When I say “we”, apparently this means me. People…I took this bike seat apart, used a hacksaw, some hose clamps, about 8 zip ties and have fashioned a kick a$$ seat for Sam. This thing is solid as a rock and probably cost like $30 after shipping and parts. I’m sure some of you are looking at it and wondering what the safety rating is in this thing and I’m gonna give you an old school answer. If it was good enough for kids in the 50’s it’s good enough for me. I’m not sure my phone camera does it justice, but I’m painting the “Carroll Bike Shop” sign as we speak.

IMG_0023 IMG_0020

Larry update #2

Good report from his Dr. visit yesterday. All blood numbers seem good and the bone scan didn’t show anything very interesting. His back pain still exists, but at least it doesn’t appear to be coming form anything serious. Short and sweet. More later…

Larry update

Dad had a bone scan the other day to help determine the cause of some back pain he is having. X rays turned up nothing and some other tests came up empty. Cross fingers and do whatever is is you do for good luck. Hopefully this is simply a pain in the back. He has a Dr. appt. today and theoretically they will have something to tell him, or at least something to give him to cope with the pain. It’s hard to get him to articulate the extent of this back pain, so there is always that hurdle to deal with also.

More later

Mail call

You know what the most daunting task has been after being gone for 6 months? 6 months of mail. Part of me thought there would be more than there was and the other part of me can’t believe how much there is. It doesn’t look too bad as a “box of mail”, but when you start digging into it you think it is a never ending supply. We sure get a lot of junk mail. After sorting it out into “further review” and “definite trash” I ended up with about 2/3 garbage and 1/3 mail to keep. There was even a pile of mail I had for “previous tenants”. We’ve lived here almost 5 years and still get mail for two owners prior. I wonder how much of my old mail is still showing up at my previous 5 homes?

Sweeping down the plains

Ok, so remember when I was in Europe and was in awe of the amount of wind turbines and how cool they were and how cool would that be to have more of in the states? Yeah…I got punk’d. I’m driving near Peoria minding my own business, when wind turbines start appearing on the horizon. I couldn’t believe it. There weren’t two or three or four of them…there were millions! Ok, maybe not millions, but at least 50 or 60. Apparently the Europeans do not have a corner on the renewable energy market. I am impressed and I’m looking forward to checking them out again on the way out.

Who knew? In Illinois no less. Good job Midwesterners!

arial 001

Red light, Green light

I now know why I had trouble getting comfortable driving in certain areas of Europe. It was the concept of “shared space”. I always felt that I wasn’t sure if I could drive in certain spaces. Was it a bike path? Was it a sidewalk? What kind of road is this? Well it turns out it was “shared space”. Here is a link and a generic explanation (because most of you won’t click the link).

Shared space

Basically it is the concept that traffic of all kinds shares the travel space in an urban area. Very few signs, curbs, or defined space for specific traffic types. The theory is that if a car or bicycle has a defined space “just for them” they feel that they own that space and can pretty much ignore the rest of the world…at everyone elses peril. If you get rid of the curbs and signs you create a shared ownership and you get what I call the grocery store effect. Everyone navigates around each other politely with nods and “you go ahead” gestures. This sounds great to me, but it does have its problems, especially in American culture. First problem is with the insurance companies. If there are no signs or the rules are loose like this, who do you blame when there is an accident? I think this would drive them nuts. Second is the feeling that I described. A feeling of not knowing what the rules are. This might just be the years of traffic rules drummed into me, but it is disconcerting.

Anyhow…take a look. Keep an open mind. Wonder why traffic fascinates Jon so much.

Here is one of the photos of the concept from the link above. The guy sitting in the chair is there for the effect of explaining.



Start jogging people!

Apparently there are a shortage of healthy people in the Quad Cities. Here is a picture from the Quad City River Bandits game last night and the yellow banner reads “”Healthy Family Section” – you will notice that the section is pretty much empty. Although most of the park was quite empty, this section was particularly shunned. Maybe it was the blood pressure test you had to take to get a seat, or the “No hot dogs allowed” sign as you entered the section.


Happy Birthday Larry!

You would think that the blog titled “We Love Larry” would have had some sort of entry on his birthday (yesterday). Well there wasn’t and I have a good reason. I was spending my day here in Orion celebrating his birthday with him. I kinda snuck into town via St. Louis and surprised him at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night. They were both surprised, but I think it threw my dad for a loop a bit. It took him until Sunday morning to get used to the idea of me being around. I was thinking about it on the flight to St. Louis, but I hadn’t seen them in about 8 months. The funnier part and the more interesting stat is that I think this is the longest time I’ve ever had in my life not being able to see them. Is that weird? I think it’s great. Imagine being alive for 40’ish years and being able to see, visit, seek advice from two people you care for so much. Anyhow…Happy belated birthday to Larry. If I’m still plugging away at this next year I’ll make sure it gets in on 8/16.

Book ‘em Dan-o

Why do we buy and keep books? How many of you buy and read a book more than once? I have an office FULL of books that I’ve purchased, been given, or stolen over the years that are just taking up space. The problem with books is that they are revered. You can’t just throw away a book or someone is probably going to kick your ass. It’s like burning a flag. Well, not quite like that, but you get the picture. Everyone will say “Well you could donate them” or “Give them to the library”. Once you decide you are going to do one of those things you still have to load up 4,000 lbs. of books and transport them and then move them again. The other problem with having no books is that people will come to your house and think you are dumb. I think the only reason people have books and display them is to show how smart they are. Now before you spin around and see how many books you have out I’m not saying that everyone who doesn’t have books around is dumb, maybe they are just secure in their level of intelligence. If you are collecting and showing off your books to show how smart you are you might want to take a look at the titles also. The entire collection of Harlequin romance novels or the whole set of Robin Cook books isn’t going to help your case. Ok, I’ve written it down, now it is off my chest. Moving on.

Give me a “B”!

Be prepared. I think this is the most boring post I’ve ever created.

A picture of two loaves of bread we baked last night. In defense of this post the bread is very good and easy to make. Ummm…that’s it though. Sorry. I’m just proud of the bread. Get over it.


Extra! Extra!, read all about it…

I was thinking about a job the other day that probably doesn’t really exist anymore. The paperboy. Me and my brother delivered papers for a thousand years with the Moline Dispatch. What’s the equivalent to that job now? I know I didn’t realize it at the time, but I learned a TON of things by delivering papers and I’m not sure some of these things get learned by kids today. Here is my list:

1. People are relying on you – As a kid people don’t really treat you like you can contribute much, but when you are their source for something all of a sudden you are important and you realize it quick when you screw that up.

2. The world is a strange place – I remember learning VERY quickly that people are really weird. I would ring the doorbell to collect the weekly “bill” (initially 90 cents a week) and people wouldn’t answer the door when they saw me. It was even funnier the people who WOULD answer the door, but tell me they didn’t have any money. ??? 90 cents? Even back then most people could find 90 cents behind the cushions on the couch.

3. Rain, sleet, snow or heat – The stupid paper HAD to be delivered. It was my job. That is a huge lesson to learn as a 12 year old kid. I didn’t have very many papers to deliver, but they had to get there somehow and if they didn’t all eyes were on me.

4. Interacting with people – I had people on my route that made delivering less than 50 papers last all day. Mrs. Freitag who was from Sweden and still talked with an accent, or maybe it was Germany, who knows? “Butch” who was a great guy and would tell me all kinds of stories. Mrs. Love who I always thought was some reclusive old rich lady. There were tons of them and it was fun to get to know them.

5. The Sunday newspaper weighed a ton.

I also remember tying the bag to my bike and zipping along as fast as I could to get those papers out and go do something I wanted to do. I wish I still had one of those bags. This picture is from 1954, but it might as well have been from my days with the paper.



Just funny.



Just some stuff

It occurs to me (while shopping) the other day that the Europeans brought up an interesting point while they were here. Why do we not add the tax into the price shown on the shelf? We make the final total or price of things a mystery until we hit the checkout lane. It would be much easier if the $2.99 bag of chips was shown at $3.13, not that I’m buying bags of chips…well not many of them. I get these stupid questions in my head and then I feel I have to go get someone to answer them. While we are on the topic my next question is “Who does scheduling for doctors offices? If you are scheduled for 1:00 why do you have to sit there until 2:00? Everyone just says “Well that’s just the way it is” If you go to the movies for a 1:00 show and they tell you to sit and they will show it when they get around to it and it starts at 2:00, are you still sitting there? Now I have to go find out who to ask about this.

Next chain e-mail I get…

Ok I’m going to do it. There is probably a rule against using “We Love Larry” for any sort of political tool, but this is only a minor transgression.

If you are sending my Mom “Health care reform” e-mails. STOP!

My google skills cannot keep up with the “Obama is going to pull the plug on senior citizens” and other nonsense. On a related note my dad is going through a struggle with some back pain that they are trying to find the source of, so I’ll keep you up to date on that. Hopefully it is just a mowing related injury or something. He is scheduled to have the cataract in/on his eye removed at the end of this month also, so stay tuned for more on that too.

That’s it for the health related updates.

There’s a party going on right here…

Is it lame to just blog about a good day yesterday?

Sam had his first swimming lesson and had a great time. I think he got lured in by the promise of a “free” T-shirt. Having a pool for all these years and not having Sam fully trained has made us nervous, so we finally got our act together.

Sara is at camp and we know she is having a good time. See if you can spot her here.

Sara camp 2009

We made homemade bread yesterday. When I say WE, I mean Sam and Jen. It was delicious and we plan to make more to combat the silly prices they charge for bread that isn’t even half as good.

The yard is 90% back in order.

We added some bike racks to our bikes. I probably need to attach the GPS to my bike huh?

I added to my television system via our Roku player allowing me to watch any Cardinal game, or any game for that matter. This thing is cheap and amazing. Check it out. (Click here) 

Sorry for a lame post this morning…just celebrating good times.

Is that a Sleestack?

Ok I guess it’s time to take the blame for all the “getting lost” stories from Europe. Why now? Well it’s because I got lost this morning in Land O Lakes on my bike. Now don’t go laughing yourself silly. I didn’t get “lost” lost, I just couldn’t find my way out of, what I’m now referring to as “Land O the Lost”. Take a look at the map below and you might be able to muster up some pity for me. This is the general area that I lost my bearings a tad.


Now you feel bad don’t you? To my further discredit I didn’t bring my watch, my wallet, or my phone. You were probably one more bad turn from reading about me on CNN. Thanks for listening. I’ll take my lumps now from the comment section.

Go Cards!

I’m not sure how this makes us Cardinal fans look, but it is interesting.


Getting there

It’s hard to get used to posting some info. when I don’t have the entire morning to do so. You people who check in every morning are bound to be disappointed in me. We are settling into life post-exchange / post-Europe and are REALLY trying to make some changes. I have ridden my bike to our local grocery store now a couple of times since it strikes me as ludicrous to drive the car there. We are using the pool more since we have a new found appreciation for it. We had the neighbors over for a nice visit and a few beers. So all in all we are starting to get back to normal. It’s a little hard to come up with my goofy observations in what seems almost a normal world again. We did do one silly thing…after living in Sweden for 3 months what is one of the first stores we visited here? IKEA. The bad part is they don’t serve beer in the U.S. version of IKEA. We need to get with the program.

More later today after I wake up.

Change you can believe in

One of the best things about being home, well it’s not that great, is not staring at the money in my hand every time someone needs some. If you want to look like a big dope in most countries just flip the coins and the bills around 6 times before handing them to the cashier. I usually would hand the cashier WAY more money than I needed when it came time to pay just so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. They started to look at me funny when I would give them the equivalent of $50 for six bucks worth of groceries every time. Maybe they would think to themselves, “Here comes that really rich guy with the big bills!” I doubt it too. I’m really excited now when the cashier asks for $4.32 and I immediately find the correct change and throw it on the counter with a flourish and a smile. They are usually not impressed.

Sell phone?

So the other day I decided that I was going to replace my cell phone since the recession has taken my company issued phone. How hard could it be right? Apparently the recession hasn’t impacted the cell phone providers because they pretty much didn’t care if I ever got a phone or not. Here’s how it went down.

“Welcome to T-mobile” – that was pretty much the end of the niceties. I had decided on a new T-Mobile phone after narrowing the choices to 3. They seemed happy enough to take my information and start the process, but when they hit a snag they pretty much gave up. Apparently some guy in Chicago typed in my social security number when applying for a phone. The guy said he would get on the phone and straighten it out. He went on and on and kept telling the other T-Mobile person on the other end…”No problem” “I understand”….blah. Well it was a problem for me. Come back in 5-7 days and we’ll have it figured out by then. No thanks, but I did take 5 of their free cookies on the way out.

“Welcome to Sprint – Give me your name and have a seat” – bad start. Eventually I got assigned to a guy who apparently was due his lunch break in 10 minutes. He talked with me for 10 minutes and basically said, “Hey Meghan, this guy is looking for a phone” and left for lunch. I was 2 minutes behind him when I discovered that the “rebate” on the phone you buy from Sprint takes 3-5 months to get back to you.

There was no fancy welcome at the AT & T store, just some goober behind the counter who I couldn’t get two words out of. I told him my troubles, told him I had an employee discount and would appreciate no more hurdles. He said no problem, asked me for my company ID and then handed it back telling me that it didn’t say that I worked for the company that the discount was with. My company is owned by a larger company and this precludes me from having a phone. I went back home, without a phone, placed an order online with AT & T and my phone arrived the next day. I think I spent more time chasing a phone than it took to get delivered.

Sorry for the long story, but it makes me feel better to talk to someone.

London bridges…ok, just pictures

A few pictures of our couple of days in London.

Larry update

I’ve talked with Mom and Dad a few times since we left Sweden and everything seems quiet and uneventful. I can never really be sure HOW quiet it is. Dad seems in good spirits even though the Cubs lead the NL Central. If anyone has a different update than that…shoot me an e-mail.

Just a couple of lines

You’ve already heard all the good things (hopefully) of home exchange, so after arriving home here are the not so great things.

- The yard is a disaster. I planned for the care and maintenance of everything but the yard so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I also didn’t expect that the people living here would be out in the flower beds weeding, but it did take me by surprise. Nothing that can’t be fixed.

- Forgetting stuff. I’ve only been gone 6 months and I have forgotten how I make my coffee in the morning. You would think that it isn’t that hard, but it’s true. Maybe it’s a sign. I don’t need any commentary of what it might be a sign of. (Locander)

- One more plug for roundabouts. Man I hate stop lights. Stop signs at least you kind of control your own destiny. Stop lights? Forget it. They suck.

- I can’t find any of our stuff. It’s put in different places by different people. Weird.

Hooked on Fenix

Ok, I know I haven’t even gotten to the “We’re on the ground in Tampa” stories. Sorry. After my movie fiasco I had two hours to kill, so I actually wrote down some things I noticed. For the better part of the last two hours I watched the “Your journey” screen on the in flight television system. If you’re not familiar with this system it basically scrolls through a bunch of screens telling you how far you are from your destination, how fast you are going and gives you a picture of a little plane making its way to Tampa. I won’t get into it too much but here is what happens when you stare at this screen for almost 2 hours.

  • The math is wrong. Flying at the speed we were flying at and the miles it said we were from our destination, well it was just wrong. Trust me, I did the math about 50 times.
  • Why is the map in Spanish when the flight originated from London and is arriving in Tampa?
  • Is the Spanish word for Phoenix really Fenix?
  • Why would you put Godthab on any map? (Look it up – I had to)

There ya go…I have 5 more things written down but they will only make sense in my head now.

Travel math

15,135 miles

I think 10 countries

179 days

11 flights

more than 11 fights

8 languages

Synch or swim

So we’re on the plane right? I settle in, start to peruse the movie offerings and realize that I’m going to be able to watch like 3 movies during this marathon flight home. I flip through the in-flight movie offerings and get even more psyched…WOW! There’s like 5 movies I would like to see here, including a bunch of new releases. This is where things go south. I cheerfully TRY to plug the headphones into the jack, but it won’t go in. The flight attendant comes over to try, as if there is some different way of plugging in a set of headphones. There are no other seats on the flight, so changing seats is out. Don’t worry though because the flight attendant has a great idea….ready? She offers me…drum roll…the NEWSPAPER! I really tried not to give her the “Are you kidding me?” look, I really did. To be fair she also offered me a comment card. At this point me and the old lady next to me worked out what seemed to be a great deal. We would both start the same movie at the same time and I would use her audio and my video. This would have worked out perfectly, but this lady had some sort of malady that caused her to bump the screen about every 15 minutes which resulted in HER movie being paused. I played the fast forward – pause synchronization game for 3 different movies, it was quite relaxing. I guess I’m glad I had this option, because I’m pretty sure I wasn’t going to be reading the newspaper for 6 hours. I wish British Airways would have broken some guitars instead of their planes.




After our usual rounds of plane, train, and automobile frenzy we are finally back home and full of additional stories. Let me tell you…the 9.5 hour flight was the worst for many reasons. When you finally get to the point where your brain is ready to be home you don’t want 9.5 hours of sitting in a cramped room full of strangers between you and the finish line. I think we are going to beat the jet lag simply by good timing. We arrived here at around 6:00 p.m. and were running on adrenaline. That works out to be about 11:00 p.m London time, so we just sucked it up for a couple of more hours and then crashed. I had to be up this morning for work, which is quite a shock, but it’s off to the races. I will try to update pictures and stories through today and the rest of the week.

Thanks again everyone for their support and help. Stay tuned.

All the way back to London town...

Just a quick note from London. We arrived safely on basically Sat. morning, 2:30 a.m. As usual the kids did better with this than we did. Plane, bus, taxi and we were here. We got up the next morning at 9:00 a.m. to chase the "Changing of the Guard" at Buckingham Palace. We mostly heard the changing of the guard since you apparently need to set up camp the night before for the good seats. I can say this...we were at Buckingham Palace when the changing of the guard took place.

Westminster Abbey is a whole other story. This place was amazing to me. The architecture and history were exactly as you would expect. We visited with Darwin, Dickens, Chaucer and Kings and Queens. We also visited with about 6,000 other people since it would appear, unlike our last visit, this weekend is prime London sightseeing time.

Today we are wrapping up the London experience with a visit to the Tower of London to see the crown jewels or whatever else they will have available. We all slept in this morning and it will take us a while to get going.


I'll have to add pictures when we get home. The hotel connection is telling me that it is best this way.