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The Boy, 2 Muttleys and I have finally realized our dream of living 1 mile from the Lindt Chocolate Factory. Leaving Atlanta (the World of Coke) for Zurich (the World of Chocolate) hasn't come without challenges, incredible fun or giggles. Follow along as I chronicle our adventures as we acclimate to this new Swiss lifestyle.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tales from the ATL

Dirty Old Men on the Plane -  I am not a "chatter" and I especially don't like to chat when I am on a plane.  I want to sort of sit back, sort of relax, sort of sleep and choke down the awful food they give us peons in coach. On a recent flight from Zurich to Atlanta, I was a bit unlucky.

My neighbor was a 60 year old Swiss man who seemed harmless enough.  We spoke for about an hour and a half about our respective trips and families.  He became progressively more chatty as he guzzled down 3 "Thirsty Man" sized glasses of wine. Then dinner was served and afterwards I took about a two hour nap. I was tired from all the forced chit-chat.

When I woke up, I noticed his movements were a bit slower and could tell he was drunk.  He of course wanted to talk again and introduced me to a brand new Swiss dialect - a mix of German and English words, with a sprinkle of the hiccups and a side of slur.  I had to really focus and listen intently as he was speaking Swisserbish so imagine my surprise when he suddenly said the following in perfectly clear English: "Do you want company at your cabin?  I am serious, I will borrow my brother's car and join you for a couple of days.  I promise I will sleep in the car in your driveway".

At this very moment I wished there were snakes on the plane instead of a dirty old man.  I would have happily shared my space with a 20 foot hungry Anaconda vs. a slurring, hiccuping, 60 year old horny toad of a man.  As I tried desperately to come up with a reply that didn't consist of a slap, a call button, a shriek, a spew; another 60 something year old man came to the rescue  - Captain John "Hannibal" Smith.  The movie the "A-Team" had just popped up on the overhead screens and I replied "Um...thanks but no thanks.  LOOK! The A-Team is playing!  I love me some B.A. Baracus".  I turned to the screen, inserted the painful complimentary ear-buds from Delta and was more thankful than you can imagine that an ill-advised remake of the A-Team came to fruition.

Moonshine Mountain - The one place from my old home that sort of reminds me of my new home, is our cabin in Blue Ridge, GA on Moonshine Mountain Road.

Here we sort of have mountains:

And we have low lying cloud cover:

And we have rivers:

And we have beautiful blue skies and lakes and fresh air...SQUIRREL!

Sorry about that.  Those little buggers are just so gosh darned cute and whenever I see one, I can't help but stop what I am doing to admire their twitchy tails and over-the-top fear of everything that isn't a nut.  OK, back to what Blue Ridge and Switzerland shares in common...wait, what the fudge?

I have seen some pretty awful truck art in my day, with Truck Nutz being the most vile, but this was too much.  Then I saw whose truck it was and things became decidedly more clear:

Apparently for Picky Ron there is no separation between God and job. Picky Ron trusts two things to help him cut your lawn: God and a motorcycle-lawnmower contraption. I have to say, as God is my witness, a two wheel motorcycle-lawnmower can trim a pretty tight hedge.     

I Need a Guitar Hero - The morning of the big surprise, the one that was going to consist of me jumping out of something, preferably a closet, to scare the crap out of my brother in celebration of his 40th birthday, the whole reason why I was in Atlanta, I found out some bad news.  My brother already knew I was in town.  It sort of went down like this:

Setting: adorable pre-teen niece enters room.  Also in room are my brother and sister-in-law. 

Pre-teen niece asks "So where is Kristi sleeping?" 

Quick on her feet sister-in-law responds "You mean Chrissy???"

Focused and determined pre-teen niece replies "Noooooo, Kristi!"

Awesome sister-in-law who is getting more desperate by the second answers "You mean CHRISSY???" 

Quite stubborn yet still adorable pre-teen niece wails "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....KRISTI!"

And the jig was up.  I remember being a pre-teen and I remember worrying that I may lose my bedroom to a visitor for a couple days.  I can't really blame her but I was admittedly disappointed that I couldn't surprise (scare the crap) out of my brother.  I needed a little pick me up...I needed a Guitar Hero.

My brother gets a little obsessed with video games and his newest obsession during my visit was with Guitar Hero.  Watching my 40 year old brother play a plastic guitar with plastic buttons, while bobbing his head and smacking his lips, was the perfect pick-me-up. He really believed he was playing the guitar and he really believed he was a hero.  At that moment in time he was also my hero.  He was proof that even though we get older every single day, you can act progressively younger to compensate for it.  Who needs Botox when you have Guitar Hero?       

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Poo Bandit

Whatever this animal is eating is also beyond fiber
The exterior of our apartment building is being terrorized.  We are under siege by a berry eating animal which has seriously upped its daily fiber intake.  If you have ever upped your fiber intake, then you are well aware of its consequences.  At first it was evident that the berries were a new addition to this animal's diet.  It was benign enough and appeared to only be a passing occurrence.  As of yesterday evening, it just got personal and this animal just got more regular.

Technically we aren't allowed to take Pedro and Dooley to the apartment grounds to do their bidness.  After a late night run-in at a nearby park with some teenager hopped up on something (maybe the same berries the poo bandit eats), our adherence to this rule abruptly changed. Last night as I opened the main door to our apartment building to let the Dudes out, I noticed Dooley slowed down and started sniffing.  I then caught a whiff of something unpleasant.  I looked down and noticed to the left of the door was a pile of poo.  On its own, seeing a pile of poo just outside your apartment's main entrance is shocking. There was something even more sinister about it though: what the neighbors must think.

Why do I care what the neighbors think about a random pile of poo?  Well, we are the ONLY people in the building with dogs.  They have probably all witnessed Dooley at some point smell his own pee after he peed and they have certainly witnessed Dooley dart over to Pedro to smell his pee after he peed.  He sort of reminds you of the kid that eats the Playdough after sculpting it into some sort of hot mess.  Wouldn't it be logical then for them to assume my Playdough eating child is capable of pooing by the door?

More unsettling than that thought is what they must think of us.  Are we the type of owners that allow our dogs to poo by doors?  Are we the type of owners who don't pick up the poo that is pooed by the door?  I had to take matters into my own hands...literally.  I don't particularly like picking up my own dog's poo, but they are my kids and I do it almost happily.  The thought of cleaning up a random animal's poo was horrifying but the consequence of not picking it up was even more horrifying.  I bet the animal responsible sat in some berry bush snickering as I did the deed and probably thinks it owns me.  If I ever catch this animal in the act, we will have words.

After the clean up, I returned to my apartment and slid down the living room wall ending in the fetal position.  I cried a little and second guessed my actions.  If a neighbor sees the poo was cleaned up, is that a greater admission of Dooley or Pedro's guilt?  How do I break free of these poo chains?  Then Dooley ambled over to me and planted a big wet one on my salty cheek.  It was then that I decided that I only knew one thing for certain - the Poo Bandit will most certainly strike again and I will continue to protect my, the Boy's and the Dude's good names.
Thursday, November 4, 2010


I first want to preface what I am about to say with the following: I want the United States to succeed and I am proud to be an American.

The Boy and I have been relatively unexposed to the political shenanigans that have been going down during the Mid-term elections.  We get most of our news from The Daily Show which is somewhat informative but frustrating at the same time.  I am of the opinion that Jon Stewart likes to hear himself talk and is incapable of framing and asking a question in under 30 seconds.  This leaves the viewer knowing little more about the guest and subject matter after the interview ends.  Because Jon Stewart fancies himself an intellectual, it is hard to discern if the show is still a "fake" news program or a real one.

Even with its negative aspects, The Daily Show has made us privy to tea parties and witches and Kanye West's take on the state of the union.  It is enough for me to realize that I do NOT miss American politics.  I feel fortunate that I am not barraged by the media or drawn into heated debates with friends.  I suppose I should care, but I am comfortably removed from the situation and I got to say, I like it.  I know that things are really rough right now for my fellow compatriots but I am so removed physically and emotionally that it is hard to truly sympathize.  I liken it to the "out of sight, out of mind" phenomenon that many relationships experience and isn't the link between man and country essentially a relationship?

So after I admitted to myself that I was comfortable with my ambivalence, I had to ask myself: Am I bad American?  Then I thought about vacations.  People take vacations from their kids, their work, their "real lives".  If people can enjoy a hiatus from children that they love and jobs that they need to survive economically, does that make them bad people?  Of course it doesn't.

While you are on vacation, someone is caring for your kids and filling in for you at work.  I am trusting my fellow compatriots to do the same while I am gone...