Friday, January 29, 2010

Shameless plug.

Not about me.  Don't give a rat's tiny behind whether you read or what you think.

Just wanted to plug the kid is all.

She's been doing a gig for the last little while where she writes and submits stuff for a magazine called Girlworks.
It's a section called Kat's Krafts.

She's all excited 'cause her stuff is being shown in the "preview".

(way to go,  Kat!)

It's a pdf file,  and you need to go down to page 10 or so.  The girl at the top isn't Kat,  that's Anne Frank.  (In case you just crawled out from under a rock)
A considerably more serious story in a girls magazine.


Girlworks isn't really my cup of tea,  since I'm more of a Fine Woodworking kinda guy,  but I thought I'd pass it on.

Meanwhile,  my cell phone just started dancing around on the counter (scares the cr*p outta me everytime)  and there was a message from our relocation lady,  that the chimps will be back next Thursday between two and four.

Let's hope this return visit is not more blog fodder.

Keep it between the ditches.

Internet Update.

Well,  sort of.  I'm still stuck with the "Orange"  usb stick thingy for which yes,  I am grateful.
Of course,  I'm also grateful that I have regular bowel movements but that's not something to get too excited about either.

Anyway,  stopped into the cafe yesterday just before lunch time to chat briefly with the very nice chap who lent me the thing only to explain (sort of "hat in hand", as it were)  that in fact the guy from UPC had been here,  and that he couldn't seem to locate his own cable.....
Probably couldn't locate his own hind end either,  but let's not get off topic,  shall we?

I also made him promise me that if I went over the "limit",  and my guess is there is in fact a limit,  that he's to let me know of the damages,  so that I can slip him some dough.

He still doesn't need the thing,  so here I am.  

Anyway,  right then and there he called the electrician who had done all the installation here and made arrangements for the two of them to come by some time after five. 

Well,  turns out the cable was right there,  just somewhat hidden inside the box,  and all the internet guy had to do,  besides actually look beyond his nose and find it,  was also go down a few flights and hook up inside yet another box.....

Now,  I didn't actually use this term,  but it was a term that was used by the electrician.   Let's see if you can figure out what this German word means. 
Here's your first lesson.

The word is.  "Idiot".  

Figure that one out?

Now,  it's pronounced a little differently in German,  but the meaning is the same.

Oh,  and look....the box down on the first floor even has the company name on it....

And no,  I don't have keys to these boxes.  These very smart installers are the ones with the keys.

Still waiting to hear back from these people,  but meanwhile the electrician made sure he left me his number,  in case there are any further mysteries that these chimps from UPC can't figure out.

Y'know, I'd just as soon write about how everything with our phone and internet installation has gone oh so wonderfully well,  but it ain't happened yet.

It's not like I'm making this stuff up.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Turns out, it's winter after all.

I'm not going to try and fool myself,  or anyone else for that matter.   Fact is,  I'm not a huge fan.  First of all,  there's that whole temperature thing,  then there's the matter of all the clothes that need to be put on,  and then of course taken off again,  lest snow gets tracked in the door.
Last year in The Netherlands,  there was what amounted to that one really cold week there,  when it got down to something like minus nine.  I still rode the bike every day,  and I want to tell ya,  that gets a tad nippy.   But then it started to sort of "warm up",  to where the temperature was at least above freezing,  and continued to climb right through spring.  Of course,  it rained heaps,  but that's Holland for you.
I'm partly reporting on the state of things for the benefit of those whom we left behind in Canada. 
See,  a few years back when my travelling companion and I spent the winter at a really cool house we rented in Puerto Rico I did,  from time to time,  torment my children...
(Same deal as the present situation,  they were living in our house....back in Canada...)
And yes,  I knew full well that I was bugging the hell out of them.

As an aside I must say,  that was a good winter.  One of the best I've ever had.  All the ones before and afterwards pretty much... well.....sucked.

Winter anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line?  C'mon!

Anyway, apart from receiving American TV in Puerto Rico (and we'll not go there,  thank-you)   the internet is one way that one can tell what the temperature might be in a place like say,  Toronto?   Apparently I had this annoying habit of sending little snippets on Instant Messenger such as,  "well,  it was getting so hot,  I just had to go for a swim".

Um...ya.  Doesn't sit so well with those at the other end who just came in from shovelling the driveway,  where it's perhaps five below freezing,  which of course,  didn't exactly come as a surprise to me,  since I already knew the temperature outside the door thanks to the internet.

hee-hee *snort*


They've really never let me forget it.

So children,  the following photo is for you.

There!  See?  Feel better?

On the bright side,  at least here I don't have that sense of dread when I wake up in the morning after a snow fall,  knowing full well that I have to get myself to the school and clear away a dozen entrances or so.  (note title of blog?)  I'm glad the truck I had at the time had four wheel drive as well.  I'll let you use your imagination.
Oh,  and here's another really good thing about freezing your ass off in the winter time:  I distinctly remember standing outside in January on the front porch of my brother-in-law's brand new house having a smoke. 
Yes people,  I did smoke.   Most of the time,  I quite enjoyed it, but it was at that very moment that I formulated a plan to quit smoking.
Can't say that it was all that easy,  but after a couple false starts many years ago,  I now no longer need to take my butt outside. 
They don't exactly do that here in Austria,  and the office where my travelling companion works kinda stinks,  to be honest. 
As I mentioned yesterday,  one of the Dutch guys who is down for the rest of the week and will be driving the Audi back home was kind of mortified that they were all smoking indoors.  That doesn't happen in Kikkerland.   You need to take yer butt outside.  Same as in most parts of Canada I'm thinking.   Certainly in Ontario.

There's a bit of a segue in there somewhere,  since I should mention that certain individuals who are currently reading along have,  in fact quit smoking.  Winter can be a good incentive,  but sucking on some weed is,  as we all know,  not all that good for you.
I have to tell ya,  even after having quit over 20 years ago,  I still catch a whiff once in a while and get a craving for a smoke.   Nicotine is funny that way,  and I guess I'm still addicted.
So I do in fact know exactly how hard it is to quit.

Some folks seem to quit with ease,  and then occasionally have a smoke.  Not me.  If I have one,  I'm hooked.
This I know.

So for Rob and Kat.  Just take it one day at a time.  Walk the dog.  Get on the eliptical machine. 

This too shall pass, trust me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Good News.

Well,  could have also called this post,  "Could be Worse",  but that's not really very uplifting now,  is it?

Sitting here in my shirt sleeves.  Quite comfortable really.  Just waiting for the washing machine to try and balance the load of towels I put in.  It's having some trouble.
Then I probably should make a list,  check it twice,  and head out to the store.

Thought I'd have a quick look outside at the thermometer I placed on one of the posts.

 Just a sec there.  Let me put the other lens on the camera....

Whoa!  Seems it's a tad cold outside.  I guess I had better bundle up!

I just checked the temperature up in Hengelo,  and it's pretty much the same,  and I'll tell you what,  I wouldn't be sitting in that house in my shirt sleeves.   I had a sweater on stand-by from about mid-December on through March.

Along with a pair of furry slippers.  Haven't really worn them here in the apartment,  my feet would get too hot.

AND,  I'd really  need to get bundled up to pedal myself off to the store on new and shiney.  We're talking major wind-chill in that situation.

And look.   The sun's coming out.

I'm afraid if I try and be more positive I'll hurl,  so that'll do for now.

..and yes,  if you've tuned in from some place like Calgary,  where it's minus 18, I'm sure you're poo-pooing my pitiful minus nine.  Fine.  Just move along.

Can't help it.

I was on my way to Hintermeyer this afternoon,  since they have some really good deals on CD sets,  and I saw this baby buggy.

It was parked outside a store on Maria Hilfer Straße.

First of all,  I should carefully point out that I had considerable restraint,  and only bought one set,  in spite of there being many, many things to choose from.  Plus, I had planned this since the flyer came out,  so it wasn't some knee jerk reaction to not getting our phone and internet hooked up today.  (hey,  I had a €100 note burning a hole in my pocket so I could easily have gone berserk)
And no,  I did not buy the Elvis Presley 75 year commemorative set either.  Was that counting from when he was born?  I guess so.  I remember the August day when he died,  and it wasn't no 75 years ago.

No instead,  I thought I'd give a listen to this guy since I've only ever heard snippets.

I just rechecked that link,  and it doesn't work anymore.  It worked yesterday!  Honest.  So you can read about this fellow here.
Not sure I can listen to all 10 cds at one go,  but I'll add them to the collection just the same.

 Here's a closer look at the buggy...

Spiffy,  isn't it?
We'll get back to it in a minute....

I also had to go by what is now becoming my favourite Tabac to pick up a Vignette for the Audi.

You remember the Vignette program right?   Do I have to put in yet another link?  jeez!

Well,  the BMW came with a Vignette that's good for the whole year,  but the Audi was driven down from the Netherlands after all,  and that Vignette that I bought somewhere on the Autobahn before entering Austria back in October has expired.  One of Gabe's controllers has kindly volunteered to drive the thing back home on Friday.

Good-bye Audi.

He works in Hengelo and is down for a few days.

I'll go into the parking garage over at the company that cannot be named some time before the end of the week and put the thing on so he doesn't get hauled over on his way out of Dodge.

Part of my fiduciary duties.

OK,  back to the baby buggy.

You're going to wish you'd never followed this far.

I couldn't help but stop and take a picture of the thing since the first thing that came to mind when I saw it was,  "Oh look,  Austrian Technology!"

See?  I knew you'd be sorry.

Just the way my pea-brain works sometimes.

I'm really quite ashamed of myself.



Strike Two!!

If I were a betting man,  and as many of you well know I'm not,  I for sure would have bet that we'd have cable internet and phone today.
I saw the cable in the box out there.  It just so happens that it's not our  cable.

So here's the part I don't understand.  If our neighbour is in fact a customer of this company.   Oh,  and you can certainly go to their website and look at all their wonderful products.  (Well,  that is if you can read German.  Sorry.)
Anyway, ....... wouldn't you already know whether everything is ready to go?   I mean,  as dim as they are,  the folks at Cogeco* can tell right away where they have cable,  how new it is,  whether it's hooked up.  All of that.

Pretty sure that's the case with other Canadian cable companies.
...but apparently  not Austrian ones.....

 I didn't want to rub it in or anything,  but I did make sure I explained to internet installation Dude how I could phone anywhere in North America from my home phone in Canada,  and how it was a local call.   And how the other party didn't need to be on the same "network".  That's the way it works here btw.  There are damned few people in Austria I want to call,  so I don't really care whether they are on my "network" or not. 

Maybe I've just never lived in a big city before?

Maybe this also explains why all the immigrants from the Old World to the New World decided they'd never move back?

I'm just wondering.

I mean,  if I came back to the "homeland"  and saw how things basically had not improved one iota from the time I'd left,  not sure I'd want to move back either.

Once again,  very nice chap,  who no doubt will come back with another very nice chap.

We'll see if we get to strike three.....

*for those of you tuning in from places like Turkey,  or wherever,  "Cogeco" is the cable company that we have at our house in Ontario,  Canada.
And yes, once in a while,  I've noticed I have some readers in some far corners of the globe.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

To Market

First of all,  I have to admit,  I didn't take that many pictures even though I took a camera, since it is perhaps one of the coldest days of the year that we've experienced so far.

The car was showing minus four,  but it sure felt colder to me.
As you can see,  there were some areas that were just ever so slightly crowded.  Can't wait for the weather to warm up!
This is the "Naschmarkt",  which is probably no more than 5 blocks from our front door,  but the decision was made to take the car.  There may come a time in warmer weather when we'll attempt it on the bikes,  but certain parts of Vienna are not that bike friendly I'm afraid.
It's now easy to understand why people shop there every week,  since there was certainly a lot of good stuff including all sorts of condiments and vegetables that aren't always readily available elsewhere.  The salmon I saw was exactly twice as expensive as in the Netherlands @ €19,99 a kg.


Just for kicks and giggles,  I took a pic looking up Mariahilfer Straße.

Um,  that was on the way home,  not at the market.  Thought I should point that out.

Not much point in taking these wacky photos unless I put them on here.

I guess that's it for the moment.  I'm afraid I'm empty.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More roof top funny business.

I'll figure this out eventually.  It had just stopped snowing,  but the sun was fading fast,  so this will be a second attempt.
It may end up on the cutting room floor though.
One thing about having a 500 gigabyte back up drive,  there's lots of room for this sort of useless crap...
I just have to figure out why the thing is so small is all.  Has to be one of the setting on the camera.

Back on the Trail, Part Deux.

If you've just tuned in,  you really need to read part one below first.  Well,  do as you please.
Anyway,  we're in!
I decided to take the car.
I just didn't want to be sitting in a jostling subway car.   Would have cost me a whopping €3,60 for the pleasure,  whereas the car ride turned out to be free.   So happens there was a parking spot right in front of the door to this place,  so that was a bonus.   I would have had to hike a fair piece from the Swedenplatz subway stop,  and it is minus six out after all.
We're getting our fair share of snow today as well,  but they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping the streets clear,  so snow wasn't a consideration.
I think I was in there for all of 15 minutes,  and it would have been more like five,  except there were a couple people being looked after ahead of me by the one and only person there.  I think they were Slovak (I can sort of tell the difference between Czech and Slovak,  although they are pretty close,  kind of like parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland....) so the gentleman had to interpret everything the lady was saying into German.
Seemed to drag on.
It all went heaps quicker in my case though,  since everything had been filled out thanks to our trusty Relocation Lady.  Gotta love her.
 The receptionist,  or whatever she was called,  just wanted to look at my passport to make sure I was who I said I was,  and a couple signatures later,  bada bing!
Oh,  and I wasn't sure if I'd be needing a wireless router,  but that won't be a problem.  They provide one.


One just never knows here in Wienerland.

Meanwhile,  I was fooling around with the small camera a few days ago,  and thought we'd see what this would look like after I uploaded it here.  Haven't a clue how this will turn out,  but it's a sepia version of the view from our rooftop.
It doesn't quite go around as far as I had planned,  but we'll try this again in the not too distant future.  

There will be more of this kind of silliness after we get our cracker-jack internet set up next week.

Can't wait!

Back on the trail.

Hunting down an internet connection that is.

Where did we leave off?
Still using Orange here,  but that's OK,  since then at least the type size won't be all screwy as a result of using a document and uploading later.
Relocation lady came through with flying colours once again,  as she made contact with a company called UPC,  and basically signed me up.
Well,  she did check with me first.   She was a tad upset that her fellow Austrians were so inept.  I didn't say much.
I think I might have mentioned this in an email at one point,  but it seems there are a given number of idiots on the planet,  and there's an over abundance of them working for phone companies.

Nationality has nothing to do with it.

There,  now it doesn't seem like I'm complaining.

Even though they were limited by what they could do in the building,  one of the installers recommended a particular cable company,  since we could see that our neighbour has cable.  I made sure he wrote it down on a piece of paper for me since well,  it has nothing to do with language OK?  I forget how to check my phone to see how much time I have left.


So I mentioned this to Relocation Lady,  and she called back with some encouraging news.   Long story short,  I'm headed down to Oberedonaustrasse this morning to sign up.   I just have to decide if I'm going to take the U-Bahn (subway)  or drive and park.  Thing is,  the subway makes me ever so slightly nauseous,  so hopefully I can get there without tossing some cookies.  I think it's a combination of the jostling and lack of visual orientation,  but both Gabe and I have felt a tad nauseous on more than one occasion.  Such fun.
Oh...and I almost forgot!   They're coming next Tuesday to hook us up! 

That's less than a week off!   Why on earth did we ever think of putting in a phone line?  Shoulda coulda woulda.    I guess when the first attempt failed,  I should have just said,  "forget it",  and been done with Telecom Austria, but sometimes maybe I'm a little too meek? 
Hey,  it was getting close to Christmas,  we were getting antsy about going home,  and figured it was the way to go.

That's my excuse for being gullible.

I think it's probably a blessing in disguise,  since the possibilities with cable are somewhat broader in scope in terms of bandwidth.   This is going to be internet and phone,  in a similar fashion to what we have with Cogeco in Canada.   The big difference is,  there are choices available in terms of which services one requires and the speed of access.  We did NOT choose TV,  since there's precious little to watch,  and up to this point we're going with a basic package.  I'll need to understand how that will work with such tools as Skype and Site Speed,  so there is the chance of an upgrade.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back to the drawing Board.

Remember how I said I was so not counting on getting internet today? Man, sure wish I could do stock or lotto picks that way.
There were two appointments this week. The one on Monday morning (yesterday) was a couple electricians that the landlord send around to have a look at a bum circuit. These two looked like they were barely out of knee pants, but fine, the problem was solved.
See, I know that when it comes to electrical installations back home, any Canadian inspector wants to see a little copper showing on both sides of the terminal. There's a reason for that, since whoever hooked up the dining room light had put the wire into the bus too far and had pinched the insulation. It's called insulation for a reason, since no power was getting through.
So much for electrical inspections in Austria.
Took them perhaps ten minutes, and off they went. I now have a better understanding of the goings on in our breaker panel, since the circuit breakers are the nifty relay types that are built by the company that cannot be named. Well, maybe I'll sneak in the trade name here, since it's Moeller, and yes, they are nifty, since the switching itself is actually low voltage, and the high voltage is only at the device. So all the light switches are actually low voltage.

But I digress.

As any of you who have been following along already know, today was once again going to be “internet day”. My expectations were ...well....low, and guess what? They were met! (sort of along the lines of our recent encounter with Austrian Airlines)
The same guy who was here in December was back, along with a trusty sidekick (who apparently forgot that we have traffic in Vienna, 'cause he was late. Bonehead)

After the better part of an hour, they came to the conclusion that it could NOT be done.

See, the existing phone lines are on the right side of the hallway and stop at the floor below us, while we are on the left side of the floor up.

Gee,  that's a tough one.

Now, to my way of thinking, a hammer drill and a honkin' big masonry bit would have solved the problem in my world, but we ain't in my world as it turns out, so these chimps were baffled. (ooh, guess I should have said “Baboons”, since then we would have at least had some alliteration)

So....ya. They couldn't see any way to get a wire from the panel outside our door to the small box in the wall one floor below.
(I was somehow visualising conduit but like I said,  not my building....)

I think I now need to stop going on about this, since I'm getting getting myself worked up again.

Just a tad disappointed is all.

Wanted to give a call to our relocation lady for some help, but couldn't find her number for the life of me, so I decided to give Gabe a call, who was somewhere up in the mountains on her way to Munich, where the “team” will be doing some bonding this week. She was a little surprised that I wasn't calling from our “new” number, since she was also counting on having some means of calling home instead of using her crackberry. Financially speaking of course, I'd much sooner she run up the tab on the crackberry, but it's not totally user friendly even though the company that cannot be named is paying, it's still more liberating to use one's own phone.

At least that was her argument.

I'll go along with it I suppose.

Suffice to say, I've put the hounds on the trail of some other means of having internet.
Meanwhile, I went down to the cafe to go online, and briefly struck up a conversation with the one guy who is there every single day it seems, and he lent me his usb stick internet thingy!

I'm pretty sure that's the technical term.

We plugged her in, installed yet another program (seriously, I think this thing has more programs than an orbiter space shuttle) and I can go online from my couch here! (um ya, I'm back gets uncomfortable at some point and I wanna go home)

Here I was on the verge of going postal....

Turns out, there's this company called “Orange”, (like, “Orange you glad you're in Vienna?” *snort*)
...and he got this deal where, for something like €20 or €30 a month, you get a small notebook and this usb device as a package. Since he's at the cafe pretty much all the time, he can use the freewave at the cafe, which is also heaps faster, so he just gave me this stick.

How cool is that?

Now, this is not a long term solution, since I want to be able to download entire movies and use Site Speed or Skype, so we're still going to be looking into something a little quicker than sending smoke signals. Well, to be honest, it's not that bad, and is all I need in the mean time to upload text.
I'll be giving it a try in a few minutes here. Right before I head out to the store.

...and if you're reading this,  it seems to be working just fine....

Keep yer sticks on the ice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

We're legal!

Once again....wrote this yesterday....always a day late and a Euro short...

Not that I had any doubts or anything, but this morning we went off to the immigration office again to pick up our residence permits.
Remember how in the Netherlands mine was only good for a year, yet Gabe was good for what? Two, three years? Well, turns out we have to do the whole thing all over again in a years time.
Both of us.
Such fun.
At least this time we didn't get a parking ticket, since I made sure I bought us a couple hours worth of “Parkscheine”....(pre-paid parking for Vienna)
Oddly enough, the look of these residence permits is very similar to the ones we had up north, except it's all in German instead of Dutch. Same pretty pink. Sorry no picture, you'll just have to rely on your memory, or search back in time for whenever the heck we got the first set.

We're now a week away (we hope) from getting our internet. I'm so not counting on that. And I'm so not signing anything until we're “up and running” so to speak. Took the silly buggers a couple months to figure out if their hind ends were bored or punched, so I'm not going to be in any hurry to let the installers just run along.
I'm just saying.

Oh, and I did also reach a slight milestone yesterday. (Monday, in case I don't post this right away) Finally broke down and bought a tank of propane. It was a little pricey.
Here's the thing. It's seems that the “EU” has mandated that all gas containers are now no longer made of steel, but some sort of polyester. I'm not kidding. Sort of along the lines of kevlar or what have you, and much more indestructable than steel. So what that all meant to me was, my tank of propane was somewhere in the neighbourhood of €85.

That's a pricey neighbourhood.

Turns out they don't want to lose these new tanks, so the gas itself was €32,90 and the deposit for the tank was €53.


I was toying with the idea of going electric in the grilling department, but hadn't been able to locate anything that was remotely acceptable.
Here's the way these things always work: Bought tank of propane Monday afternoon, then found a perfectly acceptable electric grill in Cosmos Tuesday afternoon for €119.

I could just spit.

See, just outside our balcony door there's a receptacle that is NOT hooked to our breaker panel. (One fine day I'll explain how I know that).

I could be grilling on the cheap!!
Hey, I could be drying my laundry on the thing, dammit!!

Hm...I just had this image of laundry going up in flames. Maybe I needn't get upset about that particular missed opportunity.

I'm going to attempt to upload at least one photo so you can see the thing. It's rather spiffy looking, but I'm not sure it's worth €85.

You can see it sitting here in front of my "propane transportation device",  otherwise known as a cardboard box....

Even though I sometimes feel that my German is a tad shakey, I do seem to recall reading in our lease that the apartment Gods frown on bringing gas canisters into the building. So I just figured I'd truck along a big ole cardboard box, just in case there are any Gladys Kravits types around. Plus I was bringing it from the parking garage, so the dolly was kind of necessary anyway.

I guess that's it. I'm empty.

Oh. Should mention.
For some mysterious reason, the dvd drive in this machine decided to take a little rest a couple days ago, and after flipping the thing over, taking out the battery and removing a whack of screws, at which point I completely chickened out and put them all back again, it is now working just fine. At least until tonight when we go to watch a movie. We'll see.
I don't know if this had anything to do with it, but there were actually a couple screws that had started to work loose, but what that would have had to do with that drive is a mystery to me. It probably had more to do with me turning it upside down if anything, since we had determined that it wasn't a software problem, but something along the lines of a loose plug or what have you.
I still need to get out and buy a player for divx, since I hate to tie up this machine every time we can't play something on the old fashioned dvd player.

Ok, that's really it, I promise.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

And life goes on.

Wrote this on Tuesday,  and of course didn't get to the cafe at all....then of course Wednesday was Three Kings Day,  which is a Bank holiday and the place was closed.
I'm happy to report that my new battery is performing wonderfully.... on.

As most of you who follow along most likely already know, we came back to Wienerland on the weekend. I'm now finally starting to get over that dragged out feeling that comes along with jet-lag.
It's a term that sounds somewhat pretentious, but I can't think of any other expression for that hollowed out feeling.
In what I now believe to be typical fashion, Austrian Air once again met my rather low expectations, in just about every aspect of the flight. Now don't get me wrong here, it was probably better than some of the charter flights one might encounter, or some of the experiences I've heard about on an airline like Ryanair. Having said that though, it wasn't the best experience. Hate to admit it, but I miss flying with KLM. After over eight hours in what eventually turns into a smelly crampted sauna, I'm ready to get out.
Traveller's tip: Boeings are not the best ventilated planes.
I'm usually pretty patient, but the fuse almost blew when we got to the gate (at which time everyone but us undid their seatbelts before the plane had even stopped) and the otherwise inocuous young man across the aisle from me almost ended up having to go to the emergency to have his carry-on removed from his hind end. See, if you're going to throw it over your shoulder, you'd best mind that I'm not within swinging room.
I didn't quite shove him completely head first back into his seat, but I think he got the idea.

Meanwhile, all is well here in La-la land.

We now have our second set of keys back in our possession, since they had been on loan to some visitors who came down from the Netherlands over the Christmas break. This is one of Gabe's associates who took a little trip first to Venice, then on to Vienna with his wife and two kids. With perhaps the exception of the full case of beer left in the closet, we were hard pressed to even tell they were here.
Pretty close to the pinnacle in the “perfect guest” department.

Heard back from our relocation lady, who phoned Monday morning to tell me she had been in contact with Telecom Austria to see about our installation. I got the call this moring as I was standing in line at the checkout at Merkur. They'll be here on the 19th. I ain't holdin' my breath.
Well OK, there wasn't a problem with the last appointment, except for the fact that no installation took place.
Just a minor detail.

That's the week that Gabe is going up to Munich, so for me to be here for eight a.m. won't be a problem.
The other small matter that needs to be dealt with concerns a lamp in the dining area that has no juice going to it. Not my deal to try and fix these things, so I'm expecting a call from an electrician at some point.
Of course the thing with these calls that I get out of the blue is, it usually takes me a couple seconds to get my ear trumpet tuned to just what the heck the person on the other end is talking about (it's German, OK?) plus it's usually in the morning, and if I happen to be somewhere stationary, that's pretty much just a stroke of luck. I'm either in the car, or some place where it's not that easy to talk.

That's fine I suppose. It's all good practise. Getting so even the relocation lady is using mostly German with me. Can't I just be a dumb tourist?

Anyway, hopefully this will now tie up all the loose ends.

Pretty sure we're now also done with any financial commitments in the Netherlands. Had a bill for electricity and gas that was a bit of a whopper, but that was to be expected since they were using the previous year's usage as a guide for the monthly remittance, and there hadn't been anyone in the house the previous year. Suffice to say, there was some catching up to do.

That kinda hurt.

But at least now we can transfer the rest of the money down to Bank Austria and close our account with ABM-Amro.

I've also been on a bit of a shopping rampage over the last couple days. First of all there's that whole notion of stocking up again after having pretty much cleaned out the fridge over Christmas, plus I've been trying to find a couple things that we never did have, but would like to add to the larder. Managed to find thyme after about the third store. Billa, Merkur and Euro-Spar all carry the same line of spices, but thyme was missing from the first two. Just one of those things that I don't quite comprehend. Did it get used up? Some sort of marketting strategy?
In addition to that little issue, I was trying to find barley. Don't ask. It's in some recipe or other that Gabe wants to try. Either that or she's making stuffed animals. Not sure.
Well, that was also fun. Dictionaries can be sometimes rather entertaining, since quite often there's more than one term for a given word. I did manage to find the right word, after realising yesterday I was getting nowhere with the ladies at Billa, just down the street from our front door.
Um, had to revisit the dictionary on that one.
I'm sure they thought I was a bit of a nut job, but at least I had been in there often enough before so there was at least a hint of familiarlity.
I found it with no problem this morning in a completely different store. This is usually the case when I'm NOT looking for something. That's the moment to strike. Whether you think you need it or not, just buy it, 'cause you might never find it again.
I'm just saying.
Since I'm currently unplugged and trying out my new battery, I may head down to the cafe later this afternoon and post this. I'm much happier with what I see now, since I've been at this for maybe a half hour or so, and I see I still have three more hours of usage. Sure beats the 20 minutes or so that I was getting out of the old one.  (um....I didn't bother changing that part....just so you know)

Keep yer sticks on the ice.