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Greetings from Vienna, #35

August 18th, 2004


In this Issue:

Old Business

Hold Your Fire
When I sent out birthday greetings to Brian Donnell in the last issue, I should have used his new last name: "Dantes". I hope I may be forgiven for using the name I've known him by for the first twenty years of our friendship.

Some of you 'Mericans requested Tobias' weight and length in imperial units. Conveniently, the included calculator for Apple's OS X has a built-in conversion feature. According to it, Tobias weighed 0.0026 (short) tons, and was 0.00027 miles long at birth. We are told that these numbers will increase over time. If and when Tobias ever reaches one ton[1] and/or one mile, I'll be sure to send an update in a future newsletter. I hope that this has cleared up any questions that you might have had.


Greetings from Vienna
Part the Thirty-Fifth: Chronicles

At the moment, life seems to consist of rushing from place to place and task to task, so I must apologize once again for being behind schedule on the newsletter. However, as you will read in this issue, lots of unfinished tasks are on the verge of completion, so I hope to get back on schedule by the start of September. Wish us luck, and read on.

Caress of Steel
Birthdays this week: Carla Campbell and husband Scott Stanton, Michael Ogawa, Roswitha Firth (not online as far as I know, but I send happy birthday wishes anyway, and hope that one of you can pass them along), and last but by no means least—and the reason for the unusual title of this week's birthday greetings—my fencing master: Maestro John DeCesare. Many happy returns, one and all.

Power Windows
I've been doing quite a bit of driving recently. Certainly while Karin was in the hospital, I drove to see her every day, but even more so in these first weeks after Karin came home. Spending all this time in the car has reminded me of some more observations about driving in Austria which didn't make issue #31.

  1. There are cars in Austria for which one does not require a license to drive. While I don't know their official names, Karin's family call them "moped-autos" or "micro-cars". They are not allowed to go faster than 40 kilometers per hour (approximately 66,810 furlongs per fortnight[2]), which keeps them off of freeways. According to my brother-in-law, they exist to allow those with suspended/revoked licenses to get around town and the such, albeit rather more slowly than before. Those interested in see such a car should check out "" the site for a Dutch manufacturer of "micro-cars". At 7000+ Euros, these things are not cheap, though there are "mini-van" and "pickup" models that cost even more.
  2. Trucks, in the sense of the British "lorries" or American "semi's", have an astonishing number of labels. In the States, I'm merely used to seeing trucks with several license plates, each from a different state, and maybe the occasion four-colored diamonds indicating the class of chemicals being carried. In Austria, trucks are marked with indications on their load limit, chemical content, and some even have a sticker which indicate "low noise", which allows them to go through towns (at a reduced speed) after most people have gone to bed. Some trucks have self-conflicting stickers, like the one we saw which had both the "lower load limit than suggested my manufacturer" and the "higher load limit than suggested by manufacturer" stickers. Karin and I were very confused by this. Inquiring minds want to know.

Fly by Night
Well, I guess it's a good thing that Karin & I are used to staying up late, as we've had to make full use of those skills to keep up with Tobias. Those of you with infants are probably saying, "Just wait until the second month." Well, we feel that we're there already, since we are having to manage a move and finish the remodeling at the same time. I'll have more to say on both the move and the remodel later in this issue, so I'll concentrate on Tobias specific things for the moment.

I should first note that yesterday (Tuesday), our midwife visited us and weighed Tobias. At two weeks old, Tobias has gained 210 grams, and is now at 2.57 kilograms (0.405 stones[3]). According to all signs, he is doing very well. He's eating every three to four hours, and seems to prefer a mid-afternoon snack as well. Our schedule with Tobias reminds me of a t-shirt I got at the Newport Vintage Dance Week, which starts with "Eat, Dance, Dance, Eat, Change..." and ends with "Eat, Dance, Dance, Eat, Sleep (optional)."

I suppose that it will surprise at least some of you to know that I've not taken many pictures of Tobias in the last week. One logistical issue is that it's hard to get a good angle on him—especially his face—while we're holding him, which tends to be when he is the calmest (when awake, anyway). The other, more important reason is that I want to have the experience of being with Tobias first-hand, instead of missing that to get a picture for posterity. Anyway, all this leads to the one, lone picture of him for this week, though it's a mighty cute one:

And did you know that in Austria, disposable diapers are known generically as "pampers"? I wonder if Proctor & Gamble knows about this? Pampers® do take up some 90% of the shelf space in stores, so I guess P&G can't be that unhappy.

Moving Pictures
Well, we've managed to move the one piece of furniture that most of our moving headaches revolved around: Karin's baby grand piano. I wish that I could've gotten a picture of how it was done, but since I was holding up the middle of the piano during most of its journey down from the third (fourth if you're from the States) floor, there wasn't much of a chance to play shutter-bug[4eng]. The best I can offer is one of us loading the truck we borrowed:
And here are two views of the apartment without the piano:
apartment_no_piano_pano IMG_5022_apartment_mid-move

For the next couple of days, the piano is living under the roof of the open shed next to our new living room:
We go back to Vienna today (Wednesday) to finishing packing up the apartment and disassemble the furniture, so that we can finish moving on Thursday, because...

This is as of the mid-afternoon on Tuesday. We expect to finish it by the time you receive this newsletter, so I'll have a real completion picture of the floor for next week. You have to love glue-less laminate floors. Here is another angle of the living room, with one of the new ceiling lights installed:

While I was busy with Karin and Tobias, my father-in-law began the final work on the ceiling of the entry way/kitchen and bathroom:
Once that's done, we're ready for the tile setter, who is coming "Any Day Now". In the meantime, we'll continue to live out of our luggage at my in-laws. After the tiles come the fixtures, which will allow us to actually sleep in our new home without having to trudge across the front yard to use Grandma's bathroom (though not her feather bed).


So, that's the latest for now. I hope to report on the completion of the move by the next issue, as well as show pictures of some unpacking in the new place. Until then,


Bis Bald,



[1] "One ton": If Tobias ever does reach this weight, we'll have to start calling him "soup".

[2] "Furlongs per fortnight": A "furlong" is 660 feet or about 201 meters. A "fortnight" is two weeks.

[3] "Stones": A "stone" is 14 pounds, or about 6.35 kilograms.

[4] "Shutter-bug": An avid photographer.



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