writer, warrior, whack-a-doodle

Eight Little Lessons

Eight Little Lessons

November 8, 2010
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 10 minutes

Living in Switzerland has been extremely educational for Mr. Wild Dingo and I.  Unfortunately, our education is not about French or German. It's not about skiing or alpine walking. It's not even about the diverse Swiss history. Our education is much more profound than all of that.

On Saturday, we started out with a laundry list of small errands to run with the car. You have to run the errands before you can do your hobbies because everything closes early around here. During a trip to the bike store, we got stuck in one of those "efficient" Swiss parking garages. There were exactly four parking spots and none of them available. We pulled all the way into the garage but there was no place to turn the car around. Since we were driving a boat, with a huge recycling container (which we just purchased for our grass clippings) in the back of it, I had to get out and spend 20 minutes navigating Mr. Wild Dingo. By the time we found parking and got to the bike store, it had just closed. A freaking bike store. Closed at noon. On a Saturday.

Lesson #1: Swiss efficiencies are not usually efficient.

Lately, I've been riding my cyclocross bike because my road bike is hooked up to the indoor trainer for cold days. I've been extra-whiny lately about the cold weather and complained to Mr. Wild Dingo how horrible it is to ride in this weather and how much I really need to join an expensive gym so I can go do some spin and yoga classes. Then I thought about it. I've always been self motivated. I'm a certified yoga instructor and I have three different bikes here with me.  What am I thinking that I need a gym so badly? I tell Mr. Wild Dingo, "I'm going to stop complaining." He's like, "That's like saying you're going to stop breathing."  So I hooked up my road bike to the indoor trainer to spite him. And then the weather got warm again to spite me.

So after our shopping failure on Saturday, we set out to ride our bikes in the warm weather. We were on the bike 20 minutes when I tell Mr. Wild Dingo that there's something wrong with my cleat, it's loose, can he check it. We pull over and he inspects my cleat. It's completely normal.  He tells me I'm nutty and we hop on again.  Again, I tell him that it doesn't feel right. "You're whiny," he tells me. Five seconds later this happened:

I'm pretty sure that's not right. My crank fell off.

Ha. I love when Mr. Wild Dingo patronizes me and within seconds I prove him wrong. Oh wait, my damn bike is broken and now our entire ride is shot to hell. Once again, spite pays me back.

Still jet lagged from his week in China, Mr. Wild Dingo thinks he can fix it.

Nope, the bottom bracket is completely sheared off. It must have broke in shipping. Creepy. I've ridden this bike 3 or 4 times now since it arrived, unknowingly that the crank was failing. I shiver at the thought of this happening on one of those twisty descents I was on while Mr. Wild Dingo was in China.  Luckily for me, this broke 20 minutes from the house on a relatively flat area.

Mr. Wild Dingo goes back home to get the car while I wait. Luckily I'm in a location that isn't such an eye sore:

Right next to Vufflens Chateau. I guess things could be worse.  Thirty minutes later, Mr. Wild Dingo shows up and we go home. It's too late to set out for another ride.

Lesson #2: Be sure your bike has at least 2 working cranks before setting out on a ride.

At the house I walk upstairs and discover we've been vandalised:

Let's see, there's a news paper, luggage tags, envelopes, bills, business cards and a used tea bag. Obviously, this vandal had diversity. Hm, who could have done such a thing?

There's the criminal. And not looking at all remorseful, innocent or affected. And yes, that's my yoga block, again. At this point, they're so destroyed that I don't try to hide them from her. But that trash was in a trash can not easily accessible. She managed to go get each piece of trash and bring it back to her bed for masticaticatory satisfaction.

Mr. Wild Dingo decides to interrogate the suspect.
"Pop, just 'cuz it's all on my bed doesn't mean I did this..."

Once again, he falls for her innocent claims. Sucker.
"Awe, geez, Mom. Is that all he's got for Juno's naughtiness?"

Lesson #3: Empty the trash. Of course this is a lesson that needs repeating with us.

We decide that it's too late for a ride and take the dogs out for their walk.

It's a pretty fall day and the leaves are spectacular.

We tried a new trail for Mr. Wild Dingo so he can get a taste of some of the other areas we explore while he's slaving away behind a desk all day.
"See what we do all day when you're in some boring building Pop?"

The sun sets and Mr. Wild Dingo is suddenly famished. Il doit manger, maintenant!

"Where the hell are we Mom?"
Typical Loki. Throw him the slightest curve ball and the crackery comes out. I love that he's well-behaved but you can pretty much see, he's on edge but containing himself the best he can. You just know he's ready to lose it.

"What should we have Princess? Crepes de chocolate, du frommage or jambon?"
"Are you kidding me with that question Doofus? All of them. Duh."

Mr. Wild Dingo and I saw the vendor was open and we had visions of our days in Paris when we pretty much ate breakfast, lunch and dinner on the streets because the food, specifically the crepes, were that good. We never got sick of eating crepes in Paris. Even I, a cheese-hater, would eat the cheese crepes because they were so light and smooth.

We were excited to discover a delicacy so close by. So were the dogs.

But it was not to be. One bite told us something might not be right. The second bite confirmed it.  Each bite tasted like they used cardboard instead of flour for the crepes. In fact, I'm pretty sure if the lighting conditions were just right, we could have found the Amazon logo imprinted on the outside of the crepe. Even the massive amount of cheese couldn't disguise the taste and texture of  cardboard.  Twenty-seven CHF for cardboard and cheese. We gave a few bites to the starving dogs  in front of us, threw the rest out, and headed home via the Grand Rue. It was 5:30 pm.

Lesson #4: Do not buy crepes that look like the Amazon logo could be imprinted on them.

On the way home we stopped at the local patisserie and chocolatier. Now here's somewhere you can't go wrong. Unless of course it's closing time. But it was 5:30 on a Saturday. It couldn't possibly be closing time, right? Wrong. I went in to sample the chocolate, as I'm still picking out chocolate prizes for the second place winners of Juno's mastication pool.  The tarts were put away so we walked out with 6 truffles for sampling. It was 5:35 PM. What kind of dessert place closes before dinner?

There is absolutely no nightlife in Switzerland. It's not like I want to party all night. I just want to be able to wander into a shop at 6 PM, and I don't know, maybe buy a tart or a knit cap then go to dinner.  But it's not possible here.

Lesson # 5: Spend all your day light time shopping if you don't want to starve or be naked.

Because there is nothing open on Sunday, we attended a festival in Echellans. We were expecting it to be an Arts and Crafts festival. You know the kind of festival where local or small artists who don't have the means to display their crafts through galleries or common retail chains display and sell their goods at festivals. What we walked into was something completely opposite. The festival included vendors selling cars, wash machines, common kitchen equipment, home goods and clothing. In other words: all the stuff you would find in a mall or a store! WTF? Why not just keep the stores open on Sunday, or at least, late on Saturday so people can, I don't know, shop? What exactly is so "festive" about goods you'd find in a common store or shopping mall?  The Swiss work so hard to protect their quality of life, closing down stores on Sundays, so people don't have to work, only so they can have festivals where people  such as parking attendants standing in the rain or sales reps standing around their booths are, um, working!  Let's see, what am I missing?

Shopping Malls have:

  1. Places to buy clothes
  2. Places to buy home goods
  3. Restaurants or food vendors
  4. A parking  lot or garage

The Sunday fete has:

  1. Vendors selling limited clothing
  2. Vendors selling limited home items
  3. Vendors selling food
  4. Crappy parking
  5. A band

A-ha! It's the band that makes it o.k. to sell food and items on Sunday. So why don't the shopping centers and car malls just hire a mariachi band on Sundays and call it a fete? At least they save a few bucks on hiring parking attendants since the parking lots are readily available and close by.

Lesson # 6: It's better to stay home on Sunday and clean the basement than walk for 20 minutes in the pouring rain to go to a fete selling items you can buy in a shopping mall with better parking.

On the way out I noted the amount of boots that the Swiss women wear here. I don't actually own any boots as I just never needed them.  So I asked Mr. Wild Dingo if he thought I would ever buy a pair of boots. "Well it costs money, so I don't see why not," he tells me.

Lesson # 7: Don't let Mr. Wild Dingo be so sassy. Buy an expensive pair of boots, never wear them and then give them away to charity in March.

Earlier in the week, I decided to give the Swiss another try at cutting my hair. I Googled some salons in Morges and came up with three that had good reviews. I took the plunge and chose one. I have to admit, I liked her a lot. Her eyes popped out of her head and mouth was gaped as she looked at my hair cut. Speaking very good English she asked, "What happened?"  For reals. She pointed out one side of my head was overly thinned out with texturing shears while the other sideof my head was very thick. I thought back to the first stylist who cut my hair and remembered how I felt like Monica in that episode of Friends where Monica asked Phoebe to cut her hair like Demi Moore but Phoebe thinks she said Dudley Moore. Ya, like Monica, I had cringed when that first stylist chopped off big chunks of my long locks.

This stylist was conservative. She wouldn't cut any more other than the longest layer because it will take three months for the overly thinned-out layers to grow out. I had her take off about six inches of length to keep it from looking like a grown-out mullet.  Now the style is still stuck in the 1980's but at least it looks a bit like Crystal Carrington.  Things are looking up.

Lesson #8: It's better to look like Crystal Carrington than a White Snake band groupie.

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13 comments on “Eight Little Lessons”

  1. Mom has a few comments, so I'll give her a chance... 1) Ouch on the crank!!! And yeah, definitely be happy that happened when you were with someone else (even if that someone else needs a bit of an attitude adjustment! :-D) and NOT descending at 50mph (or pulling a big gear uphill, for that matter - while that might have been less cataclysmic, it still would have sucked). 2) We have the same wheel set. Well, at least one of the same wheel sets - because you can't just have one... 😉 3) Who won the Mastication Pool?

    Happy (and mechanically sound!) riding; we've got snow coming in (again, and this time to stay), so the bikes are hung up and the trainer is out... Blah...

    -Dr. Liz (Fiona and Abby's Mom)

  2. Oh, I'm laughing with you, not at you, I swear! Hubby was drooling over your bike, even though it is broken. That's one spiffy paint job, too!

    Perhaps there's some secret to Swiss culture that you're missing, like hidden shopping areas and nightlife! Suddenly, the lure of Swiss chocolate is losing its charm!

  3. Fur some reason Mom is reminded of the definition of term insanity -

    PeeEssWoo: Plus she whispered something Mr Wild Dingo and sainthood 😉

  4. Ok, so I swear I shall be feeling properly sorry for the unprecedented amount of hardship you are currently experiencing; I will, I will...as soon as I wipe those tears of laughter, err empathy, I mean empathy, off my face!
    Can't wait for a post tackling Swiss humor one of these days.

    Thoroughly inspired by Juno's great endeavours, the Bougalou Bear has embarked on some redecorating of his own today. I blame his blog reading...

    Looks like the Dingo DID eat your bike!

  5. What a freaky weekend. Gosh, the bicycle alone would have made me run for the cave and not come back out. Then those fake crepes? Maybe they save the good ones for the real swiss. Now the outdoor shopping mall, that's not too bad. Heck, I hear they all used to be like that.

    What really disturbs me is that haunted yoga block that keeps following Miss Juno around. Now that is upsetting.


  6. Nightlife in Switzerland--I seem to recall some really fun dance tents in Geneva. It seemed every night there was live music and beer in some temporary venue. Maybe they move the locations around to throw off the tourists.

    I wonder if it will take the Wild Dingo family as long to learn to empty the trash as it took me to learn to empty treats out of my pockets? For nearly a decade, I didn't have pockets in my of my jackets. Remnants of pockets? Yes. But pockets, no.

  7. That's just wrong. Dry, cardboardy crepes oughtta be against the law.

    It's just as big a violation as saying you don't like cheese. 😉

    Even though the night life is nonexistant and the food is stale, I'm still finding it hard to feel bad for you.

  8. Just when we thought we had the Momster convinced to take us to Switzerland, you have to go and make a post like this - BOL - just kidding. We laughed all the way through.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  9. Switzerland: Back to the Past. Mrs Wild Dingo is obviously too young to remember when most American towns kept to the same "roll up the sidewalks at 6 p.m. on Friday" schedule, but they did. Blue Laws, probably repealed before Mrs. Wild Dingo was born, meant NOTHING but churches & hospitals could legally open on Sundays. No gas, no dining out, certainly no shopping. One of the places mama lived didn't even have movie theatres opened on Sundays. Mama also lived in Brussells in the mid-50's, and it was exactly the same as Switzerland apparently is now. It's that Calvinist streak in the Swiss. It was habit with the Belgians; don't know whether they've changed.

    We were scanning the mastication debris for signs of shoes, but didn't see any, so we assume Mrs. Wild Dingo did at least lock up [way high] the shoes that are still in play for the virtual Mastication Pool. That's ok, Juno, we bet on a later date, so pace yourself, keep up with the good conditioning program you're obviously on, and take your time to really plan your assault for the day we chose in the Pool. We can't eat chocolate, but our mama loves it and when she's happy, all kinds of good things happen for us, too.

    Jed & Abby

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