shower curtains in Katmandu lock bathroom Cherries Jubilee

As regular readers know, Darius is now in Bellingham, Washington where he is a Professor at Western Washington University. Although the university provided a stipend to handle transportation of household goods, it turned out that using the funds to transport household goods would be, like Congress, a fiscal disappointment. Accordingly, Darius decided to acquire what was needed when he arrived. The first acquisition, of course, was a place to live. He moved in… and then:

“There is no shower curtain, Dad.”

“Of course not.”

“Can you believe that?”

“Ah.. yes.”

“Do I just nail something to the …”

“I’d use superglue — but only after cracking the shower ceramics”
naz in kapsteig no fu

“Dad. You’ve moved a lot. Has anything like this happened to you?”

“When we moved into Castle Kapsteig in Zurich, the apartment had neither light fixtures nor closets.”

Zurich, Switzerland

Our furniture was ‘en route’. Our ‘emergency, priority air shipment’ had spent two weeks in transit: enough time for the space shuttle to travel six million miles and, more to the point, enough time for a camel caravan to trek from Paris to Katmandu. (Our air shipment was being stored in Katmandu.) In short, we were living out of suitcases but, since the suitcases mostly contained Nazy’s clothes, we were living out of a lot of suitcases.

dan in Kapsteig no furniture..

Like most Swiss houses, the Kastle had neither light fixtures nor closets. We purchased (and I installed) several ceiling fixtures. We had tried to decide whether to $pend a lot for armoires that might become a treasured part of The Martin Family legacy or to simply part with a small bit of ¢hange for things we’d leave behind when we moved.
So: we didn’t have closets, we didn’t have light fixtures and we didn’t have furniture. We borrowed a twin bed from the temporary apartment (where we’d ‘lived’ for a year) and borrowed a card table and two chairs from a friend. An ancient TV rounded out our furniture. But, as Darius is discovering, furniture, closets and lights are just part of what is needed to live in the 21st century. Our shipment included pots, pans, towels, mops, flatware, dishes, kitchen appliances, a teapot and, of course, the cat’s scratching post. At this point, our apartment contained nothing.

End Flashback

“In fact, Dar, the landlady in Zurich locked the bathroom doors and hid the keys because she was mad about a clause HP had erased from the rental agreement.”

“What clause, Dad?”

why santa barbara

“Something written in German demanding that we return the apartment to the condition that it had been in when…”

“… that’s reasonable…”

“ .. when the people
before us rented it.”

“That’s crazy.”

“So was our landlady, Dar. By the way, do you have a key to your bathroom?”

In addition to finding an apartment, getting a car, renewing his drivers’ license, acquiring shower curtains, teaching his first classes and buying essentials like..

“… an iron and ironing board, Nazy?” I asked. Astonished. “
What is an iron and ironing board?” I thought.

In a couple of weeks, Darius will return to Lebanon to bring Christiane and Leandra to Washington State. There is excitement here in Santa Barbara.

Aside: Some have asked why we chose to live in Santa Barbara. If you’re wondering, please check out the weather forecast at the left.

I had an e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d birthday celebration during the week. As noted in the
last issue of The Weekly Letter, we began with a family gathering in Los Angeles. Things continued this week in Santa Barbara. On Tuesday, Nazy and I were treated to dinner by Melika and Tom (and Tiger and Arrow). Then, on Wednesday (my actual birthday), Nazy took me to San Ysidro Ranch for dinner.

The dinner venue is also home to the number 1 hotel in the world. Vivian Leigh and Lawerence Oliver celebrated their honeymoon here. (So did John F. Kennedy and Jackie.) We had a great dinner Halibut (me) and Salmon (Nazy) and we celebrated with
Cherries Jubilee.
cherries jubilee

We also had time to have a great breakfast at Hendry Beach. (We took a selfie) and spent some time with Tiger and Arrow.

Arrow had to miss ‘bring your baby brother to school’ day because he had a cold. Tiger wanted someone to come, so Nazy and I decided to drop in. I ended up explaining dinosaurs.

“It’s a Stegosaurus,” I asserted, proudly dredging information from neurons and synapses located in neurological backwaters — far from the central cortex.

“No Dan!” Tiger responded. “It’s a Spinosaurus.”

“I knew that,” I replied. “
Spinosaurus?” I thought.
Tiger and Dan with dino Oct 2017

Normally at this point I make some comment about an orange fool performing in an unreal reality show. Instead, I’ll use the space to comment on latest mass shooting in the USA. Astonishingly to me, the gun proliferation lobby, the very people so concerned that limits on guns will threaten our liberty are usually the same people who are so frightened by ‘outsiders’ (gasp!) that they are willing to give up liberty to be ‘safe’. These people can’t count: compare the number of people in the USA killed with guns to the number of people killed by terrorists. What do you think would happen if terrorists killed 11,000 people a year in the USA? I expect we’ll hear the standard responses from the 2nd amendment crowd: “We must respect the original intent of the founding fathers.” (Right:
ORIGINAL INTENT at a time when there was no standing army, so we needed citizens to have weapons. And, by the way, what was James Madison’s ‘original thought’ on cell phone privacy?]

Or, we’ll hear something like “Now, in a time of crisis, it is not the time to debate gun control.” {Wrong: Now is the exact right time.]

Or, “If you make guns illegal, only criminals will have guns.” {Illogical: If you make bank robbery illegal, only criminals will rob banks.]

Or, “Chicago has gun controls laws, but they have the most murders.” [Chicago is surrounded by areas without gun control laws. Why not compare
any other advanced country to the USA?]
nazy and Tiger school Oct 2017

Or, “It’s a mental health issue. We need to identify these dangerous people. [Is the USA the only place with mental health issues? Why not compare the USA murder rate with every other advanced country. And, by the way, didn’t the Republican Congress just repeal the rule that limited gun access to mentally ill people?]

Or, “Sportsmen — hunters need guns. [What kind of ‘sportsman’ needs a silenced semi-automatic weapon?]

If you haven’t lived overseas, you probably have little understanding of how the USA is perceived to be a violent and dangerous place.

The Republican Congress, of course, won’t do anything. They’re too busy with plans to increase the deficit. Luckily, I have a beautiful loving wife, wonderful children and glorious grandchildren.

For last week's letter, please click here

Dan and Nazy at Hendry Beach Birthday

nazy and dan selfie Sept birthday 2017

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