Siri touts Portuguese Volvo sharing cupcake in Washington DC & State

It’s been a lonely week. On Monday, Nazy departed on a 6:00AM flight — an itinerary that required us to leave the house at..

AM!” I explained to my incredulous wife.

“That’s impossible Dan!” She replied as she attempted to internalize the existence of a time as remote from her personal experience as the Jurassic Age is from mine.

“It’s, well, …”

“It’s impossible, Dan. I simply can’t stay up that late.”

Amazingly (she was flying United Airlines) her flight left on time and she easily made her connection in Los Angeles which also(!) left on time. I had upgraded her to first class, so her Washington (DC and State) excursion began on a bright note. Even better, our preparatory week, spent taking care of Tiger and Arrow while Melika and Tom were at Burning Man, resulted in several early morning wake-ups. Nazy had already shifted to East Coast Time.
Tiger at the park September 2017

Tiger is, of course, old enough to sleep in a ‘Big Boy Bed’. At our home, however, we were worried that he might wake up in the middle of the night and, disoriented, tumble down the stairs.

Note: When I say “
we were worried”, what I mean is “Nazy was worried.”

To alleviate the concern, I slept with Tiger in the guest bedroom. Since he sleeps with the restless energy of a jumping bean on a hot plate, I was sure he would wake me when he awoke. Wake-up occurred every morning at the same time. He announced it by getting out of bed and then using my Phone to ask Siri for the time. Each night, in the hopes of getting support from Apple technology, I changed Siri’s accent. I was rewarded on Monday morning.

“Hey Siri,” Tiger said, “What time is it?”

“It’s 6:01AM — much too early to be awake.” Siri replied.

“Hey Dan!” Tiger exclaimed. “Siri is a boy! He thinks it’s too early to be awake.”

“Siri is very smart, Tiger.”
Tiger and Arrow August 2017 at market

“Hey Siri,” Tiger responded. “What color are my eyes?”
“Here’s what I found on the web for ‘What colour are my eyes’?” Siri responded. (He was in South African English mode.)

“See, Dan. He’s not smart. The sun is up so it’s not too early.=.”

“It’s a Great Day for Up,” I Dr. Suessed.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Tiger the last week. I picked him up at school and suggested that we stop at
crushcakes on the way home. Naturally, he agreed. He was, in fact, excited.

“We can get two cupcakes, Dan!” He exclaimed.


“Chocolate for me and Vanilla for you, Dan. And we can share.”

In point of fact, his ‘sharing’ is not fully baked: He ate the frosting on each cupcake and left the cake for me.

And with all of the Tiger and Arrow photos, one of charming Leandra who is moving to the USA soon

smiling Leandra

Over the past couple of weeks, Nazy and I, aware that the car lease is expiring, have been looking at replacements. We have a long history with BMW. It began with our assignment in Switzerland.

Dubendorf, Switzerland

“But, Michiel,” I whined, “you said I had a car allowance. I choose a Porsche 911.”

“Our program is restricted to Audi, BMW and Mercedes,” Michiel, head of HR explained.

“Great! I’ll get a BMW Z4.”

Arrow at music (August 2017)

“Our program is restricted to four door cars, Dan. This is a car for business.”

“I’ll really mean business in a Z4. Okay, I’ll get a BMW 5 ..”

“Actually, Dan, we’ve just fired a lot of people. You’ll need to take one of the returned cars.”

“From someone who was fired? I don’t want that. I want a new..”

“You don’t understand, Dan. If you take one of these cars, you won’t have to pay anything.”

“Well, if you explain it that way — I’m in!” I replied, imperfectly parsing the phrase.

A couple of weeks later, while reviewing my pay slip, I discovered that
HP had deducted the ‘car allowance’.

“You said, Michiel, that the car would be free.”

“No. I said that you won’t have to pay anything. And you don’t. We pay it for you.”

“But you're paying it with
my money.”

“Like I said. You don’t have to do anything.”

End Swiss Flashback
Begin Santa Barbara Flashback 2014

Nazy and I were at the BMW dealership, looking at BMW 5s — four door, sensible models in BMW Blue. They looked…

“Just like the last four cars we’ve had, Dan.” Nazy remarked, artfully capturing our lack of enthusiasm. And then, she saw a red, two door,
BMW 428i.

“Look Dan!” She exclaimed. “If we get that, we won’t look like grandparents.”

“Yeah!” I replied, failing to note that we had just become grandparents.

End (all) Flashbacks

It’s not easy to fit two kids’ car seats into a two-door car that is (thankfully) coming off lease. Following tradition, we visited BMW. The 5 Series cars looked okay, but the selection was minimal and the deals were non-existent. Then, in the middle of the search, my college roommate, John, came into town for a visit. Unencumbered with grandchildren, following an exhaustive comparison of technical functionality, he bought a Volvo S90. We went to see the car and noticed that Volvo had deals galore: “Costco card = discount; Moving from BMW = discount; “Live in Santa Barbara = discount;” “Shoe size in single digits = discount;” “Feed a cat named ‘Monster’ = discount.”

Arrow with the remote Sept 2017

After borrowing an S90 for the weekend, we were hooked. (Well, I negotiated a little longer while I got a Costco card.) I’ve picked up the new car while Nazy is away. There is one disconcerting issue: Tiger won’t sit in it; he likes the red car.

Although Nazy is away, I’m still spending a lot of time with Arrow and Tiger. With each day, Arrow gets more sure of his footing. He’s walking and babbling. I take him to music class (where he sways to the rhythm) and I took him to the playground noting that while he didn't like the slide or the swing, he did like the toy steering wheels. (And he likes the white Volvo.) Arrow has also discovered the TV remote. I’m concerned because Tiger used the remote to make the TV dub all movies in Portuguese . (A Fish Called Wanda is funnier in English.) It took half an hour and a call to the cable company to fix that issue. I wonder if Arrow can top that.

And, I’m also learning about washing machines and dishwashers and (broken) ice-makers. It may be a couple more decades before I’m ready to tackle things like an oven.

On Monday, Nazy flies to Seattle. She’ll meet Darius at Dulles Airport in Washington and they’ll fly together to Washington State. It is the beginning of a new adventure for Darius and (soon) Christiane and Leandra. Young Leandra is now bubbly and smiling. We’re looking forward to having the family join us in the Pacific Time Zone, but we know that moving is a challenge.

P.S. I should write something about the orange
one, but he makes me sick to my stomach. On a much happier note, see Darius, Christiane and Leandra below'

For last week's issue, please click here

Christiane, Leandra, Darius, Leandra

Darius, Christiane, Leandra Sept 2017

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