Well, the new neighbors have moved in upstairs. Here is what I know so far. They have a gorgeous cherry red refrigerator and they wear boots with heels. This will be different than having a two year old upstairs. I used to not have to set an alarm during the week because Hugo, the two year old, would be up and running every morning at 7AM. Hugo and his family moved to the Hague. That’s the interesting part about houses in Amsterdam, you take your appliances and closets with you when you move. I guess it makes sense if none of the distances are so very great.

This morning, I went into a frenzy of house cleaning because tomorrow we are taking Astrid up to Schagen to have coffee with Jo and Pieter. I need to drive about once a week to keep her battery fully charged so I guess I might get into the habit of being a weekend driver. This coming week I am going to Dublin but obviously not driving there. Astrid doesn’t have a submarine or flight mode, unfortunately! It would have been pretty cool if Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was more than just a concept car.

The boys are passed out. We went for a long walk in Beatrix Park and they had plenty of birds to chase. Their coats are full of sand since they went to the beach yesterday with Renée. I have to say, I think they lead a pretty good life here. I have to say a nap is sounding pretty good right about now. I am torn between the idea of a nap or having another cup of coffee.

My favorite laptop is having a small problem and will have to be picked up by UPS and taken to the warranty center. Well, not really a small problem, it doesn’t work when connected to the keyboard. I am not a rocket scientist but even so I thought it was pretty apparent that the keyboard unit would probably have to be replaced. Of course, when dealing with support desk people, you have to walk through the 12 steps of the trouble ticket system. And there’s no way that you can deviate from it. Anyway, they promise that most people will have their laptops back in six working days. We’ll see. It’s been my experience that almost everything here takes approximately two weeks so I find six days suspiciously optimistic! It stopped working while I was in Seattle so I suspect that Henry and George were busy using it while I was gone and their paws messed up the keyboard unit. I have this suspicion sometimes that the boys have a secret life of their own and when I go to work, the chaos starts.

Today in the park, we had an interesting encounter with a glamorous Amsterdam lady of a certain age, probably late sixties. Her dog ran away from her and the boys held his attention long enough for her to catch up. And then we had a long conversation about – of all things, neutering dogs. She found it to be an appalling habit and didn’t understand why it was such a big movement. It reminded me of the conversations that my mom and Hilde used to have on the street during the long summer nights. Hilde was VERY pro-neutering and my mom was not. As a matter of fact, when my mom told Hilde that she was going to move to Ecuador and Hilde should think about visiting it, Hilde’s first objection to the idea was that in Ecuador, they don’t neuter dogs! Based on that characteristic, Hilde felt that my mom should take Ecuador off the list of places to move to. It was a fun conversation and she was so frank, talking about how her dog kept trying to lick Henry’s butt. She was very matter of fact about it which cracked me up. And I could hear my mom saying something in a similar tone.

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