R.I.P. Dr. John Hogan

Ann and John Hogan
Ann and John Hogan

This past week our family suffered a loss.  My wife’s Uncle John Hogan passed away unexpectedly, while recovering from surgery.  He himself was a doctor, a sailor, a pilot, a pillar of the community, and a good man.  He will be dearly missed by all who knew him, and I feel honored to even have been in his company.  For those who were at our wedding, it was John and Ann who recommended the excellent venue, the University and Whist Club of Wilmington.

The Move: After

And now for the new house.


That’s the front door with a stack of wood on the left.  Yes, we have a fireplace.  I’m not that much into wood fires, because they tend to add too many particulates into the air, but Christine likes a good fire.   I figure we’ll have one or two per season, but we’ll see.




Here’s Christine i the dining room (it’s one large great room).  It’s nice and sunny.  We’re a bit close in to our neighbors, but as it happens, they all have kids the same age as ours, so we’ll view this as a good thing.

We have a small yard with two gardens.  We’ll probably reduce that down to one.  Yes, I’ve had to mow the lawn already.


Yes, we were motivated to unpack the wine.  We were a bit crazy and actually had a holiday booked before we found this house.  So the order of execution was:

  1. Pack nearly everything
  2. Go on holiday for two weeks
  3. Return on a Sunday morning
  4. Finish packing
  5. Close on the house on Monday
  6. Move on Tuesday & Wednesday
  7. Drink on Thursday



Amidst everything we have a sauna in the new place.  As it turns out, neither Christine or I like saunas, and so we have to decide what to do with this.  Suggestions welcome.

Oddly it’s in the utility room, but you really don’t notice that factoid from inside.  It does explain why the utility room has a shower.

One other little feature of this house that we DO like is that it has geothermal heating.  A pump takes water down and up a large pipe that was drilled deep into the ground.  No oil, and electricity and the fireplace as a backup.  That’s pretty cool.

And so there you have it.  For now…

The Move: Before

Many people have asked about how our move went.  We now have some before and after pictures, with just a bit of commentary.

This is our old “Wintergarten”, with sattelite dish disassembled.   While this was a nice sunny room, the windows were quite high and it was quite hot in the summer.



Boxes, boxes, and more boxes.  We had about 120 boxes by the time we were said and done.  Boxes were something that came free in the last move, but here in Switzerland nothing comes for free.  We ended up spending almost CHF 700 on just boxes.  In general, the cost and effort for the move for 1km is not all that different than a 10,000km move.



And a final view of everything before the movers arrive.  After the move, this place had to be cleaned.  Goodbye Weberweg.

Win! Dealer supports customer! This must not be America

It’s not- it’s Switzerland.

So here’s a story for my friend Tom who hates BMW America. I was beginning to feel the same way about our national sales organization here in Switzerland. We had been hearing what to me sounds like valves banging around, practically since the day we got the car, but it was intermittent. Well, 4 years and 22,000 miles later (after the warranty is supposed to have expired), we were able to reproduce it. And guess what? It was valves banging around.

Initially, BMW Switzerland said they’d cover parts and 1/2 labor. But our guy at the local garage argued back at them on our behalf and got them to eat the whole valve job.


Our Supposed Healthcare System

Let’s do a brief comparison of the U.S. to the civilized world, when it comes to healthcare insurance and what actually happens when a child is born.  In Switzerland, when a child is born, both the mother and the child may stay up to five days in the hospital.  For even the slightest complication that time gets extended for both.

In the U.S., an insured mother and her child are entitled two days.  If there is a problem with one, as was the case with my new niece (she was jaundiced and required an extra day), she is separated from the mother, who in this case herself spent the night in the hospital lobby so that she could nurse her newborn daughter, three days after having given birth.

Which would you want for your wife, sister, or daughter?  U.S. or civilized?  If you answered “civilized”, then you get to answer another question: who are the people who should supervise our profit-oriented health insurance industry, and where are they?  I personally would like to know.  By the way, here in Switzerland my family and I pay less than most Americans our ages for healthcare, and we’ve not been turned down for anything we needed (in fact we’ve never even had an argument about it).  Now- does that change your answer?