Saturday, April 18, 2009

Case of the Missing Glasses

On our last day in Novokuznetsk, I lost my eyeglasses (not shades, real glasses) somewhere between the baby house and the hotel. After looking thru everything about 10 times I finally accepted they were simply not there. I figured they could be somewhere in the van (taxi) we had been using and will check first thing when it came to take us to the airport in the morning. The temperature had been hovering 1 degree and 4 degrees Celsius, and the roads and streets were messy and slushy, and... our van got stuck somewhere so he had to get us a different vehicle. So much for my last hope. I told Natasha, our coordinator, gave her the case and a $20 bill, and she said she'd let me know as soon as she found it. It's even hard for our agency here in the states to get information from Siberia, so I wasn't very hopeful of that, but she promised she'd mail it.

After waiting about 2 weeks, I decided to make an appointment right after Easter to get new glasses. We had gone home (to Baker) for the Easter holidays, and when we got back, there was a box for me from someone named M. Goldstein from Boca Raton, Florida. Very curiously, I opened it and .... you guessed it, it was the case, my glasses AND the $20 inside, along with a letter.
Michelle Goldstein was there right after us, same baby house to meet a little girl. Natasha told her about the glasses and the unreliable Russian mail system, and she offered to take them home and UPS them from Florida. And now we are in contact, keeping each other updated on our adoptions!

An interesting aside: my parents were in Florida at the time she mailed them, in Fort Lauderdale, which is 1/2 hour south from Boca Raton.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Eggs for all and Flooding for some...

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter with friends and family. Some of the projects at work demand 102% of all my not-working time and I shamefully admit, the blog is taking a hit from this. Surely, goodness and mercy will follow and allow me time to post the promised posts. I'm not trying to get out of this, I assure you. I get your emails and hear the comments about no 'promised' posts. Surely, this must be something all bloggers face from time to time... no time to post. Some of the projects are now in their completion phase and some time will be freed up for blogging again.
Jen and I had the privilege of going to Canada during the Easter Feiertogen (Holidays); business and leisure being the purpose. Around our area in southeastern Minnesota farmers were in the fields when we returned from our trip. Around Grand Forks, ND people are probably out at their local Alumacraft Dealer looking to purchase a boat to get around their area of the countryside. Take a look:

Passing semi along the interstate.

Approaching the border with Canada. The crossing at Emerson, North Dakota. They had water totally surrounding the place and hadn't it been for sandbags along one side, they would have been flooded.

The Duty Free Shop at Emerson upon entry back into the USA side of the Canada/USA border. Along this stretch of interstate the water was lapping at the edge of the highway in places actually running over the interstate.

Driving back onto the interstate after filling gas and hitting McDonalds for lunch, this pic shows the road disappearing off into the vast expense of flooded plains.

Back on the open road doing 81mph (or was it 75mph) one wrong move would have sent you skimming along the water's surface before the doorhandles of the minivan would have been the flood level indicator. I admit it is a bit freaky to be surrounded by water on all sides like this and your hurling along at such speed that your chance of avoiding getting your underwear wet during any unexpected exiting of the freeway is next to nil.

Here the water is running across the interstate already so they have one lane blocked off. They said the Flood of 1997 was the flood of the century, but this year, 2009 definitely has a chance to beat that record.

Flooded plains as far as the eye can see.