Wed Afternoon
8 Feb 1984

Dear Mom & Dad,

Glad you liked the video tape. We haven't started another one yet, but probably will soon. I had no idea Michael was sincerely taping when he started with the 1st one. I thought he was taping just to be practicing. Maybe next time we can do something a little more exciting.

I can't believe you got your house sold so quickly. I was afraid you would have great difficulty since the area had been re-zoned. Have you found a temporary dwelling place yet? I think $48,000 is a good price for that house considering where it is located. Too bad you couldn't just pack it up and move it.

So how are your house plans coming? When will they get started? Selling the papers on the Pangburn place sounds like a good idea to me. I'd like to see you build a really nice house. Having money readily available would help out a lot.

I'm not surprised, but a little disappointed, that you want to delay your trip over here till next year. I've been expecting to hear that. Building a house & getting settled will be taxing both financially and physically. Try not to knock yourselves out. It doesn't have to be finished in just a few months. Don't push yourselves too hard.

We enjoyed the Valentine cards. Angelique really likes the paper dolls. These are her 1st paper dolls.

Angelique's been a little bit under the weather lately with diarrhea and no appetite and little energy. She ate pretty well last night, though. Last Sunday she burned her right thumb on a friend's heater that she didn't see. It's finally looking better, but was sore and ugly for several days. I hope it doesn't scar.

I need to figure out something to do with Angelique's long, stringy hair. Michael wants it kept long with no bangs which really limits what we can do with it. It's so fine that barrettes and bands won't stay in very well, so it seems she always has some strands of hair falling into her face. Any suggestions?

Steven's hair needs cutting, but I just can't seem to find the time. Maybe next week.

This is the last week of my Italian course. I've really enjoyed it. Friday, the last day, we're all going for lunch together. In April I'll start going to Gateway II classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Michael will keep the kids. This course that I'm just finishing is called Gateway to Italian, I. So the next course will just be a continuation of this course.

We've got a 3-day weekend coming up soon. We think Michael will be off. We haven't made any plans yet until we find out for sure. I don't know what Michael has in mind. We hope he will be approved for a conference in Germany in July. (There will be 2 new doctors here then so Michael may have to hang around to help them.) If they will let him go, we'll take 2 extra weeks of vacation and tour Venice, Austria, Germany, Holland, and France, and then back down through Milan, Turin and maybe Monaco on the Riviera. It sounds exhausting to me but it should be fun.

We hope to get a babysitter for tomorrow night and go stand in line to see "Return of the Jedi" (Star Wars III). It's the 1st time it will be shown here in English, but it's the only night it will be showing that Michael won't be on call. So it's either tomorrow night or never. We may have to stand in line for quite a while since there is limited seating at the NATO theater. I dread that.

I mopped my floors all morning before class today so I'm taking it easy this afternoon. Angelique just told me I shouldn't be sitting here writing all afternoon -- that I should be up doing something like cleaning or fixing supper. (It's 4:00 PM.) She's decided that being a girl is going to be hard. They have to work all the time. Boys get to sit around and eat and read and write, etc. I guess I need to send her to work with her Daddy some day. I wonder how that would go over.

How's your weather now? Ours is rather mild -- 40's to 50's usually and very nice in the sunshine. We do get rain every 3 or 4 days it seems. Those days are miserably damp and cold even though the temperature is not low. The houses have very little insulation so the temperature inside tends to be the same as outside. I wish we could run our heat 24 hours a day but it is illegal.

I filled my car up with gas this morning. Two hours later I heard there is a truck strike going on for several days. All the gas stations are running out of gas. Fortunately, I got to our local station before he ran out of gas. He was totally out a few hours later. I hope Michael has a full tank. I don't know how long we'll have to go without gas.

Strikes are very common here and are usually announced ahead of time so one can plan around them. Everyone goes on strikes occasionally. They may be for a few hours each day or for several days or for indefinite periods of time. It's not unusual for us to get to freely drive through the toll booths because those workers are on strike. Nor is it unusual to find the main [and only] street into the base barricaded by burning tires from someone else's strike. Italians are rather rebellious by nature, I suppose.

Steven is now trying to help me write. Can't you tell by the last several lines?

Diane sent Angelique a size 5 red velvet Christmas dress for next year that she found on sale at my request. It's really pretty. I was rather perturbed at the Navy Exchange for not getting theirs on time for this past Christmas.

We've been here for over 9 months now. That's 1/4 of the time we'll be here. It sure has gone fast.

Wednesday Night

I'm finishing this letter by lamplight. Oops, the lights just came back on. They'll go back off, I'm sure. It started raining about 5:00 PM. When it rains, the electricity goes off & on and off & on and then finally goes off for several hours usually. The kids have gotten quite used to it and have learned to stop and wait until someone can get a flashlight or candle near them.

Angelique is sending a few papers. Steven prefers to do most of his work on the chalkboard you got for Angelique one year for Christmas. He likes to draw and erase, draw and erase.

I can't think of much else new. So I guess it's time to shut up. Keep me posted on house news -- and Brenda & Cheryl's pregnancies.



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