Thursday, 13 Feb 1986

Dear Mom and Dad,

We got your letter today. We got lots of mail today. The weather has been interfering with mail delivery.

It has been in the upper 20's at night for the past few days. We are ignoring the 8 hour a day heating law. We ignore all the other Italian laws, so why freeze?

Angelique was out of school on Tuesday. They goofed in my opinion. They canceled school the night before, based on the weather forecast. It did snow a tiny bit on Monday night. The roads were wet but not frozen Tuesday morning.

It has been raining for days. Occasionally, it was mixed with snow. Today it is partly sunny with warmer temperatures. We were afraid it would snow.

Steven has not been to school in a week. Jeannie even took him to her voice class last week. He has been having a fever on and off up to 101, with a lot of coughing. I looked in his ears last night and was surprised that they were infected. I had looked just two days before and they looked perfectly normal. He went to the clinic this morning and got some medicine. He acted like he runs the clinic. He and Jeannie will be glad to get him back in school.

Jeannie and I had a bad cold for several days last week. I am over it.

Angelique seems to never get sick.

I finally legally own my car. Last month when I called the man who was supposed to have a power-of-attorney on it, he said he didn't have it, though he knew they were supposed to give it to him. It took us a couple of weeks to get the address in the States of the guy I bought it from. I wrote and was sent a power-of-attorney in my own name. When I went down to Motor Vehicles to put the car in my name they found the missing power-of-attorney in the file. So, I could have completed the paper work a month earlier if anyone could have remembered where the original power-of-attorney was.

Angelique was somewhat disappointed that she didn't win the art contest. We tried to warn her ahead of time that it would be hard to beat the second and third graders. She did get a certificate for participating, which we had framed along with the picture she painted. We went to a ceremony that announced the winners. There were Italian and British kids that competed, too.

Earlier this week we got a letter from Faye saying that John's mother was not expected to live through the day that she was writing. Of course we have no idea whether she is still living or not. I wanted to call John but decided against spending the money and taking the chance whether John was home. (And I really didn't know what to say.)

I preached this past Sunday. I preached three sermons from my computer program on Christian living. Vernon will be back this week. It will be nice to go back to preaching every three weeks instead of every other. I am amazed at how little the newer members know about the gospels. Studying Luke seems to be just what they need.

I am glad you got a new pump. Now maybe I can take a real shower at your house some day. It sure was expensive.

The phone company here just changed everyone's phone number one night and no one knew until it was done. The clinic is on the same exchange as we are now. We didn't even know the new number for the clinic until after it happened. Our home number is 509-1747. The clinic is 509-3844. Our area code stayed the same. The clinic now has the same area code as us.

Why are your paintings hanging at the country club?

In December we got a bill from VISA for a hotel bill in London in November. That has been a real mess to try to straighten up. Interestingly, it is from the same hotel we stayed in when Diane and Bill were in London. They are trying to cheat us I guess. When I wrote VISA and told them I didn't owe them anything, we got three notices from VISA saying that we were late paying our bill. Two of them said to call their toll free number immediately. I wrote them again and told them to call me since their toll free number was worthless for me over here. Needless to say, they didn't call. I don't know if it has been corrected yet or not.

When Jeannie and I went to the Vatican museums we hoped that some of the restoration of the Sistine Chapel would be visible, but it wasn't. We were a little disappointed. We saw a few pictures of it on the news the day they uncovered the restored section. We were just astounded at the difference. The contrast was very apparent to us since we were just there last month.

Angelique seems to be doing better in school. She is getting her work done at school the last few days, and hasn't had any homework.

Last Thursday, Jeannie rode the bus to school with Angelique and went to the circus with her class. Practically, the whole school went. Steven did not seem to mind that he had to stay at Pony Palace while they went to the circus. Since I didn't go and didn't complain, he accepted that not everyone got to go to the circus.

I didn't even send the Christmas newsletter to your community reporter. She got it from her parents. I wouldn't mind if she just quoted a few small parts from it. I wish she wouldn't reprint the whole thing. The people I wanted to tell everything in it, I sent a copy to.

We do not yet know for sure where we will be stationed or when we will leave. The way things are going with budget cuts and politics in Navy Medical Command, we will not be surprised if we don't leave here before Spring '87! I strongly suspect that I will get out of the Navy before the four year commitment, because it will save money for them to let me out early. We certainly will not complain about it if that happens. We do not want to stay in Italy past April this year. It appears impossible to get out of here before mid-July, if we are even permitted to leave then. All Navy doctors had their orders canceled last month and I haven't even gotten mine yet. Tell Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt to get us out of here.

I need to send Becky a birthday card. I hope I can remember. I will have to send it tomorrow in order for her to get it on time.

Steven will be in a four-year-old class again next year because he can't go to kindergarten yet. He went into the class at Pony Palace because Faye was teaching it.

Angelique has learned to jump rope this week. She spends hours practicing.

We do not think Mike Pace is related to Jeannie. Does he know Glen? Jeannie has a few Pace cousins that preach.

I am enclosing a copy of a newspaper article that quotes me. The reporter came to Pinetamare months ago. I was pleased but a little surprised that they didn't print all the ugly things I said about working here.

I am also enclosing a picture from the retreat in December.

I finally joined the Commodore Club here. I spent over 6 hours at their meeting the first Saturday this month copying programs and visiting with a few people I knew and lots who knew me. It was fun but distracting to be with so many others with Commodores. I took my computer and copied about two dozen new diskettes. My Bible programs are in the club library.

Someone in Germany wrote and asked my help in letting him convert the Bible programs to IBM format. He got a printout of the program from someone who had gone to the retreat.

The Arkansas Genealogy Society is trying to get me to write some articles on computers and genealogy.

I have written to the Library of Congress to get the forms I need so that I can copyright my Bible study programs. I decided even though I am not interested in making any money from it, I also don't want someone else making money from my work. What's your opinion?

I recently got a new Bible. It is a leather-bound New King James. I always said I would get one if they came out with cross references and a concordance in it. I spent several hours underlining everything in it that I had underlined in my old Bible for the past 13 years. I really like it. I ordered it from Harding. They even engraved my name on the front cover.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Jeannie and I are going out but don't have any idea to where. The kids love for us to go out and let them play with someone different.

The last week of this month I will be in Gaeta, about 50 miles north of here. Their doctor is going on leave for a month to the States. I am covering for him the first week. Actually, I will only be gone from home 6 nights. One of the nights in the middle of the week I may be able to come back for a visit.

Well, I have said enough. Steven is bugging me to hurry and get off the computer so he can play on it. When I get back to the States I am determined to buy a Commodore 128 and let the rest of the family have the 64.

Take care. Keep hoping that we will return as soon as possible. See you then.

Lots of love,

Michael, Jeannie,
Angelique, and Steven

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