Old friends and a tax holiday

August is a time of friends visiting Lobster Cover. Last night Ok and his family arrived from DC, on a college exploration trip. He hadn’t been here for more than a decade, we figured. In that decade he acquired a family. Old friends from the 70s, we had lost touch and then were reunited because we both worked in international public health, he at the World Bank and I at MSH.

Although he moved around in higher circles, we did have a shared an experience in Nigeria and then one in Washington, trying to get the Africa folks from WHO and the WorldBank to find common cause. I never knew what happened after that but learned last night that it did make a difference. We don’t always get to see the consequences of what we do. When the consequences are not good or lacking, not knowing is just as well; but when they were good, we do want to know, ha!

Now on to the more mundane parts of our existince; for the second time in 2 months Axel let his fingers do the walking trying to figure out what refrigerator to buy. The first we ordered on June 23 never showed up even though the money had been taken out of our account that very day. We cancelled, got our money back and started all over again.

Today and yesterday are tax free days (6.5 percent), an annual event in Massachusetts aimed at boosting the economy when people are, apparently, not buying enough.  It seemed a good idea to try again and save some money, especially since our existing refrigerator is still making death rattle noises.

We ended up buying the same refrigerator again, still back-ordered till late September, but for much less money. Sometimes bad things turn out to be good things. We also bought a range hood to replace the unsightly thing that is now disgracing our kitchen, because buying more got us even more discounts. Afterwards we toured SEARS, being reminded over loudspeakers that we should be buying more because everything is discounted. We fell for it and then ran into the other set of Faro’s grandparents, also with a filled shopping bag. The tax holiday works!

Onwards to AAA to get my international drivers permit for Italy. The stories we read on Trip Advisor about car renting in Italy were daunting so we are taking precautions – an international driver’s permit is one of those.  When we filled in the papers on Friday Axel discovered his US license had expired. He paid a heavy price for that: half of Friday – a gorgeous day in Lobster Cove – he spent driving to and from, and standing in line at, the Registry of Motor Vehicles – experiencing budget cuts first hand. We hope he gets it in time so I don’t have to do all the driving.  We also got a complimentary Italy guidebook and a map that includes Switzerland and France. “Can we go there?” Axel asked, but I think we will be busy enough in Italy, exploring the lake, eating spaghetti and drinking espressos.

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August 2012
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