31 März 2022

Spring in Switzerland is not much different than back in the US. The temperatures get gradually warmer. Then we get a stretch of really nice days where the temperature gets up into the high 60’s or low 70’s. WHAM! Then winter decides it does not want to let go, so we get a week with colder temperatures, and even a threat of snow.

Last week was the false spring. It was so nice that I went for close to a 90 mile bike ride from Zürich to Basel.

I have talked before about meeting people via TikTok, and once again TikTok came through. A gentleman contacted me about going for a ride; so I said yes. This same man tried to get me to ride with him a lot last year, but the weather was so bad, we were never able to connect. So anyway, last Friday, I walked Julie down to the train station with my bike in tow, and hopped on a train to the north side of Zürich to meet Martin and Uwe.

Honestly, I was very scared about going on the ride. Not for my physical safety or anything like that, but because I have seen what the real serious cyclists are like here, and I was afraid I would be badly out matched, and they would leave me in the dust, or else they would just get angry because I was slowing them down. Well thank goodness we were all very close to the same level of fitness. We started our ride with a nice cup of coffee. Rode for a couple of hours and had a nice lunch, and then finished a pretty good climb, with a 25 kilometer downhill stretch all the way to the Basel train station. 🙂 I have to admit as a cyclist I felt a little guilty. Normally a rider takes turns at the front of the group to set the pace and help fight the wind. Unfortunately, this was a much more complex route than the map above indicates. There were turns seemingly every couple of minutes. Only one of us had a GPS bike computer, so he wound up leading the group for the vast majority of the ride. Hopefully, we can ride again on a route that I know, so I can help more.

Another thing I did last week was get my eyes checked again. Back in the US an eye exam was annual thing. Party because I was able to work into my school contract, that the district would pay for the eye exam. Staring at computer screens all day I needed to ensure my eyes worked as well as they could!

Well, vision care is not part of the health insurance here, and I have been unable to find any kind of vision insurance; so it can be pretty darn expensive. Up until 2011 it was required that up to $150 be covered by insurance, but that was for FIVE years; so it was basically worthless. I knew my eyes had changed a lot over the last two years, but it was even more than I thought. I picked up my glasses yesterday, and it took a few hours for my eyes to really adjust, but it is so nice to be able to see again. I am not sure that waiting two years is a good idea for the future.


So we are coming up on three years living here. During this time we have voted at least 4 times, if not more. This includes primaries and general elections. There have been a couple of elections I got the ballot, but chose not to vote. I honestly do not feel right voting for the local things on the ballot. Since I do not live there, and do not pay my taxes, I do not think I should have a say, but I could have voted if I wanted.

Here is my beef now…. Wisconsin has a process that I have to get in annually and request absentee ballots. I can request them for the entire year, so it is not that big a deal to do this. The problem is timing. The first primary in Wisconsin is always in February; so basically this means I cannot ever vote in that election. Again, not that big a deal. In January, I requested absentee ballots online. The same as I have since 2020. The second week in March, I realized I had not seen the ballot for the April election, yet. I thought this was a little strange, because I have gotten every other ballot with more than enough time to return them. (Well except the time I messed up Julie’s by forgetting to sign it and I had to pay FedEx to get it there on time.)

Anyway, I log into the website to see what the status is, all to learn that the ballots had just been mailed about two days before I checked. This makes perfect sense if I had requested absentee, and was still living in Greenville. How anyone thought a ballot mailed the first week in March was going to get to here, get filled out, and then get back to Wisconsin by 5 April is beyond my comprehension. So I immediately emailed the town clerk, and asked her to email the ballots. She informs me that she is NOT able to do that because I did not ask them to be emailed. Unfortunately, I cannot ask for them to be emailed. According to the Wisconsin website, email is only available for active duty military personnel. I have tried contacting the state elections commission, but have not heard anything back.

I know the legislature in Wisconsin was doing what a lot of Republican legislatures are doing right now, writing laws to make it harder to vote absentee. I thought Governor Evers vetoed those, however. I do not understand what has changed since last year making it impossible for me to vote. Well not impossible, but airfare back to Appleton is one HELL of a poll tax. Any attorney in Wisconsin want to take up a case pro bono about why the state has taken away my ability to vote?

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