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Ryan Yeh
Kevin Bau
Heidi Yeh
David Bau
Rachel Bau
Paul Bau

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  March 19, 2001 - Issue 67 - Philadelphia Edition
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Observation Day at Montessori

Gladwyne Montessori has tightened up its visitor's policy. One has to sign in at the main office and one has to sign out when one leaves the school. Grandpa Paul quickly went through this process in order to observe Anthony in his class with 15 students and three teachers.

Anthony was working a crafts project with one of the teachers and was very intent on what he was doing. Then the "clean up, clean up, it's time to put our work away" song began. Anthony and all of the students began to put their craft materials away. It was snack time.

Anthony sat with three other classmates to get his snack. Today it was 2 graham crackers, a scoop of apples, a handlful of pretzels, and a glass of water. Then Anthony saw his grandfather through the observation window by the door.

"That's my Grandpa!", exclaimed Anthony pointing toward the door and smiling and waving and pointing all at the same time. Then he claimed down and got back to his snack. When snack time was over, all of the student(except Atnhony) rushed to put their dirty dishes in the sink. Not Anthony. He sat there eating his snacks. He was the last one to get up and move his dishes over to the sink. He certainly takes his time and enjoys his afternoon snacks!

Zainy Brainy

The Zainy Brainy is a toy store located on Lancaster Avenue in the town of Windwood, Pa. Like FAO Swartz, they welcome young children and their parents in to view and explore the toys. Zainy Brainy also has a wonderful play area set up so that the kids can actually play with many of the toys, trains, dolls houses, etc. at their leisure.

Children are allowed to play for hours and they don't seemed to get rushed and they are under no pressure to buy anything. A very nice atmosphere. The afternoon that Auntie Marlene took Anthony, the play area was almost empty. Normally, there are lots of kid there and it get a bit hectic and a bit crowded. Anthony had a wonderful time playing with many toys and books for 1 1/2 hours. We ended up buying..zero. No problem. We'll be sure to patronize this store and do our part to keep them in business.

18" Snow Hits Weston

On Monday night,March 5th, a big Noreaster swept 18" of snow into the suburbs west of Boston. Further to the west and north, they were hit with up to 30" by the same storm. This reminded us of the old winters in Upstate New York back in the 70's.

By 4:00 AM something was wrong. The heat had gone off and it was getting chilly. Yup! The electricity was out of service. This is not unusual in our neighborhood which has lots of trees and overhead power lines. Tuesday, everything was closed because of the storm, so the Baus went to a movie in the afternoon and dinner out at the Olive Garden. Into bed early and under some doubled up blankets, made it a pretty comfortable sleep.

However, by Wednesday night, this cold house and no power were getting pretty unpleasant. Paul was so cold when he went to bed at 11 PM that his hands were shaking for the cold and even under a double blanket, it took almost an hour to warm up enough to sleep. Brrrrr! A telephone call to NStar(the new name for Boston Edison) assured us that we would be up shortly. Only 2 sections of Weston were without power... But Wednesday night came and went and still no electricity! Fortunately, we had running water, and the hot water in our hot water heater had kept hot for more that 2 days. What a luxury!

Late Thursday morning, the electric service was finally restored. Rachel was at her office. Paul turned on the dishwasher, put in a couple of loads of laundry, and headed for a long hot shower. The furnace was working had to restore the heat to the house and it was a beautiful day with a bright sushine and white snow everywhere.

Mucho Mas Barato

Another "Saving Money" article for all you penny wise readers. Paul and Rachel have been spending a lot of time reading and planning a two week vacation for Costa Rica and Ecuador. As Paul has been booking hotels via the internet, he has been "bargaining" for lower rates on the hotels. Normally, he gets 5%,10% and 15% discounts.. not much more. But 10% is 10%, or a penny's a penny as Paul's mother used to say.

Obwerving this on the e-mail correspondences, Kevin decided to try his hand. He's going to Costa Rica to study Spanish this summer between graduation from Columbia and starting his new job. The tuition for the 5 week class is about US$2000. He started his own e-mail campaign... "he's only a graduate student with no money and he is taking a longer than normal session". Surprise! The school granted him a 10% discount. That's a clean US$200 savings. Not bad!

1001 Filbert Street

That's the address of the Greyhoung/Peter Pan Bus Terminal in Philadelphia. It was a late Friday evening and Paul and David had planned to go to the station together to pick up Rachel who was coming down from Boston.

Sometimes one can make the trip by bus in 6 1/2 hours and usually within 7 hours. However, this was the beginning of a holiday weekend and it was raining hard and the traffic was bad up and down the East coast. Rachel's bus was going to be 1 1/2 hours late.

"Where are you going Grandpa?" asked little Anthony. It was now 9 PM in the evening. He had awaken at 6:30 pm from his afternoon npa so it was unlikely he'd go to bed for another hour or more.

"I want to go to the bus station to get Grandma.", insisted Anthony.

Mommy thought this would be alright. "If he gets sleepy, he'll just fall asleep in the car."

Well you can imagine how excited Grandma was to see Anthony in the back of the car at the bus station. She started going through her bag showing him all the stuff she had brought him from Boston. Boy, were they happy to see each other.

Help! Everything is Falling Apart!

Rachel was distressed as she called Paul who was in Philadelphia on his normal monthly visit. "Paul, everything is falling apart in the house. Let's sell the house and move."

"What's broken now?", asked Paul

"The mail box out front is broken and the computer mouse doesn't work, and the burgular/fire alarm's battery is low and more..."complained Rachel.

On the car ride back to Boston, Rachel outlined all the things that needed fixing. It was surely going to be a busy first couple of days back home.

The first day home, the battery was purchased and Paul installed it by himself. The battery was $33. The service call wouild have been $50, but that was avoided by the Handyman going to Wellesley Lower Falls to pick up the parts himself.

It was a beautiful and unusally warm day in February, so the Handman pulled out the extension cords, the drills and tools and rebuilt the mailbox posts... Costs? Zero!

Next the computer mouse. After an hour of no success, Paul went to CompUSA and purchased a new Microsoft Optical Mouse. Still no luck, so he turned to David who tried to walk him through some trouble shooting for two hours. Still no luck. Next he called his friend Carlos, who came over that evening. Still no luck. Well, 2 out of 3 in one day is not too bad.

The next day the Handyman went onto to sealing the grouting on the bathroom floor tiles that he had started a couple of weeks earlier. Boy, it's a good thing that the Handyman doesn't have to go to the office everyday!

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In other news
Computer Back-up
In the past couple of years, more and more of our communications is going across the internet. When on the road on business, Paul used to lug around a laptop computer and plugs and wire for all the different foreign countries he'd visit on a particular trip.

Well, on the last couple of vacations overseas, we've kept in touch without the extra luggage of our laptops. Instead, we used the internet cafes we've found in most cities outside the USA. For $5/hour, one can get a lof of communications accomplished.

Last week, our two computers a home went down and needed service. What now? Well, a trip to our publich library revealed that computers with access to the internet and printers are available for free. Imagine that. So, while we are servicing our own systems at home, we still have daily use of the internet. Amazing!

Best Sandwiches
in Metrowest are at Caraway's in Wayland, Ma on Route 20, just a block west of the town center. Paul stopped in for lunch after attending a meeting on senior citizen's long term care held at the Walyand Town Building.

The breads and bagels are baked fresh daily on the premises and the fixings are just like those found at the Deli's of Manhattan. Very simple food, but tasty and inexpensive. Yum, yu,. Give it a try.

Bon Voyage Kevin!
Have a great visit to Paris over Spring break! Kevin will be traveling with the Columbia University acapella group, the Clefhangers, to Paris. He'll depart on March 10th and come back in less than a week.

So far, acapella singing had brought Kevin on tours to the Baltic countries, Russia, Japan and now Paris. Then of course, he has made many tours up and down the Eastcoast to other schools. Do re me...

Every so often you find an eatery you can get really escited about and this is the case with the newly openned "Casamia Cafe and Bakery" in Natick, Massachusetts. The pastries and cakes are the most eye appealing deserts we seen in the entire Boston area and their tastes are light and very flavorful. Yup, you'd better try this one.

Just openned in early February at the site of the old Natick Country Club, that's on Speen Street about 1/2 mile heading south of Route 9 on the right. There are two Taiwanese pastry chefs. One was trained in Paris and the other was trained in Tokyo. An 8" cake will average about $25. This is not cheap, but it does really spice up a dinner party at home.

One can also have an eat in "lunch special" for only $5.95 which is composed of a cup of soup, 1/2 a sandwich and one french pastry. A perfect lunch at a modest cost. It's fun to go there and just admire the cakes and pastries. They are each a piece of art.