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Power has been restored once again and I'm enjoying the light given off by the laptop screen while Tim sleeps...  I had awoken a little over an hour ago and wandered out to the kitchen to get a drink of water.  I decided to take some trash out to the cans at the end of our soi and when I was walking back I watched as the electricity just seemed to drain away from the spot I was standing down to the far end of the road.  The first thing I did after getting back to the house was to shut off the laptop.  Since it was pitch black inside and I couldn't fall back asleep, I made a couple of phone calls.

My first call was to my sister but she wasn't home so next up was Dad.  As always, it was a joy talking to him and he's always excited to hear about my day-to-day adventures.  He had some exciting news of his own as he's just bought a new Porsche Boxster.  He also put in request for a full-length photo of Tim in her bathing suit; I'll try to get one taken today.  My next call was to my friend Bryan but he was still at work so we only talked briefly; while I was talking to him, the lights came back on so I was happy (it was getting kind of warm...).  As I write this, it's begun to rain again.

The past several days have seen us hanging out with our next door neighbors, Franz and Pen, quite a lot.  Franz is from The Netherlands and Pen comes from Hat Yai, in far southern Thailand near the border with Malaysia.  We often swap movies to watch and I've found out Franz has an extensive collection of CD's that should help to satisfy my appetite for Western music.  On Wednesday, the four of us took a ride over to Saphan Hin (south of Phuket Town) to attend the last day of the Phuket International Flower Show.  There were many plant bargains to be had so we made some purchases and returned later with Franz's SUV.  Tim made a funny comment without realizing it in telling me which plants I needed to put in the soil and which ones thrived on oxygen alone:  she said, "This flower eat land, this flower eat air."  We also found an excellent Thai-produced white wine (Khombang, from KB Mountain Winery) made from mangosteen.  Tim and I purchased a case of 20 330ml bottles for 600 baht (USD $15.86).

Yesterday, we all went swimming at a large pool east of the Phuket Zoo.  This was an Olympic-sized pool and Tim was used to swimming in hotel pools that were relatively shallow throughout.  She was fearful of the deep end at the beginning and I had her hold onto me while I swam from one side to the other.  I got her an innertube for her to use and towards the end of our four hours swimming, she was confident enough not to use it any more.  Tim had brought a waterproof soccer ball (we'd recently bought at Big C) and the four of us had a lot of fun throwing it around.  After we'd been there for 90 minutes or so, a great number of children from a local school arrived; they appeared to be between the ages of 5 and 7 enjoyed frolicking in the kiddie pool to the south of the big pool.  An hour later, they were dressing back into their school uniforms to return to class.  The large pool was also being used by a local diving school to instruct a few students; they were swimming laps and testing regulators when we left.  We're planning to go back again this morning (if the rain stops).

The only other news is that Tim and I will probably go to Bangkok next week so we can visit the U.S. Embassy and Thai Consular Affairs Department for our marriage affidavit and other forms.  I think we'll stay only a couple of days in the capital and then spend two or three days in Ayutthaya.  My plan is to find an inexpensive guesthouse there and then have Tim's daughter and granddaughter stay there with us.  That way, I can do some sightseeing (there's A LOT to see in that former Thai capitol) while they spend quality time together.  Upon returning to Phuket, we'll go to the Amphoe office in Phuket Town (now officially called Phuket City but I can't get myself to refer to it that way yet) so that we can have our legal marriage.  During our latest talks about our formal wedding ceremony, Tim said she thought we should have it here in Phuket rather than up north in Lamphun.  It would then make it easier for her friends to attend and her family could come down in a minibus (they would probably all end up staying with us!).  Her parents (and I think most of her siblings) have never seen the ocean so they would have a great time.  This would also make it easier on any friends or relatives of mine who might attend from overseas.

I've been very lax in uploading photos to my Webshots albums recently.  Most of my limited bandwidth has been consumed by downloading music over the past month or so.  This past week, I did manage to upload the photos I took the day I met Tim's daughter in Bang-Pa In back in mid-May.  And, now I'm working on the day we toured a few temples in Bangkok and took the water taxi down the Chao Phraya River.  Have patience...more photos are on the way!  (I also plan to try to put more photos here on the blog as well, perhaps one per entry but we'll see...)