In times now long past, the Phactors always traveled for the holidays because all of our relatives, and many old friends, lived in New York State. This involved running a gauntlet of potentially very bad winter weather from Cleveland to Buffalo NY, and this was a long drive even when the weather was good. As the family dispersed the frequency of our visits declined. Sometimes Mrs. Phactor's family would gather in their adopted state, North Carolina, but that was a long drive for us too. So now quite a few years have passed when the Phactors have been home-bodies for the holidays, but this year, something different happened. So the Phactors find themselves finishing up Christmas in a hurry, and in somewhat of a surprise to ourselves heading off to visit friends in Germany and Switzerland. This is the first time TPP has packed to travel bereft of Hawaiian shirts and shorts, so his normal packing strategy is just not going to work. At any rate it has been a long time since the Phactors began the new year in another country. The best news is that this involves no driving, and especially no driving in the vicinity of Lake Erie. But the dread has already begun; TPP likes going places, but hates travel. Stoic endurance is the practical state of mind.