Saturday morning, we woke up ready to view our third house, another Bookoo listing with no pictures included. This one was in Walluf, a community close to the Rhein. Once again, it was to be a tenant showing, by a guy who called himself Fatboy 55. We later discovered his name is Jim, and he’d lived in the humongous house near the Rhein for several years. He and his wife bought a house in southern Portugal and he’s going to go there to fix it up while she works in the States for awhile.
Jim’s house was in a rather congested neighborhood. Although the house had a double garage, it looked like parking could be a challenge there. We parked a couple of streets over, because it looked like we wouldn’t have been able to park near the house.
Another couple had just viewed the house and had to direct us to where to find the front door, since it was kind of confusing looking for it. This house was priced at 2600 euros. Like Big Al’s, it was a huge mess, since Jim and his wife plan to move out next month. Things were in disarray as they were sorting what to pack and what to keep.
Our tour got off to an interesting start as Jim showed us around the place. He said things like, “Here’s a room where you can just throw your shit.”, “We have the whole house wired for AFN” (which I really only like to watch for the crappy PSAs), and “This is the dining room, bla, bla, bla…” I have to admit, he kind of made me laugh. The house was huge, but he had it filled with stuff. In one room, I counted four sets of golf clubs. He also had lots of bikes, skis, and other stuff, some of which he mentioned might be for sale.
Then Jim asked Bill about our “kids”, which I suppose is a natural topic for some people. Some people don’t realize that the subject of children can be unintentionally uncomfortable. Jim happily told us about his son and daughter, who are now young adults and on their own.
I expect many of the travel blog readers don’t know that Bill has two daughters, but they have been extremely estranged from him since he divorced his first wife. I have only met them once and Bill last saw them in person about fourteen years ago. The whole sad story has been repeatedly chronicled in my main blog, so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice to say, it’s been very painful.
Last year, the younger daughter started emailing and Skyping with Bill, while the older one remains completely estranged. He still hasn’t seen her in person since Christmas 2004, but he has seen her on camera, and “met” her husband and their baby, Bill’s grandson, Levi. He’s loved getting to know his long lost daughter again and, so far, it’s been going well. Still, while Bill was easily answering the questions about his daughters, I couldn’t help but think it was kind of an awkward topic. But then, most people aren’t in extreme parental alienation situations like Bill has been. To be honest, it kind of put me off a little, although I realized that we weren’t going to be renting from Jim and he clearly meant no harm. Assuming someone has children is a little like assuming a woman is pregnant, though. It can lead to disaster. I’m glad I kept my mouth shut and let Bill handle it.
Anyway, Jim’s house had old carpeting and loud wallpaper, which was also a turnoff. It also had a whole lot of rooms on at least three levels, which I figured would be difficult to keep clean. Jim’s house had a fenced yard, which I liked, but it was surrounded by tall hedges, which he said he was maintaining. The hedges were taller than I am. I usually do the yard work when we’ve lived in places where it wasn’t included, so the hedges were a problem. One plus to Jim’s house, though, was the awesome gas stove and oven. Bill liked that a lot. Also, Jim showed us a room on the bottom level where he said he liked to sleep during the summer, since it stayed really cool. I could believe it.
Apparently, the neighborhood is great, as are the neighbors, although again… very congested. It’s very close to the Rhein River and there’s a cute little area for shopping. But it occurred to us that if we went for Jim’s house, we’d probably still need to meet the landlord before we’d be approved. That would mean another trip to Wiesbaden. So we left there feeling kind of dejected, although we did have a good time talking to Jim, who invited us to come to Portugal. Of course, I noticed he didn’t give us his address…
On the way out of Walluf, we stopped at a Rewe to try to buy a wine glass. The night before, Bill had a slight mishap with the glass he was using at GL Suites. He picked it up by the bowl instead of the stem and it slipped out of his hand and shattered. Rather than take a chance on a steep replacement charge, we went looking for a replacement. Rewe didn’t have any wine glasses, so we headed back to GL Suites and stopped at the Edeka wine store, which DID have single wine glasses available for purchase. We bought a glass and went back to the dogs, who were being very good.
While we were waiting for our last planned appointment at 2:00pm, I noticed a new ad on Bookoo. Actually, I had noticed it the day it was posted. It was for a single family house and there were pictures that made it look somewhat inviting, although the price was quite a bit higher than what Bill was hoping to pay (although secretly, I had a feeling we’d end up paying that much for what we wanted). I pointed it out to Bill, who reluctantly sent an email to the real estate agent who had posted the ad. She quickly wrote back that she couldn’t show the house on Saturday because she was completely booked with showings. She also wanted to know about Zane and Arran, so we sent a picture.
Then we went off to see a house Bill and I had both hoped we’d like. This house was posted on AHRN, and included a photo of the backyard. It wasn’t quite as magical as our current view, but the backyard was entirely fenced and backed up to a grassy field. The kitchen also looked promising, with all new appliances. The potential landlord, a guy named Carsten, had asked to see pictures of our dogs, since he had just replaced the floors. We sent him a picture of Zane and Arran and he said they weren’t too big.
Let me just say… I did like the neighborhood Carsten’s house was in. It was right next to a nature trail, which would have been great for the dogs. However, Carsten’s house is even weirder than the one we’re in right now.
First off, it’s a duplex. The neighbors are French, which probably would have been a great selling point. Carsten said they’re really nice and like to drink wine, as do we! They had a big French flag in their front yard and “Bienvenue” signs. I liked that already, although I don’t love duplexes.
Next, we walked inside to the ground floor. This was where two rooms were. There was a huge foyer and two smallish rooms on the bottom floor, along with a bathroom done in hideous 70s era tiles. Carsten agreed the tiles were very 70s. It brought back nightmare flashbacks of Armenian bathrooms circa 1995. On the plus side, the bathroom had a shower and tub and his and hers sinks.
One bedroom was near that one full bathroom, but it appeared to be too small for our furniture. There was another room next to it which could have served as an office or another bedroom, but again, it was too small. And yet there was a huge foyer. A spiral staircase led to the first floor, where there was a big great room opening to a balcony that overlooked the neighborhood. To the back was the access to the backyard. The kitchen was in an enclosed room and, I think, lacked a refrigerator. However, it did have new appliances, cupboards, and counters. There was a guest toilet half bathroom next to the kitchen.
On the second floor was another room with carpeting. Carsten’s father’s enormous train set was there. We were reminded of our first German landlord, who had a similarly impressive train set that he kept in the house. Carsten said he would move the train set. The second story room was somewhat charming. I could see using it as an office, although I imagine it gets hot in there in the summer. There was also a little nook that Carsten was turning into closet space. He said he’d grown up in that house, built in 1976. I believe it.
Bill and I wanted to love Carsten’s house because it did have a couple of rare things we were seeking and I absolutely loved the area where the house was located. It’s even near a train station that could get us to Frankfurt easily. Also, the price was right at just 1900 euros a month. But… one of my main complaints about our current house is that it’s really meant to be two apartments, and has a weird layout and a couple of tiny rooms with limited usefulness. And again, the rooms in Carsten’s house couldn’t accommodate our bedroom furniture. We liked Carsten, though, and he probably would have been a good landlord. We probably would have enjoyed having French neighbors, too… maybe.
We went back to GL Suites feeling kind of defeated. I think this is the first time in our marriage that we’ve done extensive house hunting. We have a tendency to settle for houses somewhat quickly. Bill was concerned because we only have a month left in our current house. I mean, we’re paying rent until December 31st, but we have to be in Wiesbaden by December 3rd. And our anniversary is coming up and we didn’t want to spend it house hunting, especially since Bill managed to get the dogs booked with Max. We still have to get this house cleaned up and our stuff sorted and it was beginning to look like we might spend Christmas in temporary lodging. And who wants to house hunt at Christmas time? I certainly don’t!
We were going to try to have dinner at a well regarded Mediterranean restaurant (which we later tried in July 2019), but when we got there, it was totally booked. I wasn’t feeling well anyway, so we picked up another pizza at the Pizzeria da Divya, along with some super spicy chicken samosas. Bill loved the samosas, but they were way too spicy for me. I was reminded of when I used to cook at a summer camp and one of my “dishwashers” was a hilarious British guy who complained that I’d made the spaghetti sauce too spicy for him. I normally don’t make really spicy food, but our boss liked a lot of spices, so I had added more to appease him, since he didn’t like onions or bell peppers and pretty much forbade me to cook with them. My dishwasher said, “Jenny, I’m ENGLISH. I can’t take anything hotter than Colman’s Mustard.” (which actually is pretty damned hot!). Anyway, I am also very English and Irish and I can’t take spicy food.
So there we were, eating pizza again… and Tanja, the real estate lady came back and said that we could see the other house at 2:00pm on Sunday. We needed to be out of GL Suites by 11:00am, so Bill asked if we could do an earlier showing. A couple of hours later, she offered us a showing at 11:30am. Perfect…
This is the inside of Divya’s pizzeria. It smelled great, although the pizza was your garden variety German style.
And the outside… I would have liked to have tried the restaurant a couple of doors down, but they were totally booked. We’ll have to visit them once we get established.
Zane made himself comfortable in the apartment.
And so did Arran. We bought him a new monkey toy at the Edeka drink market, not realizing that the monkey was “musical” and would shriek when his belly was squeezed. Zane had silenced the monkey within an hour of playing with it. I had to extract the voice box.