Sunday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and started loading up the car. Bill was sidelined for about twenty minutes because he misplaced his car keys. I had to laugh at that, because one Christmas, he got me “Tiles”, which are little things you can put on your stuff that make them easier to find when you misplace them. They beep when you clap your hands or something. However, I notice that I’m a lot less likely to misplace things than Bill is. I don’t think I’ve ever bothered putting the Tiles on my stuff because my stuff is always in my gargantuan sized purse. Bill, on the other hand, is constantly losing shit. Incidentally, I found the keys under a dish towel by the sink. Bill had put them there while he was washing the dishes.
I kind of shooed Bill to the car and he complained that we were going to be early for our 11:30 appointment. I told him I didn’t care and we could drive around the area if we were too early. Off we went to a town called Breckenheim, which is a borough of Wiesbaden. Sounds fancy, right? Well, it appeared to be kind of fancy, although it was very congested, just like most of the other towns we looked at. Even the ultra modern house was on a busy corner with a lot of traffic, although at least the street wasn’t packed with cars.
We found the little private drive where the house was located. It was crowded with parked cars. It appeared that there were a bunch of people at the little school on the road, so this might not be a constant condition of the street. On the other hand, it probably is always that crowded. It seems to be a familiar state in the areas near Wiesbaden.
We were about twenty minutes early, so Bill parked the car. We were just going to wait, but the prospective landlord spotted us and welcomed us to tour the house. We left the dogs in the car and they were very good, for once. They didn’t make a peep. I almost went to the landlords’ house, which is located next door. Ordinarily, having the landlords next door would be a huge red flag, but we were running out of time and options. Neither of us has any desire to go back up to Wiesbaden for more house hunting.
We walked inside and I noticed that the layout was very normal. The house was clean and has no carpeting or nightmarish tiles on the floors or walls. It has a really cute kitchen that is at least twice as big as the tiny one we’ve been enduring for four years. There is no dorm sized refrigerator in the kitchen that doubles for counter space. Instead, there’s a normal sized fridge with a small freezer. We already have a standing freezer and a small fridge, so that’s no problem. I’ll probably finally get my “fridge of sin” back for beer and wine.
There’s a living room with a charming fireplace. The bottom floor appears to be a mother-in-law apartment/hobby room. The house has a nice laundry room with a vent for my dryer. Most of the other places we saw would require condensation dryers, which I’ve heard are a real pain in the ass and take forever to get the job done.
The floors were just redone and look nice and, most importantly, the house can accommodate our furniture. There’s a dining room for my Eckbank Gruppe and the two bedrooms on the second floor have a shared balcony and sloped ceilings, but they’re big enough to take the king sized beds, or we can put one bed in the downstairs area, where there’s another shower, and use one of the bedrooms for office space. There’s also another room that has a balcony and can be used as an office. I noticed the house has curtain rods, so I can easily hang my drapes.
The bathroom has a rainfall shower and a tub… and most importantly to me, the toilet was recently replaced with a modern version that will probably be able to handle any toilet paper I throw at it.
The backyard is small, but it has a high, secure fence. Finally, we can sit outside with the dogs and not have to worry about them escaping. Also… there was no awning to be found or broken. Instead, it appears that the terrace has a roof. There’s a garage and small parking spot for my Mini and another parking spot right in front of the house. Tanja, the real estate lady showed up on time, just as we were finishing our walk through of the house.
When I asked the real estate lady about the landlords living next door, she immediately realized my angst. But she said they’re laid back… and I did notice that not only did they allow the previous tenant to put up a fence and remove some of the doors from downstairs, but the previous person lived there for seven years. That tells me he or she must have been relatively happy there. I don’t love the idea of living next to the landlords, but who knows? They might turn out to be people who can appreciate or at least tolerate my odd sense of humor and lack of cleaning related OCD. I did notice that the husband has a sense of humor, which is always a good thing. Like our very first German landlord, the owner of this house also worked at IBM in Böblingen at one time. He understood why Bill and I are being forced to move, because the same thing had happened to him.
Bill was fretting about the price of the house, which is by far more than we’ve ever paid for housing anywhere. It’s 3100 euros plus “other costs”. It comes out to over $4000 a month. But… Bill is going to get a small bump in his housing allowance, and we’re mostly debt free now. Bill heard a rumor that pretty soon, the company he works for will only offer the money for actual rent instead of a lump sum, which would defeat the purpose of finding a house that costs less than what he’s paid. And while I would have liked to have found something less expensive in a less busy neighborhood, Bill will get to enjoy a very short commute of less than ten minutes. That has never happened in our sixteen years of marriage. He’s always had to sit in traffic. Maybe he’ll save money on gas.
Speaking of traffic, there was slightly less of it as we made our way home. We did encounter one traffic accident, so we detoured through some cute towns near Pforzheim and Karlsruhe. I was thinking about how much I am going to miss BW. As pretty as Mainz and Wiesbaden are, I enjoy Baden-Württemberg’s country charm. I won’t be surprised if we wind up living here again at some point.
Anyway, after a few hours of hemming, hawing, adding and subtracting, Bill finally realized that we can afford the house. He didn’t need to tell me that, since I knew we could. He just didn’t want to spend so much, for which I really can’t blame him. He sent a note to Tanja, the real estate agent, who immediately got back to the owners. They said they’d love to have us, so now we have a home right next to theirs. Wish us luck.
The simple fact is, free standing houses are apparently in short supply in Wiesbaden. Most people are paying a lot for apartments and duplexes. I saw more than one apartment offered at over 3000 euros a month and plenty of duplexes were going for at least 2500 euros or more. The house we toured yesterday had almost everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted. Although I will definitely miss living in dog heaven and the beautiful views we’ve enjoyed in Unterjettingen, I think this house in Breckenheim will be alright. I don’t know how long we’ll live in Wiesbaden, but it’s good to know we’ve found a place to hang our hats. And a bonus is that the new house is within walking distance of a grocery store, bar, bus stop, and bakery. So if I get depressed, it’ll be easy to drown my sorrows.
But I will admit, I’m going to miss the best part of living in Unterjettingen, pictured below…
Sigh… I will truly miss this.
I will also add that in spite of all my bitching about this house in Unterjettingen, this process of looking for a new house in Germany has taught me that we were lucky to find our current place. Not only was it very reasonably priced, it also accommodated our bulky American furniture without too much trouble. Although we were also lucky during our first Germany tour, I am now realizing that finding German houses that work with American tastes can be difficult. And finding really affordable houses that also work with American furniture can be almost impossible. So thanks very much to our current landlords for that.
We should be getting the contract sometime today. If everything checks out, we’ll officially have our new home and will probably already be in residence as soon as a month from today.