“Be welcome here…”

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Tomorrow, Bill and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Normally, we travel for our anniversary. This year, we can’t go anywhere, thanks to COVID-19. I decided to buy a few new attachments for the air fryer I purchased at the beginning of the pandemic. We don’t use it very often, in part, because the noise from it seems to bother Arran somewhat. But we have discovered that we can use it in the laundry room and Arran doesn’t mind.

Last night, Bill made air fryer brownies that turned out great. This morning, we had a sausage, egg, spinach, sun dried tomato and cheese casserole made in the air fryer. Noyzi is getting braver and now hovers near me at mealtimes, hoping I’ll share with him. I don’t mind doing that because he’s so polite, and it does help him be less fearful.

After breakfast and starting another load of laundry, Bill and I put leashes on Arran and Noyzi and started on our walk. The sun is shining and the temperature is mild. It’s the perfect day to enjoy fall weather. As we were heading down the “Weg” to the main drag, a tall, slim, older German woman approached. She was wearing black slacks, a purple blouse, and a big black sweater. I noticed she also wore black gloves. Bill and I had just been talking about how Germans seem to bundle up a lot more than we do, even when the weather is nice.

I noticed the woman’s face as she looked at Noyzi, who is a very handsome and striking specimen. Noyzi was shying away from her noticeably. He was nervous enough that he dropped a single nugget of poop, but then he calmed down while Arran hung nearby, eager to keep walking. I fought the urge to pick up the poop as the German woman started talking to Bill. She quickly ascertained that we weren’t German when Bill opened his mouth to speak. She switched to careful, halting English, asking if we were the “new Americans”. It so happened that we were standing right next to a house that reportedly contains Americans. I guess native Breckenheimers talk about who’s who, and who’s new.

Bill explained that no, we weren’t “new” here. We moved to Breckenheim in late November 2018, and we live at the top of the hill. The woman wore no makeup. Her straight, silver hair was pulled into a ponytail. I don’t know how old she is. She appeared to be older than we are by some years, but she was very fit looking. In her hand, she held a bundle of some type of herb– perhaps thyme. I’m not sure, because I stood farther away from her than Bill did.

The woman didn’t wear a face mask. Neither did we. It’s probably a good thing, as she was very soft-spoken and I’m not sure we would have been as able to hear and understand her. She was very intent on sharing a message with us. She told Bill that today is a special worldwide holiday. She didn’t know how to say it in English. Bill thought maybe she meant it was like Remembrance Day, but having looked up holidays for November 15th, I don’t think so. I have no idea what she was talking about. She said it was a worldwide holiday, but is especially recognized in Europe. It was the first I’d heard of it after living here for several years.

Edited to add: My German friend Susanne tells me that today is Volkstrauertag (people’s day of mourning), and the lady was probably on her way to the cemetery or church, both of which we have in our area. I kept thinking maybe she was referring to Advent, but it’s a bit early for that. Volkstrauertag happens two weeks before Advent starts, and it commemorates members of the armed forces of all nations and civilians who died in armed conflicts, to include victims of violent oppression..

Regardless, of what the actual holiday is today (now I know– Volkstrauertag), she seemed very keen to talk to us about world peace. She spoke about how there’s no such thing as an enemy. We’re all people and we all deserve peace. Bill told her that he’d been to Iraq. I heard her say, “And you survived.”

She went on some more about having regard for our fellow man, avoiding war, and remembering those who died at war. And then, as she started to walk away, she said “Be welcome here.”

Bill turned to me and I could see the tears in his eyes. He was clearly moved. He said, “Well… that was a message.”

It’s not the first time we’ve run into someone who has imparted a message to us in an unusual way. Five years ago, I was stunned into peace and calm by a Buddhist monk we happened to run into at an Italian restaurant near Munich. It turned out he was a famous Japanese peace crusader named Toyoshige Sekiguchi. He was traveling the world, promoting peace and nuclear disarmament. I didn’t even speak to him, and yet he had a profound effect on me just by being who he is and being in my presence.

We lost Bill’s father a week ago and, naturally, Bill wasn’t able to attend his dad’s funeral on Friday. He was emotional about that last night. We spent some time talking and I was doing what I could to assuage his guilt and soothe his grief. He was still pensive and a little moody this morning. Perhaps that’s why got our special message as we walked the dog.

Bill is normally a very approachable person, but he was especially open-hearted today, which may have been why that woman felt the need to speak to us. Or maybe she stops everyone to talk about peace and loving everyone. It was a good message, though, and seemed kind of appropriate under the circumstances. Maybe she wanted to tell us her message because we represent Americans and most Americans around here are with the military. She might have thought Bill was a war monger, although he’s definitely not your stereotypical military man. In fact, I’d say Bill is not even like the typical guy. He’s unusually in touch with his feelings about most things. Maybe she figured we support Trump, though we definitely don’t.

I think a lot of people, with good reason, think that everyone in or affiliated with the military is a war monger. Most servicemembers I know want war less than anyone does. And anyone who knows Bill knows that he’s a gentle, caring, considerate, and kind man. I, on the other hand, graduate of social work and public health master’s programs and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, tend to be a bit feisty. Go figure that!

Anyway, we had a good walk. Noyzi has really come to love the daily walks. He still won’t let Bill put his leash on him, but he will let Bill walk him. And today, since I came along, I got a special treat in the form of butts. As I was putting on my shoes, Noyzi came up behind me and stuck his big nose right in my ass, as if he was greeting a new canine friend. Then, he came around as I was tying my laces, stuck his butt in my face, and backed up, swinging it side to side as if he wanted to use my nose to scratch his behind. He didn’t actually reach my nose, thank goodness, but he did seem to offer me his butt for sniffing. I guess he’s getting more comfortable here. I may have to teach him not to goose me in the ass when I’m tying my shoes, though.

A couple of nights ago, we ordered Greek takeout from Akropolis Restaurant in nearby Delkenheim. Bill wasn’t feeling like cooking, probably because he’d lost his dad and couldn’t go to the funeral. I was tickled because they sent him away with a small bottle of ouzo! I’ve had better gyros, but the rest of the food was pretty good. We had plenty leftover for lunch yesterday, too.

I wore my favorite dog walking shirt today. On the back, it says in German “Life is too short to drink shitty beer.” I was kind of glad it was covered up with a sweater today, after talking to that very deep and spiritual lady.

SeaDream Yacht Club forced to return to Barbados due to COVID-19…

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Some people are bound and determined to try to keep living life the usual, pre-COVID-19 way. As much as I would like to do that myself, I know, as someone who has an advanced degree in public health, as well as someone with plain old common sense, that it’s not a good idea. Cruising, right now, seems especially ill-advised, even as it remains a tempting diversion.

Bill and I enjoy cruises. We particularly like to sail on small vessels with all inclusive terms. So far, we’ve sailed on Royal Caribbean (one four night cruise), Hebridean Island Cruises (five cruises), and SeaDream Yacht Club (three cruises). Hebridean and SeaDream are both considered by many people to be “luxury” cruises, mainly because they offer a high standard of service and are all inclusive.

Until recently, I’d been wanting to sail on SeaDream again. Our last cruise with them was in May 2013. Over the course of an unforgettable week, we traveled from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Athens (Piraeus). It had been our habit to pre-book cruises on SeaDream. We’d pay $2500 for an “open booking” while still oboard, which would allow us to choose one at a later date that fit our schedule and logistics. But in 2013, Bill was staring down his retirement from the Army, and we weren’t sure what the future held in terms of his employment. We didn’t pre-book another cruise on our last voyage and, so far, things haven’t lined up for us to cruise on SeaDream again, although we are more able to afford it now than we ever have been.

Even though it’s been over seven years since our last magical SeaDream cruise, I’ve continued to follow them on Cruise Critic’s message boards. SeaDream has been in the news lately because it’s resumed cruises in the Caribbean. It recently had a three week transatlantic crossing for SeaDream I, which began in Oslo, Norway and arrived in Barbados. The resumption of cruising was met with many cheers. Indeed, right now, there are several representatives of the press and travel bloggers aboard the ship, including a representative from Cruise Critic. Everyone was hoping they could make cruising during a pandemic successful so that people might start having some fun again and people whose livelihoods come from cruising could get back to work.

One blogger in particular, Gene Sloan of “The Points Guy”, has been covering the voyage extensively and posting pictures on Twitter. A few days ago, he posted photos of staff members not wearing face masks. That led to a lot of angry comments from people who saw the post. But, Sloan reiterated, that before anyone was allowed to embark the ship, everyone had to have two negative COVID-19 tests– one prior to flying to the island and one by the ship’s doctor prior to embarking on the ship. Everyone in the group that has been cruising recently tested negative– and there are only 53 passengers onboard, as opposed to the 112 that SeaDream vessels can usually accommodate. Staffing is at 66 members, so service has probably been incredible. Aside from the testing, SeaDream invested in ultrasonic cleaning devices that supposedly made cleaning “hospital grade”.

Apparently, passengers were assured that they would not have to wear face masks on the ship during the cruise. That was the main reason some people booked the voyage in the first place. They wanted a break from the COVID-19 nightmare and the oppressive face masks that have come with it. And– make no mistake– despite my public health background, I do hate the masks, even as I understand that they’re necessary for now. I totally understand why some people booked so they could escape having to wear the damned things. Since SeaDream did have a successful three week cruise from Oslo and required so much testing prior to embarkation, I’m sure plenty of people felt perfectly safe. I know I would have.

As it turns out, a passenger on the current voyage did start feeling poorly. Passengers would have been required to be tested again anyway, per Barbados’ requirements, but the passenger who felt ill requested a test prior to the one that was already planned. It came up positive. Prior to the positive test, SeaDream had reversed course on its no mask requirement, and passengers were asked to wear masks when they weren’t eating, drinking, or in the water. People were pissed off enough about that– but now they’ve been ordered to their staterooms until they’re all tested again. And who knows if they will be able to continue the cruise, thanks to the one person who tested positive.

I posted about this situation last night, since I have at least one friend who has had the magical SeaDream experience (in fact, that’s where we met). I wrote this:

Not good. They are getting bad press, too, because they weren’t making people wear masks. I wouldn’t want to be on a cruise in which I had spent $10,000 (for two people) and be forced to wear a mask, either. Seems like now isn’t the best time to be cruising. And now they have someone who is COVID positive. Yikes.

In response, I got this comment:

Would you want to spend $10,000 on a cruise and catch the virus because someone didn’t wear a mask?

I was actually a little surprised and disappointed that someone would assume my comment was simply an “anti-masker” statement. I do hate the masks and feel quite fine in saying so out loud. That doesn’t mean I’m non-compliant or in need of an intervention. I do understand why masks are required for now.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, my mantra has been that it’s more important to stay home as much as possible. That’s what I’ve been doing. I have literally not left our neighborhood since October 4th, when we came back from Slovenia with Noyzi. During that trip, we didn’t even eat in a restaurant. This is the same thing I did for about three months last spring– I stayed home almost exclusively from March until June, going out only to walk the dog. That, to me, is much better protection against COVID-19 than a mask is. People will still get sick whether or not masks are worn; it’s just a question of the ease of virus transmission, which is somewhat less when people wear masks. So, to the person who made the above query, this was my response:

No, I would not consider spending that kind of money on a cruise until a vaccine is available. I don’t plan to cruise if people are going to be required to wear face masks, especially on a line like SeaDream, where alcohol is included. I have sailed with them three times and have seen firsthand how people can behave. Lots of money plus entitled attitudes plus booze equals trouble, particularly during a pandemic. People drink a lot on those cruises.  

The blogger who was sharing pictures of the staff members not wearing masks got screamed at by a fellow passenger. Evidently, they were told that masks would not be required and they would not have booked the trip if they were told they had to wear them onboard.

The mask mandate came on Monday night after the pictures went live and people were posting angry comments about the irresponsibility of not masking, despite the many measures that were taken before people were allowed to embark. But, as this article reports, despite everyone being tested three times pre cruise, someone came up positive. I have gotten sick on cruises before and would definitely not want to risk it right now with COVID. It’s very easy to get sick on a cruise. But I also hate the masks and would not find cruising fun while wearing them, anyway.

To be clear– I think it’s crazy to spend five figures on a luxury cruise right now. Some people don’t mind wearing face masks everywhere. That’s good for them. I would definitely not enjoy being forced to wear a mask on a cruise, yet I understand that masks help stem the tide of COVID-19. I will wear them where I have to wear them, but no one needs to be on a luxury cruise during a pandemic. So, until an effective vaccine is available, I won’t be cruising at any price.

I will admit that I would be particularly pissed off if I’d spent $10,000 to be stuck in my stateroom and forced to wear a mask in a place like Barbados. I have been to Barbados, and it’s a very beautiful place akin to actual paradise! But I don’t need to go there so badly that I’d travel there from Europe during a pandemic. And now, it’s possible the people who are on that cruise will spend ten-fourteen days holed up in Barbados in quarantine, likely at their own expense! No, thank you.

There is promising news of an effective vaccine being made out of company in Mainz, Germany, only twenty minutes from where I live. The story surrounding the creation of the vaccine is fascinating on many levels; I hope someone will make a movie out of it or write a book. The married couple who have been working on the vaccine are really interesting people who seem to be focused on doing actual good. I can wait to cruise until their work is completed and we have an effective weapon against the virus that makes it less contagious and dangerous.

As I mentioned before, I have sailed with SeaDream three times. It’s a beautiful experience. The staff is wonderful and kind and mostly genuine. The ship is small– a bit old, but pristine, and immaculately maintained. The itineraries are interesting, exciting, and unique. I have met several great people on that ship, to include a couple of famous folks (who were surprisingly normal). But as incredible as SeaDream or any other cruise experience is, I have experienced getting sick on at least three cruises– twice with nasty colds and once with the dreaded norovirus, which made me puke and gave me horrendous diarrhea for about 36 hours of sheer digestive hell as I was also enduring my menstrual period (fortunately, the sickness was coming on as we were disembarking).

It’s VERY EASY to get sick on a cruise, although with only 53 people onboard, there’s plenty of room for social distancing on SeaDream I right now. The fact remains that you’re in an enclosed environment and you eventually will be exposed to everyone. In fact, I remember on our last cruise on Hebridean Princess, one of the staffers told me that he was always having to battle sickness. It was passed around the ship. If someone came aboard who was sick, there was a very good chance everyone else eventually would be, too; and they’d still have to work, regardless, so that means they’d also be spreading their germs.

Alcohol is included in SeaDream’s fare, and they weren’t going to require masking while eating and drinking. I have seen firsthand that booze is freely offered on SeaDream. You could spend the whole time drinking champagne and eating warmed peanuts if you wanted to– and I have done just that. Ordinarily, that would be a selling point for me, but I have seen the way some people behave after a few drinks. On one SeaDream cruise, Bill and I witnessed a drunk man helping himself to booze, getting very angry at a group of passengers, and actually inviting one or two of them to “step outside”. Imagine how he would react to being required to “mask up” after paying so much to be onboard the ship!

I am a writer myself, although not a famous one (at least in most circles). I can imagine innocently posting a photo from my travels, having it go viral due to someone noting that precautions aren’t being taken, and then being yelled at by another cruiser for spoiling his experience. That has happened to Gene Sloan from The Points Guy, who no doubt was doing his part to publicize SeaDream’s cruise and get the industry going again. Yes, you’d better believe that some people will pay for a maskless experience– same way some people will pay for a condomless prostitute. I can’t blame them at all for wanting to vacation without a mask, but doing so right now isn’t a very smart idea. And paying $10,000 to do it and expecting that nothing will go wrong is also not a very good idea, even though SeaDream cruises are forever tempting. The fact remains that COVID-19 is a real thing and it’s sneakily determined to fuck up everyone’s fun, no matter what.

So I’m going to stay on land for now. I don’t want to wear a mask on a cruise. That wouldn’t be fun for me. And I don’t want to pay $10,000 to be on a luxury cruise, having made the extreme efforts to be COVID-19 negative, only to be trapped on a boat and confined to my stateroom because someone comes up positive (and I don’t blame them– they probably have no clue where they got the virus). I really hope SeaDream and other cruise lines can stay afloat during this mess. I would love to sail with them again, but not until we’ve sorted out this pandemic. Norovirus was bad enough. I’d like to avoid respirators for as long as possible.

Bringing your dog to Germany? Here are a few vital tips for when you arrive…

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Since COVID-19 is ramping up again, the weather is icky, and we’re not really seeing the sights right now due to those factors and our new pooch, I thought today I’d offer a few handy tips for people who are planning to bring their dog(s) to Germany. This post isn’t about travel tips. I haven’t brought any dogs overseas to Germany since 2014, and the rules have changed since then. Even now, I look at our new family member, Noizy, and realize how huge he is. If we have to take him in an airplane, I’m pretty sure the process will be different than it was with the other four dogs we’ve flown with (three of whom are now at the Rainbow Bridge).

This post is more about encouraging Americans to do things they might not think is necessary. I’ve now spent a total of eight years living in Germany. I was here in Stuttgart from 07-09 and 14-18, and now in Wiesbaden from 18 until now. Having been in two different military communities, I’ve seen a lot of people expressing reluctance at doing things the German way. I’m here to tell you that if you’re one of those people who doesn’t think it’s necessary to get pet liability insurance or register your dog with TASSO, you may be making a big mistake.

The very first piece of advice I would offer any American moving to Germany with a dog is to get pet liability insurance. While you’re doing that, also get personal liability insurance. If your dog damages something or gets into trouble, the insurance is a great thing to have. I would highly recommend using a local broker to get the insurance, which is not very expensive at all. For two dogs, we pay about 80 euros a year. And that covers us if something awful happens, like one of the dogs runs away and causes a car accident, or the dog damages the house in some way. We got our insurance through a German broker who was hanging out in the local Facebook groups. Chances are, you can get it that way, too. Or ask around for a recommendation.

Personal liability insurance is good to have for when YOU have an accident of some sort. We have used ours. Most Germans have personal liability insurance, which also isn’t that expensive and can save you a lot of headaches, unless, of course, you’re dealing with someone who is greedy, entitled, and dishonest, which sadly, can also happen. But that’s a rant for another post. It’s good to have the insurance, though, because the insurance company will fight on your behalf if a person wants more money after an accident or mishap. Also, many Germans won’t expect you to have it.

The second piece of advice I would offer is registering your pet with TASSO.net. This organization is committed to helping you find your pet if he or she gets lost– kind of like an Amber Alert for pets. You send them photos and information about your pet(s), as well as their microchip number(s). They will send you tags to put on your pet’s collar and, should one get away from you, they’ll make flyers that can be posted and shared on social media. When our failed adoptee, Jonny, escaped his pet taxi last spring, TASSO sent us a helpful flyer with contact information. At that time, Jonny was still registered with the rescue he came from and when he was sadly found dead the day after he escaped, authorities were able to contact the rescue to let them know. Both of our dogs are now registered with TASSO, in case something should happen.

Jonny was also covered by the rescue’s pet liability insurance, because we hadn’t yet completed his adoption when he met his demise. If we had taken him in and not transferred his coverage to ours, we would have likely been on the hook for paying for the accident he caused when a driver hit him. Always make sure you have that coverage BEFORE an accident happens, especially if you’re adopting a dog while over here. Our new dog, Noizy, was on our pet insurance before we picked him up two weeks ago. That’s the way it should always be. Don’t forget to get the insurance in the excitement of adopting a new dog, especially since dogs who are new to your family might be more likely to panic and run away from home and you will be less likely to know what could trigger them to behave in unexpected ways.

Many people also look into getting pet health insurance. We haven’t done that ourselves, mainly because our original dogs, Zane and Arran, were too old for it. Veterinary care in Germany is very reasonably priced, especially compared to the United States. Some vets will even take the VAT form, which if you’re American, makes you exempt from paying German taxes on some goods and services. Not all businesses will take the VAT form and they are never required to, but the ones who cater to Americans often will. That can save you significant money, as long as the forms are filled our properly. Our former vet in Stuttgart had some issues with the VAT that resulted in money having to be paid. Fortunately for us, they were willing to pay because it was their mistake, and we didn’t even have to ask them to do it.

Arran getting a belly rub.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with Germany’s laws regarding pets, too. For example, it’s illegal to drive here with your animals loose in the car. They have to be in a crate or wearing a “seat belt”. You can purchase those items easily at any pet store.

Certain items that are legal in the USA are not legal here. Shock collars are not allowed, for example, and you can get in trouble for using them if you get caught. Likewise, you’re not allowed/supposed to leave your animals alone all day. This isn’t an issue for us, since I am at home most of the time, but if you’re in a dual career family with no one home during the day, you may need to hire a dog walker or use a doggy daycare. They do exist here. Germans are also very big on training dogs, so don’t be surprised if someone tells you to take your dog to the Hundschule. That happened to us a couple of times when we lived here the first time– back then, Germans weren’t as accustomed to beagles, who bay when they get on a scent. Beagles are becoming a lot more popular here now, but most German dogs are still very well trained.

If you’re here on SOFA status, make sure you register your pets with the vet on post. Otherwise, German tax collectors will expect you to license your dog(s) locally, and that can get very expensive. German dog taxes are more than what you’d expect to pay in the United States, and there are also fines for failing to register.

We don’t regret having our dogs with us in Germany. Germans love dogs and they can make great ambassadors in facilitating meeting people. It’s easier to travel with them here than at home, although we’ve found some excellent “Tierpensions” for when we can’t take them with us. I love having the dogs around for company, especially when Bill travels. There is a learning curve, though. Above all, I urge all Americans to please GET THE INSURANCE. And definitely register with TASSO! If your dog gets loose, you will want and need both of those protections.

New toy causes odd reaction in Arran…

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Since we’re stuck inside for the time being, Bill and I have been doing a lot of shopping. German businesses have predictably adapted to stay afloat during this challenging time. For some reason, Bill has been getting lots of ads on Facebook for meat. Pork, beef, and other butchered delights are being offered by local Metzgereien, complete with free delivery. He’s also getting ads for coffee. We’ve now fully stocked our liquor supply… which maybe we shouldn’t have done, but our mint plant has really taken off and maybe I’ll want to have a mojito or something.

I figured now was a good time to try new kitchen gadgets, so I decided to get us a pizza stone and an air fryer. The air fryer is an appliance I’d been wanting to purchase for a long time. I bought a Philips model, XXL, which is bigger than the basic, and one can also purchase baking and pizza attachments for it.

A new toy… takes up a lot of counter space, so it must live downstairs in the basement.

We tried it out last night. Bill cooked chicken leg quarters. They turned out deliciously, but after we ate dinner, we noticed a strange adverse effect on our dog, Arran. As Bill was clearing the table, I noticed that Arran didn’t seem to be feeling very well. He looked almost like he was about to have a seizure. He has had a couple of seizure like “spells” in the past, although they have been years apart. It looked like he was going to have another one last night.

Poor Arran had a frightened, confused, and sickened look on his face, like he might vomit. His tail was tucked between his legs, and he moved very slowly, as if he was off balance and on the verge of collapse. He started trembling, which automatically made me think of awful reasons why dogs suddenly start to shake. A friend of mine recently lost her dog to kidney failure, and trembling was her dog’s most prominent symptom. I worried that maybe Arran was trying to tell us something awful… He’s ten years old and seems very healthy, but I know all too well that dogs can have silent diseases that suddenly take them. Our dog, Zane, was diagnosed with lymphoma and died a week later.

Then I wondered if maybe the air fryer had something toxic in it that had poisoned Arran. I even looked up xylitol, which is a sweetener that is deadly to dogs. I wondered if he’d somehow gotten ahold of some. We even considered calling the emergency vet, then wondered if they’d be open during this cursed coronavirus crisis. I was very worried that we might experience another tragic canine loss.

But then I went Googling, and I came across this fascinating Reddit thread. About a year or two ago, many people posted about their dogs’ strange reactions to air fryers. The behavior they were describing was very much like what Bill and I witnessed in Arran last night.

Evidently, what Arran experienced after dinner is not uncommon in dogs when their humans start using new appliances. The air fryer was very quiet to us, but as a dog, Arran can hear things that we can’t. After reading the Reddit thread, it occurred to me that the high, whirring, fan sound of the fryer must have disturbed Arran’s inner ear, which would have affected his balance and probably made him feel sick. For him, it must have been like he was trapped at a super loud disco or something, and it just took awhile for his ears to quit ringing. That would explain his odd behavior last night. Thankfully, about an hour after we were finished eating and after lots of hugs and reassurance from Bill, Arran was back to his normal self. He’s just fine this morning.

People commenting on the Reddit thread wrote about their dogs not liking the Instant Pot, smoke detectors that beep, or other appliances that make a high pitched noises. We do have an Instant Pot, and Arran doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. In fact, he loves it when Bill gets it out, since he uses it to make homemade dog food. But clearly the air fryer is a problem. Fortunately, we have a fenced backyard Arran can hang out in, as well as a large house with distant rooms we can take put him in when we use the fryer. Or, I can just take him for an extended walk… which he loves and I desperately need to do more of for my health’s sake. According to the Reddit thread, just getting the pet away from the appliance when it’s operating is enough to prevent this odd attack.

For more reading about how our latest technology drives pets insane, click here.

Life is standing still…

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Obviously, since we’re locked down, Bill and I aren’t traveling or eating in restaurants right now. But I did want to share this funny video a German friend posted on Facebook. It’s done by a group called Bohemian Browser Ballett, and it’s basically about the importance of being considerate while grocery shopping, and not “Hamsterkaufing”…

If you watch it on Facebook without clicking, you can read the subtitles in English. Otherwise, it’s in German. But I think you’ll get the gist of it by watching even if you don’t speak German.

Hee hee hee!

Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor? After watching this video, I certainly don’t.

Hopefully, I’ll have more things to write about soon. This virus is really cramping everyone’s style. I continue to update the old posts so they’re readable, so I encourage anyone who actually misses my content to give them a second (or first) look. We hope to be back on the travel/food trail soon.

No, we’re NOT moving to Italy…

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Some readers who follow the official Facebook page for my Overeducated Housewife blogs have gotten the idea that Bill and I are considering a move to Italy. That is not the case.

The post that has people confused is one I wrote three years ago, when Bill’s first company lost its contract. Bill had applied for several Europe based jobs and got a tentative job offer for a government position in Italy. Back in 2017, we were strongly considering making the move to Italy and, in retrospect, maybe it would have turned out alright if we’d gone for it. At that time, I wrote a short post about that looming decision. Yesterday, I updated it, and it was automatically shared on the Facebook page by WordPress.

Although it was heartbreaking to turn down the job, especially since we both love Italy, Bill ultimately declined to make the move. He was then offered a position with his current company, which is much bigger and better than the first one was. The loss of the first company’s contract, while very stressful, turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise.

As it turned out, the move to Italy would have come with no support from the government, since Bill would have been considered a local hire. That would have meant we’d have to move ourselves down there. There would have also been no housing allowance and, while housing is less expensive in Italy, it would have really cramped our style. It often takes awhile for government employees to get onboarded, too, so that would have been a huge logistical hassle for us, since we would have probably had to go on tourist status until the onboarding process was done. We decided that even Italy’s wonderful wines and pastas weren’t enough to lure us into that rigamarole.

As some readers know, we just moved to Wiesbaden at the end of 2018, so neither of us is wanting to move again so soon. We may have to move this year, since Bill’s company’s contract is up for renegotiation; but even if that happens, he’d likely be hired by the subsequent company or reassigned. And, as we have found out, we may have to move in any given year, thanks to random stuff that happens in the military and with contracting companies. Contracting can be a frustrating roller coaster ride, which is why a lot of people prefer working for the government.

Anyway… for those of you who are following the Facebook page and noticing the old posts resurfacing, I do apologize if they’re annoying. Last year, when I switched my blogs from Blogger to WordPress, I had varying degrees of success in transferring old material. I wasn’t able to transfer my original blog at all, probably because it was too big of a file. The travel blog transferred, but I’m now left with posts that have screwy formatting and print that is too small to read. I suppose I could have just started the travel blog over, like I did my original blog, but some of those old posts are interesting and useful. I’d hate to throw that history away, especially since we mostly loved our time near Stuttgart.

I’m now in the process of updating those old posts so they can be more easily read. Every time I update the posts, WordPress posts them automatically on Facebook. I could change the settings so it doesn’t do that, but I think some of the old posts are interesting and contain useful information. Some of them really do deserve another look. If you see a batch of posts showing up on Facebook, be sure to check the date on them.

Thanks to everyone for your patience! I hope to be finished with this tedious process in a few weeks or so.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part four…

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I spent a lonely Thursday putting our new house together, while Bill spent another eight hours cleaning our former house.  He spent most of that time cleaning windows, knowing that the landlady would be looking at them.  When we first moved into that house, she and her husband had new windows installed.  They were framed in white, and she was determined to keep them white, to the point of asking me to clean them and make sure the plastic wasn’t stained by exposure to the elements.

I have no problem with doing basic housework.  I wash dishes, do laundry, clean toilets, sweep and vacuum floors, and take out the trash.  I don’t do windows, aside from the basic cleaning of schmutz from the glass.  In fact, had I known that I was going to be expected to do windows, especially when we’re doing the paying rather than getting paid, I would have opted for a different place to live.

Just as our landlady claimed that she’d never had the problems with prior tenants that she’d had with us, I have never had landlords who had specific chores I was expected to do, outside of the usual stuff.  Or, at least in other properties, any specific chores were included in the lease.  Nevertheless, our landlady was continually disappointed by my cleaning efforts, particularly when it came to the windows.  She’s apparently a very “neat” person, while I have a tendency toward collecting clutter.  Still, unless I’m living somewhere free of charge, I don’t allow my landlords to dictate how clean my home will be while I’m in it, unless it’s a matter of the law or health and safety.  I think even if I had been a neater person, it might not have been enough, since I had no way of knowing what her actual expectations were.

Knowing that moving puts me in a mean world, Bill wisely decided to deal with our former landlords on his own.  Friday happened to be the landlady’s birthday, so he arranged the final inspection for the morning, so she and her husband would be free to celebrate with their friends and family.  Prior to our move, I spent weeks doing preparatory cleaning, descaling the shower and taps, working on the stains on the carpets, and yes, even some preliminary window cleaning in the areas where I could reach.  I did not venture out on the roof to do a thorough cleaning of the outside upstairs windows, nor did I try to clean the glass roof on the carport.  I wasn’t wanting to tempt fate that I might have an accident.

As I put up our Christmas trees in our new house, I noticed a Facebook status update from Bill.  He typed, “Well… that was a white glove inspection I failed in the first minute.  I need a drink and it’s not even 10:00am.”

Naturally, that comment gave me a sense of dread.  I later got the lowdown from Bill.  Evidently, the landlady was upset that we’d used the trash cans to dispose of stuff during our move.  She was expecting our bins to be empty and clean.  I was a bit confused by that, especially since we paid rent for December as well as Nebenkosten, which includes trash pick up.  She was also reportedly dismayed that she’d have to put the bins out for us, although we noticed that for the first years of our time in her house, she had the time to come over without notice whenever she felt like it.

This year, the landlords never turned on our water for the outside, as they had done in prior years.  I suppose we could have turned the water on ourselves, but every other spring, they would come over to do this chore for us.  I figured they didn’t trust to do it ourselves.  We also had no hose this year, which they had provided in prior years.  So even if I had been prepared to leave the bins in pristine condition, I couldn’t have.  I suspect that a decision to clean the bins in the backyard would have vexed her, too, since I don’t think I would have been able to do it without getting debris on the lawn.

After checking out the trash bins, she went through the house, reportedly very upset with the condition of it, despite our hours of cleaning.  What had her so cross?  Evidently, it was the condition of the Rolladen straps.  She paid little attention to the floors, the taps, or even the windows.  Instead, according to Bill, she mostly focused on the shutters and the trash bins.

She also had comments about the condition of the oven, which like everything else in the house, is old and well used.  Bill managed to get the oven quite clean, although it wasn’t looking like new.  But then, it’s not a new oven.  The handle on the dishwasher, also a vintage model, was askew.  The machine still works fine, but for some reason, the handle is no longer in perfect alignment.  I don’t know why it’s like that, but things tend to degrade from perfection with use.  The hood of the oven/stove is also slightly off kilter, but it was like that when we moved in and has always functioned just fine.  I never used the hood much myself, so I didn’t really notice it, other than when I cleaned the top of it prior to moving.

Now… I will admit that I didn’t bust my ass trying to clean the laundry/oil tank area because there’s just no way I could have gotten that area very clean.  It’s a typical, damp, dirty, unfinished basement.  I wasn’t going to go behind the oil tanks and deep clean, either.  I don’t think anyone has done that in years, and I doubt it would have made a difference to her, anyway.  I did try to get as much dust and cobwebs out of the basement as I could outside of the oil tank area.  My efforts apparently fell short.  Oh well.  I have read that it’s not uncommon for landlords in Germany to be sticklers when it comes time to move out of a place.  We got lucky with our first German landlord.  He was delighted that we’d cleaned at all.

At least the handover is finished.  We are insured out the wazoo, to include legal insurance should we need to go to court.  We are also members of the Mieterverein.  And while I’d really rather just be done with the whole move out experience, I feel assured that we’ve done our best to prepare for any lingering challenges.  Hopefully, the landlady’s next tenants will be the ones she truly deserves.  As for me, I am left with a weird form of PTSD.  As I walk around our new house, I find myself obsessively looking for things I know would have upset our ex landlady, even though our new landlord is clearly much more relaxed than she is.  It may take awhile for me to go back to feeling welcome and relaxed in my own home.

So ends our latest moving experience.  This last week has been mostly about putting on the finishing touches.  Today, Bill is trading in our Stuttgart license plates for Wiesbaden ones.  We’ve visited the Wiesbaden commissary and AAFES.  Tomorrow night, we’re going to see the Scottish Music Parade, and Thursday night, we’re going to a wine tasting and Christmas party.  I’ve only been out of the Stuttgart area for a couple of weeks, but it feels like it’s been much longer.  Wiesbaden definitely has a different feel and I look forward to exploring our new environs.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part three…

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Wednesday morning, the movers arrived right on time with our stuff.  As they were scattering rug protection for the floors, Bill said “We’ve already had our first shouting match.”

“What happened?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted to hear about it.  I have mentioned before that moving turns me into a raving bitch, especially if I’m also “hangry”, which I was before he started telling me the story.  Moving is a process I truly despise.  I don’t need a reason to get any bitchier.

Throwing caution to the wind, Bill explained that due to the congested road that leads to our house, the movers were forced to drive the wrong way down a one way street.  Just before the movers arrived, the trash truck was forced to do the same thing– drive the wrong way down the one way street.  We are now located on a very narrow street with many people parking their cars on the side.  It simply wasn’t possible for the moving truck to get down there the “legal” way.

Well… it seems that the moving truck inconvenienced a fellow American, who had to wait a couple of minutes for it to get down the street so he could make his turn.  The man got out of his car and started speaking perfect German… at least until he completely lost his shit and reverted to his native English tongue.  Bill said the guy was beet red and was absolutely furious that he’d had to stop so the movers could pass.  Bill took note of the man’s close cropped haircut and Washington, DC baseball cap, as well as his complete outrage at having to wait a minute for the movers.

First he screamed at the movers, who simply shrugged in response; then he started screaming at Bill.  We don’t know who this man is, but it appears that he runs a local business and Bill said he had the air of an extremely entitled retired colonel.  Apparently, he lives in our neighborhood or close by.  I’m glad I wasn’t there to witness this spectacle, because as Bill started telling me about it, I felt my own temper start to rise.

I can’t abide people who are verbally abusive.  I have a tendency to respond in kind, although I’ve now gotten to the point at which my responses are mostly non-verbal.  Make no mistake, though.  If I shoot you a death ray with my eyes, you’ll definitely know it.  Then I’ll start blogging.  If I start speaking when I’m in that state, there is no telling what will be said.  So I have learned to zip it.  I’m not sure I would have “zipped it” for that guy, though.  Actually, I might have had a good laugh at him.  Bill’s description of his out of control ranting and raving was kind of hilarious.

Fortunately, Bill is a very even tempered person and, when the pissed off American started his belligerent tirade, he calmly turned and walked away.  There is no reasoning with people who get that enraged over a moment’s inconvenience.  Perhaps a nice stroke will settle that man’s hash.  If he keeps up that level of vitriol, I think it’s a real risk for him.  Anyway, the whole incident would have lasted half as long if the guy had just STFU and stayed in his car.

One of the movers was really awesome.  I have a large dresser that the movers initially said they would not be able to get upstairs.  This guy, very enthusiastic with a “can do” attitude, managed to convince his co-workers that getting my dresser upstairs was possible.  The one insistent naysayer was the lone German on the team.  Well… the Croatians proved the German guy wrong.  Although it took some doing, they hauled my bulky dresser up the stairs with nary a scratch!  Bill rewarded them with a generous tip.

Our stuff was unloaded by early afternoon, so the movers left us to our mess.  Kudos to Weichert for sending us such a professional team.  They were truly outstanding.  I wish we could have them for all of our moves.  We’ve had a few doozies over the years!

We took a brief break from unpacking to visit IKEA for some household items and get some lunch.  I once swore I would never visit IKEA again.  Indeed, it had been a full four years since our last hellish IKEA experience in Sindelfingen.  I still hate IKEA, but we had a real need for storage solutions and didn’t want to wait for an online order, especially since we had no Internet and I was relying on my iPad with cellular access.  Our local IKEA is pretty nightmarish, but it wasn’t quite as bad as our last visit to the one in Sindelfingen.  We have visited our new IKEA twice since our move and I think I can safely say I won’t be back again for some time.  Once every few years is plenty of IKEA exposure for me.

Naturally, I was hangry after our IKEA experience, so we found a local Italian restaurant that turned out to be very nice, even if finding parking was appalling.  One thing I have noticed about the Wiesbaden area is that it’s really hard to find parking.  This area is very built up and everyone drives.  Nevertheless, we had a delightful lunch at Casalinga da Rita, tiny “hole in the wall” eatery in a nearby Hofheim am Taunus.  I notice it gets average reviews on Google, but we had a good experience there.  The other guests were Italians, which I take as a good sign in an Italian restaurant.

Bill’s blurry hands.

Spaghetti with pesto!

Tagliatelle salmone.  This hit the spot!

It’s a very tiny place, with ice cream, pasta dishes, pizzas, and cramped seating.  We’d go back.

A little culture break.

I took note of this charming bumper sticker in the car parked near ours.

 

By five o’clock, I was decidedly pissy, so Bill told me to sit down and drink some wine.  He’s a good husband because he knows when I’ve had enough bullshit for one day.  I wanted to take a shower, but the cold water tap in our upstairs bathroom was frozen from too much corrosion.  I ended up taking baths for several days, until we got the faucet replaced.  Our move also taught me the magic of using white vinegar to descale the taps, but the tap in our shower was too far gone for that to work.  Not even Liquid Wrench could free the cold water for us.

I sat on my can until Thursday morning.  Bill got up and drove back to Stuttgart to clean our old house again, pick up the dogs, and close us out of Stuttgart.  I stayed behind in Wiesbaden and continued unpacking and putting stuff away.

Bill found this in our bio bin.  I have so many questions…  Who would throw away an obvious going away gift?  Was it the recipient who tossed this, or a disgruntled spouse?  I may have to write a short story about this, once we’re totally settled and I’m bored.

I’m really glad I stayed in Wiesbaden.  I definitely would not have wanted to witness the final walkthrough with our former landlady.  More on that in the next post.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part two…

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On Tuesday, we went back to the house and watched the movers get all our stuff on their truck.  I ran into our neighbor again as I was loading more stuff into my car.  He asked again if we were moving.  I confirmed that we were moving to Wiesbaden for Bill’s new job.  He wished us luck and said “Auf Wiedersehen”… and again, smiled pretty!  I guess I can’t blame him for that.  For his sake, I hope the next tenants don’t have a huge American style truck.

We were finished loading up by noon, so Bill and I started our northern trek to Hesse.  I don’t do a lot of driving anymore, not because I can’t, but because I hate traffic.  Frankly, I don’t socialize very much with other people, either.  I was a little worried about driving on the Autobahn for so long, knowing that we’d no doubt hit traffic jams.  I’m proud to report that despite rainy weather and a few Staus, Bill and I both made it through our journey unscathed.  In fact, Bill even paid me a high compliment by saying that I would have made a fine “tanker”.  Before Bill became an exercise planner, he was a tanker… so I guess he knows what would make a fine one.

Time for a break!  This photo inspired a number of comments from my Facebook friends.  We didn’t visit the well advertised erotic store, but I was advised that there’s a good selection there for those who are still Christmas shopping.

Apparently, I have a good sense of how to be in a convoy.  More than once, I made it possible for Bill to change lanes and kept up a good “march distance”.  What can I say?  My dad was a navigator in the Air Force and endowed me with an excellent sense of direction.  Unfortunately, he didn’t endow me with his adrenaline junkie tendencies or love of fitness.  Oh well…

We spent our first night in Wiesbaden at the Hotel zum Wiesengrund, a very reasonably priced hotel near our new home.  I had originally booked a different place, but changed my mind when I read about Hotel zum Wiesengrund’s well regarded restaurant.  I wanted to go somewhere we’d be able to have a good meal after two days of hard work and driving.  I’m not proud of it, but we resorted to a couple of McDonalds’ meals during our moving out process.  It had been awhile since the last time I ate in a McDonald’s.  It was kind of a shocking experience.  I knew they have kiosks now, but I’ve never actually used one.

Bill was showing me how one orders at McDonald’s nowadays…  this actually makes me kind of sad. 

We arrived at our new house at about 5:00pm on November 27th.  Our new landlord gave us the keys after we paid him the Kaution and first month’s rent.  Our new house is larger, more modern, and much more expensive than the one in Unterjettingen is.  What’s more, our new landlord lives next door to us.  However, he has only rung our doorbell once.  So far, we’re getting along fine.

The view from the balcony on the front of our new house.

The view from the balcony on the back of the house.  Our yard has a nice tall fence and is plenty secure for Zane and Arran, which is a really nice convenience.  Apparently, the people who lived in our house before us were Americans with a dog.  They hooked us up!

 

We laid down the rugs we bought from the Turkish rug guys at Panzer Barracks in Boeblingen.  I’m glad we bought rugs before we left, since it doesn’t appear that Wiesbaden has a similar shop.  I bought rugs from the Turkish guys a couple of years ago, but they weren’t nearly as nice as the ones we just got.  I actually wish we’d bought a couple more rugs, since our new house has brand new parquet floors that I want to protect as much as possible.

After we laid down the rugs, we went to the hotel and checked in.  The Hotel zum Wiesengrund is located on a busy road, but it has a large parking lot with free parking for guests.  We checked in and were assigned a very basic, but clean, room.

A tiny, basic room at Hotel zum Wiesengrund.  Fine for a night.

A tiny shower, but very clean and good water pressure.

 

After we dropped off our bags at the hotel, we decided to have dinner.  Although I had wanted a nice meal, I wasn’t that hungry after all the traveling and stop at Mickey D’s.  I did really want a beer, though.

Bill decides what he wants.  He wasn’t hungry, either.

Ahhh…  This hit the spot.  Wiesbaden is really more wine country than beer country.

I went with fried fish…  It wasn’t the healthiest choice, but it tasted good.  I liked the remoulade that came with it.  Kind of like really fancy tartar sauce.

Bill had smoked salmon.

 

I think Hotel zum Wiesengrund is better known for its restaurant than its lodging.  Bill says some of his co-workers have been to the restaurant, and we noticed it was popular with locals.  There was a large party of Germans near us and they were enjoying Christmas goose and Schnapps.  I had “apple most” for dessert.  Basically, it was non-alcoholic, home pressed apple juice… very tasty!  I expect to become acquainted with apple wine now, since that’s supposedly a local speciality.

Breakfast at Hotel zum Wiesengrund is included in the price of the room, which was about 90 euros.  It’s served buffet style and offers the usual cheeses, cold cuts, breads, and jams.  Unlike the Hotel Adler, the Hotel zum Wiesengrund also has hard boiled eggs, which was a nice touch.

After we checked out of the hotel, we headed for our new house and the dreaded chore of moving in. The same foreman was going to be there, along with several more guys coming in from Heidelberg, which is in Baden-Wuertemberg, like Stuttgart is, yet is located closer to Wiesbaden.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part one…

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After months of preparation and anticipation, on November 26, 2018, we finally got underway with our move from the Stuttgart area to Wiesbaden.  The packers arrived at about 9:00am that cloudy Monday morning.  Weichert, the moving company hired by Bill’s company, sent us three strong guys from the eastern part of Europe.  I think they were from Croatia, but I’m not absolutely sure.  What I am sure of is that they were first class movers.  Having been an “Army wife” the first twelve years of my sixteen year marriage, I have experienced my share of moves.  This one was one of the easiest, not just because we were moving within Germany, but because we had truly excellent movers.

I wrote a couple more blog posts, anticipating time without precious WiFi access.  Bill had contacted Deutsche Telekom to set up our new Internet connection, hoping it would be done on November 28th, which was our move in day.  He still hadn’t canceled Internet in our old house because he was hoping we could just use Unitymedia in our new home.  For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to move our Internet service to the new house.  At this writing, we still have an active Unitymedia account at our old house.

Packing up…

I booked us a hotel room at Hotel Adler in Nagold, which is an adorable little town I’ve written about many times in this blog.  We lived very close to Nagold and had eaten at Hotel Adler a few times.  I was curious about their rooms, so I took our last night as an opportunity to experience a night there.  We booked the dogs at Dog Holiday for the whole week, so they’d be out of the way while we packed and cleaned.  I will miss having such close proximity to Max and his wife; they have taken great care of Zane and Arran for the past few years.  In fact, we’ll probably still use them when we visit Stuttgart to see our awesome dentist and/or as we pass through on the way to southern countries.

I wasn’t feeling particularly well on our packing day.  I felt like I was coming down with a virus.  With every packed box, our former house grew less and less comfortable.  I felt compelled to clean as the movers worked, knowing that our former landlady would be a stickler when it came time for the move out inspection.

So empty now!

Despite my moniker, “The Overeducated Housewife”, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty crappy housewife.  I don’t enjoy cleaning, and am not particularly good at it.  However, when I do get in the mood to clean, I will clean thoroughly… almost obsessively.  This is especially true when it comes time to move out of a house.  My Dyson got a great workout on packing day, especially in the bedroom, where four years of dust had accumulated under the bed.  Maybe Santa will bring me a super slim robot vacuum this year, strictly for vacuuming under the bed.

Freshly mopped.

The house in Unterjettingen has the distinction of being the home Bill and I have lived in for the longest as a married couple.  When you stay in one house for four years and don’t vacuum under the bed, things get pretty gross.  Fortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures.  I filled the Dyson’s canister at least twice cleaning up the dust bunnies.  It was weirdly satisfying.  I knew it was really dusty under there, but unless I have an extra set of muscles to help with the mattress and box springs, vacuuming under the bed isn’t a job I can easily do.

I also cleaned the dust out of the radiators, as much as I could, anyway.  As I ran the microfiber duster through the narrow slats of the old fashioned radiators, I promised myself our next house would have easier to clean heating elements.  Despite the duster and vacuum cleaner’s efforts, I wasn’t able to make the radiators pristine.  Oh well.

At one point, I went outside to put some stuff in my car and ran into the neighbor across the street.  He was curious about what we were up to.  When I told him we were moving to Wiesbaden, he smiled really big.  He doesn’t speak much English and I know he covets the parking space in front of the house, so maybe he was happy to see us go.  Actually, although he seemed to worry about our dogs when we first moved in, he later became somewhat friendly.  He even brought us some fruit from one of his trees.  But I do know he likes to park in front of our former house, so maybe that was why he was smiling.

The packers were finished by 4:00pm.  I suppose I can thank Bill’s first company for that, since we were only allotted enough money to bring 5000 pounds of stuff with us when we moved back to Germany in 2014.  I have to admit, less stuff makes for a shorter packing day.  Truth be told, I don’t even miss a lot of the stuff we left in storage.  Moving right before Christmas has also put a damper on my Christmas shopping this year.  I have no desire to wrap or unwrap more stuff… or find places to put it.

As we emptied the top floor of our former house, I cleaned the rooms, vanquishing dust bunnies and cobwebs and steam mopping vinyl floors until they shone.  In the back of my head, I knew my efforts would probably be in vain, but I wanted to try anyway.  Originally, we were going to hire professional cleaners, but Bill was never able to arrange it.  So, just like for every other move, it was the two of us trying to make really old carpet, laminate flooring, and linoleum look presentable.  As I removed the portable cabinet from under the bathroom sink, I discovered the pipe had sprung a leak at some point.  I have no idea how long that went on, since it was covered by the cabinet, which was there when we moved in (we bought it from the previous tenants).  It wasn’t a serious leak, but it was definitely noticeable.

After we were finished on Monday, I was ready to go to straight to bed.  My visions of one last meal in one of our favorite Stuttgart area food towns were dashed.  We didn’t even eat at the hotel, which offers good traditional German food.  I wanted something less heavy.  Instead, Bill got takeout from La Meo, a nearby Italian eatery.

The room at Hotel Nagold was typically German, but spotlessly clean and comfortable.  We had the misfortune of having booked a room next to where they were setting up the Christmas market.  Workers were erecting an ice skating rink, which came with the sounds of power tools and super loud dance music.  I will admit that the noise made me decidedly crotchety, but at least they were finished by 9:30pm.

If you stay at the Hotel Adler in Nagold, you have to use your new fangled key for electricity.  It’s not even one of those rooms where any card will keep the lights on.  You have to use their key.  They only gave us one key, so I sat in the dark while Bill got takeout.

Typical German room.  Comfortable for one night.

Our room had a balcony with shutters, which appeared to be broken.  Had they been fully functional, the shutters would have been good for shutting out noise and light.

The bathroom was sparkling clean, but check out the placement of the makeup mirror.  It was too high for little 5’2″ me.

 

We spent 120 euros for our night at the Hotel Adler.  Breakfast and parking were included.  The breakfast was typical German continental, but it was served in a very quaint little breakfast room by a pleasant lady.  She got our long Tuesday off to a good start.

One thing I learned during this move is that Dawn dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide are excellent cleaning tools.  Mix the Dawn with hydrogen peroxide and you get a great carpet cleaner and soap scum remover.  Dawn is also great mixed with white vinegar.  How I lived 46 years and didn’t know this, I don’t know… but remember, I admit to being a sucky housewife… in all the wrong ways.

The packers packed the American hydrogen peroxide before I had the chance to use it for one last batch of homemade oxycleaner.  Bill had to go to an Apoteke to get 3% German hydrogen peroxide, which was surprisingly expensive and came in a glass bottle.  I think he paid about six euros for this.  On post, you can get it for less than a dollar.  When you pour hydrogen peroxide out of the dark bottle, you have to use it right away.  It loses its potency when exposed to light.

Seriously, though… Dawn and hydrogen peroxide is great for getting old stains out of carpet.  While the carpets were still old, worn, and basically dirty looking from many years of use, they looked much better after I cleaned them with this concoction.  I’m usually skeptical about homemade detergents, but I will admit to being a believer in the magic of Dawn dish detergent.