We didn’t enjoy any excursions over the weekend because winter has come back to Wiesbaden with a chilly flourish. I also needed to wait for some new recording equipment to arrive, which it did in the afternoon. By Sunday, the weather was grim and decidedly cold. So we stayed home, ate takeout food, listened to music, and talked. We also enjoyed another weekend with Arran.
His lymph node under his left foreleg has gotten noticeably bigger. I don’t have to feel for it anymore. It’s now pretty obvious on casual view. And yet, Arran is still eating, sleeping, playing, walking, and being his adorable self. I know it’s probably not going to be much longer before he starts feeling badly again. But for now, we’re enjoying his affectionate company. He and Noyzi even seem to be getting along better lately. The featured photo was taken today. Yesterday, I actually caught them lying next to each other, as if they were pals.
I sense that Arran knows he’s going to be headed to the Rainbow Bridge soon. Most of our dogs have been like this, toward the end. Our beagle, Flea, used to insist on sitting with us in the last months of his life. Our first rescue, CuCullain, used to insist on taking walks with both Bill and me. Zane came and found me and slathered me with kisses two weeks before he died. MacGregor was probably in too much pain to show us this kind of affection before he passed, but instead, seemed to stay with us through Arran, who often acts like his predecessor.
Arran has always been a velcro dog, but he’s become even more so lately. Noyzi is also spending more time hanging out with me, rather than staying in his bed in his room, which is also an entertainment room that we rarely use.
I just took the dogs for a walk. Arran had plenty of energy, even though he has a peach sized swelling by his leg. He’s supposed to go to the vet for more chemo tomorrow. It seems to keep him feeling okay, even though the cancer is obviously progressing.
Still, I am amazed when I see Arran behave like he did in the video below, which was taken a couple of days ago. Arran truly is an amazing dog… resilient, loving, affectionate, and full of surprises. I don’t know if or when we will find his successor, but that dog will have some big pawprints to fill, even if Arran is, himself, just a medium sized dog.
It’s nice to see Arran and Noyzi getting along better. It was a long time coming. When we had Zane, the situation was the opposite. For awhile, Zane and Arran were actual buddies who got along beautifully. Then, Zane started having health problems. Arran took advantage and tried to be the top dog. He would pick fights with Zane, who did not enjoy fighting, but would fight if it was necessary.
Sometimes, Arran got the better of Zane, but there were a few notable times when Zane kicked Arran’s ass. I always got the sense that Zane really resented Arran for that. It was like he never forgave him for turning on him. They weren’t really friends at the end of Zane’s life.
With Noyzi, it seems like the opposite is true. Arran hated Noyzi at first, but slowly came around. And now, they almost seem like friends. I think it’s because Arran is very devoted to us. It’s like he knows he has to go soon, and he’s passing the torch. Or maybe it’s just comforting thinking for a silly human.
Maybe Noyzi has a little bit of Zane in him… and now Zane is in a much bigger and more imposing body. Noyzi doesn’t fight at all, but one time, Arran got too jealous and was eager to get into a scrap with him. Noyzi calmly put his massive paw on Arran’s back, and that was the end of that nonsense. Arran hit the ground and never tried such a stunt again.
Anyway, I’m going to try to enjoy this time… especially as the dogs finally bond a little. I’m sure that when the time is right, Arran will be back in the same way Zane is.
Bill did notice the sign was up for the wine stand this weekend. Maybe we’ll get to go. I know Hofheim is having a City Wine Fest this weekend. I hope we can get out and have some fun, before Bill has to go on another business trip.
It’s been seven days since my last post on this blog. I haven’t written because I haven’t had too much to write about this week. We had extremely cold weather last week. It lasted until Monday, when the snow we got last week turned into black ice. Sure enough, I slipped and fell on my ass, bruising my left buttcheek. Since I also did something to my right hip, that was an even less welcome development than it might have otherwise been. My butt recovered after a day, but my right hip is still painful. I might even have to break down and see a doctor about it.
Arran had his latest chemo treatment last night. He’s now in the second phase of his treatment. Bill took him in, and said the vet was impressed by Arran’s resilience. He is still doing very well. I think she thought maybe he wouldn’t take to chemo, because of his age, and because he was getting sick when we got his first treatment. His red blood cells have improved, while his white blood cells are still elevated. But they would be elevated anyway, due to the treatments. Because he’s in the second phase of chemo, he doesn’t take as much medication. He goes to the vet every other week for IV push meds, and takes less of the Endoxan (chemo pill). However, he’s still on Prednisolone, which makes him more of a stinker than usual.
We have plans to go Villa Im Tal on the afternoon of the 26th. It’s one of our favorite fine dining restaurants. I look forward to it, although I worry that Arran will try to break into the basement while we’re gone. He’s regressed in his behavior since he started chemo. I ordered a new gate– one that’s sturdier and taller– to try to prevent him from invading the basement. Other than that, he’s mostly himself… taking walks, eating like a champ, sleeping, cuddling, and being cute. We’re really cherishing this time with him.
We had a new dishwasher installed yesterday. The old one was twelve years old and broke. I’m glad we got both things done before Christmas, which is pretty much going to shut everything down for a few days. Our landlord is slowly but surely upgrading our house. He says he wants to install new windows and a heat pump, too. As he was leaving yesterday, he asked Bill if we needed more wood for the fireplace or salt for the dishwasher. We’re fine, but it’s nice to have a landlord who cares about our well-being and happiness. I’m sure he likes having the house occupied, and after four years with us, he knows we won’t disturb him unless it’s really necessary.
Getting new windows will be like deja vu, since new windows were installed in our last house as we were moving in. It was kind of a painful process, but the windows were really nice. Maybe we’ll get electric shutters, too. 😉 Ex landlady put in electric shutters on the windows in the living room. They were very nice, but sometimes they didn’t work properly. She also lectured us about not losing the remote control, which of course we didn’t. That was probably one of the only things we did right in that house. :eyeroll:
Other than that, it’s been a pretty boring week. Although January and February can be pretty bleak in Germany, I kind of look forward to being done with the Christmas season. It’s so dark over here during this time of year. And because I don’t really want to leave Arran alone unless it’s necessary, I’ve been a bit “fun deprived” lately. With more light and warmth, we might be able to take him with us more often.
The only other thing that happened this week was our neighbor had a bunch of us over for Gluhwein. It was frigid outside, so when we came back into the house, I ordered a new parka. It probably won’t get used much, but it might be the last parka I will ever buy. Oh… and my neighbor thought I was an 80s baby, which was a nice compliment. I am very much a card carrying member of Generation X, though… born in the 70s.
Breckenheim sure is a friendly little village. It’s a lot of fun to bond with the neighbors. Funny enough, several of the ones who live near us are from Baden-Württemberg! They seem to like Hessen more. It’s probably because there’s wine… and people are a little warmer. I do miss the beautiful sights down in BW, though. It will always have a piece of my heart.
The featured photo is of Arran near our wine barrel table. He was obsessed with the framed photo of my husband’s daughter’s family, because it smelled like the treats she sent in a box to us!
This post is probably going to contain a lot of crankiness, profanity, perimenopausal TMI… proceed at your own risk.
The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. I just got my Moderna booster shot, seven months after my second shot last June. I lived to tell the tale, too… at least so far, anyway.
Bill made me an appointment over a month ago. I would have tried to have gotten in sooner, but the rules were that we had to have been at least six months past our last shot. All of the earlier time slots were full. Bill got his boost on December 1, 2021, and it knocked him on his ass. We’ll see how I react. When I had the first two shots, I didn’t react much at all. Just had a sore arm and a blotch. This time, I don’t yet have a blotch, but the area where I got the shot is a little itchy. The lady went higher on my left shoulder this time.
I should have realized we’d be early for the vaccine appointment, since I am married to “Johnny on the Spot”. He’s always early. I often am, too, but not like Bill is. Bill got home from work at 11:30am. I figured that was kind of generous lead time for my appointment, which I thought was at 1:30. But, he was telling me we needed to go way sooner than that. So then I thought maybe the appointment was at 1:00pm.
We arrived at the vaccination center at about 12:30 or so– too early. But again, I thought I had the time wrong. I was suddenly really glad I had decided to wear my down parka instead of my trusty wool “coatigan”. The vaccination center is on a windy hilltop and I’ve never not been cold there, even in the warm months. I also wore my favorite blue sweater, which was made in Scotland and purchased at a Scottish shop in Rothenburg ob der Tauber a few years ago. I was going to wear a different sweater, but then I realized it was too bulky to get my sleeve up high enough. It turned out that changing sweaters was a good idea, since the nurse injected so high up on my shoulder.
It was cloudy and chilly today, but at least there wasn’t any rain, which we had all day yesterday. I was feeling a little icky, not because of a respiratory illness, but because after a four month hiatus, my ovaries woke up and I got my period, complete with cramps. Naturally, that made me a little grouchy, along with the chilly wind that blew across the hill where the depressing abandoned strip mall on post has been turned into a vaccination center. We all wore masks and filled out a government form, then stood around waiting for the show to get on the road.
As I was thinking about the appointment, I wondered why I didn’t just drive myself. I do have a car. I’m out of practice, though, and it’s been ages since I last drove my car. Besides, Bill likes to take care of me… hence today’s facetious post title. In retrospect, maybe I should have handled this chore myself.
So there I was, cold and crabby, thinking that I had a 1:00pm appointment, since we were there so early. Bill had made the appointment for me, so I didn’t know for sure. A guy finally came out to explain how the process would work. I turned to Bill and said, “What time was my appointment?”
He grinned and said, “1:30.”
Then I said, probably louder than I meant to, “WHY did you bring me here so early?”
He started to explain, and a kind looking lady, also with her husband turned to tell me, “If you have an appointment, you’ll be seen for sure.”
I said, “Yes, I heard him….” then I noticed the look in her eye (I couldn’t see the rest of her expression), and said reassuringly, “I’m just bitching at him…”
She and her husband laughed. I wondered what made her feel the need to intervene. Did I really sound that irritable? I probably did… Suddenly, I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed. The couple laughed and said, “She’s just being a wife.”
“I don’t want to stand in the cold.” I added, realizing that my social skills have eroded further than I realized. The lady and her husband agreed and that little intervention passed.
Then another lady asked me if I was in line. I told her to go ahead and Bill, apparently thinking I was talking to him, said “What?”
“I wasn’t talking to you.” I snapped. Yeah… cranky, chilled, and crampy… that makes me decidedly crotchety. The lady flashed me a look of surprise. I probably seemed really bitchy and entitled.
“Why don’t you go wait in the car.” Bill suggested. “I’ll wait for the announcement.”
“That’s a good idea.” I agreed. My toes were chilled, as were my hands. My lower back ached. My abdomen twitched with Aunt Flow’s tardy arrival. Yeah… I was definitely not fit for human company.
Bill unlocked the Volvo for me. I sat there and watched more people show up… it was a little slice of Americana, with all sorts of people in all sorts of clothes showing up for their shots. It always amazes me to see how people dress on military installations.
Finally, at about 1:25pm, I noticed Bill heading toward me. I got out of the car and got back in line. Two chatty ladies, obviously friends, were talking about how much of a pain it is to deal with traveling and having kids, especially during the COVID era. The taller one, who appeared to be a bit more experienced, was telling the other one about the wonders of Germany’s train system.
“You can book your own car… and drink!” the taller lady said. “And the kids can have their own spaces.”
Between them, they had five kids, not all of whom could be vaccinated. As they were describing what a pain it is to travel during the COVID era with kids, I realized I am glad that dealing with kids and vaccines isn’t one of my problems.
“I hate driving here.” the younger one said in a charming southern accent.
Me too… I thought to myself.
Finally, it was my turn to enter the building, where the familiar stations were laid out just as I remembered them. It was nice to be out of the cold. Another friendly lady complimented me on my pink and blue tweed tartan purse, which I bought on the Isle of Harris in Scotland. Harris Tweed– don’tcha know? And it matched my outfit, too. She asked it it was my family tartan. It’s not… although it kind of looks like the County Donegal tartan, which is bogus, since Ireland doesn’t really have tartans. That would be a gimmick. But Bill’s kilt is the County Donegal tartan, since that’s where the Crossens are from.
I put the wrong number as my ID number. They did away with using Social Security numbers for security reasons. So now I never know which one to use– mine or Bill’s… or my Social Security number, which I know by heart.
An elderly Black man with two canes was in front of me. I was touched by how attentive the staff was to him. The female half of the couple next to me knew the guy. I got the sense that he was someone well known on the Wiesbaden installations.
The shot stung this time. I was right to wear my sweater with looser arms, as the nurse wanted access to the “meatier” part of my arm. Um… it’s all meaty! The platinum blonde woman who administered the shot said, “You’re a bleeder!” as she slapped a Band-Aid on my shoulder.
In more ways than one… I thought to myself as another wave of menstrual cramps hit me.
After I got my paperwork and rested for ten minutes… which was probably shorter than that, Bill spirited me back to the car. He handed me Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and said, “For your trouble. Why don’t we just go home, instead of messing with getting COV-Pass certificates from the Apotheke?”
“Nah, let’s just get it over with, since I now have to go in there with you.” I said. Apparently, the rules changed since last summer, and I had to bring my passport and sign paperwork. That wasn’t true last summer.
We went to the Globus, where a friendly pharmacist quickly and efficiently got us new QR codes for our COVID apps. A lot of places no longer accept paper certificates as proof of vaccination, since they can be faked somewhat easily. It’s getting to the point at which you have to have a phone, just so you can eat at a restaurant. That was my first visit to Globus since March 2020.
When we got home, Arran and Noyzi were delighted. And they showed Bill in a delightful way.
I’m just glad to be boosted. We’ll see how long it lasts. Maybe next time, I won’t be so cranky, chilly, or crampy. All in all, it wasn’t so bad today. At least the process was basically efficient, and the staff was friendly. Friendlier than I was, earlier today, anyway. My arm is starting to hurt more now, so I think I’m going to go sit on my can. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but since Aunt Flow is here, I have a feeling that either way, I’ll still be feelin’ kinda bitchy.
Our new town, Breckenheim, has a charming habit of having a wine stand every other week. We missed the first one two weeks ago, but caught today’s, which started at 6:00pm. For some reason, the weather is really chilly today… like, it’s colder than a witch’s tit. I actually wore the new wool sweater I bought from Aran Sweater Market last month, when I was enduring a fit of loneliness and self-pity. I thought I wouldn’t get a chance to wear it before the winter of 2019… I was wrong. It’s freakin’ cold outside tonight. We only lasted for an hour and a half and had just two glasses of wine.
Here are some photos from our local gathering. I get the sense that we’ll know more of these people by summer’s end.
Our local church. Eventually, I will go inside and take photos like a tourist. I love that it’s so charming.
I took this before we left. I thought the sweater would be enough, but I had to wear my other wool cardigan because it was so cold. It’s like one of God’s little jokes. I need a little sunshine in my life.
We scored a table. I noticed others coveting our table. It took over an hour before anyone asked us if they could sit down. Just before they asked, I told Bill that in BW, someone would have asked awhile ago.
Good turnout… and this was actually before the rush hit.
My husband… in another life, he was a Scottish (or Irish) fisherman.
A shot of our “village”. It’s a culture shock, because our other German neighborhoods were more rural. We live a block up from here.
A pano shot, for the extra curious.
Right when things got started. Our tiny town square.
We never did find it, but I bet by September, we’ll know where to go.
Don’t you think it’s time he changed his profile pic? I do.
The most elaborate Easter tree I’ve seen.
Bill’s reaction to my filthy sense of humor. I think we were on our second glass of wine.
A map of our town. We are not near Stuttgart anymore.
Crown him with many crowns.
I noticed a few people noticing us. The guy selling wine was brave enough to ask Bill where we’re from. He mentioned the other American who lives in Breckenheim, on the other side of the village. I think there might be fewer Americans in this town than in Jettingen, where we lived most recently when we were near Stuttgart. But this town also has an Air BnB that is apparently popular with Americans. Both times, when we lived near Stuttgart, we were in somewhat rural areas. Where we are now is probably somewhat rural for Wiesbaden, but not for Stuttgart. I am from Virginia, and I often liken it as a move to Northern Virginia as opposed to a move to Richmond.
Still… in some ways, I am liking Wiesbaden a lot. In others, it’s a little hard to get used to. One thing I can be grateful for, though, is that this area has some great veterinary talent. Our former vets in Herrenberg alerted me to the fantastic Tierfklinik Hofheim, which is supposedly among the best in Germany. We live only about twenty minutes from there now, which was not the case when the Herrenberg vet mentioned this facility to me. And my German friend, Susanne, who lives near Stuttgart, alerted me to the fact that the vet we’re probably going to use permanently (and have already used once) does IVF for dogs. He once even went to Dubai to inseminate a dog there with sperm from Australia.
It’s definitely a different world up here. I look forward to getting to know it better. Today, Frankfurt’s spring fair begins. We’ll have to check it out and try some Frankfurt green sauce.