Toilet seat hunting… one way to crap off the week…a

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This post was written in November 2018.  Sorry for the confusion!

On Monday of this week, I wrote a tale of woe about the toilet seat in our upstairs bathroom.  The bumper on the old toilet seat in our current house busted the other day.  Bill decided to get a new seat.  Off we went to the Toom in Herrenberg to find one.

Bill was armed with the measurements he’d taken of our current commode.  We spent several minutes perusing the impressive array of toilet seats available at our handy German hardware store…

There’s a whole wall of seats.  They range from the colorful to the plain.

Bill found a couple of contenders.

I was amused by all the beach scenes, especially since I grew up pretty close to the ocean and miss it.

This one was in 3D!

I probably would have preferred the zebra.

I was eyeing the toilets jealously, but then remembered that our new house has new toilets… or so we were told.  To be honest, with all the houses we visited, it’s hard to tell who said what.  Suffice to say, I don’t think the toilets in our new house are “water saver” types like the one in our current house’s upstairs bathroom.

Bill paid about 30 euros for the new seat, then we headed into Herrenberg for lunch.  We could have had lunch at the Toom, since they have a full scale snack bar there.  We got to town a little bit later than optimal for lunch.  It was about 1:30pm, which is getting close to “pause” time.  I’m going to miss Herrenberg, so I took a few pictures.

I took a photo of this store because I hope someday to visit and buy a table here.  They have some really beautiful custom made tables in this shop on the main drag through town.  It’s called Lieblingsholz.

Closing down the Saturday market.

A charming sign…

Just before we stopped to take a picture of this sign, we stopped at our favorite local pizzeria.  It was closed today, just as it was last time we were in Herrenberg.  I was looking at the sign and an elderly German guy came over and asked us if we wanted to “have a coffee”.  I was actually talking to Bill when I said, “What did you say?”, but I guess the guy thought I was talking to him.  It turned out the German gent spoke perfect English.  He told us about a really nice bakery down the street that serves coffee.  We were very charmed by his inclination to help us find coffee, even though we were looking for lunch and have lived near Herrenberg a total of six years over two tours!  It was such a nice, welcoming gesture, though!

Herrenberg kind of feels like home.  I fear Wiesbaden may not feel that way to me, because it’s so crowded and people have more money there.  But I have met people from Hesse who live down here near Stuttgart and I have met a guy who is married to someone from Stuttgart who lives in Hesse.  So I guess we’ll find some friendly folks regardless.

Yesterday, Bill stopped by our vets’ office in Herrenberg to pay for the dentals we had them do on our dogs and take care of the VAT form.  One of the vets had recommended that we stock up on wormers and flea and tick pills, so it would be on the VAT, too.  I’m going to miss our vets, too.  They’ve taken great care of our boys and I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, for professional purposes, anyway.  I told them I wouldn’t be surprised if we came back to the area at some point.  This is the place for guys like Bill.

We ended up at Hanoi Pho.  We have eaten there once before and I remembered liking the food.  I liked it today, too.

Shot of Bill after he asked our waiter what the lady next him was having.  She had a bowl full of fried stuff that looked just right for me.

But I ended up having shrimp with vegetables and peanut sauce.  Unfortunately, this had a couple of mushrooms in it, but Bill came to my rescue.  It was otherwise very good and lightly spicy, if not a little heavy.  

Bill went with pho made with beef and noodles.  In the picture, you can also see the mushrooms he took from my dish.  Thankfully, there was just one cut into a few pieces.  It didn’t affect the flavor of the dish.  Bill used some red chili sauce in the pho and it was apparently very potent.  He ate the whole thing and even threatened to drink the broth.  As we were leaving, he was wiping his eyes and nose because the sauce had brought on the waterworks.

The proprietor dropped hints that he was ready for a smoke break when he brought us our bill unrequested.  It came to about 25 euros.  We were about finished anyway.  Bill had to go look for a wrench so he can install the new toilet seat.  Then he said, “I guess I better get some wine, too, since we only have two bottles.  One is Moldovan and the other is semi-sweet.”

My response was, “Oh God, yes, get some wine.”  That’s my Bill.  Always a provider.  He’s been busy today, taking care of some minor maintenance issues like changing lightbulbs and offloading trash.  When he removed the old toilet seat, the bolts were so rusted that one snapped clean off.  It was definitely time for a new seat.  Hope the new tenants like it.

Tada!  After Bill installed this snazzy new seat, he fetched a bottle of wine.  I have now christened the new seat and it’s a vast improvement over the old one.  

If you got through today’s post, I would like to share with you some glorious photos from a couple of sunrises this week.  I think the view at our current house is the best part of our experience here.  I’m going to miss it, too.

These were from Tuesday…

And these were from this morning.  For about twenty minutes each morning, especially when it’s going to be cloudy, we get amazing sunrises and sunsets at this time of year.  Unfortunately, the view from our new home will include a lot of rooftops.  We weren’t as lucky in finding a rural location in Wiesbaden.

I took these on Tuesday with my digital camera, which is capable of zooming.  I loved the big blackbird.  He sits in that tree all the time, looking for rodents.  Sometimes it’s exciting to watch as he and his buddies swoop into the fields, competing with the many cats that prowl the area.

I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store for us.  I suspect I’ll be purchasing some rugs at the PX.  Maybe we’ll stop by the Auld Rogue or something.  Next weekend, we’ll be in Baden-Baden resting up and celebrating our anniversary.

Spring shopping and sushi…

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The coolest hardware store ever…

Last night, as we were sitting outside in our fenced in yard, it occurred to me that I’d really like to get rid of our old patio furniture… or, if not get rid of it, repurpose it.  We have two large balconies in our latest house, neither of which have any seating.  I have been eyeing teak patio furniture for weeks.  Finally, I talked Bill into a trip to the MS Holz Fachmarkt.  I wrote about this store a couple of months ago, noting that it has a super awesome slide for kids and big kids.  Today, we actually saw kids sliding down as well as at least one adult.  No, I didn’t try it myself, although I was slightly tempted.

This thing is a barrel of laughs.

It took us no time at all to find the table and chairs we wanted.  It took a bit longer to find someone willing to help us.  As I’ve mentioned before, customer service can be a bit sketchy in Germany sometimes.  Anyway, we did manage to flag down a tall young man who spoke some English.  The table and chairs we wanted were in stock, and by plum, we were able to fit them in our SUV.

Lots to choose from.  They also had some very impressive grills for sale.

They had a bunch of different tables and chairs, some a lot more expensive than what we bought.  I love that Germans don’t go in for that shitty particle board crap that is so easily found in the United States.  The furniture in this store was all wood and well made.  And since our porch is covered, it’s no problem keeping it out of the elements.  This set, we’ll probably store in the garage during winter.

Pick up!

The back of our SUV was pretty well packed, but if we couldn’t have gotten it home, we could arrange for delivery.  This store is really close to where we live, so it wouldn’t have been too expensive to arrange delivery.

A big improvement!  And since we have beautiful weather, I suspect we’ll be breaking it in today.  I will look for some cushions.

 

After we set up the furniture, we went to Wiesbaden for lunch.  After we walked around for awhile, searching for a place that wasn’t too crowded and wasn’t taking a pause, we ended up at Hiro Sushi.  Our waitress was really friendly and they were playing surprisingly soothing guitar Muzak.  I must be getting old, because for once Muzak didn’t really annoy me.

Wiesbaden is so pretty.

 

Friendly service and great sushi!

They had Paulaner alcohol free beer at Hiro Sushi.  It was surprisingly good.  I couldn’t really tell that it was alcohol free. 

Obligatory shot of Bill.

They had a little cat that waved…

Interesting art on the walls that welcomed everyone in several different languages.

 

I was starving, so I ordered shrimp tempura spring rolls.  These were surprisingly good, though a little hard to eat.  Basically, they each consisted of a fried shrimp surrounded by sprouts and cabbage and wrapped in rice paper.

Bill had shrimp dumplings… rice paper filled with shrimp.

 

I’m not quite sure what Bill had.  It was very crispy and had avocado, but it wasn’t quite as fancy as mine was.

I had the Morido, sushi with tempura fried avocado and covered with salmon.

We usually don’t bother with dessert in sushi places, but today I had green tea ice cream with mangoes.  It was very refreshing.

Bill went with deep fried Vietnamese sesame balls with coconut sauce.  He said they were a little heavy, particularly for the weather.  I was glad he tried them, though.  I was curious.  

This was a very nice lunch.  I felt a lot better afterwards, especially since I was really hungry when we came in.  The total bill came to about 51 euros.  After we paid it, and Bill thanked the waitress in Japanese, we headed back to the car and dropped off some empty bottles, then picked up more beer.  I have a feeling it’s time to enjoy our new outdoor furniture before Easter.  Tomorrow, we may head to Frankfurt for their annual spring fair, the Dippemess.  We’ll see if either of us feels like the train ride…

The nicest hardware store I’ve ever seen… and more Italian hospitality!

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Now that we’ve settled in somewhat, Bill has decided to try to fix the holes in the wall where the curtain rod is in our living room.  The holes were left by the previous occupants, who apparently hung heavy drapes that pulled the screws out of the wall.  Once he fixes that, I can hang my drapes and raise the Rolladens.  Actually, I’m trying to decide what we can put in our big living room so it doesn’t look so empty.  It’s like we have two living rooms now and one side has art, a rug, and our Bose speaker.  The other side has the couches.

So anyway, we needed to go to the hardware store to pick up some stuff with which to fix the holes.  In our old town, we used to go to the hardware stores in Herrenberg or Nagold.  They weren’t bad hardware stores.  In fact, they reminded me of slightly upscale American big box stores.  Our Toom in Herrenberg even had a small restaurant in it.  Germans are very civilized.

I didn’t have especially high expectations for the MS Holz Fachmarkt.  I figured it would be like all the other hardware stores I’ve been to.  I see by Google reviews that this store gets average ratings.  People seem to either love it or hate it.  I enjoyed my visit today…

The front facade.  Apparently, this is a new location with a nice big parking lot.  Check out the cool kids’ play equipment.  No, they aren’t for your kids to play on, but you can build one for your house.

As soon as I walked inside, I was greeted by the cashier.

All of your garden needs… even Crocs and hats for your kids.

 

I found Bill and a friendly staffer, who spoke English, showed Bill what he needed to fix the hole.  Bill had helpfully taken a picture of the hole, which was useful to show the man so he could advise us of the right product.  The guy even explained the directions to us in English, since the packaging didn’t have them translated.

Then I noticed this “wallpaper”.  In both of our German houses this time, I’ve noticed the walls have this texture on them.  I saw that it looked like wallpaper, but was curious if that’s what it really is.  Sure enough, my curiosity was satisfied.

There were a couple of things I was hoping to find… the kind of things you might find in a Lowe’s or a Home Depot.  Unfortunately, Germany doesn’t embrace one stop shopping quite as much as the United States does.  Still, it was interesting to walk around the store, which was clean and quiet and had some very attractive displays.

Ideas for when the weather improves.

A lounger with a shade!

Isn’t it beautiful?

This was a cool looking door, with the shattered look.  I think it was selling for about 1500 euros.

An artist who makes furniture with trees…

 

I loved the chair, though I don’t know how comfortable it is.  It was made with a cherry tree.

 

Then I spotted a most impressive sight!  This store has a slide in it.  Your children take off their shoes and slide down to the bottom, right next to the coffee bar.  Didn’t I tell you Germans were civilized?

Weee!  My German friend Susanne says that there was a shoe store in Stuttgart that had a slide that went to the children’s section (smart thinking) and a drug store in her little town also had one.  As an American who was denied such coolness as a child, I now feel deprived!

 

When we were finished shopping, we decided to search for lunch.  We drove around a bit, noticing the Hofladens near our house.  We eventually ended up in Hofheim am Taunus, where I spotted a pizzeria called Amici.  It looked promising.

Bill is ready for lunch… and we had a big one!

A little local water in a bottle that reminds me of perfume.

They brought out some bread and olives, and poured generous glasses of Primitivo.

We split an avocado salad that was made with tiny shrimp, pineapples, and garnished with cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and balsamic vinegar.  This was about 13,50 euros and I’m glad we shared it.  It was a lot even for the two of us, but it was very nice.

 

There was an older couple sitting near us and they were obviously regulars.  The very pleasant waitress took excellent care of them, joking and laughing.  Another couple of ladies brought in an adorable six month old baby and a toddler with red ringlets.  They were easily chatting with the older couple, who appeared to be having a great time.  I can see why they’re regulars.  The waitress was super nice and the food was great.

Bill had Rigatoni 435, which included beef and “Stein Pilze” (stone mushrooms).  He loved it, but that plate reeked of fungus!  It was a bit overwhelming for me, especially since I hate mushrooms.

I went with Linguini Scolo, which was basically linguini with “fruits of the sea”.  I couldn’t finish it, because that was a lot of protein.  It was yummy, though… shrimp, “crevettes” (little shrimp), mussels, and vegetables– tomatoes, peppers, and leeks.

Naturally, we had dessert.  Bill had creamy panna cotta, which came with caramel and was probably the best I’ve tasted in a long time.  Panna cotta is often like Jello, but this was a lot creamier.  

I had zabaione with vanilla ice cream.  We had this at Little Italy in Wiesbaden back in October.  To be honest, I liked the way they did it better.  This dessert is really more like a beverage the way it’s served at Amici.  At Little Italy, it was more like a thin pudding.  It’s basically a liquid custard made with Masala wine.  We also had a round of espresso.

As we paid the check, we enjoyed a house shot of Limoncello.  We could have also had grappa or another digestive.  I think it’s a nice touch when European restaurants do this.  It kind of softens the blow of the bill.

 

Hofheim am Taunus isn’t far from where we live, so I can see us going back to this place.  Maybe we’ll even be regulars.  I think that would be alright.  If we’d taken the first house we looked at when we were househunting, which was too small for us, we would have been really close!

Out front…  They had a nice display of wine in the front window, too, with multiple bottles of “Why Not” Primitivo.

And someone’s artistic rendition of Yosemite Sam…  There’s a large train station in this town.  We’ll have to explore it more when the weather improves.

 

All in all, we had another nice afternoon in our new area.  It may soon be time to start a new “Good eats” post, like the one I made for Stuttgart.