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Germany sizzles!

It’s so hot. Yesterday, it was officially the hottest day ever recorded in Germany. Temperatures swelled to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius). Thank God we bought air conditioners in 2015 and 2017, because I bet they’re sold out at the local hardware stores. The vast majority of German homes lack air conditioning because up until recently, it never got that hot here. Unfortunately, that is now changing.

I remember as recently as 2009, it wasn’t that hot in Germany. In fact, I remember ten years ago, it snowed much more often than it does now. We got maybe two or three weeks of warm weather, then we were back in jackets. That’s not so, nowadays. The past few summers have become increasingly brutal. Climate change is a real thing, and it’s scary.

Fortunately, our current house has rolladens on all of the windows. Our upstairs doesn’t actually have windows, except in the bathroom. What we have are glass plated doors that open to large balconies on either side of the house. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to use my air conditioners in this house, but it turns out they’re even easier to use here. There’s no need to use a hot air stopper, because all I have to do is drop the rolladen just to the point at which I can stick the hose outside. Yes, hot air still gets in, but it’s mostly blocked by the rolladen. There’s no need to use adhesive or anything else to hold the hose outside and I don’t have to roast in my own sweat. An added bonus is that I also don’t have full scale sunlight hitting me in the face anymore at my desk, so that I have to drape a towel over the window for the morning hours in the summer. I had to do that in the previous house.

I don’t think it will be much longer before people in Germany start air conditioning their houses. Last fall, we even looked at a house in Wiesbaden that was having it installed. I was tempted to take that house, but there were a few things that prevented us from pulling the trigger. The biggest issues were that I wasn’t sure our bed would fit and I would have had to go outside to access the laundry room. But, I won’t lie… air conditioning for these increasingly brutal summer weeks was a huge draw. I have done my time sweltering in the heat. I don’t want to do it anymore if I don’t have to.

Although the past few months have been an adjustment for us, I definitely like Wiesbaden. It has a different vibe than Stuttgart does, and people seem to be more friendly and peaceful. There’s much less of a social media presence here, so I don’t get caught up in ridiculous online dramas. There’s a smaller military presence here, too, and most everyone seems to be with the Army rather than all branches. The garrison commander is supportive of everyone, including contractors, so that’s a big plus. When we move out of this house, we will have support from the housing office, which we were denied in Stuttgart. I definitely enjoyed our time in Stuttgart and I have many pleasant memories from all six years, but I’m glad we moved… for many reasons.

Hopefully, this heat wave will be finished soon. I’m beginning to feel like we’re back in Texas, although in Texas, we had air conditioning (that cost us a fortune). Supposedly, the temperatures will be pleasant in Scotland when we’re there. Now that I think about it… August seems a strange time to go whisky tasting. Ah well, I’m sure we’ll have fun, anyway.

By the way… today marks my 1200th post on this blog!

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anecdotes

German windows!

One thing about living in Germany that is very different than living in America is that Germans take their windows very seriously.  When we were looking for places to live, we talked to our current landlords, who proudly informed us that they were in the process of replacing all of the windows in the house we’re living in.  And then they told us they were going to put screens on them!

I come from the southern United States, where screens on the windows are a given fact of life.  We put them on our windows to keep out the intense sun and all the bugs and leaves that tend to fly around down there.  Here in Germany, screens on the windows are pretty rare.  When we lived here last time, my husband Bill, who is perpetually “hot-natured”, would complain about having to choose between having a cooler home with the windows open or dealing with bugs.  So when our landlords mentioned screens, he was interested.

Personally, I like to keep the windows closed unless it’s very stuffy because I am sensitive to noise, either the noise I make or the noise others make.  I also get cold easier than my husband does.  Especially during the summer, we’re often gently fighting over the temperature.

Some of the windows in our house were already replaced before we moved in.  The rest were finished last month over a couple of particularly chaotic days.  It seems the local company that did the windows has someone on staff who routinely messes up the measurements.  She happens to be the business owner’s daughter, so she stays in the job, even though her mistakes sometimes cause waste.  She happened to get the wrong measurements for the windows pictured below.  At one point, that entire panel of windows was removed and covered with plywood.

But look at them now!

 

The new windows are fantastic!  They are very heavy duty, high quality, and triple paned, so there’s a lot less noise going into or out of the house.  With two loud hounds and my own penchant for making and playing music, that’s a good thing.

It was great to get the glass back after a week of plywood.

This is a door that got a new screen on it.

The screens were added yesterday to several windows.  This screen door has powerful magnets that keep the door closed.  If we wanted to, we could leave the big door open and let fresh air in without fear of insect invasion.  We probably won’t, though, because we have dogs that bark!

 

I was really glad we didn’t get screens on all windows because one thing I love about German windows is being able to look out of them without any obstruction.  Our windows happen to overlook a nice field with lots of trees.  Sometimes I like to take pictures of the scenery.  Not having screens on all of the windows lets me do that, yet I can also open the windows that do have them and prevent insects from invading the house.  I also love that they have three settings.  You can open the window, close it, or set it to crack at the top.  It’s very cool.

I never thought I’d be so excited about windows, but I am.  I love the fact that they are large and let in a lot of natural light, even if it can mean buying curtains that are huge!  I have never been one to like using overhead lighting and much prefer lamps in my house.  And I really only want to use those when there’s no natural light coming in.  Large German windows make it easier to do that.  They probably help save money, too.  Our landlords also put in electric shutters on the window panel in our living room.  They work by remote control and are fabulous when we need to go out or want privacy.

My landlord asked about our windows in the USA.  I told him that most of them weren’t like what we have here, though I knew of some people that special ordered German windows with the rolling shades.  I imagine most people who are willing to do something like that are either immigrants or people who lived in Germany with the military.  It probably costs a bundle to do.

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North Carolina

The heat is here…

After an unseasonably cool spring, it looks like we finally got our summer heat here in North Carolina. And that’s probably a good thing, since in just weeks, I’ll be in Texas… just in time for the dog days of summer.  I guess I better get used to really hot weather.

I heard the weather might cool down before the end of the week… but I’m not holding my breath.  And to think a month ago, I was on SeaDream wrapped up in multiple towels after using the hot tub.  How quickly things change!

I tell you what else we have here in North Carolina… disgusting ticks.  And the sneaky little bastards find the most obscure nooks and crannies to hide in.  I found one between my dog Arran’s toes.  It had  become engorged, despite my diligent use of flea and tick preventative.  Under the engorged tick, there was another tick that hadn’t latched on yet.  Yeccch!

My Texas based Facebook friends remind me that once we move to San Antonio, I’ll be dealing with scorpions and snakes, too.  I think I’ll be glad to just get this move behind me.

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