Another chore done…

This morning, Bill and I went to get my German driver’s license renewed. After five years, your license expires. We’ve been here since August 2014, so it was time to get this chore accomplished. Because we’re here on SOFA status, our driver’s license procedure is different than it would be if we were ordinary residents. We have to go to an office on an installation, in this case, Clay Kaserne, fill out paperwork, take an eye test, and pay $20. Technically, my stateside license is what makes me legal to drive here, but we have to have one issued by the military installation, too.

License renewal is pretty easy, since it doesn’t require taking a test. In 2007 and 2014, I had to take the driver’s license test. I was able to pass on the first try both times, although not everyone does. I think both times, I took a class directly before the exam was given, although the class is now available online. I don’t think it’s a hard test, but it does take time to get it done. I still have the first German license that was issued to me in 2007. I turned my license from 2014 in today and should get a new one in the mail in a few weeks.

The guy who helped me this morning was a delightful German fellow who was cracking jokes the whole time. I found him very amusing, and could tell that he shares a love of sweets with me. He had a jar of cookies, a candy jar full of gummi fish, and another box of cookies on his desk. When he noticed we’d moved up here from Stuttgart, he was extolling the virtues of Wiesbaden versus Stuttgart. To be honest, I think I like living up here more, although there are a few things I miss about Stuttgart. Stuttgart is a lot more familiar to me and I think the surrounding area is prettier… there’s a lot more nature and pretty buildings that weren’t destroyed in World War II. But the people up here seem more relaxed about almost everything, which makes life easier for me.

After we filled out my paperwork, the guy helpfully explained how I can get an international driver’s license. We’ve been here five years and I never bothered to get one. I don’t drive very often. Bill wants to get me one now, though, because they’re good to have in case something happens to him while we’re out of the country. Also, it’s a lot easier to get the international license up here. In Stuttgart, we had to go to a German government office to get one. It took a couple of hours because there were many people waiting and not enough people working. Up here, we can get the international license on post, and the same guy would be helping us. And… he even explained how we can expedite things even more. Very helpful guy… and very friendly! Edited to add: Bill says we still have to go to a government office to get the international license, but it’s a very large office, so it only takes a few minutes as opposed to hours.

I had occasion to use the restroom while we were renewing my license. I was amused by the wall o’ PSAs in the ladies room. There were instructions on everything from how to wash your hands to how to prevent the spread of flu. And there were tons of directives– turn off the lights, report all leaks, and dammit, wash your hands! The ladies room also had, not just a chair, but a full couch! I don’t know how many people hang out in the restroom, but if you wanted to on Clay Kaserne, you certainly could. Maybe the couch was intended for nursing moms, but I noticed they had a nursing room, too.

Seriously, you could spend ten minutes reading all of this crap on the walls. I get a kick out of military installations, because there is never a shortage of reading material. Every bulletin board is chock full of information, and the walls are full of instructions on what to do in any situation. They especially like to put stuff on the stall doors so you can read while you’re taking a dump.

As someone who could have been a public health practitioner, I do appreciate the pictorial on how to wash your hands properly… but somehow, I think those who need the sign the most probably would not take the time to read it. One would hope this would be a home taught skill, anyway. But, on the other hand, you’d likely be surprised by how many people don’t wash their hands after they go to the bathroom.

I’m just glad I didn’t see anything like this in the restroom…

I’m staying the hell away from Kansas City!

This post is proof positive that I can find something to write about every day, if I put my mind to it.


Day o’ chores…

Bill and I had big plans for our Labor Day that involved actual labor.  We had breakfast this morning.  Bill took the dogs for a walk while I ranted on my main blog.  Then we turned on the heat for the first time.  Yes, it’s September, which means fall is about here.  Hard to believe it was hot as hell here ten days ago.  After our morning chores were done, it was time to get down to business.

First, we needed to go to Böblingen to get Bill an international driver’s license.  Of course, we could take a chance and drive to Austria without one, but Bill is not the type to risk big fines and hassles.  So we went, getting a later start than advisable.  By the time we got to the appropriate government office, there was a big line of people.  We waited about two hours to take care of our business.  We had to stand for the first twenty minutes or so, because there wasn’t enough seating.  One thing I did like, though, was the lighting.  It wasn’t that harsh fluorescent lighting you find in the depressing American government offices.  In fact, I noticed they take advantage of natural lighting by way of large windows.  The lady who finally took care of us had a nice view of trees, too.

Like being at the DMV…

While we were waiting, I discovered that the office had free Wi-Fi.  I made the mistake of using it.  Who could blame me?  It was faster than 4G.  Unfortunately, I somehow ended up with a Net Nanny like program called “” on my phone and it was blocking access to my blog.  I certainly couldn’t have that.  At first, I thought SurfGuard had to do with the Wi-Fi and my phone would go back to normal once we were out of the building.  I was wrong.

I went looking for information about SurfGuard and all I can find is that it’s some sort of malware.  Sadly, everything I found about removing it was for PC users, not iPhones.  And sorry, but nothing is going to block me from my blog on my phone.  Fuck that.  So SurfGuard had to go.

A shitload of Beck’s beer at the drink market.  Someone is going to have to drink it.  Not me.

We had lunch at the Schönbuch Brauhaus.  I had Fleischkaese, which is sausage loaf with onion gravy and served with potato salad.  It was okay, but reminded me of glorified Spam.  I probably won’t have it again, though it definitely stuck to my ribs.  I spent all of lunch trying to fix my phone.  Bill had the special, which was butterflied pork cutlets with fries.

When all my efforts to get rid of SurfGuard failed, I finally ended up erasing the phone and am now having to upload all my apps.  I lost all my photos, though fortunately they are all on my computer now, anyway.  It’s a huge pain in the ass.  I get that the government folks don’t want people looking at porn and shit while in their building, but I don’t appreciate having weird Net Nanny type programs installed on my phone without my knowledge.

I should have bought a mug…

After lunch, we went to Heinrich’s Drink Market and got rid of some empty bottles.  We picked up a few new brews, then headed for Breunigerland to pick up a vignette for our trip to Austria.  While we were there, I spotted Äffle und Pferdle mugs and bowls.  I wanted to buy one of the mugs, but resisted the urge.  Instead, we went to have coffee…  Actually, Bill had a latte and I had sekt.  Hey, where can you have sekt in an American mall?

A little afternoon morale booster.

So now we’re home and the dogs were glad to see us.  We’ll have a short week and be off to Austria on Friday.  I can hardly wait.

I cut my hair last week…