anecdotes, dogs, Germany, shopping

Another week, another impulse Facebook purchase…

Once again, thanks to the weather and COVID-19, it wasn’t a very exciting week in Deutschland. Even if the pandemic weren’t an issue, I doubt I’d want to go out and about in the gloomy weather that happens every January in this part of Europe. It’s chilly–not particularly cold, which is unusual for Germany in January– and there’s a lot of rain. We had a couple of dustings of snow, but nothing remarkable. The backyard is still a slop pit. Last night, I was cutting pieces of our felled crepe myrtle and feeding them to the fireplace, surprised by how easily they burned, despite being newly cut and not seasoned.

Our landlord usually supplies us with free firewood, but he hasn’t offered any lately and Bill hasn’t requested any. We don’t use the fireplace as often as we probably should… we both love having fires, and we haven’t been lucky enough to live in a lot of places with fireplaces. So far, I count two homes with fireplaces and one with a really awesome masonry heater. Sometimes I wish we could transport this house and its landlord to Baden-Württemberg, where we had snow more often.

Anyway, none of that is either here nor there. Today’s post is about yet another Facebook purchase I made. I don’t usually buy stuff off of Facebook, but one night, I was on the brink of falling asleep, and I saw an ad for the DryMee quick dry bath mat. I was half asleep when I made this purchase decision, and once I made it, I kind of regretted it. The mat cost about 40 euros, after all. And then I noticed how long it would take to get to me– 10 to 15 work days, I think. Why? Because it was coming all the way from China!

But the mat arrived this week, and I have to say, I am pleased with it for one major reason, which you can see by the photo above. The mat is flat and thin enough to fit under the door when it’s open. So now I don’t have to stand on a wet floor after a shower or move a mat there while I’m showering. Also, while I can’t say that the mat is absorbent as it appears to be in the video on the Facebook ad I bought it from, it IS quite absorbent and makes quick work of sucking up the water from the shower.

On the Web site where I bought this mat, it says that they’re running a “New Year’s Special” with 50 percent off the suggested price of 79,90 euros. Well, folks, I think the suggested price is bullshit, and I wouldn’t pay that much for that mat or any other mat, unless it was capable of massaging my feet or something special like that. But for what it is, and what it does, I have to admit I am satisfied. It does what we need it to do, and I am delighted that I can open and close the bathroom door without having to move it.

One thing I also have to mention… When you order stuff from other countries, sometimes you have to pay duties or customs fees. I didn’t have to pay anything for this mat, although I was prepared with some euros just in case. When I made my hasty impulse purchase, I didn’t realize this would be shipped from China. If I had known it was coming from there, I probably would not have bought it… not because I have anything against China per se, but because it takes so long for orders from China to get to us. On the other hand, as I wrote earlier on my main blog this week, I have gotten some real and honest enjoyment out of some Chinese products, like the hat pictured below.

Yes, that is a picture of Mister Rogers with his two middle fingers raised.

Last year, an enterprising Chinese businessperson offered this nifty hat for sale on Amazon.de. And yes, as an impulse buyer, I decided to purchase one. The hat came in handy this week after an encounter with a drunk hoodlum in our neighborhood. You can read about that incident on my main blog, as it’s not PG rated enough for this blog. Kidding about the PG rating… but not about the obnoxious uninvited visitor. I also wrote an update after some of our other neighbors posted about the intruder in our neighborhood Facebook group.

Mister Rogers did this while singing with little kids. Clearly, he wasn’t aware that raising the middle finger is taboo.

I like how community minded Breckenheim is. I was going to cross post that story on this blog, since it needs some love, but I decided that a lot of the people who are currently reading this blog also read the other one. So if you’re not a reader of my main blog, now’s your chance to check it out. I hope it doesn’t offend.

Noyzi the Kosovar rescue dog went to the vet for some routine vaccines. He charmed the vet with his stumpy little natural bobtail, which is always wagging. He becomes more adorable by the week, especially as he trusts Bill more and more. It really is rewarding to have him. Sometimes, a little ghost of Zane (his predecessor) comes out. But Noyzi is very much his own dog with his own personality.

Noyzi does one thing that most of our rescued hounds have never done. I think the one exception was CuCullain (CC), our very first beagle mix (with husky) rescue. That is, Noyzi will often “stand guard”. He will sit or lie next to me, facing the door. CC was a tri-colored beagle mix with bright blue eyes and a horrific husky-like undercoat that shed a lot. But he did have some of those big dog– prey oriented– traits. Sometimes, Noyzi reminds me of him. Like CC, Noyzi also doesn’t bark much, nor is he a licker. He will, however, happily plunge his nose into my ass, especially if I’m bent over. As someone who usually has beagles, this is a strange thing to get used to. All of our dogs have been too short to do such a thing.

The only other major event that came up this week is that our landlord came over to settle the Nebenkosten (other costs– water, gas, etc.) for 2021. Once again, we didn’t use as much water and trash service as we paid for, so we got about 600 euros back. And once again, I am amazed at the differences between this landlord and others we’ve had. It’s so nice to rent from someone who is fair, honest, and treats us with basic respect. I hope we can stay awhile… at least until our stocks recover from the recent plunge. I doubt that will be a problem, given the state of the world today. But I’ve also learned after years as a spouse to a military guy, sometimes Uncle Sam has other plans. Or, barring Uncle Sam’s plans, some meddlesome, narcissistic twit who doesn’t mind upending other people’s lives based on their own whims.

Someday, we WILL travel again. Or we will eat in a restaurant. But for now, so ends another gloomy winter week in Deutschland… as the post Christmas blues slowly wane into the February blues.

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anecdotes, chores, Germany, weather, Wiesbaden

All the trees are down…

and the sky is… actually sunny right now. For once, it’s not cloudy and gray outside, but I fear that will change in a few hours, when it starts snowing again.

We had snow in the wee hours of the morning, and sadly, the other crepe myrtle in our backyard was a casualty. Bill and I slept in, enjoying the ability to snooze through the dark hours of the morning. I got up to let Noyzi out, and beheld this sight…

We had two myrtle trees in our backyard. One of them mysteriously died a couple of years ago and we basically cut it down ourselves. The other held on for a bit longer, but was looking somewhat peaked this year. I noticed it wasn’t handling the very light snow very well. We’ve also had lots of rain lately, so the ground is very soggy and messy. I guess the snow that fell early this morning was too much for it. Bill was up at about 3am, letting the dogs out for a nocturnal whiz. He said it was really coming down then. But now it’s already melting, as the temperature isn’t very cold.

When I broke the news to Bill about the tree, he was feeling a bit traumatized and full of dread, given our harrowing experiences dealing with the landlady in our last house. But he went out and shoveled the common area, and when the landlord eventually made an appearance, he told him about the tree. The landlord said, “Okay, I’ll come take a look at it later.” Then he drove off in his car to go pick up a new battery.

I set about taking down the two Christmas trees. I’d actually kind of been looking forward to taking them down… The smaller tree had a dead string of lights on it that gave me the excuse to get rid of the other strands like it, which for some reason had about 30 feet of wire for about ten feet of actual lights, and huge boxy plugs that made it hard to plug them into a power strip. I don’t know why they were like that, but boy, were they annoying. But they did last eight Christmases, so I guess that’s pretty good.

I do like looking at the lights… and I will miss their colorful, homey glow in the living room, which is not very highly furnished. But once January comes around, it becomes necessary to dispense with the holiday decor. Oh… I guess I could just leave it up… I did have a friend whose dad left up the beautiful Christmas tree her late mother had put up many years ago. It was actually very pretty, even though it was a holiday relic that had been turned into art.

My friend was an artist herself, and is now a psychology professor at the University of South Carolina, which is where I attended graduate school. I met her in the early 90s when we both worked at a church summer camp in Virginia. She had New Year’s party one year in her hometown of Grottoes, Virginia, for all of us camp folks. That’s how I got to see her mom’s tree… and the beautiful farm her dad owned. I remember it snowed then, too, and we went sledding! Later, we played “Spin the Bottle”, which was weird. But it was also fun! Sometimes, I miss being young.

The landlord just rang the doorbell and he and Bill went out back. He took one look at the tree and said, “Maybe it’s too old. Does it bother you now?”

Bill said it didn’t, but he just wanted to let the landlord know.

The landlord said, “Okay, we’ll just leave it for now, and then when the whether dries up a bit, we’ll remove it and maybe get a gardener to come in and plant something else.”

This probably means Bill will have to re-lay the boundary for the lawnmower robot again. But maybe we’ll get a fruit tree or something.

Wow… the difference between landlord/landlady responses to falling things due to acts of God is astounding. Bill is relieved that went so smoothly. So am I. I don’t know that crepe myrtles were the best idea for that spot in the yard, anyway. The fence that separates our yard from our neighbor’s is overgrown with ivy in the summer. That probably had a lot to do with why the trees died.

Anyway… now we have a reason to plant a real garden, if we can keep Noyzi out of it. I will miss the shade in the summer, though… and the privacy. It’s sad when trees collapse. Rest in peace, crepe myrtle. I’m sure our dearly departed Zane will be happy to lift his leg on you once again, up there over the Rainbow Bridge.

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anecdotes, coronavirus, Germany, staying home

This weekend is pretty much ruined…

A few days ago, I was really looking forward to this weekend. The weather looked like it was going to be beautiful. There were several wine centered events going on, to include our local wine stand that takes place in the town square. Before COVID-19 messed everything up, we would have those wine stands every other week during the warm months. They were a lot of fun, and a great way to get to know the neighbors.

There was a wine market in Hofheim yesterday, and a wine festival in Ingelheim, which I really wanted to go to. Fortunately, the fest will continue all week until next Sunday. Hopefully, by then, I’ll be well, and Bill won’t have to work.

That’s right… I am sick this weekend. I don’t know how it happened, but it has put a real damper on our fun. Thanks to a big work exercise, Bill also had to work this morning. He arranged to do a four hour shift early today, so we could have had the rest of the day to do something fun. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere today, either.

I spent most of yesterday in bed with gastroenteritis. I don’t know how I got it. I don’t spend time around anyone other than Bill, and he hasn’t had it. It’s possible I ate something that made me sick. It came on Friday night, when I suddenly developed a fever and chills. Of course I was worried about COVID-19, even though I live like a hermit.

As Friday night went on, my stomach started to feel weird. I actually wanted pizza for dinner, though, and was relieved that when Bill made it, I could easily smell it. Unfortunately, the pizza didn’t last. After dinner, the vomiting started. I spent the whole night shivering under two duvets.

Yesterday, Bill made breakfast and, once again, I was relieved that I could smell it. In fact, the aroma of bacon was almost overwhelming. But breakfast also didn’t stay with me. I resolved not to try to eat anything else, other than a waffle syrup cookie, which is pretty bland. I managed to hang onto that and the two sodas Bill brought me. Then I watched movies and took a nap.

This morning, my stomach feels marginally better, but I can’t trust my sphincter. A good sneeze, fart, or cough could make quite a mess, if you catch my drift. So I don’t think we’ll be doing anything today, because I don’t want to crap my pants.

I did have Bill go out and get a COVID test, just to make sure that wasn’t the source of my discomfort. At first, before the diarrhea set in, I thought it might be possible that the virus finally found me. He paid two euros for a Chinese COVID-19 home test. We tried to use it last night, but somehow didn’t do the test right. So I ended up with no result.

I did think to take some photos, though… the directions are in German and include pictures. Bill later said he saw there was a video we could have watched for instructions. It reminded me a little of a pregnancy test, except the sample to be tested came from my nose.

Oh well… I guess I’ll do more reading today. I do feel somewhat better than I did yesterday, at least. I think the fever went away, and I haven’t had to puke since yesterday morning. So there’s some bright news…

SIGH.

I’ll end this post on a positive note. Four years ago, I was also sick. That time, it was with a very nasty cold that I picked up when we cruised in Scotland. I wasn’t surprised that I got the cold, since there was a visibly sick woman on the boat who kept sniffling all week. By the time the cruise was almost over, I had her cold. Although that beat the everloving hell out of the norovirus infection I got in Scotland in March of 2016, having that cold was pretty miserable.

Bill and I came home to our driveway torn up, since our former landlords decided to renovate it. The work wasn’t completed while we were gone. Then, the day after it was done, while I was still sick, the landlords came over unannounced. I opened the door to get the mail, dressed in my nightgown. There they were, standing there on the driveway, inspecting the work. I had an awkward conversation with them, not just because I wasn’t dressed and had a bad cold, but also because by that time, our relationship had gone sour. A few weeks prior to our trip to Scotland, an awning that the landlady’s husband had “fixed” collapsed on a windy day. They tried to blame me for it, and the wife got very irate and screamed at me in my living room, specifically blaming me for other things that were wrong in the house.

The next day, the landlords showed up unannounced and started cleaning the gutters, right outside my bedroom window. I was in bed, still sick with the cold, and FUMING, because it was yet another unexpected visit. I had told them I was sick, and was trying to rest. Of course they never thought to consider my feelings. I was just someone whose husband they were deigning to let rent their house. Clearly, in their minds, I was not entitled to any respect, privacy, or consideration. I literally wanted to throttle them. (I am not the most patient patient) But instead of telling them to come back another day, like I should have, I just tried to ignore them.

Well… I didn’t quite ignore them. I posted on Facebook that I felt like choking them. I noticed yesterday that I had written that. I was really upset. Later, Bill did ask them for more notice, and was met with a rather rude response. But if you know what happened in the end, you know that we eventually came out on top in that situation, although it took some time.

Anyway, it occurred to me yesterday, reading that past Facebook status, that I have much to be grateful for. I don’t get sick very often in Wiesbaden. Bill doesn’t have to travel to Africa, so he doesn’t bring home weird germs. When I do get sick, I can recuperate in private. The landlord lives next door, but he never bothers us, and would never do loud work on our house without planning ahead. And I just really prefer this house on so many levels. In fact, yesterday, it occurred to me how glad I was to be resting in my own bed and using my own bathroom. When I last had a stomach bug, I had to deal with it while traveling. It was awful. So I’m glad to be at home, and glad to be living somewhere where the landlord isn’t an inconsiderate jerk.

And hopefully, the rest of this virus will “run its course”… I just ate a banana, so we’ll see how that goes. Looks like the fever may be done, too.

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Uncategorized

A funny thing happened on our afternoon walk…

The sun is out this afternoon, and temperatures are kind of pleasant outside today. Arran missed yesterday’s walk because it was yucky outside and I was waiting for a package that never arrived. The package still hasn’t arrived yet, but I couldn’t miss the chance for some fresh air and exercise. Walks are also when Arran does his business best, otherwise we run the risk of him going in inappropriate places at inappropriate times.

On the way out of the house, Arran and I ran into our landlady. We don’t talk to her very often because her husband handles most of the business with us. We learned from the landlord that his wife’s brother built the house we’re living in. Our landlord then joked that he gets called “slumlord” a lot, but Bill told him this is the nicest house we’ve ever lived in. I think I agree with him. We’ve lived in a few houses we’ve enjoyed for various reasons, but overall, I think this one is in the best shape. The only place I absolutely hated in all ways was our apartment in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was the true epitome of a dump, along with inconsiderate neighbors, high crime, and shitty infrastructure. For that dump, we paid about $900 a month in 2003. By contrast, the house we’re in now is the most expensive of any we’ve ever lived in. But, for the most part, it’s completely worth it… and not just because it’s a nice house, but because we are treated respectfully, like adults with the right to privacy. It’s also a very comfortable home with many nice amenities and no one freaking out over dog hair in the doorway.

One nice thing about our current landlords is that they don’t mind dogs. Arran went over to say hello to the landlady. She gave him a pat and asked about Zane. I told her that he’d died. I’m sure they were wondering, but probably didn’t know how to bring it up. I mentioned that maybe we’d have a new dog after the holidays. She nodded in agreement, which makes me feel good. A few weeks ago, one of our elderly neighbors asked about Zane, and remarked that the dogs are like our children. That’s definitely true in our case. I was kind of happy that he’d asked, since I never know how the neighbors feel about our dogs. It seems like they’re well liked in this neighborhood. Obviously, Zane has been missed, and not just by Bill and me.

So we did our usual loop, and on our way through the messy field by the Rewe, I noticed an older lady coming down the hill with a little Yorkie. The Yorkie was off lead, which usually makes me nervous, since you never know how dogs will act when they first meet each other. The little dog came running up to Arran, who was whining and shrieking, trying to make contact. The lady smiled at me as our dogs sniffed. Her little dog was so cute, dodging, barking at Arran, yet curious and wanting to sniff my hand. I said to the dog, “Hello… aren’t you cute?”

Then the lady laughed and said, “You’re American?”

“Yes!” I responded, with a giggle.

“Me too!” she laughed.

We shared another awkward moment, then said goodbye. What are the odds?

I’ve heard there are a number of Americans here in Breckenheim. I know there’s a little hotel and there are a couple of Air BnBs here, too, where people have stayed until they find housing. This was the first time I’ve bumped into an American while walking the dog near my home in any of the three places in Germany I’ve lived so far. Or maybe I have run into them, but because I pass for German and so do a lot of other Americans, I just didn’t know it.

Anyway, it was kind of a funny encounter. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime. I hope so, since I think Arran and her dog may be buddies now. I love how our dogs serve as such excellent canine ambassadors. I’ve met a lot of nice people in Germany thanks to my dogs.

Today also happens to be the seventh anniversary of losing MacGregor, who was Arran’s predecessor. MacGregor was such a wonderful dog. He was best friends with Bill, who was probably the only man he ever liked. I can’t believe it’s been seven years already since we lost him. Time flies!

MacGregor, posing on our well-loved loveseat at our very first German house… Our first German house was almost as beautiful as the one we’re in now. We lost MacGregor in Raleigh, North Carolina seven years ago today. Canine cancer sucks!
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Germany, Wiesbaden

Whirlwind trip to Wiesbaden– our quest to find new dog friendly digs… Part three

I actually got ahead of myself with part two, since we arrived at the hotel after visiting our first house.  The first place we looked at was located in a cute little town called Hofheim-Lorsbach.  We had an appointment with a guy who is advertising a number of properties on Wiesbaden Bookoo.  Because of Zane and Arran and my music hobbies, we’re hoping to find a free standing house, even though it’s clear that it’s going to cost a lot more than what we’re paying for our current duplex.

The first house we looked at is, indeed, a free standing house.  However, it consists of just two bedrooms and, once we got a look at it, we realized we literally wouldn’t be able to fit all of our stuff in the house.  Hofheim-Lorsbach appears to be a pleasant area, although it’s very built up.  The house we looked at had a shared driveway that would require backing into a busy street.  At 1500 euros a month, the rent was affordable for us and the house itself was very clean and nice.  It was just too small.

The landlord has several other houses for rent, though most of them are duplexes.  He has one free standing house that goes for over 3600 euros a month and is huge– too big for just the two of us.  But we may call him about one of the duplexes if we can’t find something closer to what we really want.

So we headed to Wiesbaden and checked into the hotel, rested for a few minutes, then headed to downtown Wiesbaden, where we had an appointment to see a free standing house that was built in 1908.  We were both pretty excited about this house, since the landlord is doing a lot of renovations that will make it very comfortable and unusual.  The house has a separate guest apartment, also being renovated, and equipped with a kitchenette and a bathroom.  It has a large backyard, a garage located behind a gate, and the landlord even said he’d fence in an area for the dogs.

The most exciting thing about this house is the kitchen, which is brand new, and has a huge refrigerator with an ice crusher, an island for food prepping, and all new appliances.  The next most exciting thing about the house is the air conditioning being installed on the second and third floors.  And the next most exciting thing is the rainfall shower and high speed toilet…  It’s the kind of toilet where you push a button and it washes your ass for you.  There’s even an English speaking veterinarian within walking distance of the house AND he takes VAT forms!

This sounds like it should be a no brainer, right?  When I saw the ad for this place, I thought it was too good to be true.  Once we visited it, I realized that there would be a few drawbacks to living there.  For one thing, the house is in a very congested neighborhood.  I noticed on a Saturday afternoon that it was a bit noisy and parking was scarce, although if we take this house, we can park behind the gate.  Bill and I are not really city people.  We like peace and quiet.  I stood on the sidewalk and could easily hear some guy in his house on the phone.

For another thing, accessing the laundry room will require going outside.  That probably isn’t a dealbreaker most of the year, but it could be a real bummer in the winter months.

And finally, the one room that I’m sure could handle our two king sized beds is on the top floor.  However, there is no bathroom on the top floor and Bill and I usually have to get up to pee during the night.  Accessing the bathroom would require going downstairs, unless we put one of the beds on the second floor.  I think that would get really old.  It could also be potentially dangerous.

I haven’t yet said no to this house yet, though…  We may end up taking it, because it does tick off a lot of boxes.  The landlord isn’t a neat freak, which is a huge plus in my book.  I noticed that he genuinely seemed to welcome my dogs, which I prefer to a landlord who simply tolerates them.  I also got the sense that the landlord really wants us to take the house, which is a good thing.

Still, I have gotten used to living in a smaller town near places where I can see nature easily.  There is a trail behind the house in Wiesbaden, but it’s definitely a busier area than I’m used to and may make me even bitchier than usual.  A large fridge, rainfall shower, air conditioning, and all of the other cool stuff is are all well and good, but I’m not sure if they’re enough to overcome the drawbacks to living in a very congested area.  Also, even though I love the idea of a luxury toilet, especially since I’ve been tolerating a very low grade one for four years, there’s always the chance a luxury toilet will break.  The more gizmos and gadgets a thing has, the more things that can go wrong and cause inconvenience.

So we’ll see what happens…  I think I’m going to try to find something a bit further south, where all the vineyards are.

On the way to the second house… 

Wiesbaden is very swanky!

If only the house we looked at had this wide boulevard next to it.

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advice, Germany, housekeeping tips

Liability insurance… a small investment pays off…

Although I’ve been blogging about our travels since before we lived in Germany for the second time, I am aware that my “travel blog” has somewhat turned into a German living blog.  Many of my regular readers are Americans who live in the Stuttgart area.  Quite a few “local” readers are also somehow affiliated with the U.S. military.
A couple of months ago, I decided to leave several of our local Facebook groups.  I had a few reasons for doing so.  The main reason was that some of the drama in the local groups was causing me annoyance and distress.  However, I am grateful that I was in one of the local groups long enough to be talked into buying German liability insurance. 
One of our local Facebook groups is run by Gerhard Koch, a German who sells insurance for a living.  He very frequently advertises his products to group members.  He even hosts information dinners to talk up his insurance policies.  More than once, someone has accused him of using the group to bolster his business.  
It seems that many Americans assume that the insurance they can get through USAA or another American insurance company is enough for living here in Germany.  For all I know, that could be true.  Bill and I do have renter’s insurance through USAA that we’ve never had to use.  We recently had a situation in our rental property that we could have tried using our USAA insurance to cover.  However, I will go on record to say that I’m glad we didn’t have to go that route.    
A couple of years ago, I told Bill that I thought it would be a good idea to invest in German liability insurance.  Although at that time, we had not experienced it personally, I had read a lot of horror stories from people who had mishaps in their rental houses or had otherwise damaged someone’s property.  Germans are every bit as litigious as Americans are.  I know one woman who had a guest stay at her home in Germany and he somehow flooded and ruined their kitchen!  She and her husband did not have liability insurance and ended up having to use their life savings to cover the damage.  It amounted to many thousands of euros that they had to cover personally!
After hearing about that, I nagged Bill to buy the policy.  Actually, we got policies for personal liability and for our dogs, since both dogs and accidents are unpredictable.  Together, I think we spent a couple of hundred euros for a year’s coverage under both policies, which I believe cover us into millions of euros of potential damage.  It made me feel better to have that coverage.  For most of our marriage, Bill and I have been rather broke.  We are now pretty financially comfortable and, for the first time ever, don’t have to worry much about money.  In less than a year, my student loans will finally be paid off years ahead of schedule.  We can finally think about settling in a home of our own.  The last thing I want to deal with or pay for is damage to our rental house in Germany.  So Bill bought the policy and made me happy.
Sure enough, in late August of this year, we had occasion to use our policy.  We had an old awning attached to our house.  I didn’t use the awning that often, except on days when the sun was especially brutal.  The awning helped keep our living room from getting too hot.  For some reason, this year the awning had started to list a bit.  One side hung lower than the other side did.  We told our landlords and the husband came over to “fix” it.  He did manage to temporarily fix the problem, but our landlady said she didn’t know how long the repair would last.  She did not tell us not to use the awning and, I note, did not have a qualified repair person fix it.  Our landlord is very handy, but I’m not sure he’s an expert on awnings.
For a few weeks, all was fine.  I used the awning a couple of times on hot days with no issues.  Then one warm day in late August, I had cranked out the awning and gone upstairs for a bit.  The wind suddenly gusted and the awning collapsed.  I heard it hit the patio with a resounding thud and there was a loud scrape as the awning violently pushed our outdoor furniture aside.  I went outside to inspect the damage.  The awning is very heavy.  I’m really glad no one was standing under it when it fell, because I’m pretty sure someone could have been seriously hurt or even killed if it had fallen on their head.
The landlady immediately accused me of negligence because I used the defective awning on a hot, “windy” day.  It was not windy when I unrolled it.  The gust of wind had been swift, sudden, and unexpected.  But because I wasn’t sitting outside when the wind blew, and it fell, she claimed I was at fault.  Then she asked about liability insurance after she complained about some dog hair in the doorway and claimed that I wasn’t taking good enough care of the new windows and doors she had installed right after we moved in.
Now… I don’t actually have a problem with using liability insurance for the awning.  After all, insurance is supposed to be used for accidental events like random awning failures.  My issue is that she accused me of negligence.  Frankly, I think if anyone was negligent, it was she.
She finally brought a legitimate repair person over who said the awning couldn’t be fixed.  At the same time, we also happened to be having a problem with the electric rolladens.  I got blamed for that situation, too.  She said we weren’t using them often enough, and that’s why when we pressed the button to get them to come down, one of the rolladens wouldn’t budge.  The actual problem was that rolladen came off track somehow in the wall above the door.  After the repair for the rolladens was done, the landlady eventually admitted that it wasn’t installed properly in the first place.  However, the awning remained a sticking point… she continually sent Bill emails about the insurance money.  
I have to admit, we were both really pissed off and even considering moving over her insistence that we were “bad tenants”.  I’m still pretty angry with our landlady for the way she handled this situation.  However, we did learn yesterday that, after having inspected the damage last week, the insurance company decided to give our landlords 540 euros (although the landlady claims they only gave her 310 euros and reminds us that awnings cost 2800 euros).  That amount more than covers several times over what we paid for the insurance.  Moreover, if I hear another word about the awning, I can tell the landlady that I wasn’t negligent.  It’s because of me that we even had that liability insurance in the first place.
I don’t think she or her husband want us to move.  If we moved, she’d have to vet new people and it’s likely they wouldn’t buy insurance because many Americans seem to think it’s a scam.  Moreover, while we have had a couple of mishaps in the house, we pay our bills and the neighbors seem to like us.  We represent a dependable flow of a lot of euros for a house that isn’t all that great.
The truth is, we don’t want to move, either.  Moving is a pain in the ass.  Finding a place to live in this area is an even bigger pain in the ass.  There’s no guarantee that the next landlords would be any less irritating.  Also, we like the neighborhood where we live.  People are nice here and not overly uptight, as they were in the first neighborhood we lived in when we were here from 07-09.
However, if there’s one thing I learned from this situation, it’s that I’m ready to be a homeowner and because we had insurance, that will be an easier goal to attain.  Folks, if you live in Germany, you really should consider buying liability insurance.  It’s very cheap and if you have an “Unfall” like we did, chances are it will be covered.  I’d rather pay a hundred or so euros for an insurance policy than several hundred euros for an old awning that collapsed due to a sudden breeze.  Just something to think about.
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