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.

No, we’re NOT moving to Italy…

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Some readers who follow the official Facebook page for my Overeducated Housewife blogs have gotten the idea that Bill and I are considering a move to Italy. That is not the case.

The post that has people confused is one I wrote three years ago, when Bill’s first company lost its contract. Bill had applied for several Europe based jobs and got a tentative job offer for a government position in Italy. Back in 2017, we were strongly considering making the move to Italy and, in retrospect, maybe it would have turned out alright if we’d gone for it. At that time, I wrote a short post about that looming decision. Yesterday, I updated it, and it was automatically shared on the Facebook page by WordPress.

Although it was heartbreaking to turn down the job, especially since we both love Italy, Bill ultimately declined to make the move. He was then offered a position with his current company, which is much bigger and better than the first one was. The loss of the first company’s contract, while very stressful, turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise.

As it turned out, the move to Italy would have come with no support from the government, since Bill would have been considered a local hire. That would have meant we’d have to move ourselves down there. There would have also been no housing allowance and, while housing is less expensive in Italy, it would have really cramped our style. It often takes awhile for government employees to get onboarded, too, so that would have been a huge logistical hassle for us, since we would have probably had to go on tourist status until the onboarding process was done. We decided that even Italy’s wonderful wines and pastas weren’t enough to lure us into that rigamarole.

As some readers know, we just moved to Wiesbaden at the end of 2018, so neither of us is wanting to move again so soon. We may have to move this year, since Bill’s company’s contract is up for renegotiation; but even if that happens, he’d likely be hired by the subsequent company or reassigned. And, as we have found out, we may have to move in any given year, thanks to random stuff that happens in the military and with contracting companies. Contracting can be a frustrating roller coaster ride, which is why a lot of people prefer working for the government.

Anyway… for those of you who are following the Facebook page and noticing the old posts resurfacing, I do apologize if they’re annoying. Last year, when I switched my blogs from Blogger to WordPress, I had varying degrees of success in transferring old material. I wasn’t able to transfer my original blog at all, probably because it was too big of a file. The travel blog transferred, but I’m now left with posts that have screwy formatting and print that is too small to read. I suppose I could have just started the travel blog over, like I did my original blog, but some of those old posts are interesting and useful. I’d hate to throw that history away, especially since we mostly loved our time near Stuttgart.

I’m now in the process of updating those old posts so they can be more easily read. Every time I update the posts, WordPress posts them automatically on Facebook. I could change the settings so it doesn’t do that, but I think some of the old posts are interesting and contain useful information. Some of them really do deserve another look. If you see a batch of posts showing up on Facebook, be sure to check the date on them.

Thanks to everyone for your patience! I hope to be finished with this tedious process in a few weeks or so.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part four…

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I spent a lonely Thursday putting our new house together, while Bill spent another eight hours cleaning our former house.  He spent most of that time cleaning windows, knowing that the landlady would be looking at them.  When we first moved into that house, she and her husband had new windows installed.  They were framed in white, and she was determined to keep them white, to the point of asking me to clean them and make sure the plastic wasn’t stained by exposure to the elements.

I have no problem with doing basic housework.  I wash dishes, do laundry, clean toilets, sweep and vacuum floors, and take out the trash.  I don’t do windows, aside from the basic cleaning of schmutz from the glass.  In fact, had I known that I was going to be expected to do windows, especially when we’re doing the paying rather than getting paid, I would have opted for a different place to live.

Just as our landlady claimed that she’d never had the problems with prior tenants that she’d had with us, I have never had landlords who had specific chores I was expected to do, outside of the usual stuff.  Or, at least in other properties, any specific chores were included in the lease.  Nevertheless, our landlady was continually disappointed by my cleaning efforts, particularly when it came to the windows.  She’s apparently a very “neat” person, while I have a tendency toward collecting clutter.  Still, unless I’m living somewhere free of charge, I don’t allow my landlords to dictate how clean my home will be while I’m in it, unless it’s a matter of the law or health and safety.  I think even if I had been a neater person, it might not have been enough, since I had no way of knowing what her actual expectations were.

Knowing that moving puts me in a mean world, Bill wisely decided to deal with our former landlords on his own.  Friday happened to be the landlady’s birthday, so he arranged the final inspection for the morning, so she and her husband would be free to celebrate with their friends and family.  Prior to our move, I spent weeks doing preparatory cleaning, descaling the shower and taps, working on the stains on the carpets, and yes, even some preliminary window cleaning in the areas where I could reach.  I did not venture out on the roof to do a thorough cleaning of the outside upstairs windows, nor did I try to clean the glass roof on the carport.  I wasn’t wanting to tempt fate that I might have an accident.

As I put up our Christmas trees in our new house, I noticed a Facebook status update from Bill.  He typed, “Well… that was a white glove inspection I failed in the first minute.  I need a drink and it’s not even 10:00am.”

Naturally, that comment gave me a sense of dread.  I later got the lowdown from Bill.  Evidently, the landlady was upset that we’d used the trash cans to dispose of stuff during our move.  She was expecting our bins to be empty and clean.  I was a bit confused by that, especially since we paid rent for December as well as Nebenkosten, which includes trash pick up.  She was also reportedly dismayed that she’d have to put the bins out for us, although we noticed that for the first years of our time in her house, she had the time to come over without notice whenever she felt like it.

This year, the landlords never turned on our water for the outside, as they had done in prior years.  I suppose we could have turned the water on ourselves, but every other spring, they would come over to do this chore for us.  I figured they didn’t trust to do it ourselves.  We also had no hose this year, which they had provided in prior years.  So even if I had been prepared to leave the bins in pristine condition, I couldn’t have.  I suspect that a decision to clean the bins in the backyard would have vexed her, too, since I don’t think I would have been able to do it without getting debris on the lawn.

After checking out the trash bins, she went through the house, reportedly very upset with the condition of it, despite our hours of cleaning.  What had her so cross?  Evidently, it was the condition of the Rolladen straps.  She paid little attention to the floors, the taps, or even the windows.  Instead, according to Bill, she mostly focused on the shutters and the trash bins.

She also had comments about the condition of the oven, which like everything else in the house, is old and well used.  Bill managed to get the oven quite clean, although it wasn’t looking like new.  But then, it’s not a new oven.  The handle on the dishwasher, also a vintage model, was askew.  The machine still works fine, but for some reason, the handle is no longer in perfect alignment.  I don’t know why it’s like that, but things tend to degrade from perfection with use.  The hood of the oven/stove is also slightly off kilter, but it was like that when we moved in and has always functioned just fine.  I never used the hood much myself, so I didn’t really notice it, other than when I cleaned the top of it prior to moving.

Now… I will admit that I didn’t bust my ass trying to clean the laundry/oil tank area because there’s just no way I could have gotten that area very clean.  It’s a typical, damp, dirty, unfinished basement.  I wasn’t going to go behind the oil tanks and deep clean, either.  I don’t think anyone has done that in years, and I doubt it would have made a difference to her, anyway.  I did try to get as much dust and cobwebs out of the basement as I could outside of the oil tank area.  My efforts apparently fell short.  Oh well.  I have read that it’s not uncommon for landlords in Germany to be sticklers when it comes time to move out of a place.  We got lucky with our first German landlord.  He was delighted that we’d cleaned at all.

At least the handover is finished.  We are insured out the wazoo, to include legal insurance should we need to go to court.  We are also members of the Mieterverein.  And while I’d really rather just be done with the whole move out experience, I feel assured that we’ve done our best to prepare for any lingering challenges.  Hopefully, the landlady’s next tenants will be the ones she truly deserves.  As for me, I am left with a weird form of PTSD.  As I walk around our new house, I find myself obsessively looking for things I know would have upset our ex landlady, even though our new landlord is clearly much more relaxed than she is.  It may take awhile for me to go back to feeling welcome and relaxed in my own home.

So ends our latest moving experience.  This last week has been mostly about putting on the finishing touches.  Today, Bill is trading in our Stuttgart license plates for Wiesbaden ones.  We’ve visited the Wiesbaden commissary and AAFES.  Tomorrow night, we’re going to see the Scottish Music Parade, and Thursday night, we’re going to a wine tasting and Christmas party.  I’ve only been out of the Stuttgart area for a couple of weeks, but it feels like it’s been much longer.  Wiesbaden definitely has a different feel and I look forward to exploring our new environs.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part three…

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Wednesday morning, the movers arrived right on time with our stuff.  As they were scattering rug protection for the floors, Bill said “We’ve already had our first shouting match.”

“What happened?” I asked, not sure if I really wanted to hear about it.  I have mentioned before that moving turns me into a raving bitch, especially if I’m also “hangry”, which I was before he started telling me the story.  Moving is a process I truly despise.  I don’t need a reason to get any bitchier.

Throwing caution to the wind, Bill explained that due to the congested road that leads to our house, the movers were forced to drive the wrong way down a one way street.  Just before the movers arrived, the trash truck was forced to do the same thing– drive the wrong way down the one way street.  We are now located on a very narrow street with many people parking their cars on the side.  It simply wasn’t possible for the moving truck to get down there the “legal” way.

Well… it seems that the moving truck inconvenienced a fellow American, who had to wait a couple of minutes for it to get down the street so he could make his turn.  The man got out of his car and started speaking perfect German… at least until he completely lost his shit and reverted to his native English tongue.  Bill said the guy was beet red and was absolutely furious that he’d had to stop so the movers could pass.  Bill took note of the man’s close cropped haircut and Washington, DC baseball cap, as well as his complete outrage at having to wait a minute for the movers.

First he screamed at the movers, who simply shrugged in response; then he started screaming at Bill.  We don’t know who this man is, but it appears that he runs a local business and Bill said he had the air of an extremely entitled retired colonel.  Apparently, he lives in our neighborhood or close by.  I’m glad I wasn’t there to witness this spectacle, because as Bill started telling me about it, I felt my own temper start to rise.

I can’t abide people who are verbally abusive.  I have a tendency to respond in kind, although I’ve now gotten to the point at which my responses are mostly non-verbal.  Make no mistake, though.  If I shoot you a death ray with my eyes, you’ll definitely know it.  Then I’ll start blogging.  If I start speaking when I’m in that state, there is no telling what will be said.  So I have learned to zip it.  I’m not sure I would have “zipped it” for that guy, though.  Actually, I might have had a good laugh at him.  Bill’s description of his out of control ranting and raving was kind of hilarious.

Fortunately, Bill is a very even tempered person and, when the pissed off American started his belligerent tirade, he calmly turned and walked away.  There is no reasoning with people who get that enraged over a moment’s inconvenience.  Perhaps a nice stroke will settle that man’s hash.  If he keeps up that level of vitriol, I think it’s a real risk for him.  Anyway, the whole incident would have lasted half as long if the guy had just STFU and stayed in his car.

One of the movers was really awesome.  I have a large dresser that the movers initially said they would not be able to get upstairs.  This guy, very enthusiastic with a “can do” attitude, managed to convince his co-workers that getting my dresser upstairs was possible.  The one insistent naysayer was the lone German on the team.  Well… the Croatians proved the German guy wrong.  Although it took some doing, they hauled my bulky dresser up the stairs with nary a scratch!  Bill rewarded them with a generous tip.

Our stuff was unloaded by early afternoon, so the movers left us to our mess.  Kudos to Weichert for sending us such a professional team.  They were truly outstanding.  I wish we could have them for all of our moves.  We’ve had a few doozies over the years!

We took a brief break from unpacking to visit IKEA for some household items and get some lunch.  I once swore I would never visit IKEA again.  Indeed, it had been a full four years since our last hellish IKEA experience in Sindelfingen.  I still hate IKEA, but we had a real need for storage solutions and didn’t want to wait for an online order, especially since we had no Internet and I was relying on my iPad with cellular access.  Our local IKEA is pretty nightmarish, but it wasn’t quite as bad as our last visit to the one in Sindelfingen.  We have visited our new IKEA twice since our move and I think I can safely say I won’t be back again for some time.  Once every few years is plenty of IKEA exposure for me.

Naturally, I was hangry after our IKEA experience, so we found a local Italian restaurant that turned out to be very nice, even if finding parking was appalling.  One thing I have noticed about the Wiesbaden area is that it’s really hard to find parking.  This area is very built up and everyone drives.  Nevertheless, we had a delightful lunch at Casalinga da Rita, tiny “hole in the wall” eatery in a nearby Hofheim am Taunus.  I notice it gets average reviews on Google, but we had a good experience there.  The other guests were Italians, which I take as a good sign in an Italian restaurant.

Bill’s blurry hands.

Spaghetti with pesto!

Tagliatelle salmone.  This hit the spot!

It’s a very tiny place, with ice cream, pasta dishes, pizzas, and cramped seating.  We’d go back.

A little culture break.

I took note of this charming bumper sticker in the car parked near ours.

 

By five o’clock, I was decidedly pissy, so Bill told me to sit down and drink some wine.  He’s a good husband because he knows when I’ve had enough bullshit for one day.  I wanted to take a shower, but the cold water tap in our upstairs bathroom was frozen from too much corrosion.  I ended up taking baths for several days, until we got the faucet replaced.  Our move also taught me the magic of using white vinegar to descale the taps, but the tap in our shower was too far gone for that to work.  Not even Liquid Wrench could free the cold water for us.

I sat on my can until Thursday morning.  Bill got up and drove back to Stuttgart to clean our old house again, pick up the dogs, and close us out of Stuttgart.  I stayed behind in Wiesbaden and continued unpacking and putting stuff away.

Bill found this in our bio bin.  I have so many questions…  Who would throw away an obvious going away gift?  Was it the recipient who tossed this, or a disgruntled spouse?  I may have to write a short story about this, once we’re totally settled and I’m bored.

I’m really glad I stayed in Wiesbaden.  I definitely would not have wanted to witness the final walkthrough with our former landlady.  More on that in the next post.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part two…

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On Tuesday, we went back to the house and watched the movers get all our stuff on their truck.  I ran into our neighbor again as I was loading more stuff into my car.  He asked again if we were moving.  I confirmed that we were moving to Wiesbaden for Bill’s new job.  He wished us luck and said “Auf Wiedersehen”… and again, smiled pretty!  I guess I can’t blame him for that.  For his sake, I hope the next tenants don’t have a huge American style truck.

We were finished loading up by noon, so Bill and I started our northern trek to Hesse.  I don’t do a lot of driving anymore, not because I can’t, but because I hate traffic.  Frankly, I don’t socialize very much with other people, either.  I was a little worried about driving on the Autobahn for so long, knowing that we’d no doubt hit traffic jams.  I’m proud to report that despite rainy weather and a few Staus, Bill and I both made it through our journey unscathed.  In fact, Bill even paid me a high compliment by saying that I would have made a fine “tanker”.  Before Bill became an exercise planner, he was a tanker… so I guess he knows what would make a fine one.

Time for a break!  This photo inspired a number of comments from my Facebook friends.  We didn’t visit the well advertised erotic store, but I was advised that there’s a good selection there for those who are still Christmas shopping.

Apparently, I have a good sense of how to be in a convoy.  More than once, I made it possible for Bill to change lanes and kept up a good “march distance”.  What can I say?  My dad was a navigator in the Air Force and endowed me with an excellent sense of direction.  Unfortunately, he didn’t endow me with his adrenaline junkie tendencies or love of fitness.  Oh well…

We spent our first night in Wiesbaden at the Hotel zum Wiesengrund, a very reasonably priced hotel near our new home.  I had originally booked a different place, but changed my mind when I read about Hotel zum Wiesengrund’s well regarded restaurant.  I wanted to go somewhere we’d be able to have a good meal after two days of hard work and driving.  I’m not proud of it, but we resorted to a couple of McDonalds’ meals during our moving out process.  It had been awhile since the last time I ate in a McDonald’s.  It was kind of a shocking experience.  I knew they have kiosks now, but I’ve never actually used one.

Bill was showing me how one orders at McDonald’s nowadays…  this actually makes me kind of sad. 

We arrived at our new house at about 5:00pm on November 27th.  Our new landlord gave us the keys after we paid him the Kaution and first month’s rent.  Our new house is larger, more modern, and much more expensive than the one in Unterjettingen is.  What’s more, our new landlord lives next door to us.  However, he has only rung our doorbell once.  So far, we’re getting along fine.

The view from the balcony on the front of our new house.

The view from the balcony on the back of the house.  Our yard has a nice tall fence and is plenty secure for Zane and Arran, which is a really nice convenience.  Apparently, the people who lived in our house before us were Americans with a dog.  They hooked us up!

 

We laid down the rugs we bought from the Turkish rug guys at Panzer Barracks in Boeblingen.  I’m glad we bought rugs before we left, since it doesn’t appear that Wiesbaden has a similar shop.  I bought rugs from the Turkish guys a couple of years ago, but they weren’t nearly as nice as the ones we just got.  I actually wish we’d bought a couple more rugs, since our new house has brand new parquet floors that I want to protect as much as possible.

After we laid down the rugs, we went to the hotel and checked in.  The Hotel zum Wiesengrund is located on a busy road, but it has a large parking lot with free parking for guests.  We checked in and were assigned a very basic, but clean, room.

A tiny, basic room at Hotel zum Wiesengrund.  Fine for a night.

A tiny shower, but very clean and good water pressure.

 

After we dropped off our bags at the hotel, we decided to have dinner.  Although I had wanted a nice meal, I wasn’t that hungry after all the traveling and stop at Mickey D’s.  I did really want a beer, though.

Bill decides what he wants.  He wasn’t hungry, either.

Ahhh…  This hit the spot.  Wiesbaden is really more wine country than beer country.

I went with fried fish…  It wasn’t the healthiest choice, but it tasted good.  I liked the remoulade that came with it.  Kind of like really fancy tartar sauce.

Bill had smoked salmon.

 

I think Hotel zum Wiesengrund is better known for its restaurant than its lodging.  Bill says some of his co-workers have been to the restaurant, and we noticed it was popular with locals.  There was a large party of Germans near us and they were enjoying Christmas goose and Schnapps.  I had “apple most” for dessert.  Basically, it was non-alcoholic, home pressed apple juice… very tasty!  I expect to become acquainted with apple wine now, since that’s supposedly a local speciality.

Breakfast at Hotel zum Wiesengrund is included in the price of the room, which was about 90 euros.  It’s served buffet style and offers the usual cheeses, cold cuts, breads, and jams.  Unlike the Hotel Adler, the Hotel zum Wiesengrund also has hard boiled eggs, which was a nice touch.

After we checked out of the hotel, we headed for our new house and the dreaded chore of moving in. The same foreman was going to be there, along with several more guys coming in from Heidelberg, which is in Baden-Wuertemberg, like Stuttgart is, yet is located closer to Wiesbaden.

All roads lead to Wiesbaden! Our intra-Germany move, part one…

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After months of preparation and anticipation, on November 26, 2018, we finally got underway with our move from the Stuttgart area to Wiesbaden.  The packers arrived at about 9:00am that cloudy Monday morning.  Weichert, the moving company hired by Bill’s company, sent us three strong guys from the eastern part of Europe.  I think they were from Croatia, but I’m not absolutely sure.  What I am sure of is that they were first class movers.  Having been an “Army wife” the first twelve years of my sixteen year marriage, I have experienced my share of moves.  This one was one of the easiest, not just because we were moving within Germany, but because we had truly excellent movers.

I wrote a couple more blog posts, anticipating time without precious WiFi access.  Bill had contacted Deutsche Telekom to set up our new Internet connection, hoping it would be done on November 28th, which was our move in day.  He still hadn’t canceled Internet in our old house because he was hoping we could just use Unitymedia in our new home.  For whatever reason, he wasn’t able to move our Internet service to the new house.  At this writing, we still have an active Unitymedia account at our old house.

Packing up…

I booked us a hotel room at Hotel Adler in Nagold, which is an adorable little town I’ve written about many times in this blog.  We lived very close to Nagold and had eaten at Hotel Adler a few times.  I was curious about their rooms, so I took our last night as an opportunity to experience a night there.  We booked the dogs at Dog Holiday for the whole week, so they’d be out of the way while we packed and cleaned.  I will miss having such close proximity to Max and his wife; they have taken great care of Zane and Arran for the past few years.  In fact, we’ll probably still use them when we visit Stuttgart to see our awesome dentist and/or as we pass through on the way to southern countries.

I wasn’t feeling particularly well on our packing day.  I felt like I was coming down with a virus.  With every packed box, our former house grew less and less comfortable.  I felt compelled to clean as the movers worked, knowing that our former landlady would be a stickler when it came time for the move out inspection.

So empty now!

Despite my moniker, “The Overeducated Housewife”, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pretty crappy housewife.  I don’t enjoy cleaning, and am not particularly good at it.  However, when I do get in the mood to clean, I will clean thoroughly… almost obsessively.  This is especially true when it comes time to move out of a house.  My Dyson got a great workout on packing day, especially in the bedroom, where four years of dust had accumulated under the bed.  Maybe Santa will bring me a super slim robot vacuum this year, strictly for vacuuming under the bed.

Freshly mopped.

The house in Unterjettingen has the distinction of being the home Bill and I have lived in for the longest as a married couple.  When you stay in one house for four years and don’t vacuum under the bed, things get pretty gross.  Fortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures.  I filled the Dyson’s canister at least twice cleaning up the dust bunnies.  It was weirdly satisfying.  I knew it was really dusty under there, but unless I have an extra set of muscles to help with the mattress and box springs, vacuuming under the bed isn’t a job I can easily do.

I also cleaned the dust out of the radiators, as much as I could, anyway.  As I ran the microfiber duster through the narrow slats of the old fashioned radiators, I promised myself our next house would have easier to clean heating elements.  Despite the duster and vacuum cleaner’s efforts, I wasn’t able to make the radiators pristine.  Oh well.

At one point, I went outside to put some stuff in my car and ran into the neighbor across the street.  He was curious about what we were up to.  When I told him we were moving to Wiesbaden, he smiled really big.  He doesn’t speak much English and I know he covets the parking space in front of the house, so maybe he was happy to see us go.  Actually, although he seemed to worry about our dogs when we first moved in, he later became somewhat friendly.  He even brought us some fruit from one of his trees.  But I do know he likes to park in front of our former house, so maybe that was why he was smiling.

The packers were finished by 4:00pm.  I suppose I can thank Bill’s first company for that, since we were only allotted enough money to bring 5000 pounds of stuff with us when we moved back to Germany in 2014.  I have to admit, less stuff makes for a shorter packing day.  Truth be told, I don’t even miss a lot of the stuff we left in storage.  Moving right before Christmas has also put a damper on my Christmas shopping this year.  I have no desire to wrap or unwrap more stuff… or find places to put it.

As we emptied the top floor of our former house, I cleaned the rooms, vanquishing dust bunnies and cobwebs and steam mopping vinyl floors until they shone.  In the back of my head, I knew my efforts would probably be in vain, but I wanted to try anyway.  Originally, we were going to hire professional cleaners, but Bill was never able to arrange it.  So, just like for every other move, it was the two of us trying to make really old carpet, laminate flooring, and linoleum look presentable.  As I removed the portable cabinet from under the bathroom sink, I discovered the pipe had sprung a leak at some point.  I have no idea how long that went on, since it was covered by the cabinet, which was there when we moved in (we bought it from the previous tenants).  It wasn’t a serious leak, but it was definitely noticeable.

After we were finished on Monday, I was ready to go to straight to bed.  My visions of one last meal in one of our favorite Stuttgart area food towns were dashed.  We didn’t even eat at the hotel, which offers good traditional German food.  I wanted something less heavy.  Instead, Bill got takeout from La Meo, a nearby Italian eatery.

The room at Hotel Nagold was typically German, but spotlessly clean and comfortable.  We had the misfortune of having booked a room next to where they were setting up the Christmas market.  Workers were erecting an ice skating rink, which came with the sounds of power tools and super loud dance music.  I will admit that the noise made me decidedly crotchety, but at least they were finished by 9:30pm.

If you stay at the Hotel Adler in Nagold, you have to use your new fangled key for electricity.  It’s not even one of those rooms where any card will keep the lights on.  You have to use their key.  They only gave us one key, so I sat in the dark while Bill got takeout.

Typical German room.  Comfortable for one night.

Our room had a balcony with shutters, which appeared to be broken.  Had they been fully functional, the shutters would have been good for shutting out noise and light.

The bathroom was sparkling clean, but check out the placement of the makeup mirror.  It was too high for little 5’2″ me.

 

We spent 120 euros for our night at the Hotel Adler.  Breakfast and parking were included.  The breakfast was typical German continental, but it was served in a very quaint little breakfast room by a pleasant lady.  She got our long Tuesday off to a good start.

One thing I learned during this move is that Dawn dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide are excellent cleaning tools.  Mix the Dawn with hydrogen peroxide and you get a great carpet cleaner and soap scum remover.  Dawn is also great mixed with white vinegar.  How I lived 46 years and didn’t know this, I don’t know… but remember, I admit to being a sucky housewife… in all the wrong ways.

The packers packed the American hydrogen peroxide before I had the chance to use it for one last batch of homemade oxycleaner.  Bill had to go to an Apoteke to get 3% German hydrogen peroxide, which was surprisingly expensive and came in a glass bottle.  I think he paid about six euros for this.  On post, you can get it for less than a dollar.  When you pour hydrogen peroxide out of the dark bottle, you have to use it right away.  It loses its potency when exposed to light.

Seriously, though… Dawn and hydrogen peroxide is great for getting old stains out of carpet.  While the carpets were still old, worn, and basically dirty looking from many years of use, they looked much better after I cleaned them with this concoction.  I’m usually skeptical about homemade detergents, but I will admit to being a believer in the magic of Dawn dish detergent.

Auf Wiedersehen, Stuttgart…

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Well, it’s official.  We are now residents of Wiesbaden, although there are still some loose ends to tie in the next couple of days.  I will not have Internet access until the 10th of December, so my blogging efforts are liable to be sparse… unless I can either get an earlier appointment or a hot spot.

I predict an epic moving series, though… This was our first intra-Germany move.  Bill has already been yelled at, although I think the guy was American.  He’s lucky I wasn’t there, because moving turns me into quite the harridan.  I don’t think he’d enjoy the blowback.  I can yell back with the best of them.

Anyway, the move should be mostly complete Friday, and I will have my dogs back, which will make me happy.  The movers this time were excellent.  No one ate gas station sushi and got sick.

My back hurts and I’m cranky, but I think all will be fine soon.  I even have high hopes the Christmas trees will be erected soon.  Oh… and a Bill paid me a high compliment by telling me I could be a tanker.  Apparently, he likes the way I drive on the Autobahn.  Too bad I still hate doing it.

Stormy Sunday…

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We didn’t do anything notable yesterday.  The weather turned icky and I just didn’t feel like going out in it, even though there were things going on.  However, I did manage to get a few dramatic photos of last night’s storm before the sun set.  Here they are…

I will miss watching the sun breaking through the clouds.
I will miss the neighbor’s willow tree, which is beautiful all year.
One of the best things about living where we live is being able to watch the weather.  It’s fascinating, especially at this time of year.  Pretty soon, there will be amazing sunrises to photograph.  I hope we’ll get them in Wiesbaden.
I will miss this view when we move.  It will be hard to find a place with such pretty surroundings.  We’ll try, though.
I do look forward to going to a new place for a lot of reasons.  I have seen some great pictures of the Wiesbaden area that makes me think the landscape change will appeal.  I have heard Hessians are different than Swabians are, although my German friend Susanne says true Swabians are a dying breed.  
We did have a nice view the last time we lived in Germany, although our neighborhood was a bit more crowded.  Last time, we had a great view of the Wuermlinger Chapel, sitting on a hill.  I can see that chapel in the distance as we descend into Herrenberg from where we live now.  I’ll miss it.  This area is truly beautiful, especially in a storm.

I did hear that there was an accident at the Neckarmueller in Tuebingen last night.  Something struck a glass door during the storm and five people who were sitting near it were hurt.  Acts of God are a real hazard here, especially when the wind picks up.

Moving is a real pain.  I’d rather not have to do it.  I’ll be glad when the process is finished.

Big news on a little move… old favorite restaurants for old time’s sake…

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Our very first lunch at Osteria da Gino in Nagold…  and another visit to see “The Mad Scientist”.

It’s been a big week here in Unterjettingen.  The biggest thing that has happened is that my husband was unofficially offered a new position in Wiesbaden.  That means that unless something really crazy happens, we will be packing up and moving about 100 miles north in a couple of months.

I have mixed feelings about the move.  First off, I HATE moving with a fiery passion.  We’ve done it many times over our sixteen years of marriage and, now that Bill is retired, it’s been nice to stay in one place for awhile.  As of this month, we’ve lived in our current house for four years, and the Stuttgart area for a total of six years.  That is the longest we have ever lived in one place.  I like the area where we live.  It’s far from the drama of the city and being close to the military posts, yet close to a lot of great places in the Black Forest.  We’re also near several really cute towns.  Nagold happens to be my favorite of all of them and it’s the closest to Unterjettingen.

On the other hand, I look forward to new experiences, new scenery, and a newer toilet that doesn’t take multiple flushes to empty.  I look forward to a much larger kitchen with a real refrigerator instead of a dorm sized one.  I can’t wait for my husband not to have to take marathon flights to Africa for business trips.  There’s even the attractive prospect of my getting to join him on some of his journeys.

Most of all, I am grateful that Bill is going to remain employed in a country I’ve come to love.  I have a feeling we will enjoy the Wiesbaden area as much as we’ve loved having lived in Stuttgart for two stints.  I also think there’s a good possibility that we’ll come back to Stuttgart, mainly because of what Bill does.  It could be as soon as two years from now.  On the other hand, there’s no telling what might happen in two years.

Anyway… since we know we’re probably going to be out of here by December, we decided to visit a couple of our favorite restaurants.  Hopefully, we haven’t visited them for the last time, but I did want to make sure we got at least one more visit in with each.  Both Agais in Entringen and Osteria da Gino in Nagold are special haunts for us, mainly because we’ve always managed to have a great time there.  The proprietors of both restaurants are excellent hosts and have given us a lot of great memories.  I thought today, I’d write up our latest experiences at both places, even though I’ve written about them several times already.  Here goes…

Agais on a Friday night

Agais in Entringen has the distinction of being the one restaurant still in business where Bill and I used to dine frequently during our first tour.  From 2007-09, we lived in a little town called Pfäffingen, which is in Ammerbuch.  Two kilometers from our old town is a little hamlet called Entringen.  We used to pass through Entringen to get to and from A81.  On the main drag is a Greek restaurant called Agais.

When we lived in Germany the first time, we used to eat at Agais all the time.  The owner is a very friendly Greek man who worked in Canada for many years as an engineer.  When we were here the first time, he spoke perfect English.  I think while we were gone, he must have had a stroke, because his ability to speak English diminished significantly.  Nevertheless, when we visited him again in 2014 after having been gone for five years, he still remembered us.  His English has come back somewhat over the past few years.

Last night, we decided to pay him a visit, mainly because neither of us felt like cooking.  Agais is now probably about a twenty minute drive from where we live, but the weather was nice…

I got a kick out of this sign reminding people to use condoms.  Such a quaint old building for such an important PSA…  I see there are several versions of this, including one for gay men.

 

When we walked into the familiar eatery, the couple who own it were waiting for customers to arrive.  I think we were their first.  The wife, who is German, does the cooking and her husband, whom we’ve nicknamed “The Mad Scientist”, waits tables.  They lit up when we walked in and welcomed us.  Bill ordered our usual Nemea dry Greek red, which has the essence of sour cherries, and we had our usual sparkling water.

 

We also ordered the flatbread, which comes piping hot and drizzled with olive oil and garlic salt.  I love this, even if it’s very simple.

We both had the gyros platter, which comes with either fries or oven baked potatoes.  Bill had the baked potatoes and I had pommes.  I also had a green salad instead of the kraut salad that usually comes with this dish.

I cracked a filthy joke to make Bill smile… and our old friend smiled, too.  

 

While we were eating, a couple came in with their son and the family dog.  They asked the proprietor if it was okay to bring the dog in.  I remember from our first tour that the proprietor isn’t a big dog fan, but I think he needed the business.  So he granted permission and they brought in their very sweet border collie who behaved like a perfect lady.  After a lovely dinner, which cost 51 euros, and a couple of glasses of wine for me, we enjoyed a house shot of ouzo and were on our way.  I hope we can stop in again before we move.  Last time we were here, we didn’t get to say goodbye when the time came.

Lunch at Osteria da Gino for the first (and possibly the last) time…

 

This morning, we were rewarded with wonderful late summer weather.  Although Nagold is having a Street Food Fiesta right now, we decided to have lunch at Osteria da Gino.  We have eaten there several times, but until today, we have always gone for dinner.  Osteria da Gino is kind of a special place for us.  Gino is kind of an Italian version of The Mad Scientist, with more upscale food.  Also, Gino doesn’t speak English and neither does his adorable wife, who waits tables.  The wife helped us today when we showed up at around noon, sans reservations for once.  We had a fantastic meal.

Goofy Bill as we wait for white wine.  We just told them dry white and that’s what they brought us…  good stuff.

Antipasti!  Grilled vegetables, orange and fennel salad, prosciutto with cheese, bread, and octopus…  You’d think this would be enough…

But we also decided on the pasta dish, too.  I had spaghetti with clams.  These were very fresh and lightly seasoned with cilantro, red pepper, and onions.  As the waitress put it down, she said, “Hier, keine Käse!”  (No cheese here!)  I guess it’s not kosher to use Parmesan cheese on your clams!  I saw another couple enjoying mussels.  Gino does have a menu, but we have never once used it.  We just take what they recommend.  

Bill had fettuccini with Steinpilze and a fresh tomato sauce.  I hate mushrooms, so I didn’t try his, but he said the pasta tasted homemade.

When we come for dinner, we often have a main course, which is usually either fish or meat.  Since the pasta and antipasti filled us up, we decided to take a brief pause and then have dessert.

Which today, was delicious tiramisu and cups of espresso…

 

I’d say we spent about two hours enjoying the food and each other’s company, as well as the other diners who love Gino’s brand of hospitality.  This is one place where your four legged friends are also welcome.  A well behaved Golden Retriever was lying under a nearby table with a bowl of water.  I didn’t see Gino today, but I know he loves dogs.  He also likes children, although I wouldn’t necessarily call his restaurant “kid friendly”, per se.  Kids are definitely welcome there, but in the cold months, everybody eats in the tiny dining room and sometimes you have to share a table.  If you have young ones, it might be best to go when the weather is good so you can have more room outside.  Total cost for today’s meal was about 95 euros, which isn’t cheap, but I’ve never once been disappointed at Osteria da Gino.  I will truly miss it when we go.  A bonus is that you can buy a bottle of wine to take home with you if you want to.

After lunch, we took a walk around Nagold, which is a really lovely little town.  It’s been such a pleasure living so close to it for the past four years.  I will miss it.

 

Osteria da Gino is not open on Sundays, so if this review has tempted you, make plans to visit on a different day.  If you’re coming at dinner time, you may want to make reservations.

Tomorrow, Nagold’s  Street Food Fiesta continues, which we will probably attend.  There will also be a Grill Off, where you can enjoy steaks by self proclaimed grillmeisters.  And… if you have a dog who loves to swim, you may wish to bring them to Nagold for the last day the pool will be open.  They are going to let dogs swim tomorrow.  There’s also the river, where dogs are always allowed to swim.

I don’t look forward to the painful process of moving, but I do think my blog will get more love, since I will be exploring a brand new area (to me) right in the middle of wine country!  If I have to move, it’s not a bad thing to move from the Black Forest to the Rhein River!  Last time we moved from Germany, it was to Atlanta, which started off a string of moves to three states before Bill retired.  At least this time, we can drive to where we’re going and we can always come back to visit our old stomping grounds down here…

And again, I think we could be be back at some point.  We’ll see…

Blog X?

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More than once, I’ve mentioned on this blog that I like to keep things light when I post about my travels and food adventures.  I have a pretty good sense of humor about a lot of things and I have another blog where I tend to vent my spleen when I get upset about something.  Most people who read this blog are looking for restaurant and travel tips or simply want to look at pictures.  That’s what I try to provide here.

Today I feel the need to address an issue that’s come up repeatedly since I started sharing this blog with people in the military community.  I know a lot of people don’t like that I call myself the “traveling overeducated housewife”.  Some people seem downright offended by the name of this blog.  And there have been many times in the few years since I created this blog that I’ve sincerely wished I had come up with a different name for it.

Yesterday, I shared my post about date night restaurants and it was mostly well-received in the community.  I got a lot of likes, mostly from women, whom I hope will have a chance to try some of the places Bill and I have enjoyed since we moved back to Germany in 2014.  I was feeling pretty good about the positive feedback until I got this comment from someone.

“Traveling Over-educated House Wife.” Ugh…I hope she at least has children.

You know, I have gotten my share of crappy comments from people about the name of my blog, but this one really struck me as a low blow.  So now I’m going to set the record straight, for those who are interested.

First off, this travel blog is a spin-off of my main blog, The Overeducated Housewife.  I started that first blog in March 2010 on a whim.  We were living in Fayetteville, Georgia, having moved there in September 2009 from the Stuttgart area.  My husband was working at Fort McPherson, which was due to close the following year.  We knew we’d be moving again in early 2011.  Since that would be the middle of Bill’s assignment at FORSCOM, we knew that our time at Fort Bragg in North Carolina would also be short.  The chances of my being able to find the kind of work I went to school to do were slim to none.

It struck me that I’d gone to college for seven years and, thanks to all the moving we were doing, would probably not have the chance to use my education the way I thought I would.  I have always liked to write and never thought I’d end up being a housewife with three college degrees.  That’s why I decided to call my first blog The Overeducated Housewife.  At the time, I saw it as sort of a facetious comment on my situation.  I never dreamed people would pay attention to it or that, one day, I’d move back to the Stuttgart area and have many readers in the military community.

When I started writing my first blog, I didn’t share it with anyone.  I kept it a secret because, at the time, I wanted to stay somewhat anonymous.  I wasn’t even the first Overeducated Housewife blogger.  I’ve seen several other blogs with that name, though those bloggers apparently lost interest, had children that took up all their time, or found jobs.

As for the reason I don’t have children, not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did want and plan to have them.  Just as I had expected to have a career in public health and social work when I went to graduate school, I also fully expected that one day I’d have kids.  Unfortunately, having children was not in the cards for me.  I got married when I was thirty years old.  I am Bill’s second wife.  He had a stepson and two daughters with his ex wife.  They had some serious financial problems and she claimed pregnancy was very hard on her.  She talked Bill into getting a vasectomy when he was 29 years old.  At the time, it seemed like the most responsible thing to do, so Bill agreed.  A few years later, they divorced.  She remarried and had two more children with her third husband.  Meanwhile, Bill was left unable to father children without medical intervention, which after his divorce, he could not afford.  Sadly, Bill’s daughters are estranged and haven’t seen or spoken to him since 2004.

During that same year, Bill managed to have his vasectomy reversed, courtesy of the Army.  I remember how excited I was because it looked like we might get to have kids after all.  Although the reversal happened eleven years after the vasectomy, it looked like it was successful.  For a couple of years, we tried to start our family.  However, during those years, we were pretty poor because Bill was paying child support and still recovering from the financial difficulties he’d had in his first marriage.  I was trying and failing to find steady work, although I did make money as a freelance writer.  At that time, we couldn’t afford to seek more help conceiving.

Then Bill got deployed, which further put our ability to try to conceive on hold… and we started the series of moves that has led us to where we are now.  Since 2007, we have moved six times.  It’s hard to build a career in the field I studied when you have to move all the time.  And, to be honest, we are now in a financial situation where I don’t really have to work.  We have plenty and, frankly, there are many people out there who need steady work more than I do.  Moreover, since I haven’t worked in my field since 2002, I doubt anyone would want to give me a job anyway.  Certainly not in Germany.

I don’t necessarily enjoy housework, but I like writing and I’m good at it.  I also like making music and I do that, too.  I don’t have the conventional career I thought I was going to have.  But, you know what?  Life is good.  And no, I don’t have kids, but I do have dogs.  I don’t have a steady paycheck, but I do have the time and ability to see places I never expected to see.  I have my health and a good relationship with my husband.  I don’t have to spend all day in a cubicle.  Certainly, if I had known this was what my life was going to be like, I would not have gone to graduate school.  Who wants to pay off student loans for degrees they can’t use?  I don’t need graduate school for what I do every day.  So I see myself as “overeducated” in that sense.  But if I’m basically worthless because I’m “just a blogger”, why would anyone want me to breed anyway?

I don’t begrudge military, government, or contractor spouses who have home based businesses because I see them as being productive.  Blogging is one thing I do to be productive.  I share the blog to share information, but I try not to be a pest about it.  Not everyone enjoys my writing, but at least it’s something to do.  It beats going out and slashing people’s tires, right?  Or hanging out in bars looking to hook up?

I have mostly gotten over the fact that I won’t ever be a mother.  I can even laugh when someone makes a thoughtless comment wondering why I don’t have children– as if having children would make my life more worthwhile or justify my existence.  I have somewhat come to terms with the fact that I won’t have the career I thought I was going to have.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this point.  I won’t lie, either.  Dozens of likes on my blog post about date night restaurants kind of pale in comparison to one person’s thoughtless and rude remark about my lifestyle.

Anyway… that’s why I call myself The Overeducated Housewife.  When I came up with the name, I never expected that would be such an issue for some people, but I guess it is.  Had I known the name of my blogs would cause angst for others, I would have come up with a different name.  On the other hand, I have a feeling that people would complain regardless, even if I had just named my blog “Blog X”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to pass the wine and bon bons while I shop for Coach bags and watch reality TV…