holidays, housekeeping tips

The last day of 2021… (cross post)

This post also appears on the main blog, since I have different readers there. The featured photo are cookies brought by our landlord.

I’m getting a late post up today. I was actually thinking of taking off the last day of 2021. I didn’t have anything earth shattering on my mind that I felt compelled to write about. Bill had the day off, and we were both kind of tired. Bill was especially tired, since he never gets a full night’s sleep. So I worked on reading my book, and he took a nap. Later, he’ll fire up the fondue/raclette grill set I got him for Christmas, and we’ll try it out. He’s already used the new hot tea pot I got him. He’s drinking tea as I write this.

Bill and Arran, preparing for tonight.

Arran took a nap with us, while Noyzi tried to steal my brand new fuzzy slippers. I think he thinks they’re small animals. I might let him take them, but he’s already eaten a couple of toys. The emergency vet is the last place we want to go tonight.

I managed to accomplish a couple of other chores, too. After I worked on trying to rid the toilet of limescale and calcium stains, I went on and bought some citric acid, as well as cleaning soda and salt. Today, I tried the acid on a really terrible hard water stain in the shower that I’ve never been able to get rid of. I poured the acid on the stain and, wouldn’t you know it? That stain was gone in minutes! There’s no trace of it. I think it’s a wonder drug. It’s hard to believe it’s taken seven years to figure this out. Vinegar is good, but citric acid is the bomb! And it’s cheap, too!

I also climbed up on a stepladder in the shower and knocked the calcium off the shower head jets, so the nice rainfall spray won’t squirt all over the place anymore. Now, the new shower head is as nice as it was in September, when it was installed.

I heard that fireworks weren’t supposed to be sold in German stores again this year. Like last year, the government wants to discourage people from setting off fireworks, because they don’t want people getting hurt and needing to go to the hospital, thanks to COVID. I suspect there will be fireworks, anyway… Germans are law abiding people, but they love fireworks on New Year’s Eve. I think that’s pretty much the only day they are allowed to be set off, at least by the regular rank and file folks. I seem to remember that there were fireworks last year, despite the ban on them.

Our New Year’s celebrations are usually pretty boring affairs. We spend them much the same way we spend any night at home… listening to music, drinking wine, and talking.

I’m hoping 2022 will be a better year for everyone… although 2021 wasn’t, for me, a particularly bad year. I’ve had worse. But this COVID-19 shit needs to be fixed. Hopefully, 2022 will bring us some breakthroughs.

In any case… I want to offer sincere thanks to everyone who’s been reading my blogs. This main site, in particular, has really taken off this year! In the past month or so, I’ve had an explosion in traffic. That really does my heart good, and makes writing this blog worth the time and effort.

The travel blog has been somewhat less trafficked this year, but I can understand why. I haven’t been traveling as much… nor have many other people! I’m sure the traveling we have done may even be a downer for some folks. I know some people suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), and it can be depressing to look at other people’s travel posts when travel is so potentially risky and definitely stressful. I am very grateful, though, that we finally managed to go to Croatia. I hope we can visit again. There are more places I want to see. And with any luck and maybe God’s grace, if you’re into God, that is– maybe COVID-19 will be more under control by this time next year.

I’m still making music, too… Been getting better with my guitar skills and can even play some songs. There are some times when I find myself playing things completely spontaneously. I still have plenty of learning to do, which is a good thing. And I’ve also found someone to collaborate with on YouTube, too, which is very rewarding. Maybe I’ll put up a new song or two, now that I have new gear. Maybe I’ll try to learn bass guitar and banjo, too… if the virus continues to spread, I might have to do something else to pass the time.

Well… I don’t have much else to say, except…

I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year’s Eve, and a very fortuitous New Year’s Day… and 2022!


Adventures in ID cards…

Thanks to my lifelong affiliation with members of the United States military, I have had an I.D. card for most of my life.  From the age of ten until I was 23, I had one because I was an Air Force brat.  From the age of 30 until now, I’ve had one because I am the wife of a now retired Army officer.  I have a lot of experience with getting military I.D. cards.  I must say, this morning’s experience getting  a new I.D. was truly enjoyable.  I genuinely can’t say that about 99% of my other I.D. card experiences.

This is the fourth time I’ve had an I.D. made in Stuttgart.  When I think back over my life, I know I’ve had four I.D.s made at the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia, because that was the closest location to where I lived when I was coming of age.  I remember it was an ordeal to get the I.D., since my dad had to come with me.  One time, my mom took me by herself and we had to come back later because they wouldn’t make an I.D. without the sponsor present (unless he was dead).  I don’t know if that’s still the rule, but it was in the 80s.  Going anywhere with my dad was generally painful because he liked listening to Muzak and singing along.

When I got married at age 30, Bill took me to the Pentagon, where I was shocked to find out all my info was still in the “system”.  I also remember the super skinny lady who made my I.D. reading all of my stats out loud, including my weight, which was almost surely inaccurate, but still more than I wanted to admit to publicly.  That was pretty unpleasant, since she basically announced it to everyone in the office at the time.

The next time I got an I.D. was in Stuttgart, then I got one at Fort Bragg, where the I.D. office was in the old hospital.  I had one made at Fort Sam Houston in 2014, which was a horrible ordeal that took all morning because Bill was retiring from active duty as a full time member of the National Guard.  The computer wanted to give us red I.D.s instead of a blue one for him and a tan one for me.  They kicked us out of Tricare, too.  That didn’t get fixed until a few weeks later, after we had already moved to Stuttgart.  I got another I.D. made here, again shocked when all of my stats from Bill’s Army tour here from 07-09 were in the system.  I remember the lady who made it then told me that she didn’t think my hair was red anymore, which it’s definitely not.  Then we had to turn the I.D. back in a few months later because Bill’s contract changed.

I had to get a new I.D. card today because Bill is working for a new company as of last week.  Given all the other times I’ve gotten an I.D., I can’t say I was looking forward to it.  But today’s experience was downright fun.

First, Bill and I went to get a new I.D. made for me.  I think we may have been among the first people to visit the I.D. office.  While we waited for the very slow system to update, I cracked jokes about Suzanne Somers with the very pleasant guy who took my photo (and he managed to get a fairly decent picture of me, too).  We also bonded a bit over M.C. Hammer…

I was joking about how I used to have reddish blonde hair, but now it’s turned very blonde… a la Suzanne Somers circa 1991.


Then somehow we ended up joking about M.C. Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit”…  Damn, I’m old!


After I got my new I.D., we visited the passport office, where I got a new SOFA card.  They were kind enough to take care of us, even though we didn’t have an appointment (thanks to the automated system being down).  The guy who looked after me there was hilarious as he and Bill chatted about drill instructors.  I noticed all the signs on the walls, including one instructing people to sign in even if they just have a question.  I can only guess that’s because a quick question often turns into something a lot more complicated.  After a few minutes, my card was ready and we headed down to the next office to update my info in the system.

Bill and I walked into the room and the first thing we heard was, “Hey! It’s the Traveling Overeducated Housewife!”  Once again, thanks to all my pictures of Bill on this blog, we got recognized!  And once again, we were taken care of quickly and professionally by very friendly staffers!

I bonded with the ladies in the last office over the 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast, which was playing on the TV.  I told them about my former college suitemate who was obsessed with that movie, which was fairly new when I was in college.  She’d sit there in her sweatpants eating tortilla chips covered in cheese and salsa, watching that movie over and over again and trying to sing along with the songs.  Unfortunately, she was tone deaf, which made listening to her rather torturous for me.  I happen to have perfect pitch.  This particular suitemate also used to sing along to any and all commercial jingles, which made it hell whenever there was an ad for Mentos.

I don’t know if everyone was so chipper because today is Friday, but I truly had a good experience this morning.  And although I won’t be sharing this post with the masses in the local Facebook groups, I figure enough folks read this blog regularly that it’s worthwhile to give them a positive shoutout.  So… if any of you folks working in the I.D. and passport offices happen to read this, please accept my genuine thanks for being so pleasant, efficient, and funny today!  You’re all a credit to your jobs!