Dixie Peach: November 2005

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

You're just going to be let down

Sorry if you've come here thinking I've got something to say today but I don't. I got nothing. Not a blessed thing. I had the most uneventful of days unless you count the moving company coming by to pick up twenty-two empty cartons before I went insane from tripping over them and set a match to them as being eventful.

See now, why didn't I just set them afire on my balcony? Then I would have had something to write about!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Eight years

Want to know what I was doing eight years ago today? Specifically at this very moment I was boarding an airplane in Atlanta. Just me and five very large suitcases.

Why so much luggage? Because I was moving to Germany.

After all these years people still ask me why I did it and have no better answer than the sappy reply of "Love made me do it.". It's corny but it's correct. I was at a point in my life where I had nothing to lose and if my instincts and gut feelings were correct, I had everything to gain. People also ask me if I was scared or they ask how did I know I was going the right thing. I didn't really know I was doing the right thing. And I didn't see much point in being scared. If I wanted to be scared I may as well not do it and saved the money spent on airline tickets.

All I really knew was this. I loved B. B was in Germany. And I believed in us. So if I believed in us and B was in Germany, I had to be in Germany too. There wasn't room to think about whether I could take care of him or whether we could make it together. Those were things that had to be so I'd do whatever I had to do to make it happen. Why doubt that I could take care of a quadriplegic? Time would be better spent just doing it instead of fretting about my abilitites. Why doubt I could love a quadriplegic? I already loved him - his spinal cord injury was just something that came along with the package.

And yet with all the optimism and determination there were still sadness. Driving past my hometown's city limits made my throat tighten. Clutching my tearful mother and saying goodbye to her was harder than I expected. Flying from Memphis to Atlanta wasn't bad but when the plane from Atlanta to Frankfurt left the ground I was flooded with a wave of homesickness - a feeling that would repeat itself over and over for weeks yet to come. Flying over Washington, D.C. was hard as I'd lived in the area for many years and had so many friends there I was leaving behind. Finally when I flew out of US airspace I felt like I was closing a door.

The flight to Germany is long. I tried to distract myself as well as I could but all I could think of was getting out of that plane and getting started on my new life. I broke down the flight time into segments - drinks and snacks, dinner, movie, snack, movie, breakfast - but during those little inbetween lulls in the shuffling action from the flight attendants I began to wonder what my life was going to be like. Naturally I'd thought of this before but this time when I was really in the midst of making that all important start it took on a sense of seriousness and reality that it hadn't before condured up. And somewhere between the last movie and breakfast I'd made up my mind with actual conviction that I was in this for the long haul. This was my new start. This was the path I'd chosen. I could either go into this with the idea that I could quit if things got hard or I could go into this with the idea that I was going to do my best, I was going to expect the best and that I was going to keep the commitment I'd made when I decided to move. There was no sense in wondering what I'd do if things didn't pan out because not panning out wasn't an option. If I wasn't going to go into this will the full conviction that I'd made the right decision then I shouldn't have gotten on the plane. I was on the plane. The new life had started. And I believed in it.

There was one more plane to board on that trip - one from Frankfurt to Hannover. It's a short flight - roughly forty-five minutes. All you have time to do is sit down, buckle up, have some juice thrown as you, gulp it down, have the cup and napkin snatched away and prepare to land but even that was too much for me. I was tired. I was anxious. My hair felt lank and dirty and my skin felt as if it had some sort of film covering it. I was jet lagged, itchy eyed and would have sold my brothers for a cigarette.

I endured the landing, the luggage gathering and passing through customs and all I had to do was go through one more set of doors.

They opened. And he was there. And he smiled at me.

And I was home.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Half full, half empty

Good news - I found my yarn stash.

Bad news - I can't find any of my needles nor any of my WIPs.

No knitted gifts for anyone this holiday season!

Fair warning

If one more person brings into my home one more coat hanger of any stripe - wire, wooden, plastic, padded, whatever - I'm going to go completely Joan Crawford on their ass.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Don't fix it if it ain't broke - and if it is, buy a new one

The moving saga continues:

Friday, November 18

This was a day to consider broke stuff. My livingroom floor lamp didn't seem to survive the move but it was old and I was going to buy a new one anyway - just not so soon. Junk furnishings from the old apartment was scheduled to be picked up on the 23rd so I had to break down and pack up the lamp in the car and haul it back to the old place so it could be chucked with the rest of the old stuff. You know, I had no idea that a zillion old dead moths were stuck up in the glass shade of that lamp until I was unscrewing the pole and dumped it all out in my hair.

One hairwash later...

We called the moving company to tell them the freezer door wasn't hanging correctly and were told Kitchen Guy would come by in the afternoon to fix it. A few hours of unpacking passed and moving company called again to say Kitchen Guy was running late on another move but he'd be there.

And he showed up at 9am the next day.

Saturday, November 19

Being as I'd seen Kitchen Guy in action I know he would have been to my place to fix the freezer door on Friday afternoon if it had been at all possible. Him showing up on Saturday morning was just fine with me and after some unscrewing, shaking, adjusting and a generous tip given, my freezer door was functioning once more.

Saturday was my day to run the roads. I first had to go to my MIL's to pick up my computers and monitors. B has been afraid that they'd be broken in the move so he wanted me to personally handle their transport. Had I known how freaking heavy and cumbersome they'd end up being I'd have taken my chance with the movers (and their insurance). I returned to my MIL's a few hours later to pick her up so we could go together to the hardware store so I could get a shower curtain rod, shower curtain, tub mat, tub organizer, toilet paper holder stand and a floor lamp and afterwards I drove my MIL to the cemetary because it was the weekend where everyone visits their dead relatives. Hardware purchases delivered to home, I then did some grocery shopping back in my old neighborhood, store chosen mostly because it has free parking and I know where everything in the store is located. Home again and after eating supper I tackled putting together the floor lamp. I evidently missed the part of the directions where it says "This is one heavy SOB. You need to either have two people to help hold it all while you screw together various parts of the pole or you need to be an octopus.".

Be it known that I only have two hands and I managed to assemble that lamp. Touch me, I rock!

Sunday, November 20

Sunday saw me hanging the shower curtain rod and the shower curtain itself, assembling the chrome toilet paper holder stand (with toilet brush holder included!) and after more unpacking I decided to put together the computers.

Now let me say that I've put together my fair share of computers. I owned two when I lived in America and since moving to Germany we've bought five computers and I assembled each and every one of them. And I'm here to say that I didn't do a dang thing wrong.

But I couldn't get B's computer to work to save my soul. I could hear it booting but I couldn't get a signal to the monitor. I suspected a problem with the monitor so I removed his and put on my monitor. Still no signal. We figured we had a problem with the graphic card. But it's still under warranty and since I had to return the defective telephone table I'd bought a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to do it all at the same time.

And amazingly enough I found the receipts for both the computer and the telephone table. I can't find my salt and pepper shakers but I found those two receipts!

Sunday night saw me going to bed dead tired. Now imagine my shit hemorrhage panic when I got into bed and I heard a snapping crack of wood. Imagine my head banging frustration when I saw the front panel of my pine cracked in half along the grain. Imagine how much I was not going to get back in that bed when I saw that it's cracked along the area where the slat support is attached.

I now have some extremely expensive kindling wood.

Monday, November 21

Computer was delivered for service ("Should be done in four or five days!"), telephone table was exchanged and now it was time to buy a new bed. I went to the same store where I'd bought my kitchen and where I bought my new livingroom sofa and chair (that I have yet to get a delivery date for) and I found a salesman.

"Herr Salesman, I need a bed. I need a sturdy bed. My pine bed broke. I fear falling. I can't sleep in a bed that may collapse under me. Look at me. Find me a bed that will hold me securely. I mean it, look at me and find a bed that will hold my ass-stuck-in-the-bathtub body.".

Five hundred euro and a seven week delivery date later I had purchased a new bed.

I am now convinced that I am single handedly driving the economy of Magdeburg.

The rest of the week has been running more smoothly - except for the fact that I drag my matteress onto the floor every night so I can sleep without fear of crashing to the floor. And the computer problem? No idea. They called Thursday afternoon and said everything was fine - they didn't have a problem with a thing. I picked up the computer on Friday, put it all together again and had no problem either.

Good thing I'm driving the local economy because I look like a complete ass to the computer service department of my local MediaMarkt.

A lesson never to be forgotten

On with the moving adventures.

Thursday, November 17

After going to bed the night before just before midnight - and anyone who knows me knows I don't ever wake up and go to bed on the same day - B and I woke up early to a quiet apartment full of stuff I couldn't find. Thankfully for B my MIL had some instant coffee, an old electric kettle and a cup bought at the dollar store sitting on the kitchen windowsill so breakfast consisted of water for me, instant coffee for B and leftover cookies from the afternoon moving day coffee break the day before.

I still had a few things at my old apartment - cleaning supplies and whatnot - and so I found some clean clothes to put on and headed uptown to fetch those items and to borrow some silverware and a couple plates from my MIL until I could locate my own. While I had the car out I had the idea to drop by the grocery to get a few needed items and decided that frozen pizza would serve us well for supper. No need to find pesky pots and pans - just throw pizzas on the oven rack, bake and on to the plates. Dinner is served.

It wasn't until I got home from the store that I realized that frozen pizza was going to be impossible until I found the rack for the oven. And when I got home from the store I also realized that I'd made another horrible error.

On Tuesday night while packing my kitchen I took things from my freezer to store in my MIL's until my refrigerator was moved, plugged in and working. There were some pretty ancient items in the freezer featuring two plastic containers of beef rouladen and sauce that I'd planned on throwing away. Evidently I'd become sidetracked during this portion of my moving preparation because those freezer items were never removed from the freezer and they had in the meantime melted, leaked (the freezer portion of my refrigerator consists of three large drawers that sit below the fridge part) and refroze. It was like a frozen rouladen bloodbath.

I did have a few things going my way. First, it was cold outside so I could keep the refrigerator stuff out on the balcony while I defrosted and cleaned my refrigerator/freezer. Second, I found the oven rack so the dinner pizza was on.

After cleaning and turning back on the refrigerator/freezer I noticed that #1 I was getting frozen condensation on the freezer drawers and #2 the freezer didn't sound right when I closed the door. Turns out the freezer door was out of alignment and while the cabinet door would closed (the refrigerator is built into a kitchen cabinet), the actual seal on the freezer door wouldn't meet. It was too late in the day to call the Kitchen Guy so I planned on making that the first thing I'd do on Friday.

Things continued to go okay. Unpacking was done. Essential things like TV/harddrive recorder/digital TV service decoder box remote controls were found. Pizza was eaten. I could finally get some time to myself to take a bath and wash my filthy hair.

In my old apartment I didn't have a bathtub. Instead I had a shower whose size approximated a large phonebooth. Therefore for my new apartment I had no shower curtain, no rod on which to hang a shower curtain and no no-slip tub liner...just one for a teeny shower stall. I thought I'd take a bath, wash my hair and then over the next day or two I'd go buy these essential items so I could safely shower without falling down and hosing the bathroom down with water.

I haven't had a bath in years. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd actually taken a bath. Even when I had a bathtub, I only took showers. There's something about sitting in water that now contains the dirt I'm washing from my body that creeps me out. Still I was achy from hefting boxes and the like and I was looking forward to relaxing in some nice, hot water.

Germans, despite whatever stereotype Augustus Gloop may condure up for you, aren't really fat people. Sure, they have fat people but Germans aren't nearly as fat as Americans. I am American. I have an American ass. I was sitting in a German bathtub. Now the fun starts.

It was definitely a snug fit in this tub. Still, I was enjoying the bath and it made my aching feet feel wonderful to be soaking in hot water. I bathed and washed my hair and pulled out the drain plug and as the tub was emptying I thought to myself "You know, I don't think I can stand up without slipping.". I was using the small, square shower liner that I had but what I needed was a long tub liner to ensure that I wasn't going to take a header while getting out of the tub. If I scooched the liner down to my feet to give myself some grip my ass might slide down the tub. If I sit on the liner then my feet might slip out from under me.

I thought that my feet getting some grip was a better alternative so I lifted my butt up slightly to scrooch the mat down towards my feet.

Call me ample. Call me plump. Call me well rounded. Call me fat if you wish. Go ahead, use whatever adjective you wish. Personally I've begun to call my ass "Hoover Dam" because when I lifted myself off the mat, a river of water dammed up behind my butt rushed towards the drain. This, of course, did nothing to help my grip.

I got the mat down towards my feet and realized that it didn't really matter. I simply didn't have the power to heft myself up from that narrow, steep sided bathtub. I reached for the grab bar and made the discovery that one side wasn't screwed down too well and that any strenuous pulling may cause it to come out from the wall and cause me to go flying into the washing machine on the other side of the room.

At this point I thought I should call out a warning to B that I was having some trouble getting out of the tub. Ever the cool one he just replied "Okay!".

I had the idea that if maybe I turned onto my stomach I could draw my knees up under me, get in a kneeling position and then I'd be home free to grab the sides of the tub and stand up. With a bit of effort I did get myself turned over but the bottom of the tub is so narrow that I couldn't freely move to draw my knees up under me.

It was at this point I contemplated having my MIL get on a streetcar, come to our apartment and to help me get out of that tub. I had actual thoughts of having a skinny 71 year old woman help lift a wet, naked 43 year woman twice her size from a bathtub.

Desperation makes you think some strange things.

I figured that for maximum maneuverability I needed to get myself as narrow as possible in that tub and that means getting on my side - I'd think of the next step after that. With a bit more effort I was now on my right side, wet, cold and panicking.

"Please God. Please. You know what I need. Please help me get out of this tub without injuring myself. Please. I have to take care of B. He needs me. Please God, help me get out of this tub."

I tucked my arm under me, pushed myself up into a semi-sitting position and by some miracle - and I do indeed call it a miracle - I was able to sling my left leg over the side of the tub and somehow scrooch myself over until my foot hit solid ground. I was home free after that.

I dried myself and dressed myself in some warm pajamas and went into the livingroom to let B see that I was indeed fine.

"Don't you ever sit down in that bathtub again. Ever. For any reason. All I could think was me having to call the rescue squad and having to say 'Hi, I'm a quadriplegic and my wife is stuck naked and wet in our bathtub and she's unable to get out.'. All I could imagine is them breaking down the door to get in and the next day the TV stations showing up to interview the wacky American lady who got her ass stuck in the bathtub!".

Damn. And I've always wanted to be on TV too.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Let us begin our adventure

There's a lot to tell so perhaps it's best to just take it day by day.

Wednesday, November 16

Of course it's silly to think that I would be beginning this day fresh off a good night's sleep. First, I was throwing shit into boxes until about midnight - things that had to go with the movers - and I didn't sleep well anyway.

The movers arrived at 7:45 am and these guys didn't waste a bit of time. They started in on bringing boxes down to the truck and I left for a few minutes to walk to the private garage where we keep our car to get it out and drive it around to the front of the apartment building as I had our new telephone table in the car and I wanted the movers to put it on the truck. In the fifteen minutes it took me to do this, virtually all the cartons and all the sacks of clothing were on the truck.

In the meantime the guy we shall now forever refer to as the Kitchen Guy started in with dismantling the kitchen. I could hardly look at the guy tearing down my beautiful kitchen. It was like watching an autopsy.

After all the boxes were in the truck the rest of the guys started in with taking apart the three giant wall cabinets I have.

It felt a little weird to just sit by and let others work like crazy but that's what I did until the movers were finished putting everything in the truck. At that point the movers went upstairs to my MIL's apartment while she fed them an early lunch and during that time I was to get B dressed so he could get in his wheelchair. The plan was for him and my MIL to take the streetcar to the new place, I would take the car and meet the movers to let them in. Everything was running so smoothly.

And so you know that means a screwup is just around the bend.

B's in his wheelchair, I'm gathering up some things I wanted to take with me in the car and one of the moving guys came to the door to say the elevator wasn't working.

Shit. Shitshitshitshitshit.

I went off to see if I could see if it was stuck on a particular floor and I ran into my MIL on her cell phone telling the elevator company "You gotta get over here now. My son is moving today, he's in a wheelchair and his apartment is empty. You can see the problem, can't you?". Meantime the moving truck is departing and I have to leave as well to let the movers in the new place. No time to do anything but kiss B goodbye, wish him luck and pray that the Otis Elevator Company was taking some pity on us.

I arrived at the new place, let the movers in and they set up a lift to bring things up through my bedroom window.

Oh. Did I fail to mention that it was raining?

I stopped and called my MIL on her cell and found that not only did the elevator people arrive quickly but they fixed the problem in about five minutes. I would venture to guess someone had jammed something in the door track to keep it from closing - it's happened many times before. Anyway B and my MIL were just about to get on the streetcar and the movers had brought in his bed and had assembled it and that's when I realized that when they were grabbing boxes and bags while I was fetching the car from the garage they grabbed the trashbag that I'd put aside that held the clean linen for B's bed - and the old linen was left at the old apartment for my MIL to wash. The boxes and sacks of clothing were packed first so they were going to be the last things out of the truck after the kitchen and the furniture were removed. Poor B - freezing and rained on - had to sit and wait while my MIL went to the department store to get him new linens.

Finally we have the linens on the bed and B transferred to it and things are starting to get hectic soon to turn to chaotic. First the phone guy arrives - phone service turned on. Cable guy arrives to install the cable modem (the cable TV was supposedly turned on in the basement on the 7th) and he's suspicious that things aren't right. The cable socket doesn't look right but he puts on another piece for the modem and he suggests we check the TV. No TV. The cable socket is the old one from the previous cable company. Cable guy calls another cable guy who pokes around and finds that there is no hot cable line in our apartment. At some point when this apartment was completely renovated inside the cable was cut - and this guy doesn't know where.

Good news. He's willing to look for it. Bad news. If he can't find it and a new one has to be run in from the basement we could potentially be without TV and internet for four to six weeks.

Dude. Find that cable. I might could live a month without the internet but dammit, I ain't missing all the Christmas movies on TV!

Let me now set a scene for you. I have in my livingroom one guy assembling my new coffee table. I have two guys putting together my kitchen. I have two guys searching for and finding the cable for the TV and then drilling into the walls to make a new cable socket. I have two guys in one room assembling one wall cabinet, two more guys doing another cabinet, my MIL and another guy putting in my washer and an under sink cabinet in the bathroom and B's aunt running around taking coffee orders. Me? I'm contemplating flinging myself off the balcony in an effort to find five seconds of peace and quiet. No chance for that though because I was getting lots of "Frau G, could you come look at this? Do you want me to put this counter like this? How about if I put these cabinets in this arrangement? Do you want the bed on this wall or this wall?".

Proof that I am not a perfectionist: After a while the answer to those questions was either "Yeah, okay." or "Whatever you think is best!".

We'd lived in the new apartment for approximately two hours and I'm sure the neighbors were hating us. I had the cable guy drilling in the walls (did I fail to mention our walls are concrete slabs?), saws and drills going to put together the kitchen, electric screwdrivers everywhere and lots of loud men talking and laughing. I wanted to go to each of the neighbors and say "Don't judge us by this day! We're really very quiet people!".

By 6:30pm it was all over. The movers were gone and in a weird way I was sorry to see them go.

How did the day end? Wall cabinets and bed assembled and in place. Cable for TV and internet found, Christmas movies saved. Kitchen half finished - what floor cabinets that fit plus the appliances are in. The hanging cabinets will be installed on December 14 - the new corner cabinet that will be delivered on the 13th has to be hung first. Three of the floor cabinets that didn't fit are in my bedroom at the foot of my bed and you know it doesn't look as weird as it sounds. Only one floor kitchen cabinet was lost and it's now in my basement storage area and I'll use it there. And the cartons were finally brought in and made into a sort of Great Wall of China in my spare sitting room.

From the bottom of my heart I have to thank the moving crew - they were fabulous. Always laughing and happy and they made everything go as smoothly as they could. My MIL has requested that the same crew be used to move her in two weeks. I have to thank the cable guys for taking pity on us and not giving up until they got us working TV. And I really have to thank my wonderful MIL for all the back breaking help she's given us to get us moved.

We were finally left alone and I realized that we had one little problem. It was suppertime, I had no real food and even if I did I couldn't possibly find the plates and silverware. So being as I now live in the heart of downtown I put on my shoes and jacket and walked down the street to the Chinese carry-out.

Thank God for plastic forks.

I'm moved, it's quiet, I'm dead...

...tired, that is.

Sorry for the long absence and thank you for your wonderful words of support during my move. It's been hectic, it's been chaotic, it's been fabulous blog fodder.

My computer was in the shop being repaired - the one that goes with my cable modem so I couldn't get online since moving in. More on that later.

I have stories to tell so sit tight. Topics to be covered include rain, a broken elevator, a lamp that bit the dust, a computer making my life nuts, a new telephone table that was defective and my ass getting stuck in the bathtub.

I know you'll be back alone for that last tidbit of information.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tschüss, you old pit of Hell!

In a scant 36 hours the movers will be showing up to take our wordly posessions over to our new apartment where we shall begin a new, happy, and peaceful (!!!!) life and so tomorrow I have to breakdown both computers tomorrow and get them packed. And since for a short while after the move I'll have to spend time doing things like...well...unpacking, organizing and wondering where in the hell I've put my brown suede Birkenstock Bostons and all the washcloths, I won't be updating my blog until I'm settled in.

So while I'm gone, feel free to read my archives. Go to my sidebar and find my Frappr map and put in a pin. If you've never commented here before, delurk and say hello. Hell, leave a comment even if you read every day - I could use the love and attention.

And when next you see me, I'll be living surrounded by peace and quiet. And a bunch of empty boxes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lottie's packing

Lottie, my sock monkey, has been invaluable in helping me get organized and packed. Dressed in her work clothes provided by her favorite cousin in Illinois, Lisa, she's been making sure nothing gets left to chance.

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"Plenty more room in here! Bring me another load to add in!"

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The holidays are just around the corner and with that brings holiday baking. Lottie makes sure the baking supplies don't get misplaced or else she's going to be out her favorite Snickerdoodles.

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"Proper package sealing helps prevent breakage. And be sure to label each box as to which room it belongs and its contents!"

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"You can't ever have enough bubble wrap!"

Lottie's been the best help. And no boxes for her. Lottie's riding in the car with me and all the other most important valuables.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Latest and last

Packing is nearly complete. I still have to do the kitchen but there shouldn't be any discoveries there since it was sorted and cleaned out six months ago when the new one came in.

But here are a few samples of the goodies uncovered today.
  • The most completely useless pair of nail clippers ever manufactured. They wouldn't cut through butter, let alone a fingernail.
  • Silk Anne Klein scarf I've been looking for for years.
  • Scrapbook from our wedding.
  • Teach Yourself German CDs. Not especially helpful for me.
  • Five ancient Kinder Surprise Eggs that came as a gift set. The chocolate had turned scary but there's nothing wrong with the toys inside.
  • Celine Dion CD. I know...I know...
  • Photo of B's first grade class. I was proud that I could pick his six year old self out right away.
  • Photo album with photos of B's vacation to Budapest with his first girlfriend, Kirsten. Great pictures. I love to see any photos of B where he's actually standing.
Glad the toughest part is just about over.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I think I'm on to something

Why it's taking me forever to pack, that is. I have to keep stopping to fool with what I find.

Example: My first Überraschung Ei toy. Roll your cursor over the tomb.

I have opened and closed this thing eleventy-hundred times today. Cracks me up every time. And you just know I'm taking it to the new place with me.

Friday Shuffle - Last One From the Pit of Hell Edition

Shuffle for me, baby.
  1. In the Crossfire - Starsailor
  2. Knowing Me, Knowing You - ABBA
  3. Sail Away - David Gray
  4. Ants Marching - Dave Matthews Band
  5. Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
  6. Whenever You're On My Mind - Marshall Crenshaw
  7. All I Ever Wanted Was You - Michael Stanley Band
  8. Walkin' After Midnight - Patsy Cline
  9. O What a Thrill - The Mavericks
  10. Where the Streets Have No Name - U2
Too good a shuffle for this apartment.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Screaming meme

I'm sick of packing. I'm sick of talking about packing. I need some mindless fluff and I'm here to treat you to some as well.

Snitched from that sweet lady, Marybeth.

A is for Age - 43
B is for Booze - Erdinger Weißbier
C is for Career - No thanks. Interferes with my naptime.
D is for Dad's Name - First name Harris, middle name Dalton. He was named after a gentleman caller of a friend of my grandmother's. I guess after her zillionth child my grandmother was taking inspiration any place she could get it.
E is for Essential items to bring to a party - See "B is for Booze".
F is for Favorite song at the moment - Just Call My Name by Blackmore's Night.
G is for Goof off thing to do - Read, play Sacred
H is for Hometown - Corinth, Mississippi
I is for Instrument you play - Drums, to the annoyment of many.
J is for Jam or Jelly you like - Peach preserves.
K is for Kids - None that I'm aware of.
L is for Living arrangement - Wonderful husband, faithful dog, shitload of moving boxes, excessive tumbleweeds of dog hair.
M is for Mom's name - First name Virginia, middle name Lee. Not named after anyone's lover...ahem...gentleman caller, as far as I know.
N is for Names of best friends - Mollie, Chelle, Lorrie, Lisa, Candy, Jen, Michele.
O is for Overnight hospital stays - Latest was two years ago for surgery to remove internal organs responsible for key hormone production.
P is for Phobias - Falling, spiders, clowns, burning myself, Rick Santorum.
Q is for Quote you like - "I'm as revved up and twitchy as a squirrel on Pez." - Mollie.
R is for Relationship that lasted the longest - So far the twelve years of my first marriage but I'm aiming higher than that.
S is for Siblings - One older sister, two older brothers.
T is for Texas, ever been? - Yes. My former in-laws are Texans.
U is for Unique trait - I can snap my toes. Wows 'em at parties.
Vegetable you love - Okra.
W is for Worst traits - Procrastination, disorganization.
X is for Xrays you've had - Teeth, ankle, abdomen
Y is for Yummy food you make - Potato salad
Z is for Zodiac sign - Capricorn

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fabulous list for use in a scavenger hunt

More packing done, more curiosities found.
  • A wand hand mixer, unopened.
  • Blank video tapes with God only knows what on it - and I'm not hooking up a VCR to find out either.
  • Bottle of Jack Daniel's barbecue sauce that my sister brought to me two years ago. I can't find a "use by this date or it shall poison you" mark on it.
  • Set of seersucker sheets that someone gave us as a wedding gift. Ew. I can think of few things creepier feeling than seersucker sheets.
  • Three sets of pewter Longaberger basket Christmas ornaments. Another "Oh thank God I found those" find.
  • Ancient bag of Starburst jelly beans that I believe could now be used to pave a driveway.
  • Six white tablecloths used for buffet tables.
  • Two gloves, left hand only.
  • B's flannel baby blanket.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuesday Überraschung Ei Blogging

Just what I need to add to my packing woes - more plastic geegaws.

Roll over the chocolate and plastic capsule to see the contents.

It's the fire station that goes with the "Baby Firefighters" figurine series. German Ü-Ei collectors are all about the figurine series.

Push the button, baby comes down the pole.

No chance of packing this one. It's already in the trash.

Monday, November 07, 2005

More discoveries while packing

  • Various boxes of candy presented to us as gifts. Mostly Mon Cheri. I hate Mon Cheri.
  • Anti-thrombosis stockings for B.
  • Leather passport folder I got when I worked at ASCE. Actually they gave it to me when I quit because they were the nicest people to me. In it was a copy of my birth certificate, the international language version of my marriage license, my city residence registration and my social security card. One of those "Oh thank God I found this!" finds.
  • Four luggage tags.
  • Various airline ticket stubs.
  • Nine dollars in US money. I should send it to my mother because it's the change from a ten dollar bill I bummed from her to buy some water on the way to the airport when I flew back to Europe last fall.
  • Six pair of earrings, none of which I particularly like.
  • The final written presentation made by B for his graduation from culinary school. In it was a hand lettered, hand drawn children's menu made as part of the test. I've seen it before but I especially like looking at it because it's in his handwriting. He hasn't handwritten anything in twenty-two years.
That last thing was better than finding a treasure. I'd never part with it.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Help me save a little face

Check out our Frappr!

C'mon over to my new Frappr site (I was inspired by Sally and Holley) and make your mark. Won't cost you a penny and you'll help me look all popular and stuff. Okay, semi-popular.

I'll settle for not-a-complete-loser.

It's all in how you look at it

I know I've been very whiney lately about the packing and moving thing. It's not that it's that all fired difficult. I'm just inherently lazy and I don't do well with upheaval and chaos. However I've decided that I will take the advice that I normally so freely throw around and am going to change my perspective on the packing thing.

This is turning out to be a fabulous opportunity to discover things I didn't even know I had. My MIL - bless this woman - is tackling the tedious job of packing up all the glassware and porcelain. All the collected teacups and saucers I have? She has lovingly wrapped each one. Same thing with beer glasses, schnapps glasses, pitchers, vases, stemware - she's making sure as she possibly can that these things will survive moving intact. If I were doing this job I'd get about halfway through it, get sick of the wrapping up and start pitching it out in the garbage. My MIL has also found things like some demitasse cups that were originally her great aunt's that came from some rich man from the town where she was born and they're over 100 years old. Some weency schnapps glasses that are made of glass so thin one would think they'd shatter if there were breathed upon wrong. Funky carved cigarette holders that date back from before the war. All this stuff has been squirreled away in cabinets that I never bothered to poke around in and now they'll get a new life.

B and I were discussing yesterday that we're lucky not trying to do this fairly sudden moving and renovation during former East German times. Renovation during that time wasn't anything one could do on the spur of the moment. Things like paint, paintbrushes, wallpaper, wallpaper adhesive, carpet, tile, curtains, curtain rods, curtain hooks - they were all available in the former East Germany. Unfortunately they weren't all available at the same time. You'd find curtains but wouldn't be able to get hooks for a few months. Wallpaper but no adhesive. You get the idea. To remedy that you'd plan well ahead of time, buy what you could when you could find it (and had the money for it) and then store it until you could get the other part of what you'd need. You might could renovate everything all at once but you'd have spent a year or two collecting everything you'd need. B is perfectly used to this being the norm but as I am an American schooled in the fine art of instant gratification it would drive me mad.

It reminds of one of my favortite life-in-East-Germany stories. A co-worker of my MIL needed a new carpet for her livingroom. Back then a good piece of carpet was not only difficult to find but expensive as well, hence the still used tradition of removing one's shoes when entering someone's home. If you saw a piece of carpet that you wanted then by golly you'd best buy it right then or lose out on your opportunity. So this lady discovered decent carpet on sale, the salesman unrolled a bit of it to show her the color (a fine, bright red) and the quality and she jumped at the opportunity to buy it. Paid a steep price for it as well. The lady somehow got the roll of carpet home, moved her furniture and unrolled the carpet. And that's when she made a terrible discovery.

Woven into the dead center of the carpet was a picture of Lenin, looking very much like this. Naturally this woman was horrified and unfortunately shit-out-of-luck as well. Even if she could have returned the carpet, not possible back in those days, was was she going to say? Tell the guy at the state owned carpet store that she didn't like the big Lenin head on her rug? Not if she didn't want a visit in the middle of the night from the Stasi. She was stuck with it. And for the rest of the time she had that carpet, which I imagine was quite a few years, she kept a table right over Lenin's noggin.

My new carpet was put down yesterday. I checked it. It looks fantastic. And not one picture of a revolutionary, despot or dictator to be found.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My final offer

I'll offer 200€ - that's like...I dunno. I don't know the current exchange rate and I suck at math but it's more than $200. Anyway that's what I'll offer the first person to come over here and finish throwing out/packing up the shit in this apartment. And I'll get you a currywurst. A beer too.

You'll have to get your own plane ticket and hotel accomodations because I'm packing and I ain't got room to put you up with the boxes all over the place. But I'm throwing in a currywurst and beer! Hell, for a currywurst and a beer I may be tempted to do this myself!

Okay, okay. I wouldn't really pay someone all that money to pack for me. But I'm dead serious about the currywurst. I'd definitely spring for one of those. But you'd have to hold the door open for me while I lug yet another bursting full trash bag out of here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

More things found during packing

How did I not know I had all this stuff? Or know where I'd put some of this stuff?
  • My blue topaz earrings B got me for Christmas in 1998. They'd been missing for about five years.
  • Wooden chessboard.
  • Two packages of Always pads (with wings!). I haven't needed them since I had surgery 2 1/2 years ago.
  • Scads of partially burned advent wreath candles.
  • Vacuum seal clothing bags.
  • Gore/Lieberman bumpersticker.
  • Boxes of stationery containing only envelopes.
  • Bayern-München alarm clock.

Friday Shuffle - Packing Up Edition

Packing blows. You gotta have a good shuffle to keep yourself motivated.
  1. I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock and Roll) - Dave Edmunds
  2. Irgendwie, Irgendwo, Irgendwann - Nena (feat. Kim Wilde)
  3. Cruel to be Kind - Nick Lowe
  4. Lyla - Oasis
  5. Water's Edge - Seven Mary Three
  6. Zehn Kleine Jägermeister - Die Toten Hosen
  7. Sherry Darling - Bruce Springsteen
  8. Don't Know How to Party - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  9. Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top
  10. I Couldn't Leave You if I Tried - Rodney Crowell
Five boxes down, umpteen million to go.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Deep sigh of relief

I just remembered that I have one pepperoni pizza Hot Pocket in my freezer.


The sorting/organizing/throwing out/packing thing continues to kick my ass. And take up my time. You know I've moved very seldom in my life so I'm probably not the best at this task.

And I wish I knew some teenagers. I need them to come once a day and take these bags of trash downstairs to the dumpsters.

I took an hour and a half to get my hair colored and cut today and it was time I could ill afford to lose but the sight of my gray roots was bumming me out. Eh. I suppose in the grand scheme of things the time spent at the hairdresser won't screw me up too badly.

My cupbords are bare. Not completely bare but I have nothing really with which to make a meal. I've been trying not to buy too much at once so I don't end up having to move not-so-well-planned meal makings with me. I have no bread, no eggs, no milk, no meat except two pieces of frozen schnitzel. I'd planned on picking up some chicken today but just couldn't get time to walk literally across the street to get it. Dinner ended up being some of that bagged pasta and sauce dreck you add water to and boil up in five minutes. "Bag noodles", I call it. B thought for ages that I was saying "bad noodles" and I'm beginning to agree with him. Too salty tasting and the last time I ate them I had a gallbladder attack and threw up for hours but I had them on hand for emergencies and today became an emergency. And they're not really one of those rib-sticking sort of meals so now I'm starving again. I'd like a snack but I don't even have a measly cup of yogurt - and I always have yogurt.

I must grocery shop tomorrow before this pity party becomes out of hand.

Question for Preacher Beege

'Cause when you really got to know, you go to the trained expert.

Can one go to hell for squirting whipped cream all over a chocolate chocolate chip cookie with pecans?

I'm asking for a friend, you see...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

...and yet no money

Things found while packing -

  • Coach change purse purchased 23 years ago. Still looks fabulous.
  • Two cotton surgical masks. Worth gold if avian flu breaks out.
  • Three coloring books - all of them mine.
  • Copy of Sugar Busters. No comment.
  • Various postcards.
  • Horribly tacky ghost with jack o' lantern motif tealight holders.
  • Various cables for connecting who knows what with who knows what.
  • Printed e-cards from some nutball woman who used to (and to some degree still does) stalk B online.
  • Handheld Yatzee game.
  • Leftover Christmas tealights that I never used again after one of them went berserk and started a rather disconcerting fire in a brass tealight holder.
  • Over 5DM in coins no longer in use since changing to the Euro.
Hmmm. Reckon I did technically find some money.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I need a tourniquet...

...because I'm to the point where I'm hemorrhaging money. It's getting ridiculous.

I got to thinking (read: obsessing) about my kitchen again. While the carpenter from the moving company may be able to get my stuff moved in properly, he's not a designer and he's not seeing the big picture. I'm not a designer either but I know what I have and I know how I want the kitchen to look and with what was planned, it wasn't going to make it.

It's hard to explain here - you'll have to wait for the pictures later - but in the way my new kitchen is situated I will have hanging cabinets along one wall, a gap along a perpendicular wall and then another cabinet over the stove which in reality isn't a cabinet but my range hood. That's going to look stupid. So even though I have more cabinets, both hanging and floor, than I need what did I do this afternoon? I bought another cabinet - a corner door hanging cabinet to fill in that corner space. I have too many cabinets and I went out and bought another. Please let me sit down because the irony is making me ache.

I saw the guy who sold me my kitchen in the first place and he literally winced when I told him I was moving and his masterpiece - in my mind anyway - wasn't going to survive. He figured out what sort of cabinet I'd need and it'll be delivered an installed in about six weeks. I'll have to tell the moving company guys assembling my kitchen what to leave out so the new cabinet can be installed a month later. Mr. Kitchen Designer also reminded me that there's a wee problem with my dishwasher going at the end of the row of cabinets as it will have to be at the new place. The dishwasher is now in the middle of a row so there's no real cabinet that it sits in and therefore no side piece to now go to the outside. How do I remedy that? Pull the side off a cabinet I won't be able to use. It ruins that cabinet, of course, but I have to have an end piece. I can't have naked dishwasher hanging out there.

So let's see if we all have the story straight. I have more cabinets than I need, turned around and bought another cabinet to the tune of 380€ and will in the end have to destroy another to get one piece from it. Point me to the nearest brick wall on which I can repeatedly slam my head against.

I told Mr. Kitchen Designer that when all is said and done and the kitchen looks stupid, I'll be back to let him know so he can sell me more stuff to fix it. He chuckled and said he'd be glad to help but not to tarry because that model will end up being discontinued in about six month when the new styles come out.

Good thing I didn't put off moving for six or eight months. I'd seriously be fucked then.

I don't know if the Louds have received their eviction notice and figure they can go for broke or what their current malfunction is but today they've been horrible. This morning when I was out buying (!!!!!!) a step ladder B said the radio was up so loud he couldn't even hope to hear our TV. Herr Loud did at one point turn it down briefly. That was when he went off for ten minutes to take a crap. I guess he didn't want to have B miss out on the full effect of his shit scream. When it was over he came back and turned the sound up again. Did I fail to mention that he'd already woken us up at 4:10 this morning with his screaming?

It was quiet again until about 7:30 this evening. Again he had music up so loud that I couldn't hear our TV at all.

I thought about going upstairs and banging on their door but it would turn into a screaming match and honestly I'm not up for it. It upsets me and gives me a headache and I didn't feel like going to jail because I couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't beat the piss out of those people.

I thought about banging on the pipes but that tends to result in him just turning the volume up even louder.

So I sat there. Fuming. Getting more pissed by the second.

And then without really even thinking about it first I turned on my digital TV service tuner and flipped it over to the radio setting. Let's see...hmmmm...the hard rock station will do. Linkin Park & Jay-Z. Perfect. And I turned up my TV to as loud as it could go until the song was over. Don't you know, as if by magic, the Louds turned down their music.

They'd best not pitch a damn thing to me they wouldn't want me to hit back right in their faces. My ability to give a shit about the feelings of these people officially ran out this afternoon when I got handed a bill for 380€.