Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday, Monday (ba-da, ba-da-da-da-da)

Brian left today for training for the next couple of days so that leaves Luke and I here at our house, just the two of us, fending for ourselves. It really isn't that big of a deal and this will be the way our life is for the duration of our time here, Brian will frequently be gone from a few days to a few weeks at a time. And that is why I am so anxious to get involved, with what I don't know, but I am searching. Luke and I dropped Brian off at work bright and early this morning - 6:45am and it was so strange driving home by myself. It is so easy to be the passenger but driving I really noticed all the street signs and the bizarre little white arrows in the blue circle signs that tell you which way to enter the road. The signs are so unlike the ones in the states and it is a little disconcerting at times. So I drive and hope that I don't do some kind of driving no-no and tick off a German or get thrown in prison. (You think I am kidding. Making a u-turn on an Autobahn is a felony.) Once we made it home (I'm so dramatic, it was a leisurely, uneventful 15 minute drive on a country road back to the house), and once I had my coffee, I tackled my to do list and ended up spending almost an entire hour on hold for the doctor's office to schedule a physical for Luke, all while being told by the nice electronic voice and I was the first one in line on hold. Really? Who was the person who called ahead of me who took 50 minutes to schedule an appointment? Then I called the daycare and reserved a chunk of timeslots for Luke, all in my methodical way, of course. I decided that we will start the month of March out with 1 day of daycare, Tuesday morning and on Thursday morning I will take him to Kids Club. (Do you really care about this? Well, continuing on...) The following week he will be in daycare for 2 hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. And the week after that I return to my Tuesday-daycare, Thursday-Kid's Club schedule. Rinse, repeat. However, I am thinking about attending PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) Tuesday morning Bible Studies. They are starting a series of studies based off the book Hope for the Homefront which is written by a Navy wife "with humor and honesty about the battles we face at home as military spouses, like burnout, fear, separation, frustration, etc." If I attend PWOC, then they offer free childcare at the chapel so Luke would just tag along with me and I can cancel my Tuesday morning slots at the daycare. The colonel's wife hopes to have a "coffee" (I put coffee in quotes because traditionally, holding a "coffee" with the spouses really meant having coffee. Now it usually means getting together in the evening for dinner and drinks and the husband's stay home with the children) sometime next month. Hopefully getting together as an FRG (Family Readiness Group, technically the spouses of the active duty soldier) will be a fairly regular occurrence. It would be nice to have a group of ladies I can hang out with and take shopping day trips with (I type this thinking of all the Christmas markets - I guess that gives me 7-10 months to find some friends! ha!)

In the meantime, I have been reading my 2 Germany books, Germany for Dummies that my Grandma and Grandpa gave us for Christmas and See It Germany. Brian told me that he doesn't want to plan any big trips any time soon but that doesn't mean that I can't plan small day trips (or weekend trips) within Southeastern Germany! There are a ton of cities to explore and hundreds of things to do - Stuttgart, Heidelburg, Gunzburg, Freibrug and Konstanz, just to name a few - with the Wilhelma Zoo, "Fairytale Paradise" recreational park, LegoLand, Europa Park, Sea Life aquarium to explore, in that order. Eventually we'll make it up to Berlin and over to Frankfort and even further up and over (pick your direction) to Poland, Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Switzerland or Belgium! There is so much to do here and so many places to travel it is completely overwhelming. Thank goodness we have a good 2 1/2 years to try to do it all.

Ooooo - I almost forgot a couple more details about living in Germany. We don't have garbage disposals. Nope, not a one. They give you little green buckets, called bio-buckets, that you are supposed to line with a little green bag, called a bio-bag, and throw all your bio -waste into. The bio-bags are then collected on Thursdays. We asked our neighbors about this and nobody ever uses their bio-buckets or bio-bags, everyone just throws the gunk into the trash. As of now, so are we. I feel kind of bad, like I am breaking the rules, but where does one keep the bio-bucket of rotting waste until Thursday? When we got the house the bucket was prominently displayed on the counter. Ick. Hopefully you don't think I'm killing the planet and I'll remind you that we recycle paper products (down to the tiniest scraps), plastic, aluminum and glass. We are recycling machines and in the course of 2 weeks (the trash collection is only twice a month), we have only 2 bags of trash. It really is amazing how much of the stuff we use is recyclable. Second, and how could I have forgotten to tell you this, the electrical outlets are different here. I don't know all the technical jargon but the voltage is 200 or 230 and in America our electronics and appliances are 110 and 120. Our house has both kinds of outlets, but not many. Each room has maybe two 110 outlets. In those outlets we can plug in any of the electronics we brought from home. They sell converters to be able to plug an American electronics into the 220 outlets - HOWEVER, you have to look at what you are plugging in and make sure that it says 100-240 or 110-230 volts (it is telling you that it can be plugged into an outlet that carried up to 230 or 240 volts) if you use the converter with an appliance or electronic that can not handle that high of a voltage you can say goodbye to that appliance or electronic because you just fried it (and potentially started a small fire) by plugging it in. Whew! Crazy isn't it? Not only do I have to deal with new surroundings, new language, new currency, I have to make sure that I don't inadvertently blow myself up by plugging my hairdryer into the wrong socket. ;)

At the request of Grandpa, I leave you with some pictures of Luke.

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