Saturday, December 12, 2009

My job...a calling

A few long lost and not so long lost friends want to know more about my new job. I want to thank all the awesome well wishers...thank you for being involved in my lonely little life over here :) Its getting better, but in the midst of the holidays and other people's families visiting some traveling to the states, I am constantly reminded of the lack of a "family" present. It seemed in SL, UT there was always a feeling of family around us....blood relation was optional.  I have made some friends here. They are wonderful, social, funny, inviting and enjoyable people. I can't wait to become better and better friends! But it doesn't negate the empty feeling of those who aren't here. I miss you all! Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts.T


I have accepted a job as a staff nurse in an adult ICU at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. It is an American Military hospital. It sounds similar to the ICU at St. Alexius in Bismarck. Med/Surg, neuro, burns, infectious disease, cardiac, pulmonary, etc. etc. There are a few things very different. The main thing is patient population. I will be taking care of injured and sick soldiers the majority of the time. This was something I thought about even before leaving the states. I didn't know if I could be up for something like that. I voiced these concerns to a few friends. They agreed and understood.  A special friend (also a nurse) talked about how great it would be to have that actually feel like one is really doing something for a greater good. This conversation came to my consciousness during my interview.  

I have talked with myself. Yes, we do that from time to helps :) I decided this could take a form of humanitarian work. Yes, I know I am getting a paycheck. I also have an idea of what I will see while earning said paycheck. I do not agree with why the military is in Afghanistan or Iraq. I have never hidden my opinions about why we went to war.  These opinions do not affect the way I feel about US soldiers.  I find them to be truly heroic and selfless beyond words.  My husband served in Iraq, as most of you probably know. I know and have lived just a taste of the sacrifice these men and women have endured.

During my interview an Army Major pulled on his BDU top and said, "You don't wear one of these. But we will be asking you to be available if and when the time comes we need all hands on deck." I know what this means, it didn't need clarification. I am prepared. The Major was upfront and semi-blunt. It was refreshing. I don't like sugar coating either. So I don't wear a uniform. I have said hundreds of times I couldn't ever wear a military uniform. But, I have been given an opportunity to support and do good using my knowledge, experience and education without having to "sign my life away" to the military. I see this as a very unique learning opportunity. I see this job as an experience I will never be presented with again. I want it to be positive. I want to do as much good as possible. I want to help. I feel like this opportunity passed my way for a reason.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I called the local German hospital today.  I have a plantar's wart.  I have had it for almost a year and a half.  It started as a small irregularity on the ball of my left foot.  I identified it pretty early.  I had been taking the kids to the water park a lot and I had taken a shower at yoga here and there....I knew what it was and where it likely came from.   I have read this virus can be self- limiting...meaning it will go away on its own, usually it takes about two years or so.  YES, TWO years.  I thought I could deal with that diagnosis.  It could be worse.  I could have HPV in other areas of the body.  I have some perspective, I don't have one of these on my cervix, so I decided to hang with it.  Let it limit itself, right?   After using two different OTC remedies (the little patches and the frozen can thing) I saw an MD.  He froze the damn thing three times.  These things are hearty, I guess.  I tried apple cider vinegar and duct tape.  The freaking thing turned black so many times I can't count!!!  I even dug at it like crazy, it bled....Alot.  I really wanted it gone.  Alas, it is not gone.
Last night I woke up with hot sharp pain in the ball of  my left foot.  The site of said wart.  Prior to waking up I had a terrible dream about this stupid wart.  I won't go into details, but I had the UGLIEST wart one can imagine on my foot....then I woke up.  And it hurt, this stupid virus that I have lived with for over a year is starting to affect my sleep.  Seriously?  I can't really imagine something more silly. 
I have been avoiding using our health insurance because it requires us to see local physicians...if you want to see a doctor before the next decade starts.  I could go to a clinic on base, I just have to wait for a "space-available" slot.  Then we have to pay first and submit it to the insurance company....shitty.  So today I called the German St. Johannis Krankenhause.  I really assumed there would be acceptable customer support in calling since their website is in German and English.  WRONG.  I called, a woman answered.  I politely greeted her and immediately asked if she spoke English.  She said, "A little".  I know what that means as  have said it in Spanish multiple times.  I'm taking a German class, I could ask to make an appointment, if I had done some study but wouldn't get very far in anything after that.  So, I cut to the chase.  "I need an appointment with a doctor and I am a new patient."  I was politely put on hold (expected and totally fine).  The phone rang back to the same woman three times, she kept putting me on hold when I asked to speak English.  Finally she took me off hold and just laid the phone on the desk.  I could hear background chatter....really chatter when you don't understand the language.  After a few more minutes (total of >5) a woman (I assume it was a different one, but could have been the same) picked up the phone and said a long German sentence.  I just said, "Nein Danke" and stammered to say something else....during my stammering (which only lasted .25 seconds) she said, "Ok, Tschüss!"  And hung up the phone.  There may have been some other words I don't recall because I've blocked it out. :)  So after holding the phone to my ear for almost seven minutes I got nothing.  Except for the knowledge that the German hospital switchboard operators don't necessarily speak English nor do they care to really be of any help.

Honestly, I don't really hold any hostility against my last statement.  I can only imagine my attitude for people who don't speak my language expecting me to help them with their problems.....OH WAIT!!  I freaking did that at work all the time.  huh.
That is all.   Miss everyone, thanks for reading..  xoxoxoxo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tari's Follies: The Parka

Things are still happening to me.  I'm still running into follies of living in a foreign country.  I just can't continue to write about me doing the same silly stuff over and over and over again.  Soon, ya'll will wonder if I ever learn.  The answer is yes, but I'm a difficult study.  Especially if it means I can't do what I want to do.  I wouldn't call myself spoiled.  My parents hardly raised me to expect to get anything I want, let alone everything :)  (Mom, I mean that with the greatest amount of affection.)  I am however extremely stubborn and hard headed.  This gets me to my latest.  I have wanted a new winter coat for many years.  I have had my current one for 10 years(is that right, Mom...its the one you and Paul bought for me at the mall in Bis.)  Anyway, a really long time.  But it was super warm for the ND winters and a great ski coat in UT.  I have been using the shell as a warmish raincoat here in Germany.  It has served me well.  But, it lacks je ne sais pas, Style.  It is a men's coat.  My Dad wears the same one in green.  I don't hate this, mind you.  But I am a young and attractive lady.  I want a stylish coat dammit. 

Our land lady brought me a German mail order clothing catalog about a month ago.  I thanked her, thinking, "Yeah, right. I wouldn't dare order something from this."  Not because the clothes weren't my style, everything was very young, cute, European even.  I loved much.  Flipping through, I would say, oh I'd get this and this and this if I could speak the language.  Then I got to the back cover.  A winter parka for €59,99.  Depending on the exchange rate (we won't talk about how irritating that is) its about $90.   So that catalog sat on the coffee table, on the kitchen counter, the telephone shelf, etc.  It was almost thrown out a few times.  I kept that parka in the back of my head.  It called to me.  Finally, one of the numerous times I was leafing through the catalog I noticed they had a website.  Of course they do!!  Hello, its 2009...ya ain't no one if ya don't got a website!  So, I typed in the address.  My laptop took me right to the site.  That freaking parka was on the homepage...telling me it would be on sale for only a few more was pretty easy to decipher that much.  The rest of the page was incomprehensible.  Many local websites have a British or US flag to indicate they offer their site in English.  That wonderful indicator was not on this page.  Deeeep breath....I wanted that parka so bad at this point.  I decided had served me pretty well in the past.  For whatever reason Google wouldn't translate the whole page at a time, so I had to highlight, right click, tab, right click, paste, read translation.  So google is great and all, but it was sorta stupid this day.  So many things were not making much sense.  But I was getting the jist (is that right?) of what I was doing.  I was able to read some customer reviews of the parka.  They all said the sleeves were so very long.....perrrrfect.  I have primate arms, for those who have never noticed.  So now I Had to have this parka.  I committed to making a purchase even if I had to highlight, right click, copy, click google tab, right click, paste, click translate 100 times.  I entered my name, used the prefix Frau (heehee), put in my German street address....I've never used it for mailing before so it felt sorta cool :)  I even knew my phone number BY HEART.  (It is 11 digits, cut me some slack) I'm not sure how many times I did the highlight, right click, copy....previous tab, right click, paste, read translation sequence...but I was getting really good at it. So good that just when I was about to enter my billing info, I accidentally clicked a bookmark instead.  I was promptly taken to the homepage of our old bank.  Damn laptop never loads that fast.  So, what would be the first thing you would do?  Yes, I clicked the back button.  Obviously I was desperately hoping to be taken back to the exact page I was on.  I was taken to a page that appeared to be an online purchase receipt.  Again, highlight, right click, tab, right click, paste, translate....This page appeared to be a receipt.  It listed my address, item ordered, everything.  Wait, wha?  I didn't pay for it.........did I?  Do German companies have some ability to access customers' bank accounts when purchasing something online?  Do they have an available funds Nazi? Oops, maybe inappropriate to make Nazi jokes, oh well.  I really didn't think that could be, but WTF?!  Seriously, in the States you can't get anything shipped without it being paid for!!!  So I called Paul at work.  He works with some Germans.  These Germans thought it was unlikely I would get something shipped to me without paying for it.  So, WHAT THE HELL DID I DO?  Was it a mistake, a "hiccup" so to speak in the program?  I tried again.  I filled out the order form.  I ordered a different size just in case (maybe small would be too small even with its primate-like arms).  I clicked submit info button after entering my shipping address.  A sales receipt popped up.  Don't forget, all of these things in German....I never really know for sure what the hell it is saying to me.....sometimes google doesn't know shit.  Damn.  Now what?  I perused the likely sales receipt.  OH GAWD...I ordered a large.  I wanted a MEDIUM.  Deeeep breath, again.  Hell, may as well order another one at this point, right??  I go back to choose medium.  Nicht verfügbar. Unavailable. Of course it is.
At this point I decided to drop it.  I couldn't possibly receive something by mail if I hadn't paid for it.  Forget it, you did it wrong and google translate sucks.  Nevermind. 
The next day I emailed the company.  I used google translate again.  I really should look for a better translating program.  I explained my problem.  I got an auto-reply stating they would look into my issue and get back to me.  I again dropped it....the ball is in their court now.  I placed my order on a Thursday evening.  Saturday evening, 5:30 or so the buzzer buzzed.  Paul answered the door.  A delivery man was there with two boxes from OTTO, the catalog.  Paul commented how quickly it arrived and we hadn't even paid for it.  The delivery man spoke English (like so many Germans do here).  He explained the bill is in the package.  I realized Germany is about 10,000 square miles smaller than Montana...shipping is much quicker here, always. 
Now I have to worry about returning one or even both of these damn parkas.  I kept the large, it fits so that I can wear a sweater under it comfortably which is perfect because I LOVE sweaters and wear them frequently.  That's one good outcome.  I was full of angst about returning the small.  Would I have to go to a German post office?!  I have never even seen one...  Paul took the bill to work with him to have someone translate it for me.  Get this!  There is a local village that is a drop off place for returns, free of charge.  Say what??  Free returns....I love this country. :)  I practiced the phrase, "Ich möchte diese zurückgeben bitte." I said it over and over and over on my way to the shop.  I walked into the tiny shop. Inside there were four older men and women chatting, in German...duh.  He acknowledged me and asked me a question.  The phrase I said at least 100 times in the car was gone.  I blanked.  So I fell upon the standby, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?"  I learned today I murdered the pronunciation.  They knew right away, but remained polite.  One lady who thought if she spoke German very slowly and clearly I would get what she was telling me.  I watched her intently, nodded and said OK probably 6 times.  I didn't understand a single thing.  Oh well.  The older gentleman behind the register handed me a slip of paper and said, "For you."  I decided this will be my receipt if there is problems with the item not being returned. Two days later I received an email telling me my item was returned and thanking me for my business.  Wow, I am so ordering more stuff from that place!  I was able to pay the bill online, and I have a new winter coat.  Some day all this stuff will be second nature, right? :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Living in a Barn

The first day we walked into what is now our home I fell in love. The place is gorgeous. It is bright, open, and slightly old school...but with modern conveniences. It is different, it is what we were looking for in moving to a foreign country. We were semi-aggressive (not our style...I wouldn't even call myself or Paul assertive, haha) in calling the owner. She wasn't answering her phone, so we just kept calling back over and over. After four phone calls we stopped, I didn't want to piss her off :) The rental market was pretty competitive at that time. Lots of people PCS'ing (changing assignment) in the summer. Thankfully, we did get in contact with the owner and signed the papers over a beer. We moved in 2 weeks later.

Since that time, I have learned a lot about what it is to live in a barn. Barns before they are homes are usually one large, tall room...with a hay loft. So, when a barn becomes a house it gets rooms and levels. More than one level. This house has four levels.

Each level is divided by a staircase. There are 15 stairs from the first level to the second and the second level to the fourth.

The third level is the kitchen and sitting room which is only 6 steps down from the second level. Imagine how many steps up and down I take in a day when all I am doing is cleaning, unpacking, organizing, refereeing, yelling, uploading, downloading, emailing, cooking, compromising, appeasing, cleaning some see. I have a built in stair master. I will have buns of steel before Christmas! I can't wait! I wanted to keep track of how many steps I take one day, but decided against it because it would give me reason to be lazy the next day.

Vacuuming has become an all day project all by itself. The reason for this: cobwebs. What comes with cobwebs? Spiders. I don't particularity like spiders, especially the idea of swallowing spiders in my sleep. (Is that true or one of the worst urban legends ever?) Paul has come a long way with his fear of spiders. He will grab them and flush them as long as he has enough toilet paper in his hand to wipe up a liter of water. (He doesn't like being able to feel them squishing.) :) When I met Paul his favored weapon for killing spiders was a shoe...of which he would throw at the spider from a few feet away...yes, I'm not kidding. He has come a long way, baby. Will is terrified of most bugs, but he is getting desensitized due to the large population of bugs here compared to Utah. Baile stays along the sames lines as me. She's a trooper.

Back to vacuuming, please and cobwebs...and spiders, sorry to those with a phobia.

Cobwebs appear in the nooks and crannies of our house frequently. Within a week, or less of vacuuming there are at least 4 spiderwebs/cobwebs visible around the house. This is without looking for them. When I hunt for them, I find at least 8-12. Along with the webs there are easily 6-8 spiders....This is in LESS THAN A WEEK, PEOPLE!! Ugh.

The cobwebs are my indicator that it is time to vacuum. So, not only do I vacuum the floor, I also vacuum the ceiling. Thus the all day project. Vacuuming is no where near my favorite pastime, or even my favorite housework task. (Poll: What is your favorite housecleaning task and why on Earth do you have a favorite housecleaning task?)

I vacuum because I have one else does it. No one else is home all day :) As I vacuum the ceiling I suck up the fair amount of spiders along with their webs. I've pondered what may happen if the spiders don't die as they are being vacuumed up. I empty the canister on the vacuum every time I use it....Paul would need a Costco case of TP to take care of a recently hatched spider egg sack. Have you seen Charlotte's Web?? The vacuum is kept in the same area as our food storage...that wouldn't be pretty. Yes, I said food storage. I guess a little of Utah did rub off on me. I don't store food for the reasons most Utahns do, however. I do it cuz I'm lazy. And I used to shop at Costco.

Man, I miss Costco. I miss Gregg's Ranch dressing from Costco. Its the only ranch dressing I will eat.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Euro: don't leave home without it!

I decided to go to a German market the other day. I received an email from relatives in Austria that they would love to visit. They assured me they understood our living situation (no furniture, no beds, little opportunity for hospitality) and to not worry about preparing anything for their arrival, they just wanted to see us and where we live. This sounded great to me. I've been dying for visitors and would like people to see where we live. But I decided I still wanted to have something more than filtered water, coffee and apple juice to offer our guests to drink.

I had been told the village just to the east(?) has a nice large market. It is a small village, only 5 minutes away from our house. I told the kids to behave and I would be back in an hour. One would think finding a market in a small German village sounds pretty simple. I had a GPS with me (a godsend here) so I knew I wouldn't get so lost I wouldn't find my way back home. I drove around the small village, having to turn my mid-sized SUV around in the narrow streets multiple times. There was an older German man sitting by the bus stop. He watched me drive past him at least 6 times. He always had the same knowing smile on his said to me, "lost American". I finally got lucky and found the market. I drove around at least 30 minutes looking for it, another 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get to it :)

I made it to the market. I knew I wanted to buy beverages primarily and wanted to get a cart. There is a cash depsit for a cart. The amount is not posted anywhere. I don't know how many Euros to put in. Instead of trial and error potentially losing a few Euros in my lack of knowledge I opted to use a shopping basket supplied at no charge. :) I find a bottle of German Cabernet Sauvingon made in the Rhine-Pfalz. That was a must. Cheese goes well with was all in German. The only kind of cheese I could decipher for sure was brie which I wasn't in the mood for. I abandoned the cheese idea. I got a couple bottles of soda for the kids. I found two 6 packs of beer that I thought looked like good choices.

So, here I am with a shopping BASKET (like the ones in the states) with a bottle of wine, two 1.5 liter bottles of iced tea, two 6 packs of beer, kicking a crate with 4 1.5 liter bottles of soda. Yes, the basket was VERY heavy. I had to have been something to gawk at :) I didn't care, I am independant, I don't need to speak the language to do what I want to do!

I stand in the checkout line. It is my turn. I say Guten Tag, the checkout lady smiles a knowing smile and returns my polite greeting. She tells me my total. I put my US debit card in the card reader. I have used this card at a few different German stores...McDonald's, various restuarants. The card doesn't work. I tried a different card, that one doesn't work. The checkout lady shows me a different type of card and says something in German that included the word Deutsche card. Shit. I don't have one of these cards and I don't have 30.09 Euros. The lady is very polite. She is telling me I have to go to the bank and get cash, then I can come back and buy my things. I can't understand her. I don't even know enough German to be able to say I don't understand. I know how to say it in Spanish, and French. This doesn't help me at all. Thankfully a younger man next to me in line knows English. He tells me where the bank is. Great, it took me 45 min to find the market.

Amazingly I found the bank on first drive by. I walk in with my credit card and show the man at the window. He doens't know English. I babble to him about needing cash to buy things at the market. He just smiles the knowing smile and points to the ATM behind me. I did not see the all-familiar machine when I walked in. Had I seen it I wouldn't have had to babble to the friendly man at the window. I put my debit card in the machine. It wouldn't accept my PIN...jesus christ. wtf??? I've now been gone for almost 2 hours. I think about the kids at home by themselves. I think about abandoning the whole prospect of having beverages available to my guests. Then I decide, Hell no!! I've started this, I'm gonna finish victorious, dammit!! I look in my wallet, my debit card is sitting in its place, mocking me. I put a credit card in the machine by mistake. I do not know any PIN #'s for credit cards as I don't take cash from them. I stare at the machine as it tells me something in German that I've used the wrong number. I'm sure if it could smile, I would recognize it, "lost American". I'm freaking out thinking the machine is gonna steal my card. The friendly German man at the window is saying something to me I can't understand....I quickly call Paul at work. He has an uncanny talent of remembering numbers...he doesn't know the number. As I am talking to him the friendly German ATM spits my card out. I thanked the machine, in German :)

I put my debit card in the machine. I got cash for beverages at the market. I drove back to the market. This time, I asked the coffee counter girl if she spoke English, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" I say. "A little bit", she replies...sigh. "How much for a cart?" She doesn't know what I am asking. I make the motion of pushing a cart and say, "Euro?" She smiles and points to the two carts in the entry way. They are designed for mothers with kids who want to ride in a car or truck while mom shops. I say, "I can use those?" She again smiles (knowingly, mind you) and says yes. So I take the cart equipped with a large plastic truck to the checkout line. (I knew I would not be able to carry my purchases to the car and I didn't want to kick the crate out to the parking lot.)

Long story short, (too late) I get my things and go home. Over two hours had past. I walk in the door. The first thing I hear is Baile tattling to me, "MOM, Will says he's gonna stab me in the face if I lock myself in the bathroom again." Will is strutting around with a large stick. I just sigh. I tell them they have no idea what I just had to do to buy 30 Euros worth of beverages. I tell Will if he threatens anyone with that stick again, I will break it over my knee and throw it away. I proceed to ignore any remaining noise that comes from their mouths for the next 10 min. I share my latest adventure with them. Neither of them laughed. I don't think either of them appreciated the follies of my afternoon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Waiting

Two days ago I typed in my Facebook status. "Tari Turnbow the waiting is the hardest part". As I typed it, I sang the wonderful Tom Petty song. I smiled even though I didn't feel like smiling. The next day a good friend from what feels like a past life (miss you, Monte) commented: "waiting for what" I almost didn't reply, it could be taken as a rhetorical question. The person who left the comment wouldn't get all chapped had I not replied. But I started typing anyway. I knew as soon as I started, too much was gonna come out. I realized much of my life has been spent waiting. I don't mean literally waiting in line for the movies, or a concert. But really just waiting for the next thing that is supposed to happen, happen. I don't want to get into too much detail, and make this WAY too personal, but I don't want to wait for things to happen anymore.

I want to make things happen. I want to do things.

That's a big reason why we moved to Germany. Looking back, that's also a big reason why we moved to Utah. I have to change my outlook on life. Life is not waiting around for things to be marked complete. I want to live more for now, and today and probably tomorrow and a little of next week. But I won't wait around for next month when our belongings get here...and feel like then we can start enjoying our time here. We are here!! Nothing alters that. Yeah, things are still temporary feeling. Sleeping on borrowed beds, using borrowed dinning set, couch, etc. Its weird, but only as weird as we make it. Its good to always have something to look forward to, but not if it hampers what you are doing right now.

Whoa, I feel so inspirational. :)

I don't know who said this quote. I read it for the first time on my Mom's FB profile. Isn't it ironic?

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This was the week we initially planned to move into our house...Most of our plans are made only to be changed. (I wrote this late last week but it didn't get posted then)

We have no furniture.

We have no belongings other than what we brought with us on the plane which seemed like way too much in the beginning...thankfully we have it!

We have some random things we mailed to ourselves or had shipped early. The belongings that were shipped early were taken the second week of May. In hindsight I wish I had packed more stuff but I didn't want to go the last month of living in Utah w/o certain household necessities.

I recall Paul telling me people at work told him to pack bedding, some pots/pans, etc. Neither of us could figure out why. Now we know...a little late in the game I'd say.
So we will be staying in our beautiful hotel for one more week(actually, until Saturday). I'm not complaining...yet.

We will be getting temporary beds and furniture from the FMO (Furnishings Management Office). This is a great service for people in our situation, clearly there are many. I'm not too jived about sleeping on a bed that is considered "temporary" and has been "temporary" for god knows how many other people. But I have been sleeping on a hotel bed for 5 weeks.

Random question: Why don't they have fitted sheets here?

Here is the front of the house. I'm excited to be a country girl. Our view from the deck. I think it faces south.
Another random question: Why don't highway signs have direction of travel on them? This last question is wreaking havoc on my attempts to get familiar with the area.

This is the BIK (built-in-kitchen). Kitchens are designed for people to take the furnishings with them when they move.

The house is a renovated stone barn. I don't know the age of the original building, but it is old. Hopefully that doesn't mean cold in the winter. The main heat source is oil! It actually burns oil in the winter to run the heaters. I am NOT used to this at all. There are 3 huge oil tanks in a poorly-ventilated room just off the laundry room. Its just sittining there waiting to be ignited by a freak spark of electricity. The house has a constant faint smell of oil. New rule of the house: Laundry room MUST stay closed :) Otherwise I feel we will succumb to the noxious fumes.The oil tanks are actually pretty commonplace here. Many older homes use oil for heat, especially those homes in smaller towns. We looked at a few places that had oil tanks in the basement.

The fireplace just to the right of where I am standing when I took the picture above. (I was standing the the stairs in top photo) That should help with heat.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Breakin' the Law

I have seen this sign every day for 4 weeks. It is located on a trail head near our hotel. I wondered what it meant. There were guesses: "caution, birds of prey", "nature ahead", honestly, I had no idea what this 17 letter word was trying to tell me. So I remained ignorant and continued to walk by it thinking, "What is is trying to tell me?" But, because ignorance is generally not my style, I took a pic of it and brought it back to the hotel room. I pulled up google translate and typed it in. Nature Reserve. Hmm. I know the laws of US nature reserves. I realized I have likely broken German law. I do not want to do this...
The baby toads have to go free. I spoke with the kids about it, they were fine with letting them go. I was more attached to them than they were! But it was OK, I didn't want tears or regret. So the Schwarzwald toads are back in the Schwarzwald. We only kept them for a few days. I was worried they weren't getting enough to eat. As I stated before, I didn't want to be the cause of their demise ;) Nevermind how small and thin they were when we released them...hopefully they didn't fall prey to the gigantic beetles or the abominable ant colonies. I will post pics of the 1 meter (yay, metric system) high ant hills.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


On one of our hikes we saw a toad who had been in a scuffle with something. He was pretty beat up. He was missing an eye and had a small bleeding wound on his nose. Me being me, I wanted to take him home and nurse him back to health. We had nothing to keep it in and no one wanted to carry it back to the hotel. Will asked, "Can I kick him?" I was horrified, but chalked it up to boys being boys and just said, "No, baby. Let's leave him alone." I took pics, I was gonna post them until when we got back Will started crying about "Toadie". Paul ran back up the trail with a bag, he was gonna bring the toad back. We made up a box with leaves, moss, bark, etc. Toadie wasn't found.

Will was sad all evening about it. He didn't want Toadie to be eaten or die. I did my best to console him and teach him the ways of nature. I said, "If we were meant to have him, we would. He and the forest are better off with him where he is, where ever that may be." I don't know how much better he felt. But I could identify with what he was feeling. I recall feeling such guilt fishing with my dad. "That fish would still be alive if I hadn't caught him!! (tears)" "Dad! Stop hitting it with a rock!! ITS STILL BREATHING!" I recall my brother bringing a small perch home from Sweet Briar because he couldn't bear to think what would happen to him after the fishing hook poked through its eye (or something equally lethal).

The next day I found a baby toad hoping along the trail we were hiking on. We were very close to the hotel and the box we made for Toadie was still made up. So, you guessed it...I carried it back. Then a few hours later, after swimming at the beach, Baile found another baby toad. How in one day we see two toads when we hadn't seen any prior is ironic...or not. Ask Alanis about irony :)

So now we have two baby toads. They are named TB (b/c he looks like tree bark) and Joey. I don't know what baby toads eat. I hope we figure it out soon. I can't be the cause of the demise of two could-be toads from the Black Forest :) Here is a pic of them in their new habitat.

Nature abound....hallelujah

Just gonna post some pics of the beauty around us:

I get to walk through this every morning!

View of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) from the top of a semi-strenuous hike. My favorite trail by far.

Same trail....ah.

To get lost in the trees would not be difficult!

My favorite place to hike thus far!

Living in a hotel.

We have been living in this hotel for almost a month. It is beautiful, and large...not a typical hotel room. As I explained before, Paul & I have our own bedroom. There is a small kitchen/dining area with 2 burner stove, small fridge and sink. There is a hide-a-bed sofa in the living area. This is where the kids typically would sleep. We aren't typical, however :)

The kids slept together for 3 nights. Each night consisted of yelling, tattling, hitting, kicking...get the picture? Three nights.
On the fourth night, Will wanted to sleep alone. I jokingly explained the only other bed in the apartment was in the baby bed in the storage closet. He took my joke as a friendly and helpful suggestion, said "OK!" and promptly got up and crawled into the play pen. So this has become his "room". He sleeps in the this OK? He is 8 years old.
I wanted say, "There is no reason at 8 and 11 you guys can't sleep in the same bed without killing each other."

But I paused, and thought back to me and my siblings.

I'm pretty sure we slept in the same bed while on trips. We were never expected to do it for an extended period of time. So, I digressed and let my 8 year old sleep in a storage closet in a play pen. I haven't had to be a referee at bedtime since. I haven't had to force Will to sleep in the playpen, it has continued to be his choice and he prefers it. I guess I shouldn't complain ;)

Move in date is coming up. July 13th we will be leaving the hotel. *SIGH* Finally. I have been going ape shit crazy for the last 3 weeks having to live in such close quarters. The kids fight, get bored, want to go home, etc. So I thought I would be dying to get out of here. The opposite seems to be true. I feel like this will always be a special place. Natural water recreation, trees, trails, many things I love. I'm really gonna miss living here. Hiking through the Black Forest is so peaceful, and beautiful and rewarding. The balcony overlooking a small lake is awesome. I listen to the fish jumping at night. A few nights ago I watched fog roll in from the forest over the lake.....breathtaking.

The top photo was shot at 22:10, the next was 13 minutes later. Cheap thrills for this one. I have never seen fog overtake an area. It was absolutely breathtaking. I don't want to leave :) Paul made a wonderful observation last night at dinner....this will be our special place. Forever.

All the ape shit craziness aside, all the bored and cuped up kid fights behind me....I will miss this place. It was exactly what I needed to enjoy and love moving here. If not for the beauty of the Nature that surrounds us, I would've wandered into the Black Forest (w/o a GPS) never to return.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Househunting and our first castle

After looking at 5 different properties in 5 different areas, I think we have found a house to rent. The biggest problem is it is located in a German village so small I don't think it has a grocery store. So much for riding my bike to the market. The house, however is beautiful. The floor plan is very open and bright. Originally, it was an old stone barn and just recently renovated. It has 4 bedrooms and 3(?) bathrooms and lots and lots of windows. The view from the deck is breathtaking. There is even a small outdoor pool in the yard. The kids will have a 20 min bus ride to school, but the bus stop is meters (woo hoo for the metric system!) away from our front door. Hopefully I will have some pics to post soon!!
(1 meter=3.3 feet)

We ventured out to tour a castle yesterday. I think the kids were expecting a bit more fantasy :) I don't think they quite get the 'this building is over 800 years old' thing yet. On the Fruhwirth's European Vacation (similar to National Lampoon's European Vacation) I missed the castle tour thanks to Aunt Flow, fucking bitch. But because I missed that, I have little to compare our castle tour to. It was a nice time and good to do something other than requirements of living in Germany.

These photos are the kids at a lookout point at either the front or back gate of the castle. Baile suprised me saying my name after I walked through and I couldn't see where she was. Their faces looked so cute, I had to get pictures :) Plus I thought it was a really cool "Halt! Who goes there?!" station.

Baile and Will had this to say about seeing an authentic castle:
Will: "It was cool."
Baile: "I liked it."
Yes, both with that punctuation...or lack of it :) But neither said it was stupi
d or boring or a waste of time. So I feel like we succeed in attempting to 'get out there and see Europe' kind of thing. LOL

If you want more historical info on the berg, check out this site:

Friday, June 19, 2009


Yes, here it is. A blog. Written by yours truly...Tari. Can you believe it? I hope so, because I can't.

I'm starting out just playing bear with me. I haven't even the photos I want to post on this computer. But because I clicked the blog button, here I am. And if I stop now I may never continue!

We have been in Germany for 12 days. It seems like less. Probably because there is so much to do to familiarize ourselves with the area. We have started to look for permanent housing. No luck yet. We have only seen 2 properties. The first was a house of which I could tell Paul was screaming inside as we
walked through. Luckily strangers don't know his, "Let's get the hell outta here" expression vs. "wow, this is kinda cool" expression. The other property was a townhouse with a nice yard. The yard was for the children. No dogs allowed....huh? So, that was out too. Why have a yard if the dog can't pee in it? Frankly, I'm getting tired of taking the poor guy (Dexter) down 4 flights of stairs every time he needs to relieve himself. No, the hotel doesn't have an elevator. We will be seeing 2 more places tonight. I guess it is a tough time right now. There are lots of families in our situation.

Thankfully the hotel we are living in is nice. This is a pic from the other side of the lake. This pic reminds me of the hotel the family from Dirty Dancing stayed the Catskills?? Paul & I have our own bedroom with a door to the balcony. The kids sleep on a hide a bed in the living room. Our place in the pic is the top floor left side balcony. We have a small kitchenette, fridge, 2 burner stove, sink. It came equipt with closets and shelving from Ikea(yay) much better than living in just hotel rooms and we don't have to live out of our suitcases.

This is the view from the balcony. There is a public beach across the lake. The weather is tricky here, but we were able to make it over there once since our arrival. Like SLC there has been a lot of rain here. The thunderstorms are wonderful. I missed thunder and lightning...I didn't realize how much until I heard it in SLC days before we left. I was kinda nice to enjoy a few storms here. I would've felt very gypped to miss out on storms in Utah had there not been any here. Over 7 years in Utah and the only other time I heard thunder was in November...odd.

The living room, where the kids sleep. Actually Baile sleeps here. Will sleeps in a playpen in a closet (by choice) because they can't lay in the same bed without physically harming each other. God I love kids.

Signing out for now...I think Dexter has to pee.