Thursday, April 12, 2012

Join the Navy and See the World... or Not

Lichtenstein Castle

Welcome to the April update of the ongoing Battle of the Hills. We're taking on Germany... but not much else. More on that later. So Without further ado, here's the rundown of past, present, and even some future happenings.

As you may have read in my recent post, that wasn't really a real post, Jeff had been gone for a full month. His travels took him to three different countries, including a week in the States. Luckily, he returned in time for Easter. Easter is a big deal here, as Germany is predominately Catholic, so everything completely shuts down. This week is spring break for both the German schools and the DOD (Department of Defense) schools. Germans are hitching up their 25 foot trailers to their little Fiats and clogging roadways, and most Americans have fled the country for more exciting destinations.

For us, Easter meant a small gathering of friends on Friday, and a quiet family dinner on Sunday. Friday we met at our friends Dan and Ivy's house for a cookout and a massive Easter egg hunt. In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea to put the men in charge of hiding the 150+ plastic eggs. I stepped outside and was met with grown men throwing eggs at each other. They also thought it would be amusing to hide eggs on top of cars and in places I could barely reach, let alone a 2 or 6 year old. That egg hunt went on for a while. I did get a chance to show off a little culinary creativity though, and my beautiful works of food art were a hit.

Easter morning we dug into our baskets quickly, and Ginny, Jeff, and the puppies enjoyed their treats thoroughly. I woke up with an extremely sore throat that morning, so I mostly just had tea. But still, it's always fun to see the work I put into the baskets making them so happy. Later on that day, Jeff and I stuffed more plastic eggs, and let Ginny have her very own egg hunt in the front yard. She absolutely loves hunting eggs. And now, thanks to a little blue bunny, I now know all the words to Peter Cottontail. (I'd like to thank the person responsible for that... yeah, you know who you are.)

On Tuesday the weather was beautiful, so we took an afternoon trip to Lichtenstein Castle. The castle is now open for visitors, so we had a much better experience this time. We packed a picnic lunch and ate at a playground near the ropes course. Yes ropes course. Outside the castle is a giant ropes course that looks completely awesome and I'm dying to try it out. But that will have to wait for another day. After lunch, we ventured inside the castle walls for some great photos of the fortress that seems to cling to the side of the cliffs. Our tour was in German, but we got a nice little handout written in English that described what we were seeing as we passed through the rooms. Our tour guide was also nice enough to occasionally repeat a few things in English that weren't on our sheet. The whole day was very enjoyable, and it's definitely a destination we'll share with any who choose to come out for a visit!

Speaking of visits, we have news in the way of our Stateside travels. We had originally been planning a trip to Texas for the Michigan vs. Alabama game at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in September. However, Jeffrey has a very large exercise taking place during that time period, and he won't be permitted to travel at that time. We've briefly discussed going home for Christmas, but we're unsure of which part(s) of the country that would involve. In a few weeks, Ginny and I will be flying into BWI and then we'll make our way to PA for 10 days. I may have to extend our trip to head to VA to take care of some property issues as well, but that hasn't been decided.

We knew moving to Germany would involve some struggles, but sometimes you just can't anticipate everything. We recently had to evict one of our tenants, and the following necessary repairs and remodeling has kept us stressed and financially strained. Add that to Jeff's busy work schedule, and we can't find much time to travel. Hopefully once we get a new tenant and Jeff has a more clearly defined summer schedule, things will shake out. Until then, we're being held to local day trips instead of the grand European tour we had envisioned while packing for the move. Reality sucks sometimes.

(Sorry, had to vent. Besides, couldn't really call this the Battle of the Hills if it was all fun and tulips)

Well to end this on a lighter note, I thought I'd share a photo that clearly depicts my nightly struggle. I am confronted with this situation every night... maybe you are too. =)

So, um... where am I supposed to sleep?

Monday, April 9, 2012

This is not a real post... but I'm still alive (barely)

So, most of you know that Jeff was gone all of last month. When Jeff is gone, I don't go anywhere. This is no lie, I put gas in our car the day he left, and there was still gas left from the same fill-up when he got home. He was gone for 30 days y'all, and he still drove the car for almost two days before needing to fill up. That's why I've posted nothing for over a month.

There is an I-told-you-so story to be told now that he's home, but believe me when I say I take no joy in it. Jeff always gets sick when he travels. Always. And then he gets ME sick. We started a vitamin regimen after he brought the black death home from Poland, and neither of us has been sick. While packing for this last trip, I "suggested" he take his vitamins with him. Didn't happen. 30 days and one week later, guess who spent Easter with a vice wrapped around her throat. This chick! Thank you, my dear husband.

Well, if I get over this by tomorrow, we might go visit a walled city, which may result in a real post. Tomorrow will be the only nice day for the forseable future. March was sunny and warm and beautiful, and it ended the day Jeff got home. Jeff put Norway in his suitcase and customs didn't catch it. He's got such a talent for picking out gifts from is travels. Sigh.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my wonderful M.I.L. She's 35 today ;)