Location: Germany

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Random thoughts...

I was at a restaurant the other day and when my meal came, I picked up my fork, took a bite and upon returning the gnawed on carrot to my plate, the waitress ran up behind me, took my plate and ran off without a word. Hmmm. Startled a bit. She came back about 20 min later with the same salad, with a few more things on top, again, without a word. Yay Germans.

Everybody in my 3-4 year old dance class had to pee today. We spent most of the class in the bathroom. Fantastic.

My cat has become fascinated with the Easter eggs I hung from the artificial tree I have. He has removed 50% of them by means of leaping off the arm chair sitting next to the tree and grabbing hold of the branches. It's a sight to behold.

Germany is much more bicycle friendly than anywhere I've been in the states. Who needs a car anyway. If only it didn't rain so much here.

For the first time in my life I saw a whole rainbow. Not just part of it...It was a complete bow with brilliant color. I'll post a picture. I think I took about a dozen.

The man and I accidentally ended up at a parish council meeting for our church on post (another story in itself). After two beers the priest leading the meeting proceeded to run around the table (of twelve people) killing all of the 1/2 dozen flies enjoying dinner with us by means of his stocking cap.

Speaking of Catholics, I'm currently watching a story on CNN about electronic security precautions for the Conclave. Folks--can't you just wait a few days! Patience is a virtue! For Pete's sake. Or should I say, Peter's sake.....That was bad, okay, I'm done now.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Word About Fantasy Baseball

I believe that Fantasy Baseball is on the verge of becoming a major topic in marriage counseling. Here's why...

As many of you well know, I've come to despise the man's participation in fantasy baseball. First of all, I'll say that I don't like to compete for my husband's attention. Anyone or anything that I've determined he worries about and spends more time attending to than me--it has to go.

Let me give you a few examples:

Scenario 1
We come home from church on a beautiful Sunday morning.
(wife)"Honey, let's go out and do something."
(man) "Sure, but hang on, gotta check my team."
...5 minutes later, coming from the computer room...
(man)"Son of a...I can't believe I benched him, he just got two home runs! I think I'm going to cry..."
At this point in time I would usually go out and work in the yard by myself or go buy something at the PX in retaliation. Upon returning, I would find the man on the couch watching a baseball game and be greeted by a hearty smile and
(man while pointing at the TV)"He's on my team."
I know my place.

Scenario 2
Later that evening, I've prepared a nice dinner, candles and all, giving ample warning to my husband of such an event...
(wife)"Dinner's ready!"
(man)"Just a sec..."
...10 minutes later...
(wife)"Are you coming!?"
(man)"Yeah, I'm coming..."
...20 minutes later...
(wife--stomping into the computer room)"Please come and have dinner with me!!!"
(man)"But my pitcher is sucking and Marsh wants to trade and I gotta figure out what I'm gonna do about these guys on my bench who only do good when they're on the bench...."
This is the point at which many a candle light dinner has been had ALL BY MYSELF, sometimes, admittedly in tears.

These scenarios are repeated over and over again in our household, obviously with no remorse from the man. It's gotten to the point where I feel violent if I sit down at the computer and see open windows of Yahoo sports or ESPN sports or (especially) mlb.com.

I told the man he wasn't allowed to play fantasy baseball this season. No way. I'm not going to go on being ignored all spring and summer, and yes, it is that bad. I thought maybe I'd be a nice wife and strike a deal with him...20 minutes of fantasy sports a day, that's all--and no carrying over unused minutes, this is not a cell phone plan. I was told that wasn't enough. Ok, 30 minutes. Still not enough. My offer of 40 minutes was met by a whiney, "but honey..." But nothing. And because of the whine it's going back down to 30 minutes. If you're caught going over 30 minutes, it's a new pair of shoes for me. That's my final offer, take it or leave it.

At the end of the season, I'll post my fantastic collection of new shoes for everyone to see.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Good books

I've read a few good books lately.

One of my favorites and one all my girlfriends out there definetely need to pick up--French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. It's about how to enjoy food without gaining weight. Guiliano explains how French women enjoy small portions of flavorful fresh foods with wine and that's how they stay thin. It's the nutritional lifestye that she promotes, not just the quick fix diet that I really appreciated and enjoyed reading about. It's also currently on the NY Times bestseller list.

I'm going to the market now to get myself some fresh veggies and fresh cut flowers. Okay, okay...and...some chocolate!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Being Married to a Soldier-Part One (Emotional Rollercoaster)

Many people have asked what it's like to be an army wife, so I'm going to do a little blog series on being married to the military (yes, it's that bad).

When the man left for basic training after college graduation, I was a wreck (that's when I bought Raskolnikov). Everyone told me that the six months of seperation for basic training and OCS would be the worst part of the man's military career. Wrong. So, so very wrong. When he was gone, I had a job--a great one actually, working at the Liturgical Press. My family was only an hour and a (cheap) phone call away. I had friends around. To make a long story short, I was a brand new army wife with a wonderful support network.

Then I moved to Georgia. I was excited at first--I had never lived anywhere where it was warm in the winter. And I was going to get to live with my husband again. There was a honeymoon period after arriving, but then reality struck. My husband is in the army, and we are at war right now. So I didn't have a job (wait for part two for an explanation of that one) but I did have to figure out army everything. I didn't know where to shop, I didn't know what any of the acronyms meant, and I couldn't figure out how to get a throat culture in under three weeks at the army hospital. On top of this, the man was gone training a lot. So, I thought being alone in MN was hard. Yeah right. I couldn't wait for the man to get a permanent duty station so I could put down some roots and make friends. (A lot more went on during our time in GA, but I don't want to bore you to death).

In October we were due to leave for Germany. Wait, the man, not me--I had to stay behind and take care of the move. After a week of sleeping on the floor, I boarded a Delta flight to Germany with two suitcases and two cat carriers. When we arrived at our apartment, I crashed. I'd never been so exhausted in my entire life. After a month in Germany, the man deployed to the desert (of course)--and I thought being alone in GA was bad...at least the people there spoke english--well, bad english, but english nonetheless.

Someone asked me once what it was like to be a military wife. Well, I thought I about it for a minute and then replied that it's just like any other person's life, except the highs are higher and the lows are lower. When the man came back from the desert, I couldn't remember ever being so happy. On the other hand, when he left, I don't think I've ever felt that kind of terror.

It's cool being able to live in cool places and, well, that's about it. I have grown through all of this, and I think it's made me a more compassionate person. I have a deep respect for everyone in the military and thier families because now, I've been there. After this experience I could never criticise a foriegner living in the US for thier lack of english skills--I know how scary it is to know that nobody understands you. Most of all though, I have had an opportunity to step outside the life of a 9-5 job and regular family life and to contemplate what really matters in this world. My god, my man, and my family and friends. That's all.

Being Married to a Soldier-Part Two (Jobs)

A lot of people look rather surprised when I start talking about the daily life of an army wife, so I'd like to explain a few things...

I don't have a job. Yet. That doesn't mean I don't have anything to do. While the man was in the desert, I spent most of my days unpacking all our stuff (I won't even go into the lousy job the movers did packing our stuff), painting our apartment, driving 20 minutes up to post to check my mail and email, and taking care of misc. errands on and off post. Misc. errands took up most of my time. In the evenings I would make myself dinner and wait around for the man to call--while educating myself on German pop-culture via the television. Now, back to the jobs--I have just started my teaching my dance class. Why not sooner? Good question--it's because all of the units here were on block leave which means nobody is here and nobody wants to take a dance class. Why not do something else in the meantime? Can't. I'm not allowed to work on the German economy. I can get a job on post, but because of a lovely little thing called stop-loss, there are way to many people here right now and not enough jobs to go around. Don't get me wrong, there are job opennings, but most of them are army civilian jobs which are tricky business to apply for. What happens is you have to apply online in response to a job posting. Easy enough. Applicants are ranked based on a number of different variables such as if you are a spouse of an active duty soldier (big one), if you have ever held an army civilian job (another big one), if you are a veteran...etc., etc.. If you are selected you are called and offered the position. If you decline the offer or if you take the job and decide you don't like it and want to apply for another one, you lose your family member preference (being married to an active duty soldier), which significantly decreases your chances of getting many of the posted jobs. Basically, I don't want to apply for a job unless I'm really sure I'm going to like it because if I decide I don't like it after starting or I decline the offer for employment, I'm screwed till we go back to the states.

So I'm teaching dance for now on an army civilian contract. Yeah, it takes up about 4 hours of my week. Why not get a few more contracts to try to fill up my week? Can't--a person can only hold one contract at a time.


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Recycle your soda cans people, for pete's sake

If there's one thing Germans (and I suspect most Europeans) do well, it's recycling. The reason I have to write about this is because it was the first thing that impressed me very much upon my arrival here in October. In Germany, you can recycle anything. Now, back in the states, most of us that try to recycle do a pretty good job of keeping our cans, bottles, newspapers and maybe even a soup can or two out of the garbage. When was the last time, however, that you recycled a milk carton or a pringles can? If you are the type that has, then you probably needn't read the rest of this post. If you haven't, well, in Germany you can--and they make it very easy to do so. In fact everything can be recycled. Everything, that is except organic waste. Any kind of material that can be recycled is accepted. You might be thinking, well, what if you don't want to participate in the recycling program? Too bad, it's required by law.

Now, in Georgia, it was typical for us to have 3 or more bags of garbage each week and, alarmingly, we seemed to have quite a bit less than many of the other folks on our street. Sure we had our cans and bottles in our recycle bin, but that was about it. In Germany, we typically have about half a bag of garbage a week. Since the contents of that half a bag is mostly organic waste, I do have to take it out once a week because after a while it becomes pretty ripe. So, if you do the math, which I did, the annual waste from the Dykhoff household has gone from roughly 156 bags to 26 bags. Yes, that's on average 130 bags of garbage less in a landfill.

In short, it was not so much the recycling itself that impressed me upon my arrival here, rather, it was the conservative attitude reflected by it. Sorry folks, but the people here make all of us look like very lazy, wasteful people. I know what you're thinking--the German govt. makes it very easy for people here. Yes, but, the fact still remains that many Americans don't recycle as much as they could. That being said, please people, recycle your soda cans, if nothing else.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Raskolnikov (in, um, Georgia) Posted by Hello