Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cut and Paste before Internet disappears...

Update… and I feel bad leaving my last little post so negative. I should have put a happier one up so everyone didn’t think I was hating life. The day after that was much better. :) ... and now I LOVE GERMANY because…………..

Scotty got a spot at the International School! I don’t know how we pulled it off but another kid gave up his spot the day we were there and whaaalah! Scott’s in!!! PHEW. Now I can wave goodbye to three kids at the front door and watch them walk off to school… holding hands and singing. :)


Today we bought school supplies and 58 euros later!!! all THREE kids have crayons, highlighters and the correctly numbered workbooks for each class. I’ve decided we will eat cheap dinners for a week to compensate for that. :) Tonight - tuna and rice (P.S. everyone… need more cream of chicken soup.)

Actually grocery stores here may have an alternative… Holly? …I found “Kondensed Milch” today. :) …and refried beans… and I like that I can buy fortified sugar cereals…I was used to Danish stores though, shopping is hard again.

My last few Germany days have been mostly spent in the house trying to unpack and put things where I want them before Paul puts them somewhere. Whoever unpacks them first wins! :) We probably get in the most arguments over furniture placement and shelf installation. His common argument, “It’s handy.” My common response, “It’s tacky.” I am winning though since he is gone most of the time and I have unpacked 98% of the boxes. Of course when he IS home I keep him busy installing lights and filling the holes from the last people.

Lights… when we moved in the house was naked. Plain light bulbs hanging from wires in every ceiling and hall, curtain rods taken down and only holes left… It looked pretty sad for a while, but it’s much better. We’ve had to buy all new lights. We just bought cheap ones because it wouldn’t be worth the effort to go take them all back down! I can’t believe someone went through the effort to take EVERY light fixture. Silly. The plus side is that we now have two ceiling fans that I have missed since California. Ceiling fans make us happy.

I like the house. It’s unique and we are getting used to all the different rooms. It’s big and I’m desperately trying not to fill it up because I doubt we will ever have this big of a house again. It’s just cold. The windows are single pane pieces of old glass… so we’ve hung up heavy curtains… (thanks Erin!!) We’ve even put reflective styrofoam sheets behind the old radiators. We’ve even started using fans to push the warm air AWAY from the old heat sucking windows. Unfortunately, I’ve given up heating the kids upstairs rooms, except Andrea’s. I even keep my room unheated because it’s not worth it. I’ve just given everyone extra blankets and nobody complains. The part of the house we are in all day is pretty warm now. HA! It’s not warm, it’s just not freezing cold anymore.

As for my German experience so far:

- Grocery stores are huge and more American like. That is fun.

- Malls are more American like with the selection of stores and lots of cute, unnecessary trinkets for kids.

- People are not very American like. They really aren’t all that friendly… sorry to say. I’ve already been yelled at twice!! Once for not using the crosswalk I didn’t know was there and another time for not bagging my groceries fast enough. In general they all seem pretty grouchy and irritated with me. :)

I hope people turn out to be nicer when I can speak to them after I learn some German. :) I have a 50/50 chance someone will understand my English when I’m out, and if they don’t well… we point, use motions, pick words the other one might understand… It doesn’t always work. I've had to walk away several times frustrated.

I can’t post any pictures because our “borrowed” internet is good for five minutes at a time. I’m typing this in Word and will try and cut and paste it into my blog… so you are reading then it worked. We think we ordered something to set up our internet but we really aren’t sure. …and until we get that fixed we can’t set up our skype phone.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nein, Nein, Nein, Nein

I checked out four kindergartens for Scotty yesterday. Germany makes Denmark look like the most welcoming and inviting place on the planet. I love Denmark. Germany can bite me.

I can't believe the responses I got from these nasty little child care providers. Aren't people who work with kids supposed to be nice and friendly and capable of a smile?

Two kindergartens told me they were full. Fair enough, but one of them had me come back three times before the main lady finally get off her lazy butt to come out into the hall to tell me they were full this year and next year. Yah, well super for you lazy butt lady. (Waldorf)

Two kindergartens actually told me they wouldn't take Scotty because he didn't speak German and he didn't have a German parent. Hello DUMB PEOPLE. He's a little kid... he'll learn German like he learned Danish... (good enough to get by with little kids). I had a long talk with one dumb woman that ended with her asking me if I'd really leave my son with someone who didn't speak English, I replied with, "well yes, but not you"... (although she was speaking English!!!!!) ...but then we had to leave. (Montessori)

SO there was my magical day dragging Scotty in and out of places that just kept telling us no. Nobody smiled. Nobody talked to him. Nobody was nice, polite, friendly, helpful. As far as I'm concerned I hope that everyone I dealt with today gets the flu and throws up for a week. (Wishing people would die is bad. Don't do that. Throwing up for a week.... yes, these evil women deserve that.)

I will now hover around the international school to get a spot and be happy about it. I'll even go in today and schmooze with the Admissions lady... I'm not beneath that.

(Found the camera cord so I'll have some pictures today.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

School for Everyone!

Today we explored three new grocery stores and visited the girls new school. REWE is my favorite so far, but it's probably the most expensive... I'll have to check.

The grocery stores were as expected, no real surprises or special treats were found... except for Frosted Mini Wheats and Cookie Crisp. :) Cookie Crisp was a huge hit with the kids. Especially for Scotty who was in tears when he realized Fruity Pebbles are not found in Europe.

We also had an appointment to visit the girls new school where they will start in March. Their school is in a huge, brand new, sparkly building. I find the security guards wearing suits at the front of the building fun. I was waiting too long in the parking lot for Michaela to finish taking her placement tests and one of them came out to investigate me.

It's a very nice looking school, big cafeteria, gym, library, lockers for all the kids... I know they will like it.

We met Sierra's class... and I can't recall seeing any boys... :) At least it's not the other way around! I think Sierra will have a zillion friends in no time.
Michaela's half of the school is for 6-12 graders so her 7-9 grade class she has been in has prepared her for hanging out with the big kids. I know she'll do fine too... She will also get assigned to a study group. I don't know what that means but she will meet with this group once a week so she'll know them pretty good after a while.

This school has so many activities that they both want to do: choir, violin, rock climbing, gymnastics, soccer, art, chess, girl scouts. There is a huge library that I'm looking forward to borrowing from instead of having to buy. There is also a cafeteria with some pretty international foods because you can't serve American lunch food of fish sticks and tater tots to kids from all over the world. :) You think you can because tater tots are just awesome, but you can't... Do you know how many kids I've tried to feed macaroni and cheese and kool-aid to and had it rejected!!? Most cringe at the thought of putting peanut butter on a sandwich for lunch. :) But having the option to buy a lunch is great for the days I would rather poke at my eye than make their lunches... even if it costs 4 Euros!!

Oh and, school is from 8:30 to 3:00 EVERY DAY. No more dumb "get out at 1:00pm" or "start at 9:00" days.

Tomorrow's adventure involves checking out a kindergarten for Scotty... it's across the street from Starbucks. :)
I will also call about language school for us too. I can't understand anyone or anything. I didn't realize how much Danish I knew.

PS. No school for Andrea just yet, but if she keeps her little stinky attitude up she'll find herself in a daycare sooner than later!!! :) :)

Poozles Thoughts

I forgot to mention my little Poozle and the emotional trauma she has endured during this move. :)

Packing up our things were easy... on the first day. The second day as they started packing up the remaining toys and the TV she became less amused with the situation. When our house was empty and I was spending my joyful days cleaning it she was beside herself. It was fun empty for a while I think... like eight minutes... but then she wanted her things. She'd run into a room and just plop down on the floor and cry. It was sad. I had to clean the house while she had a nap in the car... which only gave me two hours.... which is why I will probably spend a weekend in DK cleaning WITHOUT kids. :)

She was okay in the hotel... kinda. One night she slept, the other she didn't... but I think these two days she had a fever from her MMR vaccanation last week. So I was feeling pretty sad for her.

When we arrived she didn't show much enthusiasm for our new home. It was really cold the first day... She didn't want to be put down at all. She was tired from her three hour drive here. She missed Denmark and the only home she has ever known. That night we slept in a hotel and she was okay with that.

She has become more happy and poozly as the days go by. I think as we unpack more and more of our familiar things she is getting happier about it. She is finally getting adventurous enough to wander off into rooms on her own now. :) And there are lots of rooms for her to explore. :) We have a secret living room.... Nobody knew it was here for an entire day. :)

I'll have pictures and movies later. Today maybe. :)

Kids are up. BYE

Sunday, February 14, 2010

First day in new house!

Oh, is today Valentines Day? I felt terrible this morning not having any heart shaped muffins or pancakes for the kids. We didn't have any heart shaped sugar cookies either... I didn't even get them a card.... Terrible mother. Poor Children.

Mommys can move holidays you know so we've postponed Valentines Day until further notice. :)

ANYWAYS....

Getting Here: I picked the kids up from school on Friday and already had the cats in the car. We left a pile of people on the street waving to us until we couldn't see them anymore... It was like a movie. :) ...and just made us cry more. It was so sad to leave all our friends. I felt bad for making Sierra's friends sad... :( At that point I would have said nevermind if I thought I could have pulled it off.

We just started to drive to Hamburg where Paul had been at our new house with the movers who had been unloading our things all day. Friday night we didn't try to unpack anything... we just put together some beds and got the TV and Wii going. :) ...then we went to a cute hotel. Luckily for everyone Andrea slept that whole night because I was exhausted... My last three Denmark days had been pretty tiring. But THANKS to all my friends for helping me those last few days.... you know who you are! :)

We woke up on Saturday, ate breakfast, and drove straight home. :) We were greeted by our new front door that we couldn't get open because a key had been left in the keyhole on the inside. So we had to call a locksmith. A German one. :) I took the girls to find a (warm) grocery store and the boys stayed home to get into the house. :) Super huh?

We eventually got in and the girls went right to unpacking their rooms. They are pretty good unpackers and as I sit here on Sunday night their rooms are pretty much done. We need to have an all day shopping event at IKEA though. Sierra needs some shelves. Michaela needs a closet. Scotty needs nothing. Andrea needs something... :) IKEA is where we will be spending our next Saturday. :)

So yes, we made it. No, our skype phone isn't up and running yet. I can't email everyone back right now because the girls are clamoring for the internet so they can email their friends. :)

Tomorrow the girls will go to their new school to take some placement tests and have a look around. I'll be trying to buy a shower curtain and toilet paper and something to make a real dinner with. Sounds simple enough but don't be too certain... I'm suddenly very confused and unsure about anything... even buying milk and hotdogs for lunch yesterday was hard.

It's been snowing ever since we arrived. I'm not allowed to complain about how cold it is so I won't tell you that my toes are numb... even with my fuzzy socks on. I won't mention that Andrea has to wear her footy pajamas all day to keep warm. I won't even say that I have stacked boxes in front on windows in a sad effort to keep the drafts out. I hope some curtains help. :)

The house is fun though... it's becoming obvious that we are living in two apartments that have been combined as one. :) We even have a bathroom and another bedroom and closet that we don't even consider part of the house. :) I think it was maybe even an entire different apartment at one point.

The lady who lives below, the owner, is very nice. She brought us some flowers and said hi to the kids. She speaks very good English so at least I can ask her when the garbage man comes and where the post office is. :)

Andrea is crying so I'm not going to go re-read what I wrote.... hope it makes sense. :)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last Thursday in DK

Sad that today was better only because I was able to scrub floors for two straight hours while Andrea slept.



This was ruined when landlord said they weren't white enough. :) WHEEEEEEEEE.



Good part was I got to make cupcakes and rice krispie treats in Hilde's kitchen. :)

Last Wednesday in DK

Worst day ever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last Tuesday in DK

The movers came today. I was SO THANKFUL to have movers!

It took three men all day to pack most of my things... that would have been three full days if it was just me, and if you add in interruptions from my four children, it would have been more like three full weeks... I packed to move here and it was terrible.

I haven't really felt the stress yet. No real deadlines though so I'm just taking it easy... la la la... that's my relaxing life you know. Too bad they packed all my bon-bons or I could have curled up on the couch with a magazine and munched on a bon-bon.

Yah.

So my movers did not speak any English. Not a bit. When they arrived we stood in my living room and stared at each other for a while. Then I called a friend who understand German more than she could speak it, but whatever she said to them worked because they just started packing after they handed the phone back to me. :) Maybe she threatened them? :)

This house is partially furnished so many furniture items stayed... I was trying to explain this to them. We started pointing at things and saying "Hamburg" or "Denmark". It worked. Then they gave me stickers and told me to sticker everything that should go to Hamburg. :) Andrea liked this... she liked peeling all my stickers off. I didn't realize it of course until I saw her fighting with five stickers stuck to her hand. She was a good girl though, didn't even give the movers a second glance... and they were big, burly German men so they weren't all that interested in her. She even took a nap as I told the big German man to pack quietly. :)

What I thought was really cute is that Sierra had made signs for her room and Scotty's room... "Welcome to Scotty's Room". The big, burly movers saw this sign and started to write Scotty on his boxes. Sierra's boxes are labeled Sierra or Steve.... her sign was written in cursive. :)

So most stuff is packed and loaded. The beds, TV, and computer are still here so we stayed at home instead of the hotel. Thanks Lindsey for the dinner tonight. It was good to go somewhere warm since our doors have been open all day and -3 cools the house off pretty quick!

They come back tomorrow to finish I think. I mostly guess what they will do next and hope they guess why I'm leaving bags of chips and sodas out on the counter for them. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Last Monday in DK

All my lists went in the garbage.

Now if I think of something I just have to do it. (except for the floors) The movers are coming tomorrow. 8AM. Which means my kids will go to school early so I can get back here on time... or closer to on time.

I think I might have it under control... maybe. I hope it works out okay. I'm kinda impressed with us right now. I'm not frantically running about so that is a good sign. I'm sitting, relaxing, and drinking my chocolate milk. Thanks for helping Michaela and Sierra!

I even fed the kids a good dinner with veggies involved. :)

A light just fell from the ceiling and shattered into a zillion pieces.... really - I didn't do anything, it just fell. I'd add it to the list of things to fix but, as I mentioned before, that list is in the garbage. They might just have to bill us on that one, BUT I didn't do anything, it seems a clip broke and it just fell. I have Sierra and Velcro as my witnesses.

Tomorrow we are headed to a friends house for dinner, so if I can just survive until I get there I know it will be fine because she will have toys and lasagna. I also decided to check into the hotel early and have the movers take everything away tomorrow... Now I only have to deal with movers on one day so I will have an extra day to clean up, etc...

Paul just called me with his new German phone number. Only 11 digits not including the country code. Why so long?

I'm going to go start on Scotty's Fastelavn costume... He's going to be an iPod. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Under Control

My friends love me! I had some great going away "parties" on Thursday and Friday with my friends... Really, I don't know if I'll ever find a group of moms as fun as these ones. I can't see how it would be possible. If the Hamburg moms are not nice to me my Aarhus moms will come beat them up though... it's been arranged. My friends here are wonderful. You don't get friends like this in the "regular" world... you just don't... and you couldn't explain it to someone who hasn't experienced it.

All these families understand what moving away from everything is like, they understand how important something like an American magazine or a can of cream of celery can be... I'll always be happy for Denmark because I know I will have these friends forever. :) Awwwwhhhhh... ...really though.


SO. THE KID PARTY WEEKEND...

Sleepover and Movie Night were great!!!! I can't believe how many kids were here to watch the movie! I really did pop every popcorn kernal in my house. I ran out. .... no way were those kids getting my kettle corn though. :) I took some pictures but my lovely daughter Michaela and her friends have misplaced the camera... (Go look again Michaela!)

The sleepover went well too. I don't think the older girls went to bed until 3:00am, but oh well, you are only 11 once and this group of friends she has is great, I'll miss them too. At the breakfast table the next morning Michaela pointed out, a few minutes after I had thought it in my head... there were six languages sitting at the table: English, Danish, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish. How cool!

Now that parties are over and I only have the move left to think about I have been having occasional bouts of anxiety over the past 24 hours. :) Paul had extra fun with the lists I had for him over the weekend. He was almost done on Saturday so I had to add some more things to keep him busy for Sunday... no day of rest for the man moving to Hamburg in two hours, BUT leaving his wife and kids to finish up in Denmark - on their own.

As for the other five of us.... I have it under control.
- Tonight we will pack suitcases for the next week.
- Monday I'll start on the floors... really.
- Tuesday, my new plan that I came up with ten minutes ago involves having the movers take everything and load it in one day so I don't have to deal with movers coming back on Wednesday and I can just start cleaning the floors that, let's just be honest... I didn't start on Monday.

That is my Three day plan. See, I have it under control.

P.S. To dry off patio furniture it gets to take turns dripping off in your shower and bath tub. :) ...then it goes to the garage. I don't know what happened to the trampoline but Paul took it apart and it's somewhere. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Poozie the Red-Nosed Poozler

video

Andrea thinks her sisters are hilarious. Especially when they are throwing snow on themselves.


Here is our long, long, long sidewalk. I had to shovel it AGAIN (at least this time I wore gloves and did it during the day. But when I looked back to admire my progress I saw it was already covered. Not very encouraging... especially since I was using the little kids' red and yellow plastic snow shovel because I refuse to buy a real one. :)


I love that our cat plays with us in the snow. We love Velcro. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Monkey


See this cute little monkey's arm?

The price tag???

699.75 Danish Kroner!

$140.00!!!

Not so cute anymore... It's suddenly a very stupid little monkey!

I wanted to get one for my new little niece. I had seen them everywhere and thought they must be "Danish". Sorry Audrey, no $140.00 monkey for you.

You're Fired

Before my husband fires our moving company and looks for another one... :) Wouldn't that be a super idea six days before we move!!

Is it common for a moving company to refuse to pack "wet" things... such as our outside items that are covered with snow?

I've taken all our snow covered outside toys into the freezing cold garage to maybe dry off. But what am I supposed to do with our trampoline and outdoor table and chairs? There is no way I can get them, and keep them, dry. I refer you the biggest trampoline in the world picture....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Doorknobs

One house we looked at in Germany had "normal" doorknobs. Sierra noticed and said, "LOOK!! American doorknobs!!" ...and this was her sole reason for wanting this particular house. :)

This is an American doorknob. It would be found on a door inside the house.It is nice and shiny and round. I didn't realize I haven't turned one of these doorknobs for a long time! Yes, they do lock! You just push them in and turn... wallah, it locks. Some even have little buttons on them that you can push and it locks. I miss these doorknobs. I think they are everything a doorknob should be. :)

These are the doorknobs we have now. I guess I'll have to call them "Danish Doorknobs". :)We can't ever lock these doors because none of us trust the key will unlock the door. It's an old looking key like you would see from... I don't know... A really long time ago when doors were invented. Plus, where do you put the key when you aren't using it? In our family we put them all in a box when we moved in so we wouldn't lose them. :) It makes sense to incorporate the lock into the knob, and with all this "Danish Design" you would think someone would take a break from designing chairs and come up with a useful doorknob locking design.

But here are our new German doorknobs...
Pretty unique I think. :) Sierra also noticed these and made me take a picture of them. I am now noticing that the "German Doorknob" is facing the wrong way. I hope that doesn't confuse anyone. :)

Now that I've typed the word "doorknob" that many times... and thinking that I could find more people here to refer to as doorknobs than actual doorknobs... I realize that doorknobs might not be called doorknobs at all here. After all, they are not knoby. Maybe they are doorHANDLES? A handle is on something you carry though. Duh.

While typing this I had decided that maybe I could install some good American doorknobs... but it probably hasn't been done because I'd probably need a new door. ...and that would probably be too many euros for me just to turn a round doorknob every now and then.

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