Legal Quandary

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm Back

We made it home ok, but ended up leaving 2 bottles of eye drops, 2 lip glosses (including one I really loved), and ALL my highlighters at the Frankfurt airport thanks to our little Jihadi friends who apparently have an unlimited hatred of Americans combined with a cursory knowledge of bomb making. I'll concede I should have caught the eye drops on my own (they were in a compartment I neglected to check), but lip gloss??? Highlighters???

Anyway, we're back. EC starts school tomorrow, so we spent nearly all day Saturday doing our back to school shopping. The rest of our time has been taken up unpacking boxes, complaining about the movers, cleaning the house, and complaining about the woman who used to live here.

Ooooh - and doing laundry. When we left Seattle, Mr. Q talked me into leaving our washer and dryer behind. They were still fairly new, but the house we were renting in Virginia already had a washer and dryer and no good place to store others. This turned out to be a mistake, since the W/D in Virginia sucked ass. To make it up to me, Mr. Q bought these. I'm not sure exactly which models we have, but both the washer and dryer are really, really, awesome. I was initially opposed to a front loader washer because my mom has one in Germany and it is SO SLOW. Also, if you forget something, you can't just throw it in later. The newer models seem to have solved this. So yay!

Today will be filled with grocery shopping, box unpacking, and the really important things - like getting children ready for the various activities which will get them out of my hair.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ka-Ra-Zee With a Capital "K"

Over the past year or so, my cousin Renee has gotten progressively crazier. Most of her outbursts involve whoever the boyfriend is that month. One particular guy, "Archie", and Renee have dated on and off for years. They lived together until he kicked her out, but somehow he keeps showing up in these stories. I was sort of confused about this for the longest time because "Archie" is only a nickname, so about half the time he would be referred to by his real name, "Dieter." I naturally thought these were two different guys who just had a thing for screwed up relationships, but I was mistaken on this point.

My mom witnessed one of Renee's more memorable incidents when she was at my aunt's for coffee one day. In Germany it is next to impossible to have a cup of coffee with one female relative unless the entire clan is there, so Renee's grandmother and another aunt or two were present as well.

Renee went upstairs with Archie/Dieter and apparently she tried to entice him to have sex with her. He refused, so she started chasing him around the house with a pair of scissors, pausing only to plunge the scissors into a door or two. I guess the physical attack alone wasn't quite seductive enough, so she also tried screaming insults at him. When that didn't work, she chased him outside and got the whole neighborhood involved. They might not have taken as much notice of the whole situation were it not for the fact that she was also rip-roaring drunk and buck naked.

Renee took up with a musician shortly after that. Things seemed to go ok for awhile, but I guess Renee got bored, so she decided to visit the musician's ex-wife, who had since entered into a lesbian relationship. On her way to work. After she'd been drinking. Anyway, Renee flipped out on both the ex-wife and her partner, and the police were called. So she attacked them too. I haven't had a lot of personal dealings with the police, but apparently German police don't take to being kicked, hit, scratched, and called "baby-fuckers" any better than American cops do. Eventually, they subdued her, threw her in handcuffs and dragged her off to the hospital where she was locked up in the Psych ward overnight. It appears that a person can't be involuntarily confined in a mental institution without a hearing in Germany either, so a judge showed up the next day and said she had to be released, but that Renee would have to undergo treatment. We all assumed she'd end up in some sort of Detox program, and she *was* supposed to go to one back in May, but somehow weasled her way out of that and into a different "Relationship" therapy.

I don't know exactly what kind of therapy it is, but it seems more like summer camp than anything else. It's an inpatient program where the patients attend counseling sessions in the mornings and then head off to the gym, to arts and crafts classes, or go hiking in the afternoon. About a week after she got there, she hooked up with Rico. (Yes, really his name. Just think, my kids could have had an Uncle Rico, but...) Rico apparently has a history of drug use and gambling, so he's clearly quite a catch. This was further evidenced when he was kicked out of treatment about 2 weeks ago. The story is that he was caught smoking on the balcony - which I don't buy for a second, unless the "smoking" was of a substance considered less than legal, even in Germany.

Anyhoo, instead of heading to his own house, Rico turned up at my aunt's house - in tears because Renee told him she doesn't want to see him anymore. (Surprise! She was just using him too!!! Shocking, I know.) Turns out he had bought her a ring and proposed right after he got kicked out of treatment. My aunt (ever the sucker for a sad story) let him stay the night at the house. The next day, he went and drank himself into a stupor. When the staff at the bar tried to get him to leave at closing, he gave them my aunt's phone number, so she went to pick him up. (She's a slow learner.) This was on Monday or Tuesday. Every day my aunt wanted to take him to the train station, and every day, he found some reason to stay another day. (I always let drug addicted strangers stay in my house - don't you?) On Friday, Renee came home again (because in-patient therapy is so much more effective when the patients come home every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, and for all holidays - religious and secular.) When Renee got home, she was upset because Rico had taken the dog for a walk and she was "concerned" about her dog. She went out looking for him, and when he hadn't returned within an hour, Renee demanded the car keys from my aunt, who in an uncharacteristic display of backbone, refused to hand them over.

"That's so unfair!" Renee shouted. "You'd give them to Steffi! (her sister) She's always been your favorite!"

"That's not true" said my aunt. "I don't give you the car keys because you go out drinking every time I do."

"I hate you! I wish you were dead! I wish I could kill you now!"

Then Renee grabbed the car keys, ran downstairs and tried to get into the car. My aunt followed and got the keys back. So Renee kicked her (I saw the bruises - up and down both legs!) When that didn't yield the desired results - RENEE BIT HER ON THE ARM. MULTIPLE TIMES. I saw my Aunt's arm later in the evening, and it looked like a dog had bitten her - except that the few bite marks that didn't break the skin were definitely human. My aunt still wouldn't give up the keys, so Renee grabbed a spade and came after her mother, but my aunt was smart enough just to lock her in the garage at this point.

When we talked to my aunt on the phone about an hour later, Renee was on the porch screaming and crying. Rico eventually calmed her down and she slept for the next 18 hours. My aunt had left something at our house a couple of days before, so we went over later that evening. I went along because I didn't want my mom to go alone, but we left the kids at the house because I don't want them exposed to my crazy cousin.

I swear, one of these days, I'm going to get a phone call from my mom telling me that Renee has killed her mom. Or someone else.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Travel Update

We went to Heidelberg a couple of days ago. I'd sort of forgotten that traveling with young kids wasn't a heck of a lot of fun.

We drove to the Heidelberg palace. EC and Lil Q were fighting a good chunk of the way there. Lil Q fell asleep as we pulled into the parking I stayed in the car while EC and my mom explored.

Later, we went in search of the Manessa Codex at the University of Heidelberg Library. Unfortunately, none of the really cool stuff was on display that day, so we moved on pretty quickly.

I saw my first European Starbucks (Although I don't really like the idea of Starbucks all over Europe, I collect the City Mugs, so I did go in and buy one. Maybe it'll be worth something someday when Starbucks realizes it can't take over Europe and has to close the store down.... Of course, since we were already there, I also went ahead and got a mocha.)

I also had my first burka sighting ever.

We spent yesterday at home, but my aunt and her mother came over. There was lots of new dirt on my crazy cousin. She's undergoing "treatment" right now - but since I'm running out of time for today, let's just say she's crazier than ever.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Looks Like We Made It

We've been in Germany for a couple of days now, although it almost looked like our flight was going to be delayed for another day due to bad weather in New HomeTown. It eventually cleared up and we made it to Chicago just in time to board the plane to Frankfurt. No time to even find a Starbucks (wah! Do you know there are NO Starbucks near the new house? After having 4 within about 3 miles of our Northern VA house (including 1 in walking distance) and before that, well...Seattle, there are NO Starbucks, None, Zero, Zip nearby! They are building one though....) It wouldn't have been so bad except that the coffee maker was also buried in the new house, so I was pretty caffeine deprived.

So far we've mostly been working around the house and running errands. My mom's house sits on (maybe) a half acre. I worked ALL day Sunday, clearing brush, cutting down trees, and digging up weeds, and I'm still only about 1/8 of the way done.

Tonight we're headed to the local Kerwe (like a town carnival) to ride the rides and then watch fireworks from the castle.

It's an exciting life we lead. We're hoping to make a couple of more interesting excursions in the coming week, so maybe if you're all good I'll post some photos. =)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

One More Time...With Feeling

So my flight didn't so much take off last night - bad weather in Chicago.

We boarded.
We sat on the plane for about 20 minutes.
They let us off.
Then they loaded us back on.
We taxied like we were going somewhere.
Instead, we just sat on the tarmac.
For 3 hours.
The flight was finally cancelled at 1 am because the crew was now disqualified.

Lessons learned?

- It's really, really expensive to take a taxi from the airport to the new house. (Note to self - make some friends pronto. The kind you'll feel comfortable calling at 1 am for a ride home....)

- Don't outsmart yourself by leaving your cell phone at home because "it doesn't work overseas and it's just something else to lose."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Commence Radio Silence In


A friend will be picking us up in a little over an hour to take us to the airport.

The house is nowhere near unpacked despite my best efforts over the past 2 days. I'm always just stunned at how much stuff we have. Not that this ever inspires me to get rid of some of it, or even stop buying more.

Expect an occasional post from Deutschland followed by more regular posting again toward the end of the month!

Bis bald!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moving Day FROM HELL

Words cannot even describe how awful and totally incompetent this mover was.

I've had professional movers pack up my house at least 5 times. This was, by far, the worst moving experience I've ever had.

Sadly, it's also not over, because I wouldn't let the guy assemble my stuff because I had approximately zero faith in his competence to do so. Many, many phone calls to be made to various customer service representatives tomorrow.

So, yay!