A Relaxing Four-day Weekend

This past weekend was a four-day for Brandon; however, we decided to stay close to home since we leave for a two-week trip to England and Scotland this week.  On Friday, we decided to check out the Bürgerfest in Regensburg.  There were 20+ entertainment stages around the Old Town and lots of food vendors.  We spent a few hours there walking around, listening to a couple bands, eating good food, and drinking beer/radlers.  (A radler is beer mixed with Zitronenlimonade (lemon-lime soda).  While mixing beer with anything seems like it would be a huge faux paux here, it is actually quite accepted.  Since I’m not a huge beer fan, I much prefer the radler.)  Of course, the highlight for me was a crepe filled with Nutella.  That is my new favorite food!!!  Brandon thought his crepe with applesauce and sugar was good also.

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We spent the rest of the weekend around the house.  I played for the Catholic Vigil Mass Saturday evening and then played for the Protestant worship on Sunday morning.  Sunday afternoon was filled with my weekly nap and a set of tennis.  Brandon and I were inspired by Wimbledon I guess, so we decided to see if we had any tennis balls that still bounced and if we remembered how to hit them.  We haven’t played since before the last deployment, so it has probably been about two years.  We had a lot of cobwebs to shake off!!!  However, we managed to play a set, and I won 7-5.  Of course, Brandon is already demanding a rematch. 🙂  We celebrated my victory with ice cream for dinner at the Eiscafe in Parsburg.  I wish I had had my camera with me to document our beautiful ice cream creations, but I know better now for next time.

The big accomplishment on Monday was finally setting up the air conditioner in the bedroom.  It has just gotten warm enough here that we might want it at night.  Brandon went to town with the duct tape.  I think it might be in the window so well that we’ll have to leave it with the house!

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So, that was our exciting four-day weekend.  Now we look forward to our next traveling adventure in England and Scotland!  Stay tuned for updates.

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Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Brandon!

Brandon's 30th BirthdayIMG_5347Birthday - Brandon 2009

Yesterday was Brandon’s 30th birthday.  The day itself was very blah as it was rainy and only in the 50s.  But luckily, Brandon ended up not being in the field, or working much at all!  He was home by 2pm to spend the rest of the day as he pleased.  We had grilled steaks, green bean casserole, and crescent rolls for dinner.  Then I gave him some alone time at home while I was at my Basic German class most of the evening.  We had dessert when I got home: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bars with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Since I had class the night of his birthday, we celebrated his birthday in style with dinner at the Rechberger Hof the night before.  We had a delicious German meal accompanied by a couple of beers, of course!  The Berkshire Hathaway shirt he is wearing in the picture above is a gift from his parents.  My gift to him is a new watch, but I’m letting Brandon choose the exact one he wants.  (If he can use that trick with my engagement ring, I can certainly do the same for his birthday gift!)  I made a cute watch card for him to open though.

So, Brandon has made it to the ripe old age of 30, and will hopefully see another 30+ years.  For someone who swore he wouldn’t live to see 21, this is quite the accomplishment!

IKEA!!

IKEAIKEA Eingang

The exciting event this past week was my first visit to IKEA.  Not just the first visit here in Germany, the first visit ever.  I know there are IKEAs in the US, but I have never had the opportunity to go to one.  I made a scouting trip on Monday with a friend, Shelly, and her two-year-old daughter, Samantha.  (Mental note: Never go to IKEA with a two-year-old!  Enough said.)  We were able to drive there in about 45 minutes and easily found it right off the Autobahn in Regensburg.  Once inside, I was not prepared to be so overwhelmed.  It was huge!!  We took our time walking through the store.  I didn’t buy much.  Just a plastic container and some cookies at the IKEA Food.  As I mentioned, it was a scouting mission, and I was specifically looking for bookshelves to go on either side of our TV stand.   I saw a potential buy, so Brandon and I went back to IKEA yesterday.  It was his first day off after the latest rotation, and he was thrilled about going furniture shopping.  We decided to buy the shelves that I had seen.  They are darker than the TV stand, but we don’t seem to be having any luck finding cherry bookshelves in our price range.  We successfully found the bookshelves in the warehouse section at the end, had enough cash to pay for them (IKEA only takes German credit cards here), and even had a VAT form to claim the tax refund.  The next hurdle was getting them in the car, but we were just able to fit them in with the backseats down and my seat pushed as far forward as it would go.  Needless to say, it was not the most comfortable ride home!  The final hurdle was assembling them.  Neither one of us wanted to tackle that on Saturday when we got home.  But, Brandon surprised me by putting them together this morning while I was at church.  The shelves look great on either side of the TV stand!  So, the living room is finally almost finished.  I just need to put things on the new bookshelves, install some floating shelves (that were also purchased at IKEA) above the TV, and hang the curtains that Mom is currently sewing for me.  So, maybe it will only take me 5 months to get settled into this house!

Living room with new IKEA shelves

Fun with a Concrete Drill

Watch out!  I have a concrete drill & know how to use it!

Watch out! I have a concrete drill & know how to use it!

This weekend, I finally tackled the project of hanging some things on the walls.  Now this is not a fun task anywhere, but it is especially difficult here in Germany.  The walls are concrete, so you can’t simply grab a nail and a hammer to get the job done.  Actually, we did try that with concrete nails, but even they weren’t strong enough to penetrate these hard walls.  On Thursday, I borrowed a concrete drill from Self Help and picked up some screws and anchors.  Even with the concrete drill, making the necessary holes was not easy and required the “hammer” setting on the drill.  It also made a complete mess!  Concrete dust is not fun to clean up off the counters and floors.  However, I am quite proud of myself for managing to hang the wine glass shelf (which gave us fits in TN!), anchoring the DVD shelf, and hanging several other pictures all by myself.  And there is only one unnecessary hole in the wall (so far).  When I was hanging a picture above the guestroom bed, I hit a steel girder inside the wall.  The drill is good, but can’t go through steel!  I moved a few inches over, tried again with success, and the picture covers the “extra” hole.  I haven’t hung everything yet, but the drill must be returned tomorrow.  We are waiting for some prints to be framed at Arts & Crafts, so I’ll tackle the rest when those are finished.  This was I can spread out the fun with the concrete drill!

A Visit from the Polizei

Our yard has needed to be mowed for the last five days.  Brandon attempted to mow on Friday, but found the lawn mower was out of gas.  Tonight, he was motivated enough to go get gas, so he could finally mow before the weeds were up to our knees.  Brandon was almost done, when he was asked to stop by a Polizei.  Today was a German holiday, Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost), and it is illegal to mow on holidays and Sundays here.  We have never seen Polizei on our street before, so obviously, one of our German neighbors must have called in the complaint.  Thankfully, there was no fine and the Polizei were very polite.  In the future, we will definitely have to do a better job of keeping track of German holidays!