Our day of regrouping started with (drum roll, Please) sleeping in! Fantastic. Of course, Jeff got up at 5 and went to work and Ann and Mom I’m sure had been doing constructive things for hours, but I slept like a rock. The basement of Ann and Jeff’s Germany house actually has these metal horizontal blinds that let absolutely no light in, and the ceiling is made of concrete (!) so no running around upstairs filters down to you. It’s cavelike qualities are perfect for sleeping way past when the sun comes up. I think we rolled out around 9:00 or so, but I may be giving myself more credit than I should. I know that Ann and I went to the Weisbaden market around 10 or 10:30, so it couldn’t have been much later. I really enjoyed the market – it made me want to buy lots of produce and flowers and cheese. But Ann was with me, so I let her do it :). Actually, I bought her some flowers, thank you very much. Of course she bought me and my family food and a trip to Europe, so I guess flowers were the minimum I could do. And I’m going to try to link a slideshow in of the market, but I don’t really know what I’m doing. Weisbaden is the closest town to Ann and Jeff’s little village, and it has a beautiful park downtown and an old casino that is quite picturesque. Don’t think Harrad’s, think like beautiful, stately old building where you have to wear formal dress to go inside. After I had gotten my fill of the market and we had stopped by the a store devoted entirely to gummy food (from whence came the Whites’ massive supply of squirrel hearts), we went back to the house, ate lunch, and Ann gathered up her next relative to take on an errand. This would be Mom, she of the “where’s my medicine and make up?” fame (bless her heart). She said that when she told Dad about it, he said, “Well you don’t need any make up, you are beautiful without it.” That touched my heart – they are so sweet now that they don’t have any children living in their house. Just kidding, parents! You were sweet back then too. You were also just very tired. Anyway, Ann took Mom to the base and they came back a few hours later with Mom’s meds and makeup and Ann bought me a 4 GB memory card for my camera! Woo-hoo! See how much she appreciated those flowers? Just kidding again. But I loved having massive amounts of memory for the camera. It is so freeing to see I have 600+ pictures remaining when I turn it on. Remember when we bought rolls of film at 36 exposures each? Ha! It’s a great new world we live in! Atleast as far as memory cards are concerned. And kind siblings.
That evening we walked to one of the local restaurants for some beer and schnitzel. Now, I hate to admit this, but before I got to Germany, I thought schnitzel was some kind of pasta. That’s pretty embarrassing to admit, but I think Julie Andrews is to blame because she said that schnitzel with noodles was one of her favorite things. Now, a smart person would say that maybe they didn’t know what schnitzel was, but the one thing that they knew it definitely could not be is pasta, because who would eat pasta with more pasta and call it one of their favorite things? Well, no one! Maybe an Italian. But obviously when I heard that song I could only picture noodles since I had no idea what schnitzel was, so some kind of word association thing was going on there. Turns out schnitzel is pork, pounded thin and fried up, with a variety of sauces. Ann said Dad loved Germany because they served you what was basically country fried steak and excellent beer in large quantities almost everywhere you go. I know because I had a schnitzel sandwich the very next day in Legoland of all places. So we all ate schnitzel expect for the kinder (as Ann called them) who enjoyed mostly chicken nuggets and fries. Emma did eat the schnitzel and liked it (Uncle Jeff kept saying,”It’s like a really big chicken nugget!”), and Katy passed on the schnitzel for I believe tomato soup and applesauce but then ended up eating most of Mason’s fries while he was reading his book and talking (two of his favorite things to do). This was a trend that repeated itself several times, and I enjoyed watching her nonchalantly take his fries while he was looking the other way. Occasionally he would see her and be outraged, but usually it worked out fine. Anyway, I had schnitzel with fries instead of noodles, and it was quite good, but I couldn’t say I would count it as one of my favorite things. Diet coke with a snickers bar and a People magazine – that’s probably what would be in my song. Margaritas on the beach. Riding on the front of Mom and Dad’s boat. Reading a great piece of fiction in my bathing suit while eating cheetos and sucking all the orange off my fingers before I turned the page while the kids frolic in the pool. Replanting the window boxes with fresh new flowers. Road trips before we had kids. Listening to my brother play guitar. See if you can make it all rhyme, Julie, and get back to me!
Sorry, I digress. Ann and I did lots of laundry -well, actually Mom did a lot of it for me. As you can see, Mom is kind of the unsung hero of this trip. And she just sent me a thank you note for letting her come (even though Ann and Jeff paid for her ticket, not me.) But seriously Mom, if you think hanging out with us and doing our laundry and watching our kids is fun in Europe, you should try it in Walnut Grove! Where we have American Idol! And barbecue! And baseball! And The Beacon, for crying out loud!
Another side note: throughout the trip I kept asking Ann if she had seen this TV show or that, and every time she had to remind me that they got the Armed Forces Network channel and that’s pretty much it. No What Not to Wear or The Amazing Race or American Idol. It was hard for me to grasp. The Whites do have a lot of great books to read. I brought several of them home with me. I’ll read them right after I watch TV! Ha! OK, this is not going to get any better. The rest of the night, we repacked our bags and got ready for an early departure. Next stop, Legoland!