Getting settled and Charlie’s promotion

We have been busy trying to get everything unpacked and put away. Actually, it has been going pretty smoothly. We were able to unpack lots of boxes while the movers were still here so that they could take away the trash, and we have space to keep the rest of the boxes/packing paper out of the way until they come back to pick them up. It amazes me how I can unpack a box of dishes, then when I try to stuff all the packing paper back into the empty box, it hardly fits!

Two challenges I hadn’t anticipated: no closets and no pantry. The military provides two wardrobes per person, plus there was already one in our house, so thankfully we were able to find a place for all of our hanging clothes. There are shelves underneath our kitchen counter, and that space is serving as our pantry. It’s a tall space, so I wanted to get some sort of shelf to put across and double the space, but we haven’t found anything that will work quite right yet. We’re gradually getting there with the unpacking and settling in, but the next thing I’m anxious about is getting rid of the rest of the boxes/packing paper, temporary bed, and borrowed dishes/kitchen items – then it will really feel like we have lots of space.

Charlie’s promotion ceremony was yesterday morning (Friday). We drove down to the band hall in Heidelberg (the band and chorus are still getting things packed up and moved to Sembach). Connor was so good and didn’t do anything embarrassing while all the soldiers were at attention :). He did promptly spit up, though, when it was time for everyone to come shake our hands. Guess he didn’t want anyone coming too close! It was really great to meet so many of the people that Charlie will be working with. I was really impressed with the commander. As he was promoting Charlie, not only did he know Connor’s and my name with no hesitation, but he rattled off where Charlie earned both of his degrees and where he has been stationed. I know it’s not difficult information to find, but it really makes a difference when you take the time to find out those details.

After leaving Heidelberg, we stopped at Ikea in Mannheim on the way home. We needed to return some of the sheets we bought. After all the drama of trying to pick out sheets last time we were there, I opened up what I thought was a fitted sheet and a flat sheet and found two fitted sheets instead. We had bought two sets of everything, so all we had were four fitted sheets and pillowcases! The pillowcases were strange, so we decided to return those, too, since we would be back at the store anyway. We decided we could just get queen size flat sheets from the BX and they would be close enough to the correct size, instead of trying to find another store here to buy the European size to match our mattress. Well, the BX only sold sheet sets, so that was a bust. I hunted online and ordered flat sheets and pillowcases from Target. In the meantime, we had a flat sheet that a friend had loaned us, and since our household goods arrived we have been using the flat sheet from our guest bed sheets. While we were at Ikea, we also wanted to look for some kind of shelf for the kitchen, but didn’t find anything that would work. We did find a rack for our pot lids, though – love when you find something cheap that you didn’t think about needing, and it turns out to be really useful! So this trip to Ikea turned out much cheaper and quicker than the first trip :). All we spent was €4.99 on the lid rack…plus lunch…

Lunch at Ikea brought my second German food faux pas. (My grandma, who is German, confirmed that the saumagen I ate last week was in fact meat packed in a pig stomach casing, but the casing is generally removed before serving.) We went through the cafeteria-style line and got our main dishes (served by someone behind the counter). Then there are a few areas where you can serve yourself – salad, dessert, etc. I saw something that looked like crepes and decided to try one. They were folded in thirds and pretty flat, so I wasn’t sure if they were filled or not. I was imagining either a slightly sweet plain crepe, or a chocolate-filled crepe. I put a crepe on a plate, then went to the other side to put a white dessert sauce on the side of it. We went through the line to pay, and the cashier looked at our plates and started spouting off in German while pointing to our food. I thought she might be saying something about charging us extra because I added sauce my crepe. I asked, “Sprechen sie English?” and she pointed to my crepe and said, “That’s not sweet. It’s filled with spinach and cheese. Thought you might want to know in case you notice it tastes funny with the sauce.” We laughed, thanked her, and paid, and I’m sure my face was red. I wonder how many people wondered why I was putting a dessert sauce on my spinach crepe? At least I didn’t pour it on top…so I was able to just cut off the side that was touching the sauce and eat the crepe. It was good :). And the ironic part was that the dessert sauce wasn’t even that good. I tried a little on its own and it tasted like vanilla pudding. So I’m not sure what was funnier…the fact that I mistakenly put dessert sauce on a spinach crepe, or the fact that Charlie knowingly ate the crepe with the sauce and liked it :).

Saturday morning we went to the Sembach commissary. We needed to go anyway, plus they were advertising a case-lot sale, which commissaries typically have twice a year (at least that’s how it was in Colorado). We ended up buying a case of canned black beans and canned tuna, two huge containers of laundry detergent, paper towels, and two big boxes of diapers…then did our regular grocery shopping. It was a full car, but we made it! We have space in the cabinet in the storage room to store everything. (The living room had about six wood cabinet units that came with the house. We moved the one for a TV into the storage room since we already have a TV stand with shelves.) We all took naps after we got home (and Connor is still snuggled up with me finishing his nap, which is why I have time to blog…), and now Charlie is mowing in the back. Sadly, I think we’re headed back to the BX on Ramstein for a few more things this afternoon…

It is amazing to see how much Connor has developed since we left Colorado! We unpacked a few toys that he couldn’t really do anything with before we moved, and now he grabs them and puts them right into his mouth. That’s what all toys are for, right? Now that we have a high chair, we put him in there when we eat our meals. He has toys on his tray, and sometimes a baby spoon to practice with :). He doesn’t always last the entire meal in his seat before he fusses to get out and sit with one of us, but it’s a start! And speaking of growing up, Connor received his first birthday party invitation! Our friends Jes and Derek are having a birthday party for their two little guys, who will turn one and two this month.

And now for a random comment to wrap this up: A neighbor across the street was weeding his brick driveway with a FLAME today! I kid you not. It looked like a weed whacker, but the end of it was like a big blow torch! It was so awesome, and I wish I could have had one of those in Colorado…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mark mraz
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 22:29:42

    i just need a little clarification, how can a pillow case be weird???? and are you saying charlie ate a spinach and cheese crepe with vanilla pudding on it??? luv the blog, you guys too, uncle mark


    • Ashley Brokovich
      Sep 08, 2012 @ 22:42:24

      The pillowcases had a zipper along the long side instead of being open along the short side, and they weren’t very soft. And yes, Charlie ate part of a spinach and cheese crepe with a vanilla pudding-like sauce on it 🙂


  2. Dad and Marilyn
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 01:50:53

    I’m sure you guys are in bed now after a very long day…..enjoyed your nice, long blog so much!


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