Real Housewives of Cologne, Episode 4

19 12 2019

“WILLST DU MICH”

December 14, 2019, perhaps the red letter day of my life.

That long explanation I owe you?

I haven’t come down from Cloud Nine Million yet, and at this rate, I hope I never do. But I think I can pay it off.

Food and drink before you start reading below the asterisks, because it’s gonna be long.  For as long as I think this could be, you’d better make it a five course dinner and two bottles of wine.

***

I’ll write here about the things in the same chronological order that I did them on Saturday: Car, ring, proposal.

***

First, the car.

Maybe one day, I’ll be able to go public about what I’m really doing here in Germany. Though that probably won’t be able to be long after I’m no longer doing it and have moved on to other things.  It will also pretty much require a few other people who are critical in my gig to have long moved on to other things.  But for now, I will say that that which I am doing here politically boxed me in in terms of a brand choice.

It had to be either a Cologne-built Ford, or a German brand.

And when you get to the part about the final two “contestants,” you’ll find out that I had to make the ultimate political decision, based on very personal politics, and based on what I knew I would be doing later the same evening after I bought the car.

This decision was mostly a process of elimination, or in dating apps parlance, swiping left, until I was down to one.

First off, the only kind of body style I considered was four-door sedan (“Limousine” in German parlance), except for one of my final serious options, the Audi A5, which is sort of a sedan-hatchback hybrid with four doors, a “Sportback” they call it. I knew I’d be better off with a sedan or -ish, because there are going to be times that I’ll be rolling three or four deep on the job and behind the wheel. That meant no two-door, no coupes. Not to mention the fact that, as of this past Saturday evening, the odds of me having kids have suddenly shot way up to near 100% certainty. Car seats, sippy cups, doctor visits. All the more convenient with four doors instead of two.

No SUVs — For fuel economy reasons, big or medium sized SUVs just aren’t a thing here.  While small, small-medium SUVs and CUVs do have better fuel economy, and that segment is pretty hot here, I’ve never dug SUVs or CUVs of any size.

Gas engine, because the recent diesel scandals in this country have made me leery.

Also, my timing of being in the car market was impeccable, because I was in it in a general time of the fear of a recession, and more precisely, Audi announced 9500 job cuts at the end of last month, so the recession and manufacturing worries are acute around the car industry.

Now, for the swiping left.

I swiped left on all of Ford. Ford, the most popular American and non-German brand in Germany, is on hard times. That may sound strange, because Ford outsold BMW for 1H19 in this country, to slot in fourth place behind only Audi, Benz and VW. But that’s easy to reconcile: Fire sale meant good deals on Fords, especially the Focus, and many a Kraut snapped up many a Foci because of the great deals.  A second car, or to replace their existing similar-sized car.

But for me, none of Ford’s four-door cars are compelling, and I can afford better anyway.

Now, for the German brands.

I didn’t know Opel still existed. Car people know that Opel and GM had a lot of cross pollination for many years; For instance, the second generation of Saturn small sedans were nothing more than rebadged Opels. But Opel is still around, its HQ is in Rüsselsheim, close to Frankfurt. So close that Rüsselsheim itself does not have a German license plate code; Cars registered in Rüsselsheim get license plates that start with “F” for Frankfurt, which also means that Opel promotional photography shows its cars with German license plates that start with F. (Incidentally, this is why BMW photos show German license plates that start with “M” for Munich, Benz and Porsche “S” for Stuttgart, Audi “IN” for Ingolstadt, and VW “WOL” for Wolfsburg).  These days, Opel is a Peugeot (PSA Group) subsidiary, and if you’ve been paying close attention to automotive industry news, then you’ll know that just yesterday, the specific terms of a merger announced back on Halloween between the PSA Group and FCA (“Fiat-Chrysler”) were announced.  Which…should…make…for…a…really…strange…automotive…conglomerate…

However, all new Opels look like a cross between a clown car and a pregnant roller skate. Swipe left on all of Opel.

VW? Too bland and generic. And I can afford better. I suppose a good enough reason for me to swipe left on all of VW was that it’s so popular in Germany; I tend to go the opposite way of the crowd.  And I did that even before their Braunschweig shenanigans of a few weeks ago.

Porsche. Hmmm.

For grins and giggles, I test drove the top of the line Panamera. This model, mind you, officially starts at 97K € for the base trim and engine, and the one I test drove ran over 180 earlier this year, but could have been had for twenty off when I test drove it because of model year end closeouts.  (Remember, you don’t price haggle on cars in Germany, either dealer or customer.) Still, 97, 160 or 180 — All out of my league.   But I just wanted the experience, even if it was for a few minutes. It was my first time actually driving a six figure car. Yeah it was hell a lot of fun, (542/568, duh), and it’s got a lot going for it, (180, duh), but a car that costs so much should be more comfortable and have much better tech and quasi-autonomy options.  Though I’m told the tech stack has been bigly improved across the Porsche line for the 2020 MY;  The Panamera I test drove was a ’19.

Even if I could afford it, I don’t think I would, because the two problems with the Panamera are:  (1) It, like the Audi A5, is one of those weird mashup of a hatch and a sedan, and I don’t dig the look, and (2) It’s rather large, and I could see maneuverability being a headache in tight compact German and European urban environments, and, unlike the car I actually picked, the ’19 Panamera doesn’t have the tech to help you out in those situations.

But I actually got to drive a six figure Porsche, so six figure-y that it was on the verge of 200K. Only a degenerative brain disease, or my condition suddenly reversing and going back in the wrong direction, will ever deprive me of that very fun memory.

Then, we got down to serious territory. Audi, BMW, Mercedes.

Within my range of affordability and desirability, the final candidates were the A4, A5 and A6 from Audi, the 3 and the 5 from BMW, and the C and the E from Benz. I did serious test drives of all seven of them, from dealers, with she who is now the future Mrs. Blogmeister (God how I love saying that) in tow (remember, I still couldn’t drive on my own until this past Saturday), with one exception: He who is now my future father-in-law (God how I love saying that) owns a Benz E of the current generation, and I test drove his with him in tow.

Pick one out of a hat, and you’d have a really enjoyable car, features and tech galore and extremely similar to each other.

But I could only have one, so it came down to dime thin marginal factors and swiping left. I did give all seven of these automobiles fair hearing and then some. Due diligence? That seems to be a thing these days with me.

Swiped left on all three Audis, mainly for generic appearance. The A4 looks like several Nissans or Hyundais. The A5, the aforementioned “Sportback,” aside from having that hatch-sedan design I’m not fond of, looks a lot like the 2015 Chevy Impala I already own, which is garaged back in St. Louis. Or should I say, it better be garaged, safe and sound. The A6 looks like the 2005-07 Ford Five Hundred.  For the record, if I absolutely had to with the Audis, it would be the A6.

So now we’re down to BMW and Mercedes, and the Final Four.

The BMW 3 compares to the Benz C, and the BMW 5 compares to the Benz E.

On the BMW side, the 5 is supposedly a better and definitely a more expensive car than the 3. But my test driving of both showed me virtually no substantial advantages of the 5 over the 3 in any way, it’s hardly bigger in terms of interior room, and a few disadvantages to be perfectly honest, while it showed me the 5’s much higher price. Swipe left on the 5.

On the Benz side, the E is definitely a bigger and better car than the C and very much worth the extra expense. E > 5, while 3 > C. Swipe left on the C.

So we’re down to the BMW 3 versus the Benz E.

I think you know by now why I went with the BMW 3, because I already mentioned it:

My future father-in-law owns a Benz E.

I know he and I are a lot alike.  He may well wind up being the best father-in-law a guy could have, I’m not being glib.  But soon, I’ll be marrying his daughter, and while I know she knows her father and her future husband are a lot alike, I’m not trying actually to turn into him down to the atomic level. I know her well enough now to know that it would make her feel really weirded out and some sort of Oedipal way if I owned the same car that her father does.

Like I said, it came down to the ultimate political decision, on top of the political limitations I started out with.

Even if I didn’t have those very personal politics to contend with, I still think I would have gone with the 3 over the E.  One reason, and I’ll expound about it below, the “While In Rome” reason, (that city will come up again later in this post), is that the 3 is me living more below my means than the E would have been.  Another reason is that the 3 looks younger and more athletic than the E, all the while the 3 looks just about as professional as the E.  To make this analogy very personal, the E has that “look” of upper middle aged very senior corporate executive, whilst the 3 has the “look” of a middle aged professional who is still deluding himself that he has some youth left in him.

Specifically, what I now own is a 2019 330i, with the X-Drive (AWD) system, blue, (What other color for a BMW? Even if you don’t like blue as a color in general or a car color, you have to admit that blue suits BMWs very well — I also think my having a blue car will go over well at the salt mines), black leather interior, all the tech, all of its quasi-autonomy options, (yes, it’s an iPad on wheels, they all are these days), loaded to the gills otherwise.  Just about anything a car can do these days to help itself from getting into an accident or even a fender-bender, my new 3 can do.  I got the mid-range engine (255/295 in American measurements), and about that, the 255/295 is the base engine for the 3-Series sedan in the United States, but it’s the mid-level engine in Germany, because there’s a smaller engine option here, 181/221. However, since I’ll be driving in eco mode almost all the time, (remember, doctor visits, car seats, sippy cups, rolling four deep to networking events, roadtrips to Brussels, six-something a gallon), I’ll get virtually the same gas mileage (yeah I know, in metric, they use liters per 100 km) as I would overall with the smallest engine, but I’ve got enough horses under the hood to have a little bit of fun every now and again.  It came with the transmission that’s normally an auto but has a kiddie pool manual mode, though if I ever use the manual mode even once as long as I own this car, I’ll be surprised.  (I know that the 2019 MY 3-series sedan took a lot of heat from gearheads because it no longer has a true manual option, but neither does the 2020 Corvette, so you know true sticks are headed the way of the dodo bird.)  All for a mere 44K € of wallet-lightening (incl. VAT) — Because it’s the end of the model year, and the German economy is teetering on the brink of an official recession, this was the ideal time to buy a car, and I’m happy the stars aligned in just the right way at just the right time.

One overriding thing about this whole process: I am told that German cars destined for the German market have tighter more precise steering and handling than German cars destined for the American market, whether the ones sold in America are assembled in Germany or the United States. And from my limited memory of very limited experience of driving German cars in St. Louis, I think it’s true. Even though I’m not able to do a precise apples-to-apples comparison.

I’ve also noticed differences between the German and American automobile market supply chain.  When I was young, the balance of power between makers and dealers in the United States was squarely on the side of the makers.  But some time in the 1990s, the balance of power shifted to the dealers, and after several years in the business of lobbying Missouri state government and being tangentially interested in a lot of local business, I saw firsthand how big of a stick car dealers swing.  To put it in St. Louis parlance, the concept of Dave Sinclair selling new GM cars was a practical joke in 1990, but by the end of the decade, he owned an Oldsmobile dealership.

Here in Germany,  the power balance is still with the makers.

Another factor is that, because of space limitations, the physical campi of car dealerships can’t be that big.  Which means no dealers with “hundreds in stock, hundreds coming.”  To put it in CSIT terms, front-line German dealerships are thin clients for the central server of the makers, but thin clients that just so happen not to be owned by the makers.  And the inventory system is much more akin to a JIT system, and as it so happened, it was a car maker, Toyota, which developed JIT.  (I know JIT also has a CSIT analogue).  To the extent that there’s any inventory backage, it’s on the assembly line campi warehouses and parking lots.  My precise new car was assembled at BMW’s Dingolfing, Bavaria plant, not far northeast of Munich.  So the way it worked is that it wasn’t sitting on some massive lot of the dealer, a 2019 MY waiting to be fire-sold on outta there.  Instead, it was waiting back in Dingolfing for one of the thin client dealers somewhere in Germany or the EU Zone to sell it to someone, again, in a buyer’s market, because Dingolfing wanted to get it off their lot,  (they’ve already started assembling the 2020 MY), and when someone did, namely your Blogmeister, it was loaded up on a CCT back in Dingolfing that was headed in the general direction of Cologne.  Incidentally, I called the particular dealer back on the 4th, and made the agreement in principle with them, indicating my pre-approved financing, and the precise car got to the dealer on the 11th, and of course this past Saturday, the 14th, was the day I physically took delivery and signed the last of the paperwork.

I took a taxi to the Autohaus that morning to close the deal, instead of letting she who is now the future Mrs. drive me there, because I wanted it to be a surprise for her to see which one I chose when I picked her up early in the evening for what she thought would be just a mere low key celebration of my successful recovery.

When I drove my new car away from the dealer, it was the first time in 879 days that I drove an automobile by myself on public roads.  That was not lost on me, as I sat there for a few minutes on their (really small) parking lot behind the wheel, realizing that this was it, this was really the first moment of the rest of my life, and the final indicator of a satisfactorily successful recovery.  I’ve really made it back to the top of the mountain.  Falling down (literally) 879 days ago in suburban St. Louis, taking 879 days to climb back as high as fate would allow and getting to the summit of my new normal in the vicinity of Cologne.

One of you in the peanut gallery suggested a few months ago that I lease instead of buy.  I gave the L v B thing a lot of thought.  The reason I went with buy is because what I knew I would be doing later that evening.  If it was just going to be me, and nobody was in the picture, then the odds are that I’d be going back home to the United States after this gig is up, and leasing, even the not so good terms on the car I bought, would have made sense.  But after Saturday night and hearing that one word, the odds that I’ll ever go back to America for good have gone way down.  With that in mind, I suddenly had to think about L vs B this car in terms of quite a few years down the road.  Three things about the car I now own are factors which will push its depreciation curve up and give it less resale value:  (1) German, (2) Turbo engine, and (3) Really teched out.  German cars, because they’re mechanically complicated, (What else would you expect from a people whose language is such that you sometimes ADD letters to a word to make its meaning more simple?), meaning more long term reliability issues;  Turbo engines, because they have more parts, it means more long term reliability issues;  Extensive tech stacks, because of the Moore’s Law style (hardware and software end) rapid obsolescence cycles.  (I tend to guess that these cutsey auto-manual gearboxes will be the same way, and if I’m right, that would mean a fourth reason.)  Which means lease terms aren’t that much of a Euros and cents advantage over buying.  Then you combine the mileage restrictions, and I figure I’ll be doing much more driving than that out of necessity, which means I’d be hit with a per-kilometer overage penalty at the end of a lease.  Buying just made less nonsense than leasing.

It’s also why warranties on German cars aren’t as extensive as they are for others, either Germany or the United States.  I get 4/80, which is virtually the same as the 4/50 you get for BMWs in the United States, as 80k km and 50k miles are just about the same.  And no, I don’t anticipate having this car for long beyond four years.

I should say, this is a hell of a reward for all my patience and all that I’ve been through. That, and whoever thought that I’d ever own a BMW and have a Swiss bank account?

(This space is left open for you to insert your own Trabant jokes.  I’ll break the ice:  What’s the easiest way to double a Trabant’s horsepower?  Have your six-year old daughter get out and push it.)

***

But my biggest reward was yet to come that day.

***

First thing I did after driving away from the Autohaus in my brand new BMW, my brand new BMW, my brand new BMW, (God, how I love saying that), was to drive myself by myself to a jeweler and buy an engagement ring.  You know, that part about the first moments of the rest of my life.  As long as I was getting started with the rest of my life, I figured I might as well get someone to spend it with.

Nothing fancy or complicated about buying a ring. I’ll say here that, as you’re about to find out, I totally mentally checked into this big decision at the beginning of this month. But I deliberately waited on buying the ring until the day of the fact, because, if you buy a ring and let it sit around, you’re going to stare at it, start thinking about your decision, start questioning it, double-thinking it, stew in your fears and doubts, get nervous, get cold feet, call the whole thing off. Then you could lose the ring, or it could get stolen, or misplaced.

I wasn’t having any of that. I was buying it early afternoon, on her finger by mid-evening.

Not a diamond ring, in fact, not a diamond to be found in it.  No way in hell I’m bribing some parenthetical cartel with one-sixth of my current annual income just for the moral authority to do what people have been doing for millennia, which is, get married.  Even before I was JQ-aware, I had a business law prof way back when who, now that I know better, was herself JQ-aware, and who, on one of the final days of the semester, gave us a symposium on practical game in terms of a serious business and personal financial life we were capable of having as older adults, and one of the things she dog whistled was that the parentheticals of the diamond cartel colluded with the parentheticals of the movie cartel to do a one-two punch;  The latter cartel would cinematographically convince women that a man needs to spend two months’ of his salary to buy a rock from the former cartel in order for him to be worthy to marry her.

But it was by no means an inexpensive ring, though.  Solitaire white gold with an emerald birthstone indicative of her May birth month, I wasn’t expecting it to be.  White gold I thought went better with the green emerald, because yellow or rose gold with a green stone looked too much like puke.  How much did it set me back?  Well north of ouch, but a little bit south of boing.  I told you in more precise numerical terms what I paid for the car, but I’m not going to say for the ring, just because I think it would be sorta bad luck.

Worth every Europenny to see it on her finger.  Even decoupled from its purpose, we all think it looks really nice on her finger, and it sets off her Hazel eyes.

***

Now for the part you’re most interested in, and this will be really really really involved.  Might want to add on another course to the dinner and another bottle of wine.

***

When did I make this big decision?

A Freudian slip I made on my way out of Braunschweig, the morning of December 3, made me realize that I had already subconsciously done it.

I was talking to another American, as it so happened, and I said something that I wasn’t aware I said in the way I said it, but must have piqued his curiosity.

The convo from that point went like this:

HIM: “But I don’t see a band on your finger.”

ME: “Band?”

HIM: “You just said you were headed back to your wife, but you should have a wedding band on your finger if you’re married.”

ME: “Sorry, I meant girlfriend.”

HIM: “Well it sounds to me you’ve already made the decision to ask her to marry you.”

ME:  (Thinking to myself):  “Mein Gott.”

On the train back to Cologne, I replayed what had been the previous several days in my head, and I came to the conclusion that I subconsciously made the decision after what I wrote about in the previous episode of RHOC, the end of Due Diligence November meaning that we came clean about everything, that was the evening before (what was for me) Thanksgiving, and then on Thanksgiving Day itself.

Last Thanksgiving and then later Christmas were my first ones after moving to Germany. On both days, I Skyped the family gathering, which was at my younger uncle’s house, as many of our family holiday gatherings were for as long as I can remember. But as you know, my younger uncle passed away in early June, and, thanks to all that I’ve had to do and have done, I have not yet been able to grieve properly.

His passing was like taking the mortar out of a brick house, as it turned out. It was never obvious before, but he was accidentally and unwittingly the glue that held what I had come to known as the universe of my close relatives and quasi-relatives together.  With him gone now, the rest of us are drifting apart.  Some of us, figuratively, in my case, quite literally.  Like they say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  Meanwhile, my own mother’s condition is getting worse. So there was no family gathering on Thanksgiving, not in the way I had known, and there will not be one on Christmas. Yes, I Skyped my mother, and her assisted living facility had a Thanksgiving supper, and so it will also be the same on Christmas, even though my Christmas this year will be unconventional — I’ll get to that.  But it was hardly the same.

Late in the evening my time on Thanksgiving, I realized that over there, from whence I come, halfway across the world, my own family is dying off and disintegrating, while right where I am, there’s now absolutely nothing precluding me going all the way with K., and making her immediate family that I’ve been getting closer and closer to over these last few months actually my own.  Back home, falling apart.  Over here, on the rise. An old door is closing right as a new door is opening.

So I now think that I subconsciously crossed over the line late in the evening on Thanksgiving.

And it took that Freudian slip several days later to make my conscious realize it.

On the train trip back to Cologne, I consciously threw myself all in.

All I could think of as I was rolling into Kölner Hauptbahnhof was that I finally found The One, after all these years and all these heartaches, headaches and setbacks, and nearly being resigned to the fact that I never would, and on top of that almost having to live the rest of my life with the circumstance of permanent mechanical failure in that department.  And that it took me going halfway across the world to find her.

It’s also a day I never thought would come, not only for my overall general bad luck with women and relationships, but specifically because the time between mid-January and the start of May in 2018 was definitely the most depressing part of my recovery and probably the most depressing extended time period of my life.  It was after I both returned to functional coherence and got most of my short term memory back, but before I found out that (a) certain unknown benefactor(s) were sending my quasi-uncle and I on a massive epic month and a half long vacation to Germany and the Czech Republic.  The reason those days were so scary was because I feared I was permanently consigned to being mostly wheelchair-bound and being a useless eater for the rest of my life.  I was doing plenty of posting here during those months, as most of you know; however, all that was masking my anxiety and depression.

If it would have turned out to be that way, I would have adjusted, but I would have been perennially unhappy.  But as it turns out, once I learned of that gift at the beginning of May, life has been all uphill from there.

I should also add that this decision also carved in stone my final decision about the car;  When December 3 began, I had already narrowed it down to the final two, BMW 3 vs the Benz E.  Once I totally threw myself into popping the question, I also figured that I better not buy the same car her father owns.

***

Before I move on to anything else, I know some of you are going to ask, so I’ll answer it now just to get it out of the way:

Don’t ask about a registry, because there is not going to be one. Because there doesn’t need to be one. The future Mrs. Blogmeister and I are both people of very decent means, as you found out a few weeks ago.

Honestly, between the two of us, we already have just about all of the realistically necessary day-to-day knick-knacks for the domestic life, and what little we don’t have, we will be able to come by easily. Hell, we’re already starting out as a two-car household before it’s actually a household. (Two car households aren’t as common in Germany as they are in the United States, ceteris paribus.) And now that I mention it, technically, it will be a three-car household after we’re actually married, the third car being my Impala back in St. Louis. Yes, the future Mrs. Blogmeister is about to be the via-marriage co-owner of a kind of car not sold in Germany from a brand not sold in Germany from a major automobile corporation that doesn’t do business in Germany, and of an actual car she’ll probably never even see in the flesh much less drive. Though I’ll assure her that she won’t be missing much.

On top of that, we’re even-steven splitting all of the wedding expenses, just the two of us. That’s right, beyotches, we’re going into this thing with pretty much equal skin in the game, which will give both of us an incentive to make this marriage work come what may. We’re not some 19-year olds who aren’t even a year removed from tossing our Oxford caps up in the air running around with our hands out after suddenly deciding we want to play house.  We figure anything worth emotionally doing is worth financially backing.  That which we attain too cheaply we esteem too lightly.  So this is our burden, not yours, and not my future father-in-law’s.

This is why, rewinding things around two years, I am glad that (at least as far as I know), nobody started a crowdfunding page on GFM or some such for my medical expenses. Because it wasn’t needed. (Note: If there ever was a medical GFM in my stage name, it was a fraud. Just like if you see a wedding registry in my stage name floating around out there, flag it, because it will be a fraud.) You don’t go asking people to give you money like you actually need it when you don’t need it.

GFMs and wedding registries are for those that actually need them.

For similar reasons, I’ve never had and will never have a tip jar on this medium.

***

Now back to the timeline, and the final time-sensitive sections.

Even on the train between Braunschweig and Cologne, when I consciously went all in, it wasn’t hard for me to figure out how and when I was going to pop the question.  It was staring me right in the face.

Freiheitstag, eleven days after that, the 14th. After all, I’d come that far until December 3 with no setbacks, so I would probably make it another eleven days.  Luckily, the 14th was going to be a Saturday.  If it wasn’t, I would have waited until the following Saturday.

Felt like perfect timing.

And I already figured on the pretext: I would treat all five of them to a nice dinner that night, and then game plan for whatever after the dinner, the pretext being to celebrate the end of rehab and my successful recovery, on the very first day I could drive a car on my own.  I actually wanted she who is now my future sister-in-law to be there, in spite of everything, because I wanted her to see what I was about to do, and I wanted her to see her sister saying Ja.  All with the hope that this will make her give up.  I have my doubts, though, and what I really fear is that what she saw made her realize that I’m now part of the family, and thus will be in her life more often and more frequently, which in turn will give her more opportunities.  The close friend has just become a closer enemy.

(Side note: Now that I wrote that paragraph, I now suddenly realize that I never picked up the dinner check, even though it was my intent all along. I’m guessing I was so deliriously happy that she screamed Ja, that I forgot all about my promise, and my future father-in-law wound up paying.)

Luckily, all five of them were game to come to my “celebrating successful rehabilitation” dinner, none of them were out of town or previously, well, pardon the pun, engaged.  Of course, it would have been pointless to go to this dinner if K. could not have come.

You already know I purposely delayed buying the engagement ring until the early afternoon before, and why.

***

Just hours before, I worked out exactly how I was going to do the deed, and it worked out so perfectly and according to plan, that all I need to do is to describe the actual proceedings.

Around halfway through our time at dinner, I asked K. one of those incidental questions about German; Remember, she’s been my German tutor since I moved here;  That’s how we met.  I asked her, nonchalantly, how a man would ask a woman to marry him.

Of course, I already knew the answer:

Willst Du Mich Heiraten?

I’d been rehearsing it for a week and a half, to make sure I remembered it like it was native to me.

She answered my question as I knew she would.  I pretended to have learned something new.

Then I waited for what I think was about 90 seconds to two minutes. I copped peeks at all five of them, to see if any of them had any clue that something was up. From what I could see in all their eyes, none of them had any clue. Until the day after, when I quizzed all of them, and asked them to be honest, and the only one who thought there was more than met the eyes and ears at that moment was my future mother-in-law.  Of the five people that comprise my new family by way of impending marriage, it is my future mother-in-law who I’ve given the least thought or care to, because she doesn’t personally-politically affect me like the other four, so I’ll give her the due props here for being the only one of the five who thought something was up.  Mothers-in-law are typically politically difficult, but it looks like she will never be.  I also thought, and she confirmed, that it it was really special for her to see it all transpire in front of her eyes, because I tend to think that mothers who are wives in marriages that have lasted a long time feel some kind of really special way to see their own daughters being proposed to, just as they themselves were, so many years ago.

I’ll eventually ask to find out, but I get the feeling that the subject of marriage between my future sister-in-law and the soyboy-in-law was not carried out in the time honored traditional way, and I also get the hunch that neither one of my future parents-in-law were direct witnesses to the matter.  I’m guessing it was some new age touchy-feely mumbo jumbo, like coming to a mutual consensus.  But I don’t at all see him as the type to get down on one knee.  This is one reason I wanted to make sure I did this in front of the future parents-in-law, so at least they’ll be able to see at least one of their daughters being proposed to, presuming my hunch is correct.

Back to the timeline:  During those 90 seconds to two minutes, not only did none of them appear at the time to look suspicious, but none of them said anything.

Right when I thought the moment was right, before conversation could start again and move on to something else, I said her name, said it again, told her (in English) that today was the first day of the rest of my life, and that I wanted her to be a part of the rest of my life, and then took the ring case out of my pocket, opened the top, went down on one knee, said her name one more time, then:

Willst Du Mich Heiraten?

Because I was so focused on her and my brain was waiting for the one word I wanted to hear, I was a little oblivious to all but that word. But even then, I heard her screaming what seemed at the time to be very loudly, loud enough to assassinate eardrums, at least three times, and twice, she screamed the word I wanted to hear. Even though my brain blocked out her volume, in order to wait to hear the word.

Her screaming must have startled everyone else in the restaurant, because I could see out of the corner of my eyes everyone staring our way, and they all started clapping after what I suppose were the few moments it took them to realize what was going on.

On one level, I was taken aback at her joyful screaming.  On another level, it didn’t surprise me at all, because I already knew and experienced her penchant for occasional borderline neurotic high strung hyperemotionalism — It reminds me of someone I know.  And it definitely didn’t surprise the other four, as we discussed the next day, they’re even more familiar with that particular personality characteristic of the future Mrs. Blogmeister than I.

The first person I went to after the future Mrs. was my future father-in-law. Nice firm handshake, big bear hug, no words spoken.  He smiled, in spite of not being the smiling type.  I knew the message he was communicating to me: Welcome to the family.

My future mother-in-law, nice soft hug, and I let her get away with pinching me on the cheek. A soft handshake for the soyboy; I didn’t want to break his hand. And to my future sister-in-law, another nice soft hug, but also with me giving her the thousand yard riot act sort of stare, as if to tell her to cut it out, cause it’s over now. Even though I know better, that she’s now going to be our perpetual PITA.

My only regret is that none of my own blood relatives or quasi-relatives could see it. Though the quasi-uncle is going to be my best man; Good Lord willing and the crick don’t rise, he’ll fly here to do that duty.

***

Why are we doing it?

Easy. Everything we threw at our relationship to make it fail not only didn’t derail it, but it brought us closer together.  We behaved in ways toward each other during the relationship that would have ended either one of our previous serious relationships several times over.  Not to mention several circumstances beyond our immediate control that would have done the same.  It also wasn’t like I was in good shape when we first laid eyes on each other;  Like I’ve written here before, it was sorta “at first sight,” but at that moment, I was still mostly confined to the wheelchair, and was still mechanically unable, use your imagination, with even money odds that I would stay that way.  She could have easily written me off right then and there and gone right back on the market, but something made her wait around for and bet on me.

Plain words, this bird wasn’t supposed to have gotten off the ground, and when it took flight, it was supposed to have crashed several times over.  Yet, here we are.

By now, I think our relationship soon to be marriage would be the only thing other than cockroaches that would survive a direct nuclear strike.

We both have so much wreckage and so many false starts in our relationship pasts that we’re both well familiar with what failure looks like, and we can see that there’s not a hint of it with us.  So goes the old saying, that you’ve gotta learn how to lose before you can learn how to win.  Or, everything goes wrong until you reach a point when everything goes right and clicks perfectly into place.

Our marriage is probably going to be just like the relationship was, a lot of catch as catch can, a lot of unconventionality. But I know we can handle it.

Another factor is that we both agree that our previous serious relationships had something of a contrived and artificial quality, that one or both parties in them were pushing the matter, trying to make something out of nothing, or make something more out of something less, mainly with the tactic of artificial personality self-alterations, fronting and stunting, pump priming.  There was and is none of that with us;  It just happened, and organically, and naturally, with zero pretense or contrivance.  Neither one of us are trying to change the other, and neither one of us are trying to change ourselves for the sake of the other.

I’ve mentioned before in a previous installation of RHOC that I’ve picked up on some differences between dating culture in Germany and the United States.  One of those things is that German dating relationships allow for a much wider range of modes of engagement, seriousness and commitment and tenure than American ones, on the part of both parties.  To put it another way, the American dating market is you must do A, then you must do B, then you must do C, so on and so forth.  The relationship worked in spite of its intermittent nature because a German was one party of the relationship, and therefore she was perfectly happy with the kind of relationship that an American man or woman couldn’t tolerate for long.  Now all I hope is the relationship success translates to marriage success.

Not only that, I know there are a few of you reading this who know me, or knew me, who can cosign what you’re about to read. For the rest of you, I’m just a difficult personality, and really hard to love.  On the wrong day, I’m a real bastard on wheels.  Which is why my track record with the opposite sex before now has involved all that wreckage. The future Mrs. Blogmeister is also a difficult personality, (when you get past the really good front she puts on, in contrast, I barely bother with a front), and is really hard to love.  And, yes, she has her occasional bitch-on-wheels day.  Which is why her track record with the opposite sex before now has involved all that wreckage, not to mention the extra complication on her end that she feared having to settle for a wuss like the soyboy-in-law.

This is why I’ve never checked for sector chicks, because I care too much about the sector.  I knew that I would eventually piss the sector chick off, me being me and all that, and she would get so mad that she would quit the sector.  Even this many years after the fact, I still have to keep things under the vest, but some of you may remember that, quite a few years ago, a high profile young man in the sector who is the son of a really high profile very upper middle aged man who is a long time big wheel in the sector wound up dropping out, for apparently mysterious reasons.  All I’ll say is that it actually wasn’t a mystery, that the real reason he quit was because he thought he got the rotten end of a love triangle, all three individuals were sector, the other two got married to each other.  (Apropos that the high profile father of said young man was also himself once party to an intra-sector love triangle, the other man in it is also a long time big wheel.)  And the saga has a St. Louis angle, because one of the three individuals in that triangle is a native St. Louisan, and a personal angle, because said native St. Louisan’s late father was one of my prime mentors and (to use the current year jargon) influencers, for quite a few years.  Point being, I care too much about the sector ever to want to cause any such drama.  I would much rather my romantic life contribute to people being brought into the sector than chasing people out of it.

If you knew me, and if you knew her, then you’d obviously see that we were made for each other, but nobody else.  We’re difficult, but we’re the same difficult.  We love each other’s strengths which are very similar, and we love each other’s flaws because we can’t hate each other’s flaws, because, since they’re the same flaws, and if we hated those flaws, we would be throwing stones at each other from the insides of glass houses.

But you know what they say:  The best roses come with the sharpest thorns.

Quite frankly, we’re the only people on Earth who would or could put up with each other. But, one only needs one; In fact, modern civilization only lets you have one, so much so that it’s hard baked into criminal law, so one works out just fine.  It’s also why neither one of us will ever have to worry about the other cheating, for much the same reason why you don’t have to fence in a narcoleptic dog.  Think it through.

The odds that either one of us, much less both of us, would ever find someone else more or even just as compatible as ourselves, were so close to zero that I actually believe they are actually zero.

Some of you may be wondering if either one of us or both of us are pushing the issue out of age desperation, the Jagged Edge Doctrine.  Or you might be wondering if 884 days ago made me more desperate.  Or something I wrote here earlier, my own family back in St. Louis and surrounding areas is dying off and disintegrating made me desperate to latch on to a new one.  You might be thinking that some sort of Florence Nightingale Syndrome made her fall in love with me at first sight, as her first sight of me was in me in my wheelchair.  Emphatically, no, because both of us are way too cynical about the opposite sex for either one of us much less both of us simultaneously to rush into anything or settle for just any ole body.  I know that if I were not so cynical, I probably would have already been married and divorced multiple times, with not much marital happiness with any spouse, and I’m sure K. feels the same way about herself.  All I need to know about the consequences of not being cynical about the opposite sex?  My future sister-in-law.  Nuff said.

Long and short: She’s The One, and for her, I’m The One.

***

Aside from the fact that we actually love each other, getting married is going to have some fortunate fringe benefits for both of us:

(1) It gives me yet another anchor for legal status for residing in Germany (and by deduction, the entire EU), aside from the two I already have. It won’t be instantaneous, and it will take some affirmative bureaucratic work, but it will get done.

(2) It gives the future Mrs. a Green Card for the United States, again, not instantaneously, and it will take some affirmative bureaucratic work, that will get done.

(3) Then there are abstract benefits.

There are three distinguishing characteristics about German culture that have become somewhat less true here in the last decade of the economic boom, but are still noticeably true:

(3a) Married people are held in higher esteem in their professional lives for that reason alone. I’ve already told you that the future Mrs. has a pretty high ceiling in what she is doing for a living, and now, just the fact that she’s about to be married, and once she actually is married, will mean that it will be all the more likely that she makes it all the more close to that ceiling, and maybe sooner than she would have if she was not or never married.  It’s also why, once we’re official, she’s going to change her professional name to my surname.  In German, “Frau,” along with meaning “woman” in the generic, also when ended with a period, means either “Ms.” or Mrs.”  Right now, professionally, she’s Frau. (Her incumbent maiden surname), and when we become official, she will start calling herself Frau. (My surname).  It will be the fact that she will demand of her colleagues (and others) this change that will mean that they’ll know she’s now married, because, like I said, there’s no difference in Ms. and Mrs. in German.

These other two aren’t quite so relevant to us, yet, but they’re worth mentioning:

(3b) Germans have a moral aversion to financial indebtedness. Here’s a hint: “Schuld” translates to both debt and guilt.

The English language has a well known but more loose continuum between debt and guilt as concepts. Two different versions of those two lines of the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” and “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In High German, there is only one version, because you only need one version, which means both English versions: “Und vergib uns unsere Schuld, Wie auch wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern.”

Understanding that was the key to figuring out why far so many more Germans don’t “own” their houses, compared to Americans or others. It’s because they don’t want the guilt of having the kind of debt that a big mortgage means. Two conflicting figures on the percentage of Germans that rent their primary residence: 59% (Destasis) and 74% (FAZ), but either is way higher than America or Cuck Island.

(3c) As such, Germans hold you in higher personal and professional esteem if you live both well and at least a bit below your means. In other words, wasting and splurging is a nein-nein.  And don’t even mention borrowing against your future to fund a better present.  In America, you keep up with the Joneses because both you and the Joneses are in debt up to your ears;  In Germany, you keep up with the Schmidts by finding ways to squeeze nickels out of pennies and living better than the Schmidts while spending the same amount of money that the Schmidts are spending, an amount that’s less than your incomes.

The future Mrs. owns a VW Golf, when she could obviously afford quite a bit better. (That, and, since we’re anticipating additions, she is already talking about trading up to a more spacious car of some sort.) My future father-in-law, I already told you, owns a Benz E sedan, and he can afford quite a bit better. As an aside, the future Mrs. takes after her mother in terms of physical stature, while she takes after her father in terms of temperament, while my future sister-in-law is just the opposite. My future father-in-law is thin and ambitious, while my future mother-in-law is rather overweight, and back in the days when she worked, clocked in and out when she had to, did her forty, but wasn’t a ladder climber. (Now, my future father-in-law makes so much money that she doesn’t have to work, she can afford to be a housewife, and be a two-car household, among a lot of other things.) So you can see how that translates to their two daughters. Needless to say, my future sister-in-law is more like an American and less like a traditional German in her spending habits.

That’s one of the reasons I picked the BMW 3 over the Benz E, besides the ones I told you about above.  While in Rome…

(4) While my career track here won’t per se be enhanced by my merely being married in the way it will help the future Mrs., it will probably grease a few skids. However, there’s a chance that it could boomerang on me, and wind up hurting me at the salt mines. Let me put it metaphorically: You have a bunch of toys, but you never played with this one. One day, some other kid comes over, finds that toy, plays with it, and loves it. So your parents give him that toy.  Now you suddenly discovered you really liked that toy all along, and you’re going to pout and throw tantrums until the cows come home.  See where this is going? I have to be prepared for that consternation.

(5)  Because, as of Saturday, I’m no longer an official gimp, I would have needed to find a place of my own right around now.  But that’s no longer a problem, because I’m moving in with the future Mrs., I will consummate actually transferring what little stuff I have the week between Christmas and the New Year.  Such as it is, I’ve lived with her about half the time since the start of November, since leaving Wiesbaden and returning to Cologne for good.

It also means I won’t have to be dealing with a Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung.  Which means I won’t get to impress anyone by saying Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung as a non-native speaker.

(6)  I’m going to get a mulligan on the father thing.  As you know, my real father, who was only semi-interested and semi-involved when I was growing up, died in August 2018, during the six week interim between getting back from the vacation and returning here.

When I was born, the only one of my grandparents that was even living was my maternal grandfather, and he died in August 1979, I was not even two and a half.  But I got a mulligan on him;  My mother dated an engineer for awhile, and his father was like my maternal grandfather in so many ways;  As a few examples, both worked at A-B for many years, and both died in the month of August.  (You may have noticed that August seems to be really bad month for people close to me kicking the bucket.  My maternal grandmother, died August 1971.)  I know from rationality that these things are coincidences, and coincidences do exist, because the universe of things that happen are virtually infinite, so there is a lot of law-of-averages opportunity for coincidences to pop off.  Yet and still, I allow myself even to this day to be so blissfully deluded that I think some otherworldy force granted me a grandpa mulligan in my teenage years.  So complete was the mulligan experience that, when he passed in August 1994, I felt like I was actually grieving for my actual grandfather.

Now I’m getting a father mulligan.  Unlike the grandpa mulligan, though, my future father-in-law and my late father were/are really different people;  Very white collar and very blue collar, respectively, as one example.

Both of K.’s grandmothers are still living, both aren’t that much older than my own mother.  If we have kids soon enough, and if those two can hang on, then our kids just might get to know their maternal-side great-grandmothers.  Meanwhile, I’m not optimistic that they and their paternal grandmother will ever physically see each other.

(7)  Because I’m the only child of both my mother and my father, I never had any siblings or half-siblings.  Now, I’m going to get the sibling experience vicariously, though not in the ideal execution.

(8)  Speaking of the devil: This relationship was either going to succeed or fail, and this marriage will either succeed or fail. But my future sister-in-law will not affect that in any way. To put it another way, if we wouldn’t have made it, or if we wind up not making it, it won’t be because of her, and we’re not getting married to spite her, and if we do make it, it won’t be to spite her. We have and will continue to compartmentalize her and her treachery over there, and our relationship and now soon to be marriage over here.

(9)  My future parents-in-law are about to get a son-in-law they actually like.

(10)  And now that I step back and take a dispassionate look at the two of us from the figurative top of the mountain, I have to admit that we’re going to be sort of a power couple.  Throw my future father-in-law into the mix, and we’ll make a really potent troika.

***

We have not yet literally spoken about the matter, but without even needing to say anything, we both know that we’re going to have to be PDQ about the subject of children, just because neither one of us are that young, and certainly not getting younger. As you know, I’m 42 and she’s 32. She’s closer to crunch time than I am, for obvious biological reasons, but even I have to keep an eye on the clock, because the farther a man gets from 40, the worse his sperm gets, and the more likely that the children he fathers will have genetic disorder issues.

I already know that our children will be born instant dual citizens with dual passports in hand. I’ll very much approve of them having multiple options and open doors. They’ll also grow up in a native bilingual household. Though I anticipate that, in spite of all that duality, it will probably be the case that they’ll be culturally German rather than American. Just based on the fact that they’ll almost 100% likely be born and raised here.  And for the fact that the odds are high that the only father-side blood relative they’ll ever know is me;  Other than that, all their experience with blood relatives will be mother-side.

I also have the speech and story pre-rehearsed for the kids for when they get old enough, the one that will end:

“And if that car would have missed me, you would have never been born.”

***

On a slight tangent, for this Christmas, I am going to cross something off the bucket list: Midnight Mass at The Vatican. Even though I’m Lutheran. And in spite of the incumbent Pope.

I was originally going to go by myself, but the rest of the new family has made the almost last minute decision to come along, to make this sort of our first real serious joint family activity and trip. For the record, they are C&E Calvinists, and that’s putting it charitably to them.  So this kind of activity is not in their wheelhouse.  Of the six of us, I’m the tallest, heaviest, most intensely political and the most religious.  But I also think that this is a sign of respect to the newest member of their brood.  That, and central Italy in late December is generally more pleasant than northwestern Germany in late December.  (Advance forecast has partly sunny and upper 50s for Rome on Christmas, compared to the standard November/December fare of 40s wall-to-wall clouds chance of rain here.)  And by “made the decision to come along,” it was probably future father-in-law doing so unilaterally then twisting four other arms.  That and of course future sister-in-law was going to come along, only because she knows I’m going.  Believe me, she’s going to make it her business to be wherever I am if she knows where it is and it’s practical for her to be there.  And where applicable, she’ll drag the soyboy around with her by his ears.

So we’re rolling six deep to Rome on a train Monday.  Right through Switzerland in the winter, and that will be really sweet icing on the cake — Forecast calls for snow over most of Switzerland on Monday.  But, you know what they say:  While in Rome…

The first of many six person (and hopefully, eventually more) family trips.

Since this will be my final post in this space before we hop on that train, I just want to take the opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas.  From someone who’s having the best Christmas of his life, even if it is lachrymose in a few ways.

***

Now, we’ve got so much to do, so many plans and decisions to make.  At one moment, you realize you’re getting married — Yay!  Then after a few days, you realize you’re getting married — Whoa boy.  After the New Year, we’re really going to get our noses into the grindstone.


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24 responses

19 12 2019
Puggg

As you know, I dealt closely with your now late uncle you talked about here during the first days and weeks after the accident. He didn’t get go impress me as anyone who could organize anything, but I’ve seen plenty of times, especially here at work, that the unlikeliest of people wind up rising to the occasion and do what needs to be done, when it needs to get done. I think it’s those kind of people that makes the world go around.

19 12 2019
notsam

Very nice. Thanks for that read. Fröhliche Weihnachten!….

20 12 2019
Alex the Goon

Thanks for that read.
+1
+3 or 4, actually. Had to pace myself.

21 12 2019
countenance

I knew it would be long, because I had a lot to say, and even more I couldn’t say for privacy reasons.

Yet and still, 10,300 words.

19 12 2019
Anonymous

I can’t say here who I am, because I can’t give myself away. But I know who you are. We knew each other quite a long time ago. I will use your contact form to get in touch with you, where I can be more specific, to see if you remember me.

But I’ve been reading you for a little while, and I knew who you were all that time.

This is your best post ever, I think.

And I think it reveals a side of you that I never knew existed.

Whoever she is, she’s doing you a lot of good.

27 12 2019
countenance

Thanks for getting in touch with me. And yes, I remembered you even before this, in spite of everything.

Funny you say that, because my future mother-in-law tells me that she has never seen her older daughter this personally happy and content. So, yes, she is doing me a lot of good, and at the same time, I’m doing her a lot of good.

That’s what they must mean by those whole synergy thing.

20 12 2019
Alright Dan

I also have the speech and story pre-rehearsed for the kids for when they get old enough, the one that will end:

“And if that car would have missed me, you would have never been born.”

I’m glad to see you haven’t lost it.

And congratulations.

21 12 2019
Hard Right

Bold move proposing in front of her family.

Well done.

23 12 2019
2009 Is Calling

You’ll probably be able to figure out pretty quickly who this is, because it didn’t take me long to figure out who you are. I see you have even made an allusion to me in one of your recent posts.

To top it all off, I landed on this site by accident maybe about a month ago, and looked around, and realized you were writing on it when we were together, and I never even knew it and you never told me.

In spite of everything, and as bad as it turned out for us, I’m happy for you. And I wish both of you all the best.

But it all makes me wonder what might have been. What if you never said it, or what if I never got mad at you for saying it.

27 12 2019
countenance

Oh you bet I know who this is.

I think I can ease your troubled mind.

What didn’t work wasn’t meant to work.

I stopped being mad at myself a long time ago, and I’m the one who said it.

But let’s play your hunch.

If I never said it, then all it would have meant is that I would have held my tongue, just that once. But I wouldn’t have been able to hold my tongue for long — Eventually, I would have said something that would have pissed you off.

Or let’s say that you wouldn’t have led it make you upset. Same deal — You would have held your tongue that once. But eventually, my snarky mouth would have grated on you, and it would have all come exploding out later on.

Let’s just be thankful that it happened when it happened in the way it happened. We just split up, and I eventually went back to St. Louis. Imagine if we would have gotten married, and then something like this or worse happened — Divorce court, which isn’t fun even in easy circumstances.

What you’re thinking is that we would have made it if only one or both of us would have faked it even more than we did. Which is really unsustainable.

So, like I said, it wasn’t meant to be, and what didn’t work wasn’t meant to work.

That said, how have things been going on for you? It just occurred to me that it fell apart for us, (or, more accurately, my snarky mouth busted us apart) just about ten years ago to this date. Last I heard, you moved to Atlanta.

PS: The only time I have been back to Carbondale since we split up and I left was for the eclipse in 2017, though during that time, my brain was in something of a zombie state, and while I did remember the whole eclipse thing, as I had been anticipating it for 29 years, and I was able to appreciate it, I wasn’t much able to do much else cognitively or mentally.

PS, again: If I called my future father-in-law a dufus, or a German equivalent, the future Mrs. Blogmeister would not get mad at all. She would just get even. Such as it is, like I wrote here, I think he might be the best father-in-law a guy could have.

27 12 2019
2009 Is Calling

You said divorce, and you wanted to know what I’ve been up to in recent years. That’s one of the things right there.

I moved to Atlanta for a new and better job, and to try something new, get away from Carbondale for once in my life. There, I met a guy, we hit it off, eventually we got married, had a daughter. Then it went rotten. The divorce featured property and a daughter, so you can bet it was messy.

After the divorce, I came back home to Carbondale. He moved to Nashville for another job. These days, I have primary custody of our daughter, but she splits time between her father and I, one of us has to shuffle her back and forth between Carbondale and Nashville, thank goodness, as you know, it’s not that long of a drive.

That’s why reading what you’ve been writing, ever since I accidentally landed on it, then figuring out who is writing it, was so depressing. I’m alone, not really, my father, you know, the one you called a dufus, and thank you for admitting that in public, is still living, and I’m raising a daughter. But in the way it matters to me, I’m all alone.

But then there you are, going to Rome for Christmas with your fiancee. Which makes me realize that when I told you off, I threw away the best thing I ever had, even if we would have failed later rather than sooner. I should have bitten by tongue and kept it bitten. Now you see why all this makes me think about what might have been?

28 12 2019
countenance

I see where this is going.

Sure, I might have been better than who you ultimately picked, but it still would have ended in failure.

And I think you know better than actually to think that if it would have succeeded for us, that it would literally be you with me in Rome on Christmas Day in 2019, rather than the K. I’m about to marry. Note the congruity of both her and you having first names that start with K.

27 12 2019
2009 Is Calling

Sorry I forgot to add about the eclipse. I was in the stadium event. I had no idea you were close by at that time until now.

28 12 2019
countenance

Even if we happened to confront each other, there is no guarantee I would have recognized you, with my short term memory at the time being karked. Even now, I still have short term memory gaps.

24 12 2019
Hard Right

So we’re rolling six deep to Rome on a train Monday.

No Fine Upstanding African-American Role Models™ on European trains.

27 12 2019
countenance

Plenty of African-Africans.

It was shocking to see how Dinduified is Rome.

27 12 2019
Hard Right

They any tamer than ours?

28 12 2019
countenance

It was the first time on this continent that I felt genuinely scared. I’ve already been to Paris, and I know Paris has ’em bad, but I was only there for the very top level tourist traps, and it was rainy that day, and the Dindus in Paris are mostly in the suburbs rather than the central city (until recently), so whatever there were in the heart of Paris must have been kept inside by the rain.

27 12 2019
Hard Right

Germany just guaranteed unemployed citizens around $330 per month indefinitely.

https://www.businessinsider.com/german-supreme-court-adopts-basic-income-policy-2019-12

Unemployed people in Germany have been eligible to receive monthly payments from the government since 2005. But the payments could be suspended if individuals didn’t actively search for work.

Last month, the German supreme court ruled that the policy was unconstitutional.

It instated new regulations that guarantee a minimum payment of 300 euros ($333) per month for unemployed residents.

28 12 2019
countenance

That happened earlier this month.

Really, it changes virtually nothing in terms of practical reality.

29 12 2019
2009 Is Calling

I know all that, what you said. But that’s not going to stop me from thinking about what might have been, better off than the way it ended up.

Still I wish you and the K it worked out with all the best and many happy returns.

3 01 2020
Marilyn

Hi there!
I have been kind of off the grid for a bit and not checking emails as I could so I’ve been playing catch up. Wow you are a talented writer. I felt like I was at the dinner watching it all unfold. You definitely have a talent! As for kids, I had my son at 36. He is a joy and I hope you do have kids in the future.
I hope you and future Mrs Blogmeister have a wonderful married life together. My husband and I have been married near 10 years now and yes we’ve had issues but all in all they’ve been great years.
Hope you had a great New Year’s and congratulations again!

3 01 2020
countenance

TYVM. Like I said, we’re going to have to be PDQ about kids.

14 01 2020
countenance

Hard to believe it has already been a month since I proposed and she accepted.

The time leading up to December 14 went by agonizingly slow. But since then, I blink my eyes and turn my heads, and, boom, a whole month just like that.

We have already started in on wedding and honeymoon planning, but we’re hitting some logistics snags.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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