Sunday, May 31, 2009

How Did All This Happen??

So, lots has been going on in the housing arena for us lately. Since it seems to change on a day to day basis I have been hesitant to post much about it. Plus, it is a huge source of stress for both Deaner and myself and I feel like it is constantly something we are both worrying about. We came to Germany hoping to buy a house so that we could turn our housing allowance into tangible equity. Once we got here we realized that this was going to be a more confusing task than we first thought. We went through a phase when we thought it might just be easier to rent. I spent practically every day going to housing looking for suitable apartments/condos/houses and there just wasn't a lot to choose from. That was when we were turned on to this company here in Wiesbaden that renovates old apartment buildings. Seemingly, it was a dream come true and we LOVED the apartment. I could not have been more excited. They told us it would take between 2-4 weeks to obtain financing but that it wouldn't be a problem at all. Deaner and I submitted all the requested documentation and sat back and waited. We started to get concerned when we didn't hear from them for several weeks. The turning point in our excitement was when we received an e-mail from our architect saying that there was a problem with the bank. She told us that the bank would be more comfortable financing us if we could provide proof that Deaner has worked for the U.S. Government IN GERMANY since 2001!! She said that since we had told her that we VISITED Germany last summer technically it would not be a lie! WHAT?? HELLO??? Last time I checked, going on vacation to a country DOES NOT mean that you lived and worked there! Deaner was livid and of course told her that he would not do anything of the sort.

After all that garbage went down we pretty much wrote them off. They requested a meeting with us last week (even though we had already been looking at another place) and they told us that they had in fact obtained financing for us. Except the whole thing was a little weird. The loan was for 10 years longer than we originally discussed AND it paid off a lot more slowly than we thought it would. After the meeting we decided that we needed to explore other avenues. I'm pretty sad about it. We have found another house that we are probably about to make an offer to buy. I didn't like it much when I first went to see it but we saw it again today for the 2nd time and it is growing on me. It is outside the city which is something I am very nervous about. I really wanted to be in Wiesbaden but the reality is that there just isn't anything to buy in the city that we can afford. We don't want to over extend ourselves because we want to have money to travel while we are here overseas. The bottom line is that this 2nd house will be a much smarter choice for us. It is just hard to accept that I am going from my DREAM apartment to a house that currently has Huey, Duey, and Louie painted on the walls!! Yes folks, that right, those ducks are PAINTED RIGHT ON THE WALL! Deaner continues to reassure me that we can paint them right away but still.........

Today we met with the owners of the house in Hattenheim again. I liked the house a lot more today since I was really trying to envision it with our things in it. First good thing about the house is that it is huge. It is 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and almost 3,000sq. ft. For Germany, this is BIG. Second good thing is that the kitchen was pretty new. Third good thing is that there are 3 balconies! The cons are will be obvious when you see the pictures I am going to post. Almost everything needs to be painted. I hate all the colors in the house. I am not thrilled about the carpeting in the bedrooms. Again, the colors are hideous. I don't know who picks out carpeting in GOLDENROD yellow and ROYAL blue? Supposedly it was also really expensive. And last, but not least, I do not love the bathrooms. They definitely are acceptable but they aren't anything that I would have picked. Unfortunately bathrooms are pretty expensive to renovate and I am not sure we will ever get to those! Here are a few pictures. First, the dining room area.Attached to the dining area is the den area. It is a nice open area and the den is a few steps above the dining room.Kitchen area.........Master Bedroom and 3 guest bedrooms.There is also a loft space above the dining room area. I'm not sure what we will put up there but we will see.Anyways, enough pictures for now. There is a lot more to see. I'm just praying that it all works out. Deaner and I will have plenty to do ripping out carpeting and painting head to toe. I'm sure we will have plenty of pictures to share. Just need to get the place secured first!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last Day in Rome

I have to start this post by saying that I am really really irritated. I just spent about two hours writing a post about our last day in Rome and uploading a million pictures. I don't know what happened, I don't know what I did, but the post erased. I couldn't get it back and I am about to start over. I just don't know if I have the energy to upload all those pictures again! I will try though! Last Day In Rome Take TWO....I'm not gonna lie, I'm getting sort of sick of posting about Rome! So finally I am going to get the last day of pictures up once and for all! Since our flight wasn't until 10:10pm on Monday night we woke up on Monday morning and went to the Vatican Museum. Talk about a crowd! Our main goal was to get to the Sistine Chapel. I know that we should have been more appreciative of all the other fabulous art in the Museum but we had our goal and the place was crowded!! These first few pictures are from the outdoor courtyard. I love the one with Deaner and who we THINK was Augustus (the jury is still out on that one!)Here are just a few shots of the beautiful sculptures in the Vatican Museum. I really like that they were in an open air area of the museum. I am sure we would have enjoyed them more if there wasn't such a crowd everywhere we walked!The next series of pictures are going to be of the ceilings through out the Museum. I know that most people don't really notice the ceilings in places but they are definitely worth noting in this musuem.Most people I know have told me that they were disappointed by the Sistine Chapel. I had heard that it was much smaller than one would think, that it was hot, and that it was very dark. I just knew that I couldn't go to Rome and NOT go see it. So, my expectations were pretty low. I was completely surprised by how much I LOVED IT! It was a beautiful day outside so I am assuming that the Chapel was much lighter than it normally would be if the weather was crummy. Yes, it was a bit crowded and a bit stuffy but I thought it was fabulous. So much for saying No Flash Photography! No one was abiding by that rule!That just about wraps up our trip. I am really looking forward to posting about something different but our trip to Rome was fantastic and we had a really good time. Hopefully we will be invited back sometime! I'll leave y'all with one last picture. We bought Deaner all these awesome ties while in Rome! He has never had to wear a tie to work before this job and so his selection was a little slim. I think this was one of my best accomplishments on our trip was to find these. I know that they will all look great on him. There is no telling what he would turn up wearing if it weren't for his stylish wife! :)I have lots of things to catch y'all up on. We are currently being stalked by our FORMER architect. That's right, we just told her that we aren't buying her condo anymore and between Deaner's cell, my cell, and the hotel phone we had 7 calls in about 15 minutes! SCARY! I'll fill everyone in tomorrow!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day II in Rome

Sunday morning we were off to explore Vatican City. I never had any intention of trying to see the Pope in person because I figured that it would just be too hard. However, on Saturday evening I read in our Frommer's Rome book that every Sunday at noon the Pope opens his study windows, says a few words, and blesses everyone watching in the crowd below. Sold. Deaner and I were racing against time to make it to St. Peter's Square by noon. We weren't exactly sure the best way to get there but luckily we met another couple (who also happened to be from Atlanta!) on the bus who were heading in the same direction and we were able to follow them. We reached St. Peters Square at about 11:50 and started waiting. Here are a few of the shots I took while I was waiting.So, I am all ready for the Pope to open his study window. I have the PERFECT place in the Piazza and have my camera all set to take his picture. I even practiced with these shots. The Pope opens the window on the left.Right at noon the large TV screen in the Plaza lights up and some church hymns begin to play. Literally my heart was beating so fast! I don't know why I was so excited! I really hadn't thought I would get to see the Pope in the first place. I grew up Catholic, going to Catholic school, but I would never claim to be a role model in the religion. Anyways, that window still wasn't opening and I was anxious! Then here is a shot of what I saw on the TV.At this point, I turn to Deaner and said something to the effect of "I guess he will come out after this little tape". Very hesitantly Deaner said "Ummm, Gleatie? I think that this is a live video. And this would mean that the Pope isn't actually here". WHAAAAAAAAA???? I'm standing right here in St. Peter's Plaza and the Pope ISN'T EVEN HERE!?! Unfortunately, Deaner was correct. The Pope was somewhere else and they were just piping him into Pope TV!! I was so disappointed! Geez! Oh well, I was still excited to see St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel). Until our new friends informed us that the Vatican Museum was closed on Sundays! Gosh, it was starting to seem like we couldn't catch a break!! It turned out to be no big deal though. We decided we would have lunch and then head to see St. Peter's since it was open on Sundays and save the Vatican Museum for Monday. Here is a picture of me standing right outside of St. Peter's.I am going to post a few pictures from the inside of St. Peter's but they turned out sort of grainy because of the high sensitivity that I had to use. It was truly breath taking.After walking around the inside of St. Peter's we went to see the tomb of the Pope's where we got to see the recently deceased Pope John Paul II. tomb. It was really really neat. From Vatican City we went to Castle St. Angelo. We didn't go inside because it was really hot and sort of expensive but we walked around outside the castle and by the river.Our last stop of the day was Piazza Navona. This Piazza is one of the oldest in Rome and is crowded with street performers and art vendors. It is home to 3 beautiful fountains as well. Deaner and I bought 3 awesome black and white watercolors that are really little but I love them.The pictures are of the Colosseum, the Trivi Fountain, and Vatican City. I'm thinking that I will put them in individual black frames that they will be nice in a guest bathroom or something. Guess I need to first find a place to live! Here are a few pictures from Piazza Navona.And so ends another fabulous day in Rome (minus the absent Pope!). I slept quite hard again on Sunday night. Tomorrow I will write about the last day! Monday we visited the Vatican Musuem before getting ready to head home. I have some excellent pictures I can't wait to share!

Keep Deaner and I in your thoughts today! We are meeting with the architect this afternoon. I think we are leaning against the big nice new condo now. Of course, I am really disappointed but financially it might just be over extending. We looked at another house yesterday and while I didn't love it (I think it needs work) it means that I wouldn't have to worry about working if I didn't want to. We are both just so confused about what we want to do. I just want to have a place to live decided on SOON!