Chores and Allowance

The girls and their chores. Photo from December 2012.

Our household has been in disarray since the move last month. Martin and I have been cleaning, repairing, painting, and unpacking while simultaneously working full time, and managing the lives and wellbeing of four children — three of whom have been on school holiday for most of the month — all as I’ve been wrapping up my undergraduate program, too.

If it weren’t for our au pair, Wynter, to help us keep afloat, I am fairly certain Martin and I would have lost our minds a long time ago. A lot of things have slipped — chores, bedtimes, and family meetings — but as it stands now, we’ve reached a point where we can begin etching out a family routine once again, and that includes nailing down routine chores for the kids.

In the past, we used a single chore chart hung up in the kitchen or laundry room, in a place where it was seen on a regular basis near our family calendar. But considering the layout of our new house, there isn’t really an appropriate communal space for a chart of chores for multiple people. Plus, with the kids being older, and taking on additional responsibilities while also going in different directions with school and extracurriculars, I wanted to come up with a new way of managing household duties without creating an enormous chart that would soon become an overlooked piece of scenery and not a part of our daily lives.

So I literally put it all in their hands. Continue reading

At the Car Wash

The car wash is always so exciting!

Car washes bring me peace!!! Because of their environmental laws, Germans in this area can’t wash their cars at home. I *get* the reasons, and who doesn’t want to save Planet Earth … but it drives me nuts because there’s no convenient car wash near us, so we rarely go and our cars look like roaming mud bricks after awhile.

Getting ’em clean makes me feel human again.

Mouse Drama

There was complete MAYHEM in my house the past few days. It started when Martin went to get something in the car Sunday night, left the front door open, and our cat Kiwi bolted inside with a live mouse she dropped at Miss C’s feet … which went over well … as you can imagine.

Screaming. Chaos. More screaming. Tossed furniture. Tears. Doors slamming. Someone has a broom. Another has the vacuum. More screaming as the mouse ran and dropped down into the basement from the first floor landing.

Meanwhile, Kiwi was perched on the staircase, watching like a proud lion king over the land.

Continue reading

Hell.

We have been here in line for nine days. And zee Germans are so rude! Cutting in line, or letting 20 friends cut ahead of them.

This evening was the ONLY opportunity we had to do some shopping. I’ve been working late nights this past week, as well as most of today, and the shops aren’t open on Sundays. I just got all the back-pay owed me over the past few months, and Martin and I refuse to wait another week to finally get our bedroom set!!

It had to be done. And now that’s done, I don’t intend on stepping foot in IKEA again for at least a year!!!

Or three months, if I’m being honest.

******

On another note … The ninth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Jim Binnicker passed away today. He did a lot for the enlisted corps, and was a great mentor to many! I was very fortunate to cross paths with him a few times in my career. He really cared about Airmen and their families, and continued to work and support them long after he retired. I’m not surprised at all by all the kind words I see others posting about him, too.

Streaming Radio

Martin painting our house in Northern Virginia just a few weeks ago.

 

I woke up this morning hearing chatter about Pepco power outages in Maryland, INOVA health care, and DC’s best mix of today’s best hits.

Confused and disoriented, I stumbled out into the hallway of my German home to find Martin painting the hallway while listening to his favorite DC radio station through his phone.

“I am getting sick of listening to Bette Davis Eyes,” he said. “It’s time to move beyond the ’80s.”

The stations all play from the same list of 10 songs over here. (A little bit of hyperbole, but you get it.) More than half seem to be from the 80s, yes. The others are that “Take Me to Church” song by Hozier, that Ariana Grande song about grinding, and the title song from “Grease.”

Streaming online radio from anywhere in the world is AWESOME!

Getting Things Done

Ahhh! Got a lot of things done around the house today. Put up the finishing touches in the kids’ bedrooms, hung up curtains, artwork, sorted through the kids’ clothes and organized the closets. AND sat down for a few hours with the whole family for a Tom Hanks movie marathon.

AND web-chatted with my Mom and sister Jinger, too.

T’was a good day.

Paint Work on Christmas Eve

The man is a machine. German-engineering at its finest.

We got the estimate two days ago for how much it will cost to have folks come in and paint our house. Though feverish and helpless in our hotel room, Martin took one look, raised his fists, and defiantly yelled, “NOOOOOOOO! We will paint the house OURSELVES!!” Continue reading