wir sind zurück gekommen

So, after very uneventful flights from K.C. to Chicago to Munich, we’re back. All flights were smooth and on time, and even our shuttle pick-up and drop-off was easy. Still, we learned a couple things along the way:

  1. Space Bags! Space Bags! Sure make the packing easier. Not sure what happens if TSA needs to open your stuff up, however. Do they have vacuum cleaners available to re-shrink your stuff? We packed 4 space bags full of clothing and of those, only one got torn. Bummer. Probably our fault, because we had a bunch of metal (cans of mexican food staples, primarily, plus assorted Bed Bath & Beyond goods) in our suitcases along with them.
  2. Apparently we purchased our tickets back when two checked bags per traveler were included in the price. We had one big suitcase each and were over weight (and so were our bags, ha!) but the ticketing agent suggested we purchase a cheapo bag from the gift shop to check. Fortunately, I’d purchased a new backpack while in KC and still had the old one (empty) in the one of the suitcases. So we pulled it out and filled it up with heavy stuff and easily skated under that 50 lb. per bag limit.

make stuff with your photos

I got an email from QOOP.com that they’re having a 20% sale on everything — use the coupon code “stimulus” when placing your order. And the offer expires on January 29th at midnight, so you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Here‘s the email I got with the offer in it.

I have used QOOP.com to print luggage tags made from travel shots we’ve taken on location in Ireland, Greece, France, and our old apartment. I would have preferred moo.com, as they did such a great job on our postcards and minicards and are located in the U.K. (so the shipping doesn’t kill me). But moo doesn’t do luggage tags (AFAIK). There are a lot of other things you can make with your photos on both sites, so take a look. QOOP even lets you sell stuff you’ve made through their site, if you’re into that.

Couple things of note:

  • That Eiffel Tower shot I turned into a luggage tag came out even darker and much more purply than it looks on screen. It’s still cool looking, but not immediately recognizable by passers-by. Still works great as a luggage tag with our name and address on it, but your fellow travelers may have to study the tag a bit in order to discern what the image is.
  • QOOP only ships to Europe via DHL Worldwide Express (or something) and despite Deutsche Post’s ownership of DHL, they won’t deliver to Packstation addresses. I found this out the hard way. Our tags were supposed to be a little post-birthday/pre-trip surprise for Sarah, but they never arrived. I figured it out after we got to Kansas City. However, QOOP customer service via email was great and I was able to get them reprinted and sent to the in-laws’ house for use on the return trip — and beyond, of course. I would have been willing to cough up again for the reprinting and reshipping (since it was my fault for assuming DHL shipments would be compatible with our Packstation), but so far at least, it appears to have been done at no charge!

Panoramic Inauguration shot

This is neat: http://gigapan.org/viewGigapanFullscreen.php?auth=033ef14483ee899496648c2b4b06233c

I like finding little imperfections in it. For example, find Obama. Then go back and to the left (uh oh) up the aisle until you find Aretha’s big bow. There’s a ghosty-looking dude next to and in front of her, right behind the minister with the pleasant cadence.

Some others: start at Obama. Head up the aisle behind him to his right past the sparkly First Lady towards Al & Tipper Gore. Keep going three rows back and you’ll find an enormous toupée on some lady’s little head. One row behind her to her right is a ghastly two-faced dude!

I also liked zooming all the way in a checking out the faint people lining the rooftop of far-off buildings. What a neat effecting stitching all those images together!

K.C. haircut


I have this tendency to get a haircut while on vacation. I would have gotten it shorter, but since I’m workin’ the beard, and we’ve seen what happens when the hair on my face is too long compared to the rest of the hair on my head.

If you’re in Kansas City, needing a haircut, call up the Bellezza Salon and make an appointment for a haircut with Valerie. $20 and no charge on the beard work.

a short study in contrasts

Greetings from sunny Kansas City!

It’s cold here, colder than Regensburg, but not much. We got in last night on United. Despite a 2-hour layover and an additional forty-minute delay (due to plane de-icing) at O’Hare, our bags still hadn’t made onto our plane. But oh well; they were delivered (at our request) to Sarah’s parents’ house by United’s baggage delivery company overnight and were waiting for us when we awoke. So that wasn’t terrible.

This morning we drove around getting the first order of business taken care of: wireless networking in the in-laws’ house thanks to a stop at Best Buy. You’re reading this post, so it’s working. Love the cable internet stuff.

While we were out, we observed gas prices around $1.76/gal, stopped off for an early-lunch Chalupa, picked up some grapefruit juice, came back home for Sarah’s aunt’s rockin’ out salsa on Tostitos…all just because we could.

I’ve been telling people at work that this is not a trip “home” for me, but even if I don’t want to live here, it’s a nice place to visit.

update on the move

Well, tomorrow marks one week since we moved. We’re settling in pretty well. We started with 57 moving boxes of stuff to unpack and are down to less than 15 at this point. The moving company is going to come pick up all the boxes sometime in February, after we return from our vacation in the U.S. A friend who is moving herself soon scooped up our vast collection of packing paper — we had been wondering how we were going to throw all that stuff out without monopolizing the house’s paper garbage bins. Sarah bought a shelf unit for additional bathroom storage and we set that up yesterday.

Pretty much all that remain to do at this point are

  • getting more kitchen storage in the form of shelves, cabinets, and counter space (think dessert cart)
  • that will allow us to finish unpacking the boxes fully
  • get one remaining shelf set up here in the new living room
  • plan out and hang up our pictures on the walls in the new place (because WE CAN)
  • take advantage of our attic cage with some seasonal storage boxes (IKEA was out…grrrr)
  • move some paperwork and remaining trash out of the old place
  • get an estimate on the painting required at the old place, get that done
  • haggle over lighting at the old place (it belongs to us but is mostly ill-suited for the new place)
  • get our security deposit back
  • observe the mail at the old place and inform all senders of our new address
  • wait out the lack of phone/internet service at the new place until early February (vacation coming up will make that pretty easy) — if you need to get ahold of us the next 3 days, our mobile phones are your best bet
  • report our move to the local authorities

OK, that list looks longer on-screen than it felt in my head. Hmm, still a fair amount to take care of, I guess.

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who offered to help us with our move — before and after the big day, there are tons of errands to be done and we are grateful. Also, I heartily recommend Zitzelsberger Internationale Möbelspedition for a move into, out of, or within the Regensburg area (ours of course was within). These guys were fast, friendly, reliable, and a pleasure to deal with at all stages of the move (online inquiries, follow-up pre-move consultation, packing, loading, unloading, even the billing). And the bill from them came in at 8€ under estimate for our move. Love that.

Weird things I’ve noticed in the past week:

  1. Looking out the window and seeing people walk by (still) makes my eyebrows rise. After spending the last 5 years at 4th story levels and higher, I’ve forgotten what pedestrians look like from inside the house.
  2. Our new places has windows with those nifty German shutters that roll down outside the building based on pulleys inside the building. I dig those, but am utterly helpless in the absolute darkness they create, and apparently unable to orient my bodily clock without the natural light we used to get from our skylights. Gone, at least temporarily, are the days of getting up with the sun — it’s back to artificial delineation of sleep periods.
  3. Streetside-traffic doesn’t bother me in the least here. I thought I’d at least notice it, but so far I haven’t. I also don’t miss the drunk kids horfing and hollering at 3:45 in the morning. Not that I thought I would, really, but I expected to at least notice street traffic instead of pedestrian noise.

this might be the last post for a while!

In 58 minutes our movers are scheduled to arrive with a big truck, pack up all our stuff, and move it over to the new place. I wish our phone and internet service provider were as on the ball; I’m still waiting for the forms they promised to mail me to arrive.

So, our internet access is going to be pretty limited for a while — just cafés and such until the ISP gets ahold of us. Of course, with our impending vacation at the end of the month, it could be quite a while before we have phone and internet at the new place.

Wish us luck!