Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nikon 1

After much thought (and since my broken down Olympus point and shoot camera is still packed up in the middle of nowhere) Clayton and I decided to get me my Christmas present early. . . a sweet Nikon 1!!  I was hesitant at first. . but we are living in Europe after all and I need to remember these moments for the rest of my life! . . right??!?

We took the pups out to play (which by the way they absolutely LOVE the snow) and I decided to try out my little gift for the first time . . . here is what I came up with :


Also took some nature shots just for practice. . . and it is absolutely wonderously winter!



Monday, December 3, 2012

House Hunter International. . . the not-so-glamorous version

It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions here in Germany as we try to locate our new dwelling place for the next two years.  Before arriving I thought it would be "neat", "cool", "an experience" to live in a traditional German house. . . maybe an old one with some character and history. . . . I didn't want one of these brand new houses that all look the same.  Boy have I changed my mind!!  Our first house we visited on the second day we were here was one I had had my eye on for a few weeks before we even arrived.  Our sponsor drove us 30 min away to the town of Kusel to view it.  From the outside it was charming!!  It was a large (6 bedroom, 3 bathroom) house with three stories and a couple of parking spaces.  Upon entering the "house" we found that most of the flooring consisted of the rubber "bubbled up" floors one might see in a medical clinic.  The few rooms that did not have this flooring were instead covered with bright blue carpet, thoroughly stained.  There were three bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs with the kitchen and the remaining bedrooms upstairs.  There was also a rather large basement.  There was no real dinning room or living room, I guess one of the bedrooms would suffice.  The overall opinion of the house was that it was just a renovated office complex.  No to that one.

The next house we went to see was a couple days later.  Again, it was huge!!  I think it was over 7 bedrooms and 3 baths, three stories AND a basement.  This house was recently renovated and had a "spanish" type flair to it.  It was ok.  Clayton loved it.  The walls were all tan. . . reminded me of an apartment building.  There was a definite living and dinning room in this house but it was all separated with walls. . . mad the house seem closed in to me. . . and we didn't need that much room.  It was also oil heating so we would have to pay and upfront price of $1K for oil.  I wasn't sold. . .
Unfortunately I did not save a picture of this house and I think it might already be taken as I can no longer find it on the website.

Gries, what a nice little house it was . . . wasn't actually little, but it was nice.  Had a good sized yard, big living room, white walls and plenty of light.  We were all excited by the end of the visit only to find out that there was no high speed Internet access . . . there went our hopes of moving into this house.

We set an appointment for a townhouse in downtown K-town and drove by the building days before our appointment.  It was located in the heart of the city with no parking spaces and we would enter the house on a road that seemed to be no larger than an alley.  Trash bags lined the street.  Not what we were looking for.

Next up . . . a charming, renovated old farmhouse located about 30 min away from work.  I had been e-mailing the owner for about a month and thought I owed it to him to at least come visit the place.  It was the worst yet!!  The inside of the house smelled like urine!  The heater was broken ("It will be working when you move it" we were informed), the backyard fence was broken, the banister upstairs was broken and he forgot to mention that it was a duplex.  He also used the word "renovated" quite loosely as the only thing that was renovated was some cheap pergo floors upstairs and some new tile in the bathroom.  It was depressing.  Upon getting back into the care I informed Clayton, "I LOVE
it!!"  You can image the look he gave me. . .

There was a beautiful house about 20 min south to the hospital and we made an appointment to see it this last Monday. . . "This could be the one" I thought.  It looked to be a newer house, had plenty of room and parking places, nice big back yard for the dogs, open fireplace, whirlpool tub, etc.  Unfortunately I called Monday afternoon to see if he could show it a little earlier than the appointment time and was informed that it was taken as of 30 min ago. . . emotional roller coaster once more.

Otterberg is a beautiful, colorful, and quaint little city that we immediately fell in love with!  There was a cottage-style house there that we made an appointment to see.  It really reminded me of 112 C Street from the outside (no brick though).  It had a really nice two car carport, which is important as it snows here and I have never lived in the snow, and a nice sized back yard with trees and a stream running through it.  When we stepped inside I wanted it.  Yes, it was small. . . yes the basement kinda smelled nasty (just slightly). . .but it was lovely! Before we even got to the upstairs we went outside to view the back yard.  We were discussing the babies (mika and milo) when the owners said. . "oh! no dogs! Absolutely no dogs!" and he wouldn't budge even though they are tiny and cute and sweet.  We left before we saw the upstairs :-(

I found a historical home that was close to 400 years old. . was listed as "on the edge of the forrest", old renovated mill.  Of course there were no pictures with the post.  We decided to check it out at about 6 pm one night (6 pm means pitch black dark here).  After getting lost several times even with the GPS we had to finally meet the owners in town and then they took us to the house from there.  It was pretty incredible from the outside.  It was a 3 story brick building with the old water mill still attached on the outside.  The inside had very tall ceilings with wood beams across the top, wood floors and a great staircase.  Unfortunately it also had a terrible kitchen straight out of the 70's complete with nasty wall paper.  The bathrooms left much to be desired as well.  This house had SO MUCH POTENTIAL, but I wouldn't dare touch it as a rental.  Oh the things I could do if I actually owned the house!

The house we are currently considering is a brand new house still under construction.  We did a walk through even though it is not ready to be moved into yet and it is really, really nice . . . and did I mention BRAND NEW?!??!  None of the dark, stained carpet, no mustard yellow bathrooms, nasty wall paper, smells of mold and dust . . . and no finders fee!  (If you rent a house through a realestate agent they charge an astronomical fee!!  Like over $2,500 straight out of your pocket!!  No thanks!!)  The owner is fine with the "little ones" and said we could paint the walls as well, as long as they are painted white again when we move out.  It is looking like a really good possibility. . .we just have to make sure high speed Internet is definitely available.  There are plenty of bedrooms in the house (5) so please come visit me!! (just wait a month or two for us to move in. . . we don't have furniture yet.  Still in the possession of the ocean carrier)