August 18 , 2005
Dear Families and Friends,
I've moved three-dozen times since leaving college and,
no, it does not get easier. The moves of 2005 have been particularly challenging.
(Recap: Marianne and I are both leaving Frankfurt, she to an apartment-for-a-year
near her job and me an hotel-room-until-the-house -is-done near my work.) Here's
The first step in moving out is to find a place to stay
for the few days it takes to pack up, ideally, a place near the house
one is leaving. We had seen the Hotel am Berg during neighborhood walks
and, although we referred to it as the spooky old hotel, the location
Inside, the lobby of the 100-year-old mansion was grand, in a shabby
shiek sort of way. Our room was also grand, in a 1930's sort of way.
The furniture and even the curtains were from and earlier era. However,
after five days filled with work and worry, we came to feel comfortable
in our mansion suite. I suspect we'd stay here again, if conditions
warrant and who knows?
On Tuesday, the moving truck scheduled for 9:00 showed up at 7:15. This
was the truck for Marianne's small shipment to the Sommersmuehle farm,
so we simply pointed to the dozen boxes for the movers to load while we
By 10:30, everything was in the new apartment. This must be a record
move out of my three-dozen anyway. Unpacking would take another week,
but three and a half hours from start of pick-up to finish delivery
was darn quick.
Wednesday was more complicated. Now the movers had to pack an entire
household including hard to handle furniture and fragile dishware and
ceramics. They did a good job however and our place was almost empty
by the end of the day.
Of course we had to keep out our cleaning and painting gear as well
as a few things we would keep with us. We used the bathroom as a "safe
zone" but I'm not sure what it was safe from because it certainly seemed
to have more in it than our two cars could handle - but that was a problem
for another day.
Thursday was another early start, as we had to make the two-hour drive
to Pommersfelden before the mover's truck did. During this time we worried
more and more that we had more stuff than storage barn. We had prepared
one room and had guessed that the landing above the cellar"might" be
used. Before we were done, both areas were stuffed but everything was
Our two movers were even smiling at this point. The friendliness and
professional of the movers from Victoria Moving may also have been
a record compared to my past. I don't know how much the U.S. Department
of Defense paid for the move, but it was worth it to us.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were the worst of all. We had to paint
the entire apartment and it was far more work than we had contemplated.
In normal German rental contracts, the renter must return the apartment
to the condition it was received in and, since ours had just been completely
remodeled, and since we could not match the slight gray of the original
paint, the whole 1,000 square-foot apartment needed new paint.
At the end of three long days of hard physical labor, the place looked
pretty good and, in the end, we will get back our deposit, worth three-months
rent. And, this will be our last German rental contract that requires
So, that's the story, almost. There was still the moving
in process for John, down at the Gruener Baum Gasthuas in Pommersfelden, but
that's another story.
John and Marianne
ps: I just got a note from Geoff. He and Susanne have bought
a 32-year-old house that needs complete repainting. I guess I'll offer guidance
for next weekend, even if I pass on a another day of actual work!