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October Update

October 13-30

Written October 30

Dear Friends and Family,

This is another update for our own records and memories. Perhaps nothing special for you out there, but we need a record of our comings and goings and these diaries are it. Snoop if you wish, since we have no practical way - or wish - to not share.

October 13: Marianne made it home from California. I picked her up at the Frankfurt airport and brought her "home" to the Offenbach Best Western hotel. That is my home when I work up there and it serves as a convenient place to drop off jet-lagged travelers. Marianne had been in California for three weeks, visiting family of various generations. It was a good trip. I'll try to get some pictures from her to add to our record here.




October 14, home in Pommersfelden. It was nice to be back home, although the place was a bit worse for wear since the normal cleaning crew had been gone so long. At least we had a day-and-a-half before guests were scheduled to arrive.

October 16, 4:30am: I called the ambulance. Yep, the ambulance. Marianne was having an episode of heart irregularity and it was not going away so we had no choice but to test the local emergency medical system. The doctor and paramedics arrived promptly, gave her some extra beta-blocker and whisked her off to the emergency room at Bamberg General Hospital.

By about 8am her heart had decided to get back in order, pumping at a regular pace, but a bit slow due to all the drugs. I went home to at least do a bit of the house arranging before I went to the train station to pick up Nancy and Steve, good friends since the Kiev days and visiting from Virginia. I told them the first tour stop would be Bamberg hospital and they were OK with the new plan.

By now, Marianne was feeling pretty good and anxious to get out of the place, something that was only allowed the next morning. Overall, our impression of the emergency medical services was positive and the Bamberg staff was certainly pleasant and accommodating, although the doctors wanted to keep her around longer than she would tolerate. Appropriate caution, I suppose. (On costs, we also noted that while the services of the ambulance and emergency doctor were a bit pricey, the hospital stay itself was not. All of it was worthwhile, of course!)

October 17, 11:00am: Hours after getting Marianne out of the hospital, we were on our way with Nancy and Steve to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of our standard local tourist destinations. It is very old, very quaint, very touristy, but fun even for us somehow. A few pictures:

October 18-23: A nice few days with Steve and Nancy and some normal-for-now workdays for me, followed by a peaceful weekend. It was nice having guests and, since they are on the same political spectrum as we seem to be, we had some nice current-events discussions. That is something that I miss, living here as foreigners.

As for work, Germany is phasing out nuclear power so my employer, a designer, supplier, and service provider of nuclear power plants, is facing very uncertain times locally. I'm lucky in that I know I will retire relatively soon and that I can get work in different countries. The high cost of electricity will be a problem for as long as we stay in Germany, but that time too is limited.

The weekend included a little yard work, but not much since it was pretty chilly. Marianne managed to do some art work before she got sick from a bug she had caught (from the hospital?) and I tried my hand at interior shots of the house. If I get this technique down, I will offer services for real estate brochures (first I'd have to create a real estate market, something that is pretty unsophisticated here in Bavaria.)

October 25: Marianne's birthday. She had recovered mostly from her heart problem and from her "bug", but was suffering from a very bad case of gout. She could hardly walk and, until she had been cleared by her normal doctors, could not take the required pain and inflammation medicine. So, after taking her to the doctor and dropping her off at a friend's house, I left for Poland.

This was a business trip, for small meetings on two days. The first day was near Dansk (or Gdansk or Danzig, depending on one's language) and we stayed at a simple little hotel about 30 kilometers outside of the city. I have to say we did not see a fancy part of Poland in this neighborhood. After our Wednesday morning meeting, instead of having lunch, we toured an old nuclear plant construction site. Engineers know how to have fun. The plant had included two relatively small Soviet-design plants, but construction had stopped in 1990 after the fall of the iron curtain. These were to have been the first nuclear power plants in Poland. Now we are trying to sell a whole new generation of plants. Anyway, the tour was fun.

That day we flew down to Warsaw for the next day's meeting. The hour-long taxi ride to the hotel illustrated to me that Warsaw is a big city. The city, as well as much of Poland itself, seems to be thriving, with plenty of construction, especially of the infrastructure of roads, airports, and trains. Unique in Europe, the country has managed to grow throughout the economic turmoil of the last decade. All in all, I was impressed (maybe because my Warsaw hotel room was as fancy as my Gdansk hotel was simple!)

October 29 and 30, another weekend. By now, we were pretty settled in again. Marianne seemed completely healed from jet lag, heart arrhythmia, "bug", and gout. She had gotten her Boxster back from the shop, where the body-work had been restored to almost-new . as part of a birthday present. She was glad to get back in her little sports car, although the "loaner", a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, hadn't been such a bad ride. Better than the normal VW Golf.

Saturday morning I got up early to take some dramatic pictures of our valley at dawn. That was the plan, but the thin, gray fog was anything but dramatic. All I ended up with was my pre-dawn practice shot of a war monument in downtown Pommersfelden. The yellow sodium lights and the fog haze made this Nazi-era display impressive, in a spooky sort of way.

Sunday morning we had a brunch with friends at the Kellerhaus Cafe. Even on a diet, this is one of my favorite weekend events and it gave us a chance to catch up.


So, that's it for October (I assume tomorrow will be quiet, except for evening ghosts and goblins.) November promises to be pretty full, with one business trip for me and preparation for our Christmas trip for both of us. We'll see if there are things to write about/

Speaking of writing .....





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