I am a slow learner!!!
It took 33 years of marriage but I learned something this morning. I think my wife would agree with this statement, “Over our 33 years of marriage we have had a pretty even distribution of the household chores.” I am not saying it was close to 50/50. Over the years my wife has done a lot more of the housework than me. Before we moved, she did probably 75% of the inside chores. I did 95% of the outside chores, and 100% of the “fix this broken thing” chores. It wasn’t always like that. Early on in our marriage, Julie really did close 95% of the household tasks. After we started having children, though I became (I think) a much better partner in regards to work around the house. I still slacked on the dusting and sweeping stuff, but I also did a lot more of the running the kids around.
Through the years, though, sometimes I would get frustrated because I would do something in the house, and get scolded because it wasn’t up to her standards. It was not intentional on my part, but I know many times she was not happy with me. I know this is something very common, because this has been a discussion with all my male friends at least once in our lives.
Here is the lesson I learned: “IT IS NOT SO MUCH THE TASK WAS NOT UP TO STANDARDS IT WAS JUST LEFT DIFFERENTLY THAN OUR SPOUSES WOULD HAVE LEFT IT.”
Yesterday, we came back home from Luxembourg (more about the trip later). I was pretty beat because 5 hours driving through different countries really takes it out of me. Julie wanted to do some laundry. I told her not to worry about it, I would do it tomorrow because I would be doing laundry anyway. She wanted to help me out, so she went down and did a load of laundry and got it ready for drying. So this morning, I go down to put the laundry in, and was very irritated because I had to move around the stuff she had hanging from the line. Since I do the vast majority of the laundry now, I have a system for hanging stuff. You start at the line farthest from the washer and dryer and work your way closer. That way you do not have to fight through hanging clothes to hang more. That is not the way Julie does it. She starts closest to the machines, and works backwards. Perfectly fine way of doing it, and the clothes dry just as well. BUT it was different than the way I do it.
Initially I was a little peeved. I mean, just how hard is it to start hanging stuff so you do not have to walk through it? Then it hit me. I was getting upset for absolutely NO reason. My wife was helping me. She knows I don’t like doing laundry so she took it upon herself to spare me some of the burden. Then I started thinking back to all those kerfuffles we have had over me doing something to help in the house. I think I may have not understood what she was trying to tell me at the time. So tonight when I pick her up at the train station. I am just going to giver her a kiss and say, “Thank you for doing that laundry last night, it really helped me out today.”
A couple of months ago I wrote about going to the Gemeinde and re-applying for our visa and residency permit. Usually this is a pretty quick thing, and within two to three weeks we get our new Aufenthalthstitel (residency card) in the mail. This year though, there seems to be something different. A week after submitting the application, Julie got a call from the HR department that she needed to re-submit some of the documentation she did three years ago. We now have about two weeks and our residency cards expire. This is concerning to me. I am supposed to go to the US at the end of the month to move Kaylee to Rochester, MN.
Normally not a big problem. When we come back through border control, we simply hand over our US passport, and our residency card. These are looked at perfunctorily and we are welcomed back home and waved through. I am a little worried about what might happen if I try and come back without a valid residency card. By law I can only be here 90 days a year without the residency authorization. I don’t think they scan my passport when I come through because they look at the card. Without the card, I am afraid they will scan my passport and see the last time it was scanned was coming into the country in 2019. Just a little over the 90 days. I do not know if it will be worse or better to carry an expired residency card, or not.
I guess I had better head back to the Rathaus (town hall) when we get back from Milan next week!
weekend on the road
We had a great weekend. It is still a neat concept to me that in a four hour drive, I can cross multiple borders and drive through four different countries. It is a very nice drive from Zürich to Luxembourg. We did have one strange situation. There is a new interstate in France, that was not on our car’s GPS system. We came to an intersection and the GPS was telling me to be in the left lane. As soon as I took the exit, George pipes up from the back, that I took a wrong turn (he had Google Maps going), and the car was telling me that instead of being on a paved road with a 130 KMH speed limit, I was driving offroad, and driving excessively fast! It wound up not being that big an issue. It maybe took an extra 10 minutes to arrive at our destination, but for a few seconds the pucker factor was pretty high.
George wanted to make a side trip to Trier, Germany. There are many ancient Roman Ruins in the city; so he thought it would make an interesting afternoon before getting to Luxembourg. He was correct.
Trier is considered to be the oldest city in all of Germany. It was founded originally in the 400’s BC by the Celts. In the 1st century BC, Trier was conquered by the Romans, and was the seat of the Roman rule in Germany. Trier also is honored to be the first seat of a Catholic Bishop north of the Alps. Another historical gem; if you have heard of the Battle of Dunkirk then Trier played a role in that battle. Trier was the staging area for all the British soldiers captured during the battle. Hence, it was bombed pretty heavily later in the war. One final thing about Trier; it is the home of Karl Marx. We did not know this fact, but then we stumbled on a statue of Marx that had been donated by the Chinese. George did a little research and found that this is a very popular photo opportunity for Chinese visiting Germany.
We had a really good time walking around the city and going through some of the ruins. We timed our visit almost perfectly. We gave ourselves three hours to walk around the town, and just as we got back in the car it started raining!
The pictures in the gallery following this are all from Trier. I will have some pictures and video later this week from the rest of our weekend in Luxembourg.