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Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

The news isn’t always bad when it come to the dollar. Here is a chart showing a decline in the Euro, which corresponds to an increase in my real income here in Germany. This was from an article in Spiegel On Line International about the currency and debt problems in the Euro zone. May this trend continue, and may I finally begin receiving my retirement pay, if there’s any left after Washington gets done with the budget.

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Just another day

It was just another day in Kennebunkport, also known as Paradise.

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Knetzgau

Knetzgau is a relatively small and quiet community on the Main (rhymes with Rhein) River in the northern part of Bayern (Bavaria). It is about equidistant from Bamberg and Schweinfurt, and the A70 autobahn runs right by use here, making getting around very convenient. If I were looking for somewhere in Germany to retire, this would be it.

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Knetzgau

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First Day

Sunday was a travel day and doesn’t count as my first day of retirement, so . . .

. . . the first thing I did Monday was to go to the bank and get some cash from the ATM machine. If for some reason that didn’t work, plan B was using a note I had allowing me to draw money from Gerda’s account. I am glad the card worked. I didn’t really want to go to a teller with a note from the wife.

Then it was off to the Einwohnermeldeamt to register as a resident with the town officials. Very simple procedure and the lady there filled out a single form for me to sign. This had to be done before going the Ausländerbehörden in Hassfurt. There I have to register as an alien. This is like just letting them know I was here, instead of begging the government for permission to have my spouse live with me like we had to do in the States. I can fill out a form to bring back next week with a picture. This whole process is a far cry from the months and money spent getting the same thing done when Gerda came to the states.

I also went to the Apotheke (drug store) for some cough medicine. Gerda is hacking pretty bad. I go in and asked one of the ladies there what I should get for her. What followed was a thorough discussion of her symptoms and a recommendation based on these symptoms and her own personal experience. Very nice to be able to discuss these things with a trained pharmacist in such detail.

After that, I went to the DAK and in a matter of minutes, we both had health insurance coverage. Pretty easy, if you ask me. Next, it was to the Rewe Center to get a couple of things like coffee and yogurt and other essentials.

I used Marcel’s car to go to Hassfurt. This was a little strange at first and I had a hard time finding reverse. It will take a while to get used to the price of gas. It’s running around $8.00 per gallon.

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After taking a few pictures inside the terminal at Boston’s Logan International, I went outside to get a shot of the skyline. There, a state trooped in storm boots and Jodhpurs told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures here since 9.11, and that was why he was there. I think he meant the rules were not posted but he was just being an asshole.

Last-Look

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The Wedding Cake House

The Wedding Cake House stands out as one of the more ornate homes in Kennebunkport and is known as the most photographed house in Maine. Doing the tourist thing, I too photographed the house.

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Kennebunk Beach

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At the beach in Kennebunk

We spent a good part of Tuesday at the beach, stopping first at the tourist trap known as Kennebunkport. You might remember this as President Bush’s summer retreat. It was called Walker Point when I lived in the area. Walker is where the “W” in Bush’s name comes from. I never liked the tourists this town depends on and who now come by the bus load to shop and look at the autumn foliage after the summer season. Yesterday I was a tourist and it was painful.

The weather was windy, cold and cloudy and the blue-haired leaf peepers stayed in the shops and off the beach. We did run into a young couple from Nebraska who wanted me to take their picture with the ocean in the background. Resisting the temptation to crack wise about the long drive to the beach, I took their photo and they took ours.

As we slowly cruised south toward Parson’s Beach, Gerda took pictures of the ridiculously expensive houses along the way. Maine was once part of Massachusetts, and the good citizens of Boston looked on it as a backwater to be plundered for the tall timber. Many of these homes are owned by folks from Massachusetts. Not much has changed, except the 300 foot pines are gone.

Kennebunk-Beach

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Blue Roof

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Blue sky above Burger King

We stopped at a Burger King somewhere in Connecticut and I could not resist the blue on blue shot here.

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DSC_0037Getting ready to leave Pennsylvania today. Dave called on his way home from work (don’t you just hate morning watch?) and said to grab the camera and he’d take me down to the lake. Good call, as this was a nice scene and one I will long remember.

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One wrong turn

I made one wrong turn and ended up with a GPS. 

Everything was going fine; I had driven the entire length of Virginia without a misstep. So, heading to West Virginia and following the directions given me, I got off I-81 and called as planned. Since I got off at exit 16 E, I just knew I would have to continue going east to get to the pre-arranged meeting point. And since I knew what I was doing, I didn’t bother to listen. I do that a lot.

I kept driving the in wrong direction, eventually seeing a Food Lion and a High School I was told to look for but I never did see the Burger King where we were supposed to meet up (if you drive long enough in this part of the country, you will see a Food Lion and you will see a high school). After about 30 minutes, I realised I was doing something wrong and should call. My cell phone was dead as a door nail, and of course there are no longer any pay phones around. But eventually I did find a phone, got directions and was able to retrace my steps.  My friend met us in the parking lot where I began this odyssey and gave me his GPS. I was to follow him to the house, but if we were separated in traffic to use the GPS and follow the directions this device would give me. It worked perfectly and I decided to get my own. I call it “Gerda’s Prevention System” because it prevents cursing, high blood pressure, hypertension and a host of other health related problems. I think it is well worth the money. I still don’t listen to people as much as I should because that’s the way I am. But I do listed to the GPS because I’m not yet sure I know more than TomTom.

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