Friday, March 29, 2013

Unfortunately I have to go back

So we had an interview with the US consulate at 8:30 AM. They suggested we arrive 10 minutes early – which we did.

I was hoping for a nice cup of coffee with the US consul who would exchange pleasantries - welcome me to America and thank me for my interest in coming to his great country.

It was a complete Goat Fuck. The lobby was crammed with hordes of desperate souls clutching their pathetic scraps of paper which they hoped would admit them to the Land of the Free.

Apparently – as we discovered – all appointments are made for 8:30. The security guard told us there were 30 such appointments.

Clearly they have modeled this on the Austrian system – which we have experienced on a number of occasions.

We lined up for 20 minutes to get through security – then joined another line to get a hearing with Frau Grimm as to why we were intent on bothering the very busy US Consulate on this particular day.

Eventually we were seated and were then able to listen to the pathetic stories of all those who went before us as they gave their pitches to the Consul – who stood behind a (no doubt bullet-proof) glass screen listening to their tales of woe.

Hmmm…. No sit down in an office – no cup of coffee.

My favorite was the man whose house was being repossessed by GMAC although he had paid as much as he could and was down to his last dime and desperately needed to get to the USA for a hearing on 26 April to stop his house from being sold for a song. He got his wish.

Our turn – when it  came – was extremely pleasant. The very nice man had a few jokes with us – asked a few questions – approved our visa applications and gave us back our passports so that we could go house hunting.

Unfortunately I have to go back there on 8 April to drop in our passports. At least now I know what to expect. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A smell of goat in the air

We spent an idyllic  day or so exploring the towns of the Romantic Road. There are some towns that Bomber Harris did not get time to destroy and these are quite beautiful.

Even Würzburg – which he bombed to a pulp – has managed pretty much to put itself back together again and is a quite beautiful mediaeval city. Some of them he did not get to at all – this would have had him biting his pillow – and remain absolute gems and worthy of close inspection.

You all know my thoughts on Arthur Harris. He was a war criminal who should have been hanged. But only the losing side has war criminals.

We got lucky and had lots of snow. I know most people would think of this as a hindrance – but we love it and to walk around a town like Nordringen – as we did – including the still extant town walls – being pelted with snow - was a complete joy.

We were lucky with our hotels – the one in Würzburg was a real gem – and we encountered no rat-infested hovels.

We were due to stay in the Panoramagasthof in the mountains but could not get to it. We encountered something of a snowstorm and Billy simply could not cope with the conditions of the roads – and indeed – nor could we.

So – still in a snowstorm – we beat  retreat to Innsbruck – and it took us three hours to cover 110 kilometers.

There we stayed in the Penz hotel and had our most unpleasant experience of the trip. We had forgotten after Germany – and we keep doing this – that the Austrians are Barbarians.

We went to the 5th floor bar for a drink after dinner and everyone was smoking – including one asshole who was smoking a cigar – and he was sitting with his two children. What a country. We retired to our room with a bottle.

After this America will be bliss as far as restaurants and bars are concerned.

 So on Thursday we have our interview with the US Consulate. There is an odor of goats in the air for reasons which I shall explain later. It is not yet one of those goat things – but has significant potential.

On Saturday we are supposed to fly to the USA for our housing visit. The goats may prevent his. We shall see.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another false start

Another false start to Spring. It’s freezing again today so I had to remove the cat door. There is talk of snow on Sunday. Shriek! Even I – who loves winter – have had enough of this one.

My next problem is my T-Mobile account. Well – in December my contract with T-Mobile expired and silly me – not realizing that the end was near – took out a new two year contract for the latest iPhone.

So I am stuck with this – which is fair enough – but my attempts to deal with the problem with T-Mobile have not met with a great deal of success. They lack inflexibility.

Can I cancel my contract?            Nein
Can I pay it out?      Nein
Can I change the monthly payments – because I will not be using it? Nein
Can I use my iPhone in America? Nein
Is there anything at all I can do? Nein

Can I stick my head up a dead bear’s bum”? Ja

Well of course what I can – and will - do is just cancel my credit card and T-Mobile will no longer get their money. This may focus their attention on the problem and we can reach an agreement.

Tomorrow we are going on a three day trip to the Romantik Strasse in Germany.

This is my favorite kind of trip as there are lots of ruins and castles. These bring me out in a rash but I have ointment which I can apply so the discomfort is  bearable provided it does not go on too long. And they have wine in Germany.

I will attempt to blog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This time it's real

I was overcome with Springiness today and went for my first bike ride of the season. There are supposed to be lots of bicycle tracks in Indianapolis – we shall see.

I was also so confident that winter is over that I re-installed the cat door and Monika and Sissi did some basking in the warm sunshine.

I had my last fire on Monday night and got rid of the remaining wood. Another thing I can cross off the list.

The cats have their flight booked. They are apparently flying Swissair – which is good because they have flat beds on their long distance flights.

I will have to be content with United.

My man in the USA has assured me that he will not be closing our account and that it will indeed remain open until we arrive. He also said that as an added bonus they are paying us interest – at the fabulous rate of 0.1% per annum.

And I have had to adjust the comments settings on my blog. I was getting an enormous amount of spam – lots of which was getting through – but did not realize that I could exclude ‘anonymous’ posts. I have done this and it has fixed the problem.

There are still a very few blogs that I read that have that dreadful word verification thingy – but it is just too difficult to comment – so I don’t.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Another stamp in the cat passport

The cats had their second visit to the vet today for more rabies shots and got another stamp in their passports. The vet is now muttering about another visit for blood tests but I need to check with the pet removal people to see what I actually need to get the cats into the USA.

I have not heard back from my ‘Financial Wellness Expert’ about the account closing scenario  and – things being the way they are – I guess the account will in fact be closed on 4 April and we will have to start again as soon as we get there. I hope they give me my money back.

I had these grand plans that when we go on our house hunting trip on 1 April we would find the perfect house and would be able to buy it and move in as soon as we got there.

I regret to say that there are very many obstacles in the way of this ideal scenario and we will just have to move into temporary accommodation. We have been provided with a list of potential properties – all as equally gruesome as each other – and will have to make a choice when we go there in April.

On the bright side – I am becoming an expert on buying a house in the USA and am on my second read of ‘Home Buying for Dummies’. I have identified some of the many hoops through which we must jump and – after all these years – finally know what ‘escrow’ is.

Oh – and it’s snowing again here. What the………….