Samstag, 25. Dezember 2010

She made it!

12 days late, but just in time for Christmas, my little Miss, Elaine Catherine came into the world at 6:38 PM on 12/23/2010 in Hallandale Beach, FL. Weighing in at 8 lbs 11 oz and whopping 23 inches long.

I had her as planned, in an all natural (100% drug-free) delivery and can only say it was a great experience!!! Soooo proud and in love and everything else :)

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!!

Sonntag, 19. Dezember 2010

Still waiting...

For those stopping by for baby news: I'm still waiting!

I think after all the working I did, my baby decided it is quite nice & peaceful inside of me now and she wants to stay a little longer. I'm trying to not get too grumpy over that, but of course it is getting time for her to come out and her staying inside means I'm booked into hospital for a couple of exams to see if everything is still working the way it should and those exams mean quite some extra Dollars, which I'm obviously not happy about!

By the way, I do have insurance through my employer now... but I don't really know, if you want to call an annual premium of $1.250 for outpatient care and $2.000 for emergency care "insurance". It's a joke!!! That's like one blood test and one time opening your mouth for the doctor and listening to your heart beat and the premium will be used up. So it's obviously not paying for the exams I have to get done.

I was encouraged by my health care professionals to apply for Medicaid once more, now that I'm off work, just in case if this pregnancy will end up being delivered in hospital due to the length of it etc., so wish me luck that it'll be successful this time round.

Will keep everyone updated & if I don't get a chance before then: A MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU!

Samstag, 11. Dezember 2010

Happy Due Date!

Today is my due date and although there's no sign of the little Miss yet, I am surprisingly patient. Normal term is considered up to 42 weeks, so I might be looking at a Xmas baby. We'll see!

Here's my due date bumpage from front and side angle:

Still more on the tiny and neat side, but with having a long torso and only having gained 7 lbs, it's no surprise. I'll seriously be in trouble after birth, as a lot of my clothes will be too big and I won't have time to go shopping and all money is being spend on baby. Guess I'll be doing the baggy hiphop style for a while :).

Enjoying my days off now. It's getting a little cold again starting Monday, so I'm glad I was in Germany last December and came back with my winter jacket! At least I won't be freezing!

Heute ist mein ET und obwohl es noch keine Anzeichen fuer eine baldige Ankunft der kleinen Madame gibt, bin ich ueberraschender Weise sehr geduldig. Termingeboren gilt sie ja noch bis 42 Wochen und wer weiss, vielleicht moechte sie ja ein Weihnachtsgeschenk werden. Wir werden sehen!

Oben seht ihr also mein ET-Baeuchlein von vorne und seitlich. Befinde mich nach wie vor auf der eher kleinen Schwangeren-Bauchseite, aber mit langem Oberkoerper und einer Zunahme von nur etwas ueber 3 kg, ist das ja auch kein Wunder. Werde nach der Geburt echte Probleme haben: Viele meiner Klamotten werden einfach zu gross sein, aber ich werde ja keine Zeit zum Shoppen haben und geldmaessig geht ja alles fuer die Kleine drauf. Ich denke mal, dann wird hier eine Weile der schlabberige HipHop Look angesagt sein ;).

Nun geniesse ich meine freien Tage. Ab Montag wird es wieder kalt und ich bin froh, dass ich im Dezember letzten Jahres in Deutschland war und mit meiner Winterjacke zurueck kam. So werde ich wenigstens nicht frieren!

Dienstag, 30. November 2010

End of Hurricane Season

The last day of November officially marks the end of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. Although we had one of the busiest storms seasons in history, the USA were very lucky this year to not have been hit along its shorelines. Only Tropical Storm Bonnie made a small landfall in South Florida, but that was really nothing to be concerned about.

Thank you Hurricane Season 2010! May the next one treat us just as nice!

Now it's up to some cooler temperatures in SoFla. We might get down to 8-10 C in the next couple of nights. During the day time they still expect more than 20 C though, so all is good. Looking at a lot of snow pictures on Facebook from friends in the UK and Germany, I really wonder if we'll get such a winter as the last one as well down here. Let's see! At least my winter clothes will fit again by then or actually be a little loose, since I'll be smaller than pre-pregnancy :).

Now off to work! Wishing you all a great December!!!

Der letzte Tag im November beschreitet das Ende der Hurrikan Saison im Atlantik. Obwohl wir eine der stuermischten Saisons in der Geschichte hatten, waren die USA dieses Jahr sehr gut dran und ihre Kuesten wurden komplett verschont. Nur der tropische Sturm Bonnie traf hier in Sued-Florida im Sommer mal kurz auf Land, aber das war nicht wirklich erwaehnenswert.

Vielen Dank Hurrikan Saison 2010. Moege die naechste genauso nett zu uns sein!

Nun sind wieder ein paar kuehlere Temperaturen dran hier in SoFla. Es kann in den kommenden Naechten bis auf 8-10 C abkuehlen. Tagsueber werden aber immer noch Temperaturen um die 20 C erwartet, also ist alles gut. Nachdem ich mir etliche Schneebilder von Freunden aus den UK und Deutschland auf Facebook angeschaut habe, frage ich mich echt, was wir wohl dieses Jahr fuer einen Winter bekommen und ob er so kalt wird wie der letzte. Wir werden sehen! Zumindest passen mir bis dahin meine Wintersachen wieder oder sie werden sogar ein wenig zu gross sein, da ich "kleiner" aus der Schwangerschaft kommen werde, als ich vorher war :).

Nun wieder auf zur Arbeit! Wuensche euch allein einen schoenen Dezember!!!

Sonntag, 21. November 2010

Bump Pics & Celebration

I never had the desire to show off my belly to the world, but pregnancy changes everything, so ya'll just have to look at it or GET OFF MY BLOG!!! :)

This is the bump at 36 weeks + 1 day. Still quite "tiny", but measuring spot on.

Today I'm also "celebrating" 21 months in the States by the way. On 21. February 2009 this journey began. It's been an interesting time, I took the roller coaster once again and I know what I want to change in the next year. So it will definitely stay interesting. One thing I can say for sure: Can't wait for 2011. 2010 was absolutely not my best year, but what doesn't kill you...... ;)

Maternity.... WHAT!???

"Maternity Leave??? Paid??? How long??? Government-paid child benefit??? Parenting benefit??? Now why again did you move over here!?"

Yes, I know... it's been a while again... almost a month, to be exact, that I've been quiet, but as you can imagine things are different over in the USA and so I'm not sitting on the couch with my feet up, enjoying my last couple of weeks of pregnancy, but still working full-time and listening to the above questions almost daily.

Yes, in Germany, by law, as an employee you must be given maternity leave with 34 weeks, 6 weeks prior to your due date and you will be paid during this time off and also for another 8 weeks postpartum. Yes, after the child is born, the government will pay you a monthly child benefit up until the child finishes some form of education that will get him into a profession and yes, there's also the option to stay home longer and get paid a parenting benefit of I believe now 67% of your last salary (with minimums and maximums) for a maximum of 14 months after giving birth.

Here in the States that's all significantly different. First of, every state has it's own laws in regards to maternity leave and I guess with Florida, I chose to be in one of the States with the least "benefits" in this regard. Want a child? Have a child! But do it yourself!

So while in Germany, I would be relaxing right now, getting ready for Baby E, here I'm still on my feet working full time at 37 weeks and 1 day. My due date is 20 days away. With all the (physical) working, I don't know if I'll make it that far and I'd be quite happy for her to come out now as she is considered full term, but I sure know that I better not go overdue! Really, who wants to still be working past their due date??????? Since I haven't been with my employer for at least 12 months, I don't get any form of maternity leave. Not paid, not unpaid, not under "short-term disability" like my pregnant manager who's one week ahead of me, not under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act)... All I can take is up to 4 weeks of personal leave through my employee benefits. Sounds great, doesn't it!? Dropping my 4 week old baby off somewhere, so I can go back to work is not really something I want to think about, but that is the reality over here for my situation and I do understand why people ask me why I moved over here or why I didn't move back to Germany, where I would have had way better prospects. Well, one answer to the latter is: I have a Greencard. If my baby is born in Germany, my baby will not have a Greencard and things will be rather complicated to get her legal resident status for the USA. Plus, I would have to start over again. Indeed, I'll have to start over here again soon as well, but it's less of a new start than it would be in Germany. At least I have a car, some furniture, a job...

Although the news from the job and the last month make me want to move on once again: management is not really considerate. Past 34 weeks pregnancy (while I would already be off work in Germany), I had to work a 17 (!!!) hour shift and several 12+ hour shifts. Only this week it looks like I'll be able to "relax" a little more.

I also had another "nice" incident at work. While fellow greencard-winners bicycles in Miami were stolen, I was stolen from at work... by a coworker! I had helped out another coworker and for the first time in this business & the 1 3/4 years, put my server book out of my hand. It only took 2 minutes to realize I had left it at one of the computer stations in the back of the house (10 feet away from a manager expediting food), but when I came back, it was already gone... and with it $400.-, as of course Murphy's Law has always been my "friend" and on the one day, that I put my server book down, all but one table had paid in cash (usually everybody pays with credit cards) and a thief is around. Needless to say, pregnancy hormones took over and I was in quite a state and cried for an hour while management tried to find evidence and pinpoint suspects. At the end of the night, after sorting out all the paperwork with a manager for 1 1/2 hours, it was clear that $300.- of that money were my employers and I would have to pay that back over time. AWESOME!!!!!!!! Management "knows" you took it (and so does everybody else), but unfortunately the ultimate proof was missing, so that person is still working with me. Talking about uncomfortable... try working with someone that you believe stole from you, knowing your story of being pregnant and single and all... It's definitely not a great feeling!

Besides work, I really haven't done anything. Still lots of stuff to prepare for when Baby gets here, but unfortunately my days don't have 48 hours in them and I'm not having the energy to solely work on my "To-Do-List" on my days off.

I am however very excited now and can't wait for my baby to get here... one reason might also be that I'll finally get to stay home for a little longer than one day at a time... :)

Wish me luck with everything!!! :)

Samstag, 23. Oktober 2010

Small request :)

Ooooh, before I forget - you know baby brain moments are quite common with ladies like me...

I've noticed several new followers and new cities showing up in my blog visitors feed and since I'm a very curious person by nature, it would be great to know who some of you are and what your story is. Okay, okay, no need to tell me your whole life story, but maybe why you came across my blog, if you follow a US dream or other dream etc... oh, and if you know any single tall guys that could like me....... haha, just kidding! :D

Please comment or write to my blog address:

happyinusa.... AT....

Would be great to put a story to a nickname, picture or city! Thanks :)


Where did the last month go???

I came back from Sweet Home Alabama on 19. September and since then it feels like I wasn't "here". I mean, I was here, as I was working and sleeping, but it seems like nothing else was accomplished. Weird!

Anyways, HELLO WORLD!!!

I still exist, I have not had my baby yet (7 weeks to go) and I'm still working full time with double shifts and all that stuff. I was very proud to have made my final payment to the birth center on 6.October! In my opinion it's quite an accomplishment to pay over $4.000.- all by myself in less than 5 months on top of all other bills, so that's why I'm proud :). I'm just glad that through the course of my live-in relationship and marriage in Germany I mastered in budgeting. I track every incoming and outgoing cent and although it is sometimes a pain and I'd love to just spend money without having to think so much about it, it definitely helps. I didn't have to budget during my first year over here in the States, but it's good to see that once you learned the "How to" you'll always be able to adjust.

Florida weather has turned beautiful once again. It's mainly sunny and warm now and not so hot. I don't really want to do a forecast for the winter, but two weeks ago it was already a lot cooler at night than last year, so we may have a similar one than '09/'10. Or maybe it's just me!!! I didn't want to believe my buddy Chris (the illegal German that got deported last year), when he told me I would run around in sweaters come fall and not go to the beach and swimming anymore, when I've been here 2-3 years, but he may be right. I was last swimming on 30. September and the water felt quite cold... it was definitely a lot, lot warmer than the Baltic Sea where I grew up though. Just another adjusting thing I guess....

Pregnancy wise all has been lovely. With all the working and running around I have to do, I guess God decided to spare me of a huge bump and just gave me a small one. Although I get jealous of big baby bumps from time to time, I'm quite content with the way it is, as I know if I'd be bigger, I wouldn't be able to work the way I work right now and would probably already have the receptionist position at the front desk at my work - which would cut my income in half.
However, it can get a little annoying as well, to be so "small". We have a new general manager taking over as the old one will be opening up the new store in Orlando. He's been with us for a month now and there's been a lot of times I waddled past him (in the beginning of the shift I usually don't waddle, it's more at the end) or rubbed my belly in front of him. Today I worked at a Barmitzvah and the GM was in charge. He came into the party area before the party started and asked me to please tug in my shirt. I was like ???????? and said "I'd love to Sir, but I'm wearing maternity pants (the once that cover the belly), so it's impossible." Then he looked at me like ?????? to which I responded "Well Sir, I'm 8 months pregnant!" He thought I must be crazy! My co-workers had to confirm that it is really so and that I'm only one week behind in pregnancy as one of my managers. Needless to say that manager has gained 50 lbs already and has a big-big baby bump to which compared I apparently must look just a little chubby.

The reaction of the GM amazed me though as I figured staff issues like "this" would be discussed at the manager meetings they're having 2-3 times a week and all the other managers know about it. I know these kind of "staff issues" were definitely discussed at the last company I worked at in Germany... Maybe it's due to the fact that I haven't asked for special treatment yet. A girl that just found out that she's 8 weeks pregnant already asked for a transfer in job positions which was granted from one day to the other, but I'm still working as usual, so it's not that obvious. I just hope they all remember that I do have a due date!!! As "party season" is approaching, we as waitstaff are not allowed to request time off between 1.November and 15.January, meaning they count on every head to be there and work, work, work. Well, one of these days it is out of the question that I will have to leave very, very quickly or won't come in at all. :) There better not be a manager that day that will be like ??????? ;)

Last but not least for tonight (gotta go to bed, early work tomorrow): Here's a bump picture I took Tuesday at 32 weeks and 3 days :) Where's the baby hiding!? :)

Montag, 13. September 2010

SoFlo Time-Out!

After 6 months (well, 5 months and 29 days) of working 5-6 days a week despite being pregnant and all the other circumstances and not taking any time off, I think I more than deserve a little time out. :) And it is finally here! I'm leaving the two furballs alone at home for a couple of days and will jump on an airplane in the morning! I already miss my two babies and I don't know how I will cope without them, but I know Tanja, my German friend, will be taking good care of them, so I shouldn't be worried.

I'm not going anywhere exotic this time (I wish!), but to my regular inside-USA time-out spot ;). You guys can't believe how ready I am to leave South Florida and all that comes with it behind for some days.

I'm all ready for this feeling......


Sonntag, 12. September 2010

What Jenny does at 3 AM...

... Normal people sleep!

I assemble baby strollers. :)

FedEx had left a note on my door about the attempted delivery of a package two days ago. However that note didn't really say anything aside from the doortag number and so I was sitting here all day Friday waiting on the second delivery attempt, which never occurred. After coming home from work that night and not finding another note, I went online to check out the number and come to find out, the package had already been "delivered" the day before... just not to my door. Luckily I know the names of the ladies working for the apartment association, so I was able to tell that one of them signed for it. I went down to the office to get it today. That FedEx guy was one lazy prick! He never attempted to deliver it to my apartment, but dropped it off at the office right away. So pregnant me ended up hauling the heavy package out to my car, somehow shoved it into my small car and tonight after work, hauled it up to my 3rd floor apartment.

Of course I'm way too excited about the first baby things, so I started assembling right away and it turned out not to be too tricky! Voila, the stroller is ready to roll!!! Since it's a travel system I also got the car seat and car seat base with it, so baby can at least ride safely in a car now and I can take her places. Who knows if we'll go on a XMas roadtrip together, if she's on time! :)

Was Jenny so um 3 Uhr morgens treibt...

...Normale Leute schlafen da!

Ich baue Kinderwagen zusammen. :)

FedEx hatte vor 2 Tagen eine Nachricht ueber den Zustellversuch eines Paketes an meiner Tuer hinterlassen. Allerdings verriet diese Nachricht nichts, ausser der Nummer des Zustellversuch-Aufklebers und so sass ich am Freitag den ganzen Tag da und wartete auf einen zweiten Zustellversuch, der aber nicht stattfand. Als ich nachts von der Arbeit heimkam und weiterhin keine Nachricht an der Tuer hing, ging ich online und tippte die Nummer des Aufklebers ein. Wie sich herausstellte, wurde das Paket bereits am Tag zuvor "zugestellt"... allerdings nicht an meine Wohnung. Gluecklicherweise kenne ich die Namen der Damen, die fuer die Wohnungsgesellschaft arbeiten und konnte somit sagen, dass eine von denen fuer das Paket unterschrieben hatte. Ich ging also heute zum Clubhaus, wo sich das Vermietungsbuero befindet. Der FedEx Typ war echt mal eine faule Socke! Da stellte sich doch heraus, dass der das Paket nicht zu meiner Wohnung brachte, sonders es gleich auf Anhieb im Buero abgegeben hatte. Das Ende vom Lied war also, dass schwangere Ich das Paket aus dem Buero zu meinem Auto hieven musste, es irgendwie ins kleine Auto stopfte und dann heute nach der Arbeit zu meiner Wohnung im 3. Stock hinauf schleppte.

Natuerlich bin ich ueber die ersten Baby Sachen momentan sehr erfreut und so musste ich sofort mit dem Aufbau des Kinderwagens beginnen. Zum Glueck stellte es sich als nicht allzu schwierig heraus. Voila, der Wagen ist fertig zum losduesen!!! Da es ein Reise-System ist, gehoeren dazu auch Autokindersitz und die Basis fuer den Autositz, so dass Baby nun zumindest schon einmal sicher im Auto reisen kann und ich sie auf Ausfluege mitnehmen kann. Wer weiss, vielleicht gehts ja Weihnachten auf den 1. Roadtrip... wenn sie denn puenktlich ist! :)

Donnerstag, 9. September 2010

Helpful Furballs

Yes, it's us! Since Mommy is working so hard every day and also trying to grow "our" Baby E, we thought we would help out a little bit. While watching the green gecko that lives outside of our apartment on the wall, we noticed a big brown truck stopping in front of the house. A guy with a brown uniform then carried up some boxes and we heard him drop them off in front of our door. Man, we were curious!!! Unfortunately, we couldn't see or sniff anything through the door, so we had to wait a couple of more hours until Mommy came back home. She finally did and brought the boxes inside where we started inspecting them right away. While she dropped down on the couch, we were able to open one side of a box and climbed in. Was a little dark in there and everything smelled so new. Mommy was afraid we would break something, so she got up to see what we were doing and what was in the boxes. We already knew! :) Lots of useful things for when Baby E gets here. We are very excited already, as we can hear what the little one is doing, when we snuggle up to Mommy's belly. We know she will be a very nice sister, because she never kicks us when we snuggle or run across Mommy's stomach. Now excuse us, we have some more work to do and gotta tear up these boxes!!! Good night world!!!
Smokey & Diamond

Ja, wir sind's! Da unsere Mutti immer soviel arbeitet und nebenbei auch noch "unser" Baby E gedeihen laesst, haben wir uns gedacht, dass wir mal ein wenig mit anpacken. Als wir heute so auf dem Fensterbrett sassen und dem gruenen Gecko zuschauten, der vor unserem Apartment an der Wand lebt, sahen wir einen grossen, braunen LKW vor dem Haus parken. Ein Mann in brauner Kleidung brachte dann ein paar Kisten nach oben und wir hoerten, dass er sie vor unserer Tuer absetzte. Was waren wir neugierig!!! Leider konnten wir durch die Tuer hindurch nichts sehen oder riechen, also mussten wir noch ein paar Stunden warten, bis Mutti wieder von der Arbeit heim kam. Das tat sie dann auch endlich und brachte die Kisten in die Wohnung, wo wir diese auch gleich naeher untersuchten. Waehrend sie auf die Couch plumpste, gelang es uns eine Seite einer Box zu oeffnen und hinein zu kriechen. Es war ein wenig dunkel und alles roch so neu. Mutti war besorgt, dass wir etwas kaputt machen wuerden, also kam sie um zu sehen was wir so treiben und zu gucken, was in den Kisten ist. Wir wussten es schon!!! :) Ganz viele nuetzliche Sachen fuer die Ankunft von Baby E. Wir sind schon ganz aufgeregt, da wir hoeren koennen, was die Kleine macht, wenn wir uns an Mutti's Bauch kuscheln. Wir wissen schon jetzt, dass sie eine liebe Schwester wird, da sie nie nach uns tritt wenn wir kuscheln oder quer ueber Mutti's Kugel trampeln. Und nun entschuldigt uns! Wir wollen noch ein wenig weiter helfen und die Kisten muessen noch zerlegt werden. Gute Nacht in die weite Welt!!!
Smokey & Diamond

Dienstag, 7. September 2010

Random Picture of 2010

Tanja, Chad (best man at Tanja's wedding) and me (4 months pregnant) at the end of June 2010 at Wet Willies @ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood during a small day/night getaway which included chilling by and inside the Hard Rock Hotel pool, eating out, some gambling and some nightlife fun with major dance action at Murphy's Law (Irish Pub). Was a great day/night out!!!

Different SoFlo Summer

This year's summer has been somewhat different from the usual summer in South Florida. We didn't get a lot of the daily 3-4 PM showers, but therefore had some pretty intense downpours in the evenings. Just as I'm writing this, it is pouring again outside.

While being at work yesterday, when my shift turned from a scheduled "off at 5 PM" to "Jenny, would you be able to stay longer?????" (ending with a 11 1/4h work shift on Labor Day...), it started raining again and it even brought a small power outage with it. It is quite some fun to have a power outage in a 50.000 sft. restaurant/entertainment establishment, as this means all computers for the waitstaff, kitchen staff and all the arcade games that are powered, go off and have to be rebooted, while guests are anxiously waiting to get the game play and eating and drinking back on.

While the systems were down, I headed to the front of the building to have a look at the rain and the traffic passing by on I-95 and to my surprise, the parking lot was already flooded. Well, considering that we are in a swamp land, I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the quick flooding anymore. However it is still interesting to see how big the egos of a lot of South Floridians are.... Driving a Toyota Corolla, but pretending to be in a F-250 super truck, they of course can't wait until the flooding goes back a little. No, they have to drive through the partially over 2-feet deep water and then look completely amazed when the engine stops. Happened yesterday right when I was watching the parking lot and I've seen it numerous times at my main intersection to work as well when it gets flooded. People just HAVE to drive through!!! And then they get stuck and can't get out of the car as it is surrounded by water. More brains please!

Here are my quick snapshots which give an idea of how much water came down within a couple of minutes. More rain followed, making the flooding more severe. Luckily I had parked (unconsciously) in a spot that was a little elevated, so my tires only ended up being in the water by about 4 inches.

Dieser Sommer verlaeuft bislang etwas anders als der "normale" Sommer in Florida. Wir haben relativ wenige der typisch taeglichen 15-16 Uhr Regenguesse gesehen, dafuer hatten wir aber viele starke Regenguesse an den Abenden. Wo ich das hier gerade schreibe, kommt es schon wieder wie aus Eimern von oben herunter.

Waehrend ich gestern auf Arbeit war und sich meine Schicht vom geplanten "bis 17 Uhr" auf "Jenny, kannst du nicht laenger bleiben?????" aenderte (und ich somit 11 1/4h am Labor Day arbeiten war), fing es wieder an zu giessen und dieses Gewitter brachte sogar einen kleinen Stromausfall mit sich. Es macht schon Spass, einen Stromausfall in einer etwa 4.650 qm grossen Restaurant/Unterhaltungseinrichtung zu haben, da dies bedeutet, dass saemtliche Kellner und Kuechencomputer genauso wie die Arkaden-Spiele ausfallen und neu gestartet werden muessen, waehrend zich Gaeste ungeduldig darauf warten, weiter speisen, trinken und spielen zu koennen.

Waehrend die Computer alle aus waren, ging ich zum Eingang unseres Gebaeudes und schaute mir durch die Fensterfront den Regen und den vorbei rauschenden Verkehr auf der I-95 an und zu meiner Ueberraschung stand der Parkplatz bereits unter Wasser. Nun, da wir hier im Sumpfland leben, sollte mit das schnelle Ueberfluten hier nicht mehr so sehr ueberraschen. Vielmehr erstaunt mich nach wie vor, was fuer grosse Egos viele Suedfloridianer haben. Fahren einen Toyota Corolla, aber tun so, als saessen sie in einem F-250 super Truck und koennen natuerlich nicht abwarten, bis das Wasser wieder etwas zurueck geht. Nein, sie muessen unbedingt durch, durch das teils ueber 60cm tiefe Wasser und sind dann ganz verdutzt, wenn der Motor aufgibt. Passierte gestern direkt waehrend ich durch die Fensterfront schaute und ich erlebte das nun auch schon unzaehlige Male an meiner Hauptkreuzung auf dem Weg zur Arbeit, wenn diese ueberflutet ist. Die Leute MUESSEN da einfach durchfahren!!! Fluten den Motor und sitzen dann fest im Wasser und kommen nicht aus ihren Autos raus, weil sie ja vom Wasser umgeben sind. Mehr Gehirn bitte!

Oben sehr ihr ein paar schnelle Schnappschuesse was euch zeigt, wie viel Wasser schon nach ein paar Minuten gefallen war. Mehr Regen folgte, was die Ueberflutung des Parkplatzes noch ausweitete. Zum Glueck hatte ich (unbewusst) auf einem leicht erhobenen Platz geparkt, so dass meine Reifen nur ca. 10cm im Wasser standen.

Sonntag, 5. September 2010

Labor Day!

The day of the working population - a state holiday in all 50 U.S. States...

...and who has to work??? Yes, ME!!!

As with a lot of other holidays here in the USA, the day loses part of its significance as holiday, as more and more businesses decide to stay open. For example our local Publix (grocery store) will be open regular Monday hours. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I understand that in this still difficult economic times, every possible day has to be used to generate revenue, but on the other hand these days stood for something higher back in the days and it is sad to see that we lose these treasures.

Only comfort: I know I will not be the only one working!

To everyone over here that is off: Enjoy the extended weekend with your families and some relaxation!

Der Tag der arbeitenden Bevoelkerung - in allen 50 US-Staaten ein Feiertag...

...und wer muss arbeiten??? Ja klar: ICH!!!

Wie mit vielen anderen Feiertagen auch, verliert der Labor Day als Feiertag allmaehlich an Bedeutung da mehr und mehr Geschaefte beschliessen offen zu bleiben. So hat unser oertlicher Supermarkt Publix morgen zum Beispiel so geoeffnet, wie an jedem anderen Montag auch. Ich sehe die mit gemischten Gefuehlen. Auf der einen Seite verstehe ich, dass in der weiterhin schlechten wirtschaftlichen Lage jeder moegliche Tag zur Erzielung von Umsatz genutzt werden muss, aber auf der anderen Seite stand dieser Tag einmal fuer etwas Hoeheres und es ist schade zu sehen, wie wir das aus den Augen verlieren.

Der einzige Trost: Ich weiss, dass ich nicht die Einzige bin, die arbeiten wird!

An alle hier drueben, die morgen frei haben: Geniesst das verlaengerte Wochenende mit euren Familien und erholt euch ein wenig!

The Appearance of the Bump

Only 97 days until Baby E is supposed to say hello to the world and still she is hiding inside of me instead of pushing out and letting everyone know her mommy is pregnant and didn't just have a couple of doughnuts too many!

Well, with 26 weeks and 1 day gestation, I finally went shopping for some maternity work pants today, as so far, due to the lack of bump, I was still wearing all of my pre-pregnancy clothes. While trying some pants on, I was also messing around with some random shirts I had picked out when strolling through the aisles.... and hey, all of a sudden I noticed that in that one outfit, (and by pulling the shirt back) a mini bump was visible! Of course I had to take a picture as proof! :)

Apologies for the randomness of this picture inside of a changing room, but moments like that need to be captured :)

Das Erscheinen der Kugel

Nur noch 97 Tage bis Baby E der Welt "Hallo" sagen soll, aber nach wie vor versteckt sie sich in mir, anstelle sich herauszudruecken um der Welt schon jetzt mitzuteilen, dass Mami schwanger ist und nicht nur ein paar Donuts zuviel gefuttert hat!

Nun war ich heute mit 26 Wochen und 1 Tag Schwangerschaft endlich mal shoppen um mir Umstandshosen fuer die Arbeit zu besorgen. Bislang war ja die Kugel nicht vorhanden, so dass ich weiterhin meine Vor-Schwangerschaftskleidung tragen konnte. Waehrend ich ein paar Hosen anprobierte, hantierte ich gleichzeitig mit ein paar Shirts rum, die ich so beim Laufen durch die Gaenge eingesackt hatte.... und hey, bei einem Outfit (und nach hinten ziehen des Shirts) wurde eine Mini-Kugel sichtbar! Natuerlich musste ich davon ein Beweisfoto machen!

Entschuldigt die Wahllosigkeit des Bildes innerhalb der Umkleide, aber solche Momente muessen festgehalten werden! :)

Freitag, 3. September 2010

"People that hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life!"

My 2 Love Birds! Watching me closely when I came home with groceries today.

They've divided chores up equally between them. Diamond will keep me company snuggled up next to me whenever I'm on the couch and she will also talk to me, whereas Smokey is my nighttime kisser and my playful kitty when it comes to hide & seek. I don't know how they ended up being like that. All I can say is, I love them and if it wouldn't have been for them, I'm sure one worry or the other would have been a lot worse. Going to bed, knowing that 1 minute after the lights go out, Smokey will just show up next to my head and kiss me goodnight and purr for a minute and then disappear back into the dark, is purely amazing. That's what I love about cats. They just know what's up with their human and act accordingly!

Love my babies 1 + 2 :)

Sonntag, 29. August 2010

Untold stories No. 1 - Why search engines should be your No.1 friend when single

To lighten this blog a little again, after such serious posts, I thought I'd tell you one of these stories, I haven't told yet.

We already use search engines like Google and Bing in our everyday lives, but do you, as a single individual make use of them in your dating life yet?

I can tell you that it has proved to be very helpful for me last year. Very quickly after arriving in South Florida I noticed that a lot of people down here are very pretentious and that is something you obviously also encounter when going on dates or meeting people in bars etc. In the end you might find yourself in the position where you no longer know what of what you're told you can believe and what not. Well, lucky ones we are, living in such an industrialized world with smart phones and search engines!!! :)

Being a little tech savvy and having worked in the field of SEO (search engine optimization) before, I might have an edge, as I know how to use search engines for my advantage, but let me tell you one thing, here in the USA you all have one advantage in comparison to Germany for example. Everybody who has been arrested for whatever reason over here, will one way or the other, turn up on the internet, as the sheriff departments post mugshots, names and reasons for arrest daily online, whereas in Germany that information is kept from the general public. So at least, if you have a full name, age and face, you can make sure that the person you are talking to has not just been released on bond for a maybe not so small crime, simply by googling that person.

Here's what I came across:

1. While out with friends one Saturday, I met this guy and his friends in a bar in Hollywood and we started having a great conversation. He seemed to be very nice, was attractive, smart and a great conversationalist. We talked for hours and were the last ones left in the bar after my and his friends had said goodbye. At 5 AM in the morning we parted and I even had jokingly said that I usually google people to what he responded it wouldn't be a problem if I did that with his name. The following day we texted a little back and forth and made plans to meet up again. On Monday then I was bored and while surfing the net, I thought about putting his name into Google. I did and what was I happy about that! Only three posts down on the first page of search results was an entry from the Lee County Sheriff's department, which is the county around Fort Myers on the Gulf Coast. The guy had told me that he works there quite a bit, so I knew right away that entry must be about him and clicked on it. I admit I was slightly caught by surprise. I stared at a mugshot which was clearly of the guy I had just met and looked at the charges. I couldn't believe it! The Friday before the Saturday we had met, that "nice" guy had been arrested with 14 other people in a prostitution sting in Fort Myers. He had spend the night in jail and was then released on bond at lunch time on Saturday after which he had traveled back to Hollywood and met up with his friends and ran into me at that bar. Prostitution is illegal in Florida, but apparently this guy had been caught when driving around town looking for a prostitute. He had then approached an officer posing to be a prostitute and became lewd and aggressive when he found out he had been set up. Too bad!!! Needless to say, I never texted nor met up with that guy again!

2. On another night out, we met some guys from up North. One of them showed interest in me and we had a good time getting to know each other. He told me he was single. However, I had caught a glimpse at his phone display which showed a picture of a little girl that he had not mentioned in his stories and that I didn't ask about. Thanks to the smart phones however, you can now google stuff from wherever you are and somehow that evening I decided to start a quick search online on that guy when in line for the bathroom. Funny thing is, I only knew his first name (which was quite random), age, where he was approximately from and his profession, but with the right keywords I had a quick match in no time. Amazing! Come to find out, he was married and had a two year old daughter. Thanks to his company, posting profiles on their top sales people, for that information. Friend and I left the bar after that. Somehow I have a little something against traveling business men now. Are they all cheaters!? Possibly not, but why not ask Google first!? ;)

Call me crazy, but this is how I roll! :) Investigative nature! Unfortunately, doesn't always work.

Single pregnant immigrant without health insurance in the USA.

Sounds scary!??? It sure is... BUT ONLY, if you're me and you base your decisions on the bigger picture.

Now before anyone thinks I'm stupid for deciding to start a family in the first place, knowing that I would probably have no health insurance covering maternity: We both were well aware of that and before the "We" picture collapsed, everything in regards to that was talked about and a plan established. Only problem: "We" is no longer existent, which makes it more complicated.

I believe it may be quite interesting for the 0.0001% of legal immigrants that will ever be in the same shoes to find out how the whole "pregnant - no insurance" thing works over here.

Looking at the market of individual health insurance, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition, so once you are pregnant, chances of getting a health insurance plan are veeeeery low. Even if looking for health insurance in that market BEFORE getting pregnant will prove challenging, as there's a lot of fine print and maternity is usually not covered. If you want it covered you start out paying a lot more each month, as pregnancy/maternity is quite expensive for an insurance provider. Just the plain natural labor and delivery without complications and interference in a US hospital bed is likely to cost $10.000,-. Caesarean sections will of course be more and every drug you need will push the bill higher.

Best situation to be in: Get great health insurance from your employer and your life will be much easier. In an employer based health plan, pregnancy can not be labeled a pre-existing condition as there's some legal protection going back to the 70's for that. But not everybody is that lucky!

So let's be the one not having insurance coverage like me. What are the options?

The answer is simple. Not many!

Option 1: You're very fortunate and qualify for federal Medicaid support.
Problems: Medicaid for pregnant women is income based and even if you qualify due to your income... You have to be a US-citizen or a permanent resident of the USA for at least 5 years to qualify, although in some sources it says as greencard holder being pregnant you are exempt from the 5-year bar. All I know is, I was denied :(

Option 2: Pay cash!!! Whoop! As cash is still loved by doctors and hospitals, you will be able to negotiate and get better rates than an insurance provider. You may "only" pay 50% for example of what an insurance would be charged. However, that would still be a lot if you don't belong to the rich and famous.

I was "lucky" enough to have noticed a highway billboard in my first months over here that advertised for a birth center. It is an alternative to hospital care and usually the cheaper option. In my case I found a birth center run by an OB/GYN and a midwife (vs. others where there are only midwifes) and although I'm still having to pay for my care in cash, the package including prenatal care, labor and delivery and postnatal care, will "only" cost me around $4.200,-, IF everything goes without complications. In addition to that, I'm looking at a completely natural birth. Drugs for pain relief? No such option!

May sound scary for many again, but since my birth center has an OB/GYN licensed to operate in the local hospitals, I'm on the safer side. In case of complications he will deliver my baby out of a hospital without additional charge. I would only have extra costs for taking up room and equipment in the hospital then, but that is where Emergency Medicaid for pregnant women could kick in and that is something I would be eligible for.

Now as I ended up on my own, I'm paying everything by myself, which is tough. Quite obvious if you don't make the super big bucks and all of a sudden find yourself with a $740.- extra bill each month on top of your regular bills. But what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger! :)

By the way, there would be an option 3, as some of you may question how illegal aliens get their pregnancy health care. Yes, I could just go to the hospital and demand prenatal care which they couldn't deny me. My problem with that: Within the last 18 months I established quite a nice credit score. Getting care from a hospital and just not paying my bills (like a lot of uninsured citizens and legal as well as illegal aliens do) does therefore not work for me. I rather work my pregnant butt off and pay cash for my medical care, than ruining my credit by not paying those hospital bills and having debt collectors chasing me. I may need my good credit for something once baby girl gets here.

Well, long enough post about that topic! Cross your fingers for me as there is still a lot to figure out in regards to my near future.

Life is a roller coaster...

Nobody ever said life is easy. I mean, yes, some people are more fortunate than others and get to live the good life all the way. Others however get the roller coaster ride of life. That includes me. I've been a little quiet here lately, as my life has once again turned away from "normal". I guess normal would just be too boring. :)

What happened!?

Well, I want to keep this short: In June, I found out several things that made me end the relationship with Andrew. It was best for my personal well-being, but it wasn't a smooth break-up, so things have been rather rocky since.

I am therefore looking towards single motherhood and I'm currently living the crazy life of a single, pregnant immigrant, which brings it's very own stories with it. More in the next posts.

Niemand hat jemals behauptet, dass das Leben einfach ist. Ich meine klar gibt es Leute, die sich gluecklicher als andere schaetzen koennen und nur auf der Sonnenseite leben. Andere dagegen bekommen die Achterbahnfahrt. Dazu gehoere ich. Ich war in letzter Zeit ziemlich ruhig hier, da sich mein Leben einmal mehr vom "Normalen" abwendete. Normal waere wohl einfach zu langweilig. :)

Was ist passiert!?

Ich will es kurz fassen: Im Juni fand ich einige Sachen heraus, die mich meine Beziehung zu Andrew beenden liessen. Fuer mein Wohlergehen war es das Beste, allerdings war das Ende nicht sehr schoen, so dass es seither ein wenig holperig zugeht.

Ich gehe nun demnach auf das Single-Mutter Dasein zu und lebe momentan als alleinstehende, schwangere Immigrantin, was seine ganz eigenen Geschichten mit sich bringt. Dazu mehr in weiteren Eintraegen.

Sonntag, 25. Juli 2010

Feeling American

There are many things that Americans do differently than Germans or other nationalities and many of them make foreigners shake their heads, let them sigh and say "These crazy Americans!", but there are also some very nice differences (at least I think so).

Today I can say, I feel like a real American. Why!?

I set up my first online registry!!! Whoop! A baby registry to be exact. Americans create registries mainly for weddings or for the arrival of a baby. It's a wish list of items and you basically put everything on there that you think you will need or maybe never need but still like to own and that you'd like people to give to you as a present. As events like weddings and births usually bring gifts with them, these registries are quite a great invention, because they let the person who wants to get you something see, what you would really like. It also prevents friends and relatives from getting the same gifts, as the registry shows what items have been purchased already and which ones have not been. There are in-store registries and online registries.

As I thought maybe some of my European friends and family would like to get baby a small something as well, I set up my registry on, as it is quite international and they usually have compatible prices. You just put my name in and wooosh, should see my list. Now I just have to get somebody "over there" to try out if it is really accessible...

Ha, I'm getting slightly excited! :)

Es gibt viele Dinge, die die Amis anders machen als die Deutschen oder andere Nationalitaeten und etliche davon lassen so manch anderen den Kopf schuetteln und sagen "Die verrueckten Amis!", aber es gibt auch sehr nette Unterschiede (zumindest denke ich so).

Heute kann ich sagen, dass ich mich wirklich Amerikanisch fuehle! Warum!?

Ich habe meine erste Online Registry erstellt. Eine Baby Registry um genau zu sein. Amis erstellen sogenannte "Registries" hauptsaechlich anlaessig einer Hochzeit oder Geburt. Es handelt sich dabei um Wunschlisten mit Gegenstaenden, die man benoetigt, oder vielleicht auch nicht benoetigt, aber trotzdem gerne besitzen moechte und die man gerne als Geschenk erhalten wuerde. Da Ereignisse wie Hochzeiten und Geburten ja ueblicherweise einige Geschenke mit sich bringen, sind diese "Registries" eine gute Erfindung, da sie der Person, die einem etwas schenken moechte, aufzeigen, was man wirklich mag. Es verhindert gleichzeitig, dass einem Freunde und Verwandte vielleicht das selbe schenken, da die Liste immer auf aktuellem Stand ist und dem Stoebernden verraet, welche Dinge denn schon von anderen verschenkt werden oder welche noch "schenkbar" sind. Es gibt uebrigens Laden- und Online Registries. Fuer die einen geht man ins Geschaeft und laesst sich dort die Liste zeigen, fuer die andere Variante kann man bequem zu Hause am Computer sitzen.

Da ich mir so dachte, dass vielleicht auch der ein oder andere meiner europaeischen Freunde Baby gerne etwas kleines schenken wuerde, habe ich meine Registry auf erstellt, da diese Seite ja ziemlich international ist und gewoehnlich wettbewerbsfaehige Preise hat. Man muss nur meinen Namen eingeben und schwupps, sollte die Liste erscheinen. Nun muss ich nur noch jemanden auf der anderen Seite des Ozeans testen lassen, ob das denn auch alles einfach anklickbar ist...

Hach, ich bin schon ein leicht wenig aufgeregt. :)

Freitag, 23. Juli 2010

By the way....

according to my 17 week scan, baby is a GIIIIIRL!!! :)
In one hour I'm officially celebrating half time. 20 weeks will be over!

Ach uebrigens,

laut meinem 17 Wochen Ultraschall, ist Baby ein MAAAEEEDCHEN!!! :)
In einer Stunde feiere ich dann auch offiziell Halbzeit. 20 Wochen sind dann um!

My Bonnie is over the Ocean... *sing*

The first Tropical Depression, later announced to be the Tropical Storm Bonnie, hit South Florida in the early morning hours of this Friday 07/23... and all I have to say is: Geeeez, was that lame!!!

I had actually thought I might see some stronger winds for once, but nothing... a little breeze and a little bit of rain. I've seen more rain in every other thunderstorm down here that was not named a tropical storm. Bonnie was gone very quickly and is now in the Gulf of Mexico while we already had sunshine again in the afternoon.

The only dangerous thing that came even before Bonnie made landfall this morning were strong rip currents along the shoreline on Thursday and as we all know, people just can't/won't listen. If I hear there is a storm brewing over the Bahamas, I definitely DO NOT jump into the Atlantic Ocean, no matter how nice the waves may be. The Bahamas are not that far away and I always believe it may have effects on the behavior of "my" home waters and indeed it did. Rescue crews had to pull 110 people from the waters in Miami Beach, 18 in Hollywood and 128 in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday alone.

Die erste Tropical Depression des Jahres, spaeter zum tropischen Sturm Bonnie ernannt, "fegte" heute in den fruehen Morgenstunden ueber Suedflorida hinweg. Und alles was ich dazu zu sagen habe, ist: Gott, war das laaaaahm!!!

Ich hatte eigentlich damit gerechnet endlich einmal ein ordentlicheres Stuermchen zu sehen, aber nix... eine leichte Briese und ein wenig Regen, das wars! Da hab ich ja schon einiges mehr an Regen von normalen Gewittern hier gesehen, die nicht zum tropischen Sturm gemacht wurden. Bonnie war dann auch sehr schnell wieder verschwunden und befindet sich nun im Golf von Mexiko, waehrend wir am Nachmittag bereits wieder Sonnenschein hatten.

Das einzig Gefaehrliche was bereits auftrat bevor Bonnie auf Land traf, waren Rippstroemungen entlang der Kueste am Donnerstag und wie wir alle wissen, koennen/wollen viele Leute einfach nicht hoeren. Wenn ich hoere, dass ueber den Bahamas ein Sturm braut, springe ich gewiss nicht in den Atlantik, auch wenn die Wellen noch so schoen zu sein scheinen. Die Bahamas sind nicht weit entfernt und so denke ich immer, das was auch immer sich dort zusammen braut, auch Auswirkungen auf "meine" Heimatgewaesser haben kann und natuerlich hatte es das auch. Rettungskraefte mussten in Miami Beach 110, in Hollywood 18 und in Fort Lauderdale 128 Menschen aus dem Wasser ziehen

Donnerstag, 17. Juni 2010

Baby's 1. Photoshooting

Baby made it's first appearance on the screen today. It is 14 weeks and 5 days old and measured perfectly. First it didn't like the ultrasound device pushing down on it too much and tried to shield its head with its hands, but later on it turned around and started kicking after it. Was a lot of fun to watch, but due to all the kicking, it didn't reveal yet what it is. There was always one or the other leg in the way :)

I hope you don't need a description of the scan. To your left the big round thing is the head and it has its right arm and hand in front of it. Looks like the sandman came by and it's rubbing its eye!

Baby ist heute das 1. Mal auf dem Bildschirm erschienen. Es ist nun 14 Wochen und 5 Tage alt und die Messungen waren prefekt fuer sein Alter. Zuerst fand es es gar nicht komisch, dass da ein Ultraschall-Geraet in seine Richtung drueckte und versuchte sich mit den Armen und Haenden davor zu schuetzen. Spaeter dann aber drehte es sich um und trat mit den Fuesschen nach der Beule. Das hat sehr viel Spass gemacht da zu zu gucken, allerdings verheimlichte es durch all das Treten was es denn ist. Da war immer das eine oder andere Bein im Weg. :)

Ich hoffe ihr braucht fuer das Bild keine Beschreibung. Links das runde Ding ist der Kopf und davor haelt es sich den rechten Arm und die rechte Hand! Als wenn der Sandmann vorbei kam und es sich die Augen reibt.

Samstag, 12. Juni 2010

Weekend Greetings

Squishy face Clifford found his permanent home last weekend. He was adopted by a very nice couple from Miami who had met him at a dog festival and had fallen in love with him. Saying Goodbye was a little tough, but I'm very happy for him and Cliff is such a gentle soul, he was very happy to see these two people and especially excited about riding in a car again. He just loves it! Andrew asked me this week to foster another dog, but I denied it. My cats are pretty happy about having the place to themselves again and this new Bully would be pretty big. He weighs in at 91 lbs where the usual Bully weighs 53 lbs and according to his description he might have a couple of rough edges. Since bulldogs are so incredibly hard headed, I momentarily don't want to be in a position having to restrain this heavy fella! Maybe a smaller one will come along soon. If that's the case, I probably won't say No!

Faltengesicht Clifford hat am letzten Wochenende sein permanentes Zuhause gefunden. Er wurde von einem sehr netten Paar in Miami adoptiert, die ihn auf einem Hundefest kennenlernten und sich in ihn verliebten. Der Abschied fiel schwer, aber es freut mich sehr fuer ihn und Cliff ist eh so ein genuegsames Kerlchen, der freute sich, als er die beiden sah und besonders auch uebers Auto fahren. Das macht er ja am liebsten! Andrew wollte dann die Woche schon den naechsten Bully zur Pflege aufnehmen. Das habe ich aber erstmal abgelehnt. Meine Katzen freuen sich wieder ueber die "sturmfreie" Bude und der neue Bully ist ziemlich gross, wiegt fast 42 kg waehrend das Normalgewicht fuer Bullys bei 24 kg liegt und laut Beschreibung hat der auch so einige Kanten. Da Bullys so wahnsinnig dickkoepfig sind, moechte ich den schweren Kerl momentan nicht baendigen muessen. Vielleicht wird uns ja bald wieder ein kleinerer angeboten. Da sag ich dann auch nicht Nein!

Cliff chillaxing and Cliff up-side-down enjoying his belly scratch!

Since I look slightly pale for Floridian circumstances, due to all the sleeping, I'm gonna lay down by the pool in a minute. As I'm not having a bump yet (other than my regular bump *smile*), I took a quick picture last night after work. I bought this dress in England in Spring 2008 and to be honest, it never really fit. Now I dug it out of my "winter- & other clothes" luggage and... Surprise! Can't hurt to have such a "Before" picture for the motivation afterward.

Well, the sun is shining, the pool ready for me! I'm wishing you all a great weekend!

Da ich durch das viele Schlafen schon ganz blass ausschaue fuer floridianische Verhaeltnisse, werd ich mich dann jetzt auch mal an den Pool begeben. Da ich noch kein Baeuchlein habe (ausser mein normales Baeuchlein *grins*), hab' ich gestern Abend nach der Arbeit noch fix ein Bild gemacht. Das Kleid hab ich im Fruehjahr 2008 in England gekauft und ehrlich gesagt, hat es nie wirklich gepasst. Nun hab ich das mal aus meinem "Winter- und andere Klamotten"-Koffer gekramt und siehe da... Ueberaschung! :) Das kann ja mal nicht schaden so ein Vorher-Bild fuer den Ansporn hinterher zu haben.

Also die Sonne lacht, der Pool ruft! Ein schoenes Wochenende in die weite Welt!

Mittwoch, 2. Juni 2010

Remember the O and 0 problem!?

As I wrote in a post in April, my parents had big problems entering the USA after filling the ESTA forms out "wrongly". Their mistake was to mix up the letter O with the number 0 as the difference between these two was not visible when comparing them to each other in the German passport.

Now even the German website reports this problem.

Here's the link: Die Nullen aus dem Innenministerium

Wie ich bereits in einem Eintrag im April schrieb, hatten meine Eltern erhebliche Probleme bei der USA Einreise, nachdem sie die ESTA Formulare "falsch" ausfuellten. Ihr Fehler war den Buchstaben O mit der Nummer 0 zu verwechseln, da im Deutschen Reisepass keinerlei Unterschied zwischen den beiden festzustellen ist.

Nun berichtet sogar die Deutsche Webseite darueber.

Hier der Link: Die Nullen aus dem Innenministerium

Dienstag, 1. Juni 2010

And before I forget...

I was very proud last week that 3 years after my wedding and the day that I thought I looked one of my best, I weighed exactly the same as I did on that day, despite living in the USA for 15 months already. Whooooooop!!! :) Haha, only women may understand....

Bevor ich's vergesse, letzte Woche war ich seeeehr stolz darauf, dass ich 3 Jahre nach meiner Hochzeit und dem Tag an dem ich fand, dass ich am besten aussah, genau das selbe auf die Waage brachte wie eben an diesem Tag, obwohl ich schon seit 15 Monaten in den USA wohne. Juhuuuu!!! :) Haha, das koennen wahrscheinlich nur Frauen verstehen...

Hurricane Season No. 2... and revealing the big news ;)

Time is flying by. Today is already 1. June again, which means it's the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. This will be my 2nd season and while we didn't see any storms last year, this year we might not be as lucky. Changes are taking place in the Atlantic and since I'm no scientist, I won't go into detail and leave the explanations up to the experts, but it has something to do with the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon. The water of the Atlantic is therefore heating up in many parts which helps major storm systems to form more easily... if I understood that correctly ;)

Well, I'll knock on all the wood around that we have another great season like last year, but a lot of "native" South Floridians believe that it's about time for another hurricane to hit, especially when looking at the recent developments with natural disasters... earthquakes everywhere, a tropical storm hitting Guatemala and other regions down South pretty hard this past weekend etc.

Besides that, I still don't have much to tell, as I wasn't doing a lot other than sleeping and working... which does have a reason! :) We're not only adding furry friends to the family, but also a little human being, that, if everything goes well, will join us at the beginning of December. 1st trimester is completed and since it was planned, the only surprise will be, what it will be - boy or girl! :)

With that in mind, I do admit that I believe that my days in South East Florida are counted. While it is great to live here as single, raising children down here is nothing I can picture right now. That has a lot of reasons: too many fake people that are all about money and connections, too much violence and crime, too much air pollution, preschool teachers that hardly speak English and me not being able (or wanting) to pay for the "elite private white schools", housing prices and salary levels that don't match etc.

I don't know yet where the road will lead us, but I'm excited for it.

Greetings to all my friends and family!!! Picture taken today - a lil tired but happy!

Die Zeit verfliegt mal wieder. Heute ist der 1. Juni und damit einmal mehr offizieller Start der Atlantischen Hurrikan Saison. Das wird nun bereits meine 2. Saison und waehrend wir letztes Jahr keinen grossen Sturm gesehen haben, koennten wir dieses Jahr nicht soviel Glueck haben. Es gibt Veraenderungen im Atlantik und da ich kein Wissenschaftler bin, lasse ich die genauen Erklaerungen mal lieber den Experten, aber soweit ich das richtig verstehe, hat es mit der Abschwaechung des El Nino Phaenomens zu tun, was den Atlantik nun in einigen Bereichen aufheizen laesst und das wiederum beguenstigt das Entstehen groesserer Sturmgebiete.

Nun, ich klopfe auf alles vorhandene Holz um mich rum, dass wir so eine entspannte Saison wie letztes Jahr haben, aber viele "Einheimische" Sued-Floridas meinen, dass es langsam wieder an der Zeit ist, dass uns ein schwerer Hurrikan trifft, besonders wenn man sich die Naturkatastrophen der letzten Monate anschaut - Erdbeben ueberall und nun auch schon ein grosser tropischer Sturm der Guatemala und andere Laender im Sueden am Wochenende stark getroffen hat etc.

Ansonsten habe ich auch weiterhin nicht viel zu berichten, denn ausser Schlafen und Arbeiten mache ich kaum etwas... das hat aber auch seinen Grund! Wir vergroessern die Familie nicht nur um Fellknaeuel, sondern nun auch durch ein kleines menschliches Wesen, dass, wenn alles gut geht, Anfang Dezember zu uns stossen wird!!! :) Das 1. Trimester ist bereits ueberstanden und da es geplant war, wird die einzige Ueberraschung sein, was es denn genau wird :).

Damit im Hinterkopf, gebe ich zu, dass ich denke, dass meine Tage hier in Sued-Ost-Florida gezaehlt sind. Waehrend es sich hier als Single gut leben laesst, kann ich mir momentan nicht vorstellen, hier Kinder grosszuziehen. Das hat etliche Gruende: zu viele "falsche" Leute, die nur auf Geld und Kontakte aus sind, zu viel Kriminalitaet und Gewalt, zuviel Verschmutzung in der Luft, Vorschullehrer die kaum Englisch sprechen und mein fehlendes Geld (bzw. Wille) fuer "Weisse Elite Privatschulen" zu bezahlen, hohe Mietpreise und schwache Lohnlevel die sich nicht vereinbaren usw.

Ich weiss noch nicht, wo der Weg uns hinfuehren wird, aber ich bin gespannt!

Gruesse an alle meine Freunde und Familie. Obiges Bild ist von heute. Ein wenig muede, aber gluecklich!

Montag, 3. Mai 2010

He's back!

Yes, it's not your screen that's blurry or anything... Cliff (remember, the bully!!!?) is back with us, his foster parents. After he got adopted from somebody in Naples last weekend, they didn't even keep him a day and drove him back to the rescue. Apparently they had two older pugs that didn't like cute Clifford too much. Well, go figure! You bring a new dog into an established bond between other dogs and people and you think that doesn't take some more adjustment (and work from your side) than just a day??? Some people are soooo stupid! Sorry!

Anyhow, he has it great here with us and we'll keep it that way until the rescue finds someone for him that really cares. You couldn't ask for a greater dog. He's good with cats, other dogs, small children, loves to ride around in the car, gives high fives and didn't have any of the usual English Bulldogs problems yet (requiring eyelid-lifting, skin treatment, respiratory surgery etc.). We had our first family outing (Andrew, Cliff and I) to Toss Up Salads today and he was great!

Besides the dog, there's not much happening! SoFlo is getting hot again, we're both working and Smokey has his crazy moments while Diamond loves to lay around in the sun ALL day!!! Smokey discovered that there are some geckos living on the roof and the outside walls of the house and so he sits on the window sill all day nagging about them while they crawl by and he can't get to them. Very funny to watch!

Me and Cliff today!
Ja, ihr habt nicht etwa was aufm Bildschirm.... Cliff (der Bully) ist zurueck in unserer Wohnung und bei uns, seinen Pflegeeltern. Nachdem er letztes Wochenende von jemandem in Naples adoptiert wurde, behielten die ihn nicht einmal einen Tag und brachten ihn zurueck zur Hilfsorganisation nach Fort Lauderdale. Die haben wohl zwei aeltere Moepse, die den suessen Clifford nicht so mochten. Naja, ist ja auch ziemlich viel verlangt, dass ein neuer Hund mit Sack und Pack in eine bestehende Gemeinschaft aus Hunden & Menschen einzieht und es nicht ein wenig Eingewoehnung und Arbeit von Seiten der Menschen bedarf. Manche Leute sind echt ein wenig verpeilt!!! 'Tschuldigung!

Egal, ihm geht es gut hier bei uns und wir werden das eben so lange aufrecht erhalten, bis er von jemandem adoptiert wird, der es wirklich gut mit ihm meint. Man koennte sich echt keinen besseren Hund wuenschen. Er ist gut im Umgang mit Katzen, anderen Hunden, kleinen Kindern, liebt es im Auto rum zu fahren, schlaegt gerne ein mit seiner Pfote und hatte bislang keine der typschischen Englische Bulldoggen Probleme (Augenlid-Straffung, Hautbehandlung, Operation der Atemwege etc.). Heute hatten wir unseren ersten Familienausflug. Andrew, Cliff und ich fuhren zu Toss Up Salads und er benahm sich sehr gut!

Neben dem Hund ist momentan nicht viel los. Suedflorida wird wieder heiss, wir beide arbeiten und Smokey hat seine auf-(oder durch-)gedrehten Momente waehrend Diamond am liebsten den lieben, langen Tag in der Sonne liegt. Smokey hat jetzt entdeckt, dass da Geckos aufm Dach und an den Aussenwaenden des Hauses wohnen und nun sitzt er stundenlang auf dem Fensterbrett und meckert die an, waehrend die vorbei krabbeln und er nicht zu ihnen kommt. Macht seeeehr viel Spass, da zuzuschauen!!! :)

Donnerstag, 22. April 2010

Adding to the family...

At least temporarily! :) Andrew loves English Bulldogs and last weekend there was a dog adoption event in a park in Plantation, a city close by. Since in the USA, there is a rescue for every breed of dog, cat, whatsoever, there is of course one for English Bulldogs. Down here it is called Adopt-A-Bull. Since they don't work out of a shelter, they always need foster parents for their dogs... so guess what!? Yes.... we came home as foster parents of Clifford, an approx. 3 year old Bully, that is kinda ugly, but that is, what makes him totally cute!!! Due to the cost of adopting one, that is currently out of the picture. So fostering is a very good option to still have a dog around.

While Andrew is in Orlando with his mum that came down here from Alaska for a conference this week, I'm taking care of the Bully by myself and we're having lots of fun. Today Andrew got a call from the rescue that Clifford is going to be adopted this weekend by someone in Naples. YAY for that, a permanent home, but boooo for us. We'll surely miss him... but maybe we'll get a new foster bully.

Zuwachs fuer die Familie... Zumindest temporaer! :)
Andrew liebt Englische Bulldoggen und letztes Wochenende gab es hier ein Hunde-Adoptions Event in einem Park in Plantation, einer naheliegenden Stadt. Da es in den USA fuer jede denkbare Hunde-, Katzen- und Kleintier-Rasse eine eigene Hilfsorganisation gibt, ist natuerlich auch eine nur fuer Englische Bulldoggen da. Hier unten nennt sie sich Adopt-A-Bull. Da diese Organisation nicht aus einem Tierheim heraus arbeitet, braucht sie immer Pflegefamilien fuer ihre Hunde... also ratet mal!? Na klar... wir kamen also als Pflegeeltern von Clifford nach Hause, einem ca. 3-jaehrigen Bully, der ein wenig haesslich ist, was ihn aber schon wieder voll suess macht :)!!! Durch die hohen Adoptionskosten fuer einen Bully kommt eine Adoption momentan nicht fuer uns in Frage. Somit ist es toll die Option zur Pflegefamilie zu haben.

Waehrend Andrew gerade mit seiner Mutter, die aus Alaska fuer eine Konferenz angereist ist, in Orlando ist, passe ich alleine auf Clifford auf und habe eine Menge Spass. Vorhin hat Andrew einen Anruf bekommen, dass Clifford am Wochenende adoptiert wird und in sein neues Zuhause nach Naples zieht. Juhuuu fuer sein staendiges Zuhause, aber buhuuu fuer uns. Wir werden ihn sicher vermissen, aber wer weiss, vielleicht kriegen wir ja einen neuen Pflege-Bully! :)

Here is the womanizer!

My friend Tanja, the "slobber-guard-blanket" and Clifford :)

Awwwwwww! Love me, love me, I'm soooo adorable!

1. Visitors

With a delay of one day my parents made it over to the States on 10. April. But why a delay? Well, long story short... a very small mistake on their ESTA forms cost them lots of money. While in their German passport the number 0 (zero) and the letter O look exactly the same (yes, I even looked at it and it was no difference), the computer system printed them differently and so the airline wouldn't take them on-board. They tried to solve the mistake as quickly as possible with help of some airport Berlin-Tegel personnel, but didn't make it back in time before the counter was announced to be closed by a supervisor... Actually they made it back in time, because the counter guy and a guy at the security check were still there and had waited on them, but this supervisor ruled differently. :(

Well, eventually they made it over to the USA and we had a good time. Went down to Key West one day and up to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center on another day and then their short visit was already over. At least the one to Florida. When they arrived in NYC on Friday last week, their flight was canceled due to the ash cloud from Iceland. They finally made it home on Tuesday, after a flight to Barcelona, a bus ride to Karlsruhe and a train ride to Berlin. I'm glad they made it back safely!!!

1. Besuch: Mit einem Tag Verspaetung kamen meine Eltern am 10. April in den Staaten an. Aber warum Verspaetung? Nun ja, ein sehr kleiner Fehler auf dem ESTA Formular wurde zu einem sehr teuren. Waehrend in dem deutschen Pass meiner Eltern die Nummer 0 (Null) genauso ausschaut wie der Buchstabe O (ja, ich hab's mir angeschaut und da ist KEIN Unterschied), druckte das Computersystem die unterschiedlich ab und so nahm die Fluglinie meine Eltern nicht mit an Bord. Mithilfe von Personal des Flughafen Berlin-Tegels versuchten sie den Fehler so schnell wie moeglich zu beheben, schafften es aber nicht mehr rechtzeitig zurueck an den Schalter, bevor dieser von einer Schichtleiterin geschlossen wurde... Nun eigentlich schafften sie es noch rechtzeitig, denn der Mann hinter dem Schalter und ein weiterer bei der Sicherheitskontrolle hatten noch extra auf sie gewartet, aber die "gute" Frau entschied anders. :(

Nun, letztendlich schafften sie es in die USA und wir hatten eine gute Zeit. An einem Tag fuhren wir nach Key West, an einem anderen nach Cape Canaveral und ins Kennedy Space Center. Dann war der kurze Aufenthalt meiner Eltern auch schnell vorueber. Zumindest der in Florida. Als sie am Freitag in NYC eintrafen, wurde ihr Flug aufgrund der Aschewolke aus Island gestrichen. Am Dienstag trafen sie dann nach einem Flug nach Barcelona, Busreise nach Karlsruhe und Zugreise nach Berlin endlich zu Hause ein. Ich bin froh, dass sie wieder heil da sind!!!

Here some impression from the Key West trip.

Pierre's @ Islamorada. Should be familiar from the Full Moon Halloween Party. I LOVE THIS SPOT!!!

Morada Bay @ Islamorada, next to Pierre's.

Ernest Hemingway House, Key West

There's a big cat sanctuary at the Hemingway House.

Beautiful property with lots of different plants.

Key West Beach

Montag, 5. April 2010

Happy Easter!

I guess it's alright to still say that on Easter Monday! :))

Everything here in SoFlo is going great, like always. I'm back in a job in the same industry that I had just left, but work less hours than before and it's a corporate environment, so I will actually get health insurance in like 2 more weeks. It is very hard to get around the hospitality industry down here, since it is just everywhere and the money is not bad. I'm still looking around for something else, but I'm not in a hurry. Right now I just prefer the server job over a $10-12/hour office job. Some of you may have heard of Dave&Buster's before. That's my new employer. I've been there almost a month now, have 140 colleagues, it's one exit from my apartment and I really like it. The strange thing is, that I'm somehow reaaally good in this job. :) At Toss Up Salads customers would always tell me that I'm one of the best servers they have met in their lives and at D&B the managers have also already told me that they wish there would be more of my sort. Very nice!

Besides working I'm enjoying the great SoFlo weather again. At the beach or the pool - my tan is coming back!

This Friday my parents will finally come to visit me for a week. After it was impossible for my friend Henry to fly over here for XMAS due to problems with his health insurance who didn't let him fly, this will be my first visitors from Germany. I would really like to welcome some more friends down here... but yeah... I know the difficulties, especially the monetary ones.

Here is a picture from yesterday, Easter Sunday. We had come back from church and lunch and since I had to work in the evening I wanted to rest a little on the couch. Well, someone thought it was very comfy to lay on my back. His front paws were hanging down, but he didn't move for 15 minutes... Nice heating pad for my back, Smokey! :)

Dienstag, 16. März 2010

Pictures from Vegas... 3 months later! :)

They've been requested, so I decided to finally post a few pictures from my 2009 XMAS trip to Vegas. Since I wasn't really a tourist, but a guest of Andrew's family, I didn't do a lot of the typical tourist things. We drove down towards the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam on one day, but it was so jammed, that the driver (Andrew's dad) decided to not sit in it for over an hour to get to the Dam and so we went to Lake Mead instead. The impacts of temperature changes in the last couple of years become very obvious there. The water level has dropped by about 36 meters and the lake is at only 43% of its capacity. There is a so called "bathtub ring" on the mountains surrounding the lake, showing were the water was once up to. Quite impressive!

In addition to that we of course went to a couple of casinos, had a XMAS family time and Andrew took me to the Venetian hotel were we went on a gondola ride. That was very nice!

Es wurde nach ihnen gefragt und so entschied ich mich, doch endlich mal ein paar Bilder von meinem 2009 Weihnachtstrip nach Vegas zu veroeffentlichen. Da ich nicht wirklich ein Tourist war, aber ein Gast von Andrew's Familie, habe ich nicht wirklich viele typische Touristensachen unternommen. An einem Tag fuhren wir runter zum Hoover Staudamm und dem Grand Canyon, aber der Verkehr staute sich arg und so entschied sich der Fahrer (Andrew's Vater) umzukehren und stattdessen an den Lake Mead zu fahren. Die Einfluesse des Temperaturanstiegs der letzten Jahre werden dort sehr deutlich. Der Wasserpegel ist um die 36 Meter gesunken und der See ist nur bei 43% seiner Kapazitaet. Dort ist auch ein sogenannter "Badewannenring" entlang der Berge sichtbar, durch den ersichtlich wird, wo das Wasser eins stand. Sehr beeindruckend!!!

Wir waren natuerlich auch in einigen Casinos, haben Weihnachten gefeiert und Andrew ging mit mir auf ein Date ins Venetian Hotel, wo wir auch mit einer Gondel fuhren. Sehr nett! Besonders der Gesang unsere Gondoliers...

Slot machines at the airport./ Auf dem Flughafen.
A house in Las Vegas./ Ein Haus in Las Vegas.
Me and Tank - the family's boxer,Me in the Venetian.Inside the Venetian.The Strip.Inside the M - Hotel.
Entrance to Lake Mead. The ranger in the car was a dummy./ Einfahrt zum Lake Mead. Der Parkranger im Auto war ein Dummy - also unecht.
"Golddiggers" at Lake Mead. As of a statement of Feb. 2010 by a ranger, anyone caught with a metal detector can be fined up to $5000,- and sentenced to up to 5 yrs in prison./"Goldsucher" am Lake Mead. Nach Auskunft eines Rangers vom Feb. 2010 kann jeder der dort mit einem Metaldetektor erwischt wird mit einer $5000,- Strafe belangt werden oder fuer bis zu 5 Jahre ins Gefaengnis wandern.
The bathtub ring is quite visible./ Der Badewannenring ist sichtbar.