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08/07/2018

IKEA - not just Furniture, it's a Lifestyle

Living in Germany for almost half a century gave me sufficient exposure to IKEA furniture to be beyond thrilled when I discovered, that the company had expanded their reach into the USA. There’s even an IKEA within less than two hours driving from where I live now. I have yet to visit that store, but while I wait for an occasion to drive there, I can simply have my purchase delivered via FedEx.

My department recently moved into beautiful, newly renovated office space with a striking lack of book shelves. So, after searching local stores and the usual big online retailers, I found myself falling back on my trusted old friend from a previous life. IKEA has a stunning variety of modular office furniture. It was easy to find something in their catalog that matches the color scheme of my new cubicle, and doesn’t break the bank.

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Big part of the past Saturday was spent crawling around on the living room floor, assembling these boards into book shelves. Following along with the familiar instruction booklets full of drawings, but hardly any words, made me feel young again. Nothing really changed since I built my first “Billy” bookcase, over thirty years ago. That old shelf, by the way, is still standing in my bedroom today.

I hauled the pre-assembled furniture modules to work yesterday. They just needed a few brackets mounted on the backside, to keep them together. Now that my books and binders sit on display in style, this office feels almost like home.

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04/28/2018

Senior Dog Safety

Armani, our black labrador chow-chow rescue dog, is twelve years old now. He has slowed down noticeably, sometimes limps a little bit, and lately he seems to have a hard time walking on laminate or hardwood floors in our house. Last Saturday he slipped and fell hard on his right hip. After that he had absolutely no use of his right hind leg for a day or two. He was just dragging that behind himself, hobbling around the back yard on three legs.

We had to do something fast, so we bought eight rugs and plastered the hallway, dining room, and kitchen with them, so Armani could walk around there without making contact with any hard floor. That worked, but I really didn’t like the way it looked. The dining room had three different colors of unmatched rugs laid out. Amazon to the rescue! I ordered one square 9ft. by 9ft. area rug for the dining room, and another one 10ft. by 13ft. for the living room.

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The square rug arrived Wednesday, and we laid it down today. I love it! Safety and style are not mutually exclusive.

03/25/2017

Germanize the Bathroom

Those of you who have lived in different countries can probably relate to the mixed feelings I have about houses in the USA, compared to houses in Germany. The main advantage of home ownership in the US is that it is way more affordable, not just because of the generally lower price of land, but also because of cheaper building techniques.

The notion of economy doesn’t stop at the outside of the building; it continues on the inside, all the way down to the fixtures and appliances. I could talk about doors, windows, rain gutters, roof shingles, siding, water pipes, heating systems, electric installations, lightning rods, sump pumps, you name it – but after a while I realized, that my audience either doesn’t know what I’m talking about, or they do and don’t need to be reminded.  HansgroheShowerHead.jpg

I personally enjoy my spacious home and find solutions for some of its shortcomings.

 

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With a little help from Costco and Amazon our bathroom has been partially Germanized. It is sporting a shiny faucet, which we installed last year, and a new luxury shower head, replacing an identical one that was getting worn, both made in Germany by Hansgrohe.

06/04/2016

German on the Spot

Today I volunteered to help Suin and Lee, professors of German at IPFW, with their brilliant "German on the Spot" event at the local public library. People could drop in with any old document, postcard, letter, photo... written in German that they had always wondered what it said on there.

My (only slightly rusty) skills acquired 1965 in fourth grade in Germany - reading and writing Sütterlin-/Kurrentschrift - came in handy to decipher faded handwriting. The personal touch, reading snippets about people's lives, makes history enjoyable and interesting.

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The event was covered by local media

WFFT Fox Local, Fort Wayne

07/30/2015

Riding along the Obstacle Course

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Weather permitting, I enjoy riding my motorcycle to work. Six years ago, when I first purchased my Honda Shadow Aero cruiser, the shortest distance was also the best way to go. My ride took me about 25 pleasant minutes along 9 miles of easy going, even scenic, city roads.

Harsh winters, cheaply built roads, mismanaged city budget, lacking maintenance, careless "patching", quick and dirty "resurfacing", increased traffic, construction projects, and water main breaks, have since taken a toll on road conditions.

Some streets are closed, some have lane LongTrip.JPGrestrictions, many are in dangerous disrepair. The asphalt is cracked, riddled with potholes or patches, covered with sand, gravel, debris - not funny, if you travel on only two wheels.

So, in my attempt to pick the safest route to work, I was forced to add 3.5 miles and 15 minutes to my daily commute - each way, of course. For most of it I am now driving amidst dense traffic with frequent periods of stop-and-go.

 

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