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the bulletproof gas station

If you're unfamiliar with an area, and would like to find out if it's *safe* or *rough*, here's a very simple test you can perform. Just visit a gas station in that area - during day-time.

I just went to play the lottery on my way home from work, at a gas station where I usually wouldn't go for gas, because of their prices. medium_bulletproof_1.JPGThe cashier was behind a bulletproof window, with a speaker/microphone in it, and a secure transaction tray - something I haven't seen in most banks, much less a gas station.

It felt a bit weird, and I caught myself uneasily looking back over my shoulder, trying to figure out if the guy waiting in line behind me carried a gun. I wouldn't have been surprised, if he wore a ski-mask.

Of course, nothing happened - but that area of Fort Wayne is considered *dangerous*, at least after dark. Even with the bulletproof glass, you might want to step backwards a little, if you're working in one of these gas stations. 



US tax returns 2006

We still had time, until April 15th, to do our first tax return in the USA. medium_tax2006.jpgBut with the extra complication of international income, big moving expenses involved, and Tom being self-employed, we figured it'd be better to have some extra time and do it early.

We got professional help from a very nice lady at H&R Block. Our paperwork fills 17 pages now, and - like we expected - we still have to come up with a lot of money for Tom's federal tax. For 2007 he'll have to pay estimated tax every three months, for being self-employed.

Taxes in the USA are definitely more complicated than in Germany, but you end up paying less, even with federal and state and county taxes added up.


call it home?


The first question people ask, after they find out where I moved from, is *don't you miss your hometown a lot?*. And then I start thinking, comparing, wondering.

You can't compare Munich to Fort Wayne. But I can compare my life in Munich to my life in Fort Wayne. Doing that, the answer is a very easy one: there are a few things I miss doing, and a few people I miss seing - but looking at the big picture, my life in Fort Wayne is way better than my life in Munich.


get the day off

medium_blizzard_klein.jpgFinally some real winter! A foot of fresh snow, 40 mph wind, traffic is a mess.

I got up with the intention to go to work anyways. They had a long list of schools being closed on TV, plus a blizzard warning in effect.

Indiana Tech wasn't listed by the time I had to leave, but when I got there, I noticed hardly any cars on the parking lot. The security guard told me to go back home, they didn't want anybody to get stuck there.

So I get an unexpected day off work, some time to relax and cuddle up at home by the fireplace. How romantic! I really hope we'll get snowed in badly.


Indianapolis Colts win Superbowl XLI

medium_superbowl_klein.jpgWether you like it or not, you can't escape super-bowl Sunday. Especially when the Colts make it to the final round for the first time in 36 years.

Since they won, despite pouring rain in Miami, a lot of people called in sick Monday morning. Which was probably even true, after going way overboard with emotions and alcohol consumption.

To me this sport is about as exciting as soccer in Germany - I don't break a sweat either way.