Saturday, May 06, 2006

Planes, Trains, and Buses

The German and I are getting visitors - important ones. After much begging and then a little taunting, my mother and step-father bought plane tickets and are coming for a visit in August. I am very excited and a little nervous. I have already put the German and I on a cleaning and repair schedule so that the apartment is spotless when they arrive.

As a side note, I have decided to "re-name" my step-father. My parents (mom and dad) got divorced when I was two years old. When I was four, my mother remarried. They will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this year. When I talk about my mom and my step-father, I hate using the word "step-parent." It has such a negative conation. I also don't like to say "dad number two," because that seems to indicate that he is some how second in my affections, which also not true. I love my dads equally. I have known my "step-father" since I was three. He taught me to ride a bike and tie my shoe laces. Therefore, I have decided to call him "dad-squared," which is a dad to the second power.

I know that there are some who decry the end of the "family," but my parent's divorce left no permanent scars and I am happy to say that I have a healthy relationship and fondness for all those involved (mom, dad-squared, dad, and mom-squared). My dad and mom-squared celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary yesterday, May 5. Happy Anniversary, you two!!

Where was I . . . Oh yes, visitors. I am very happy that mom and dad-squared are coming to visit but was shocked when I saw the price of the tickets. I know that it is expensive because the will travel in August, and Charleston to Bremen is not exactly direct . . . but still! Those fuel charges will bite you in the butt!

Gas is not cheap. It is about $6 a gallon here. I usually fill up Smarty once a week for about 22 Euro. This week I had to travel to Oldenburg twice. Oldenburg is about 30 minutes from here. I did not really want to buy an extra tank of gas, so I decided to take the commuter train from Cloppenburg to Oldenburg. The train costs about 15 Euro, round-trip. Hmm . . . maybe I should have driven.

On the other hand . . . the train is so comfortable! It also takes about 30 minutes. Now that spring has finally arrived here in northwest Germany, it is also a very scenic trip. There is something serene about watching the trees and fields go by. I can take a cat nap or read the paper. It is really nice to have this "time out" during the day.

Because I did not have my car, I had to take the bus in town. I love public transportation. Seriously, you do not have to worry about a parking space and it makes life a little easier. On Thursday I was walking through Oldenburg. I had just had my hair done and was wearing my new high-heeled sandals. I felt great! The bus was coming up to the stop and I ran to catch it. As I stepped onto the bus, the back of my heel caught on the step. WHAM! I tipped forward and fell flat on my face. In less time than it takes to say "Claire is an idiot," I leaped backed up and shook myself off. "One ticket please!" Yup. I luv public transportation.


Lisa said...

Omph. Hope you didn't hurt yourself. You get 50 bravery points for walking around in heels. Another 50 bravery points for your parents coming over. I've been thinking seriously about getting a car, but I didn't factor in the gas prices. I guess it bears more consideration. I'm with you in that I love a train ride. My first one as an adult was here, from Aachen to Duesseldorf. Short, sweet, and exciting. My first, first time was in an engine on the former Chessie System railroad where my dad worked, but I was only two and didn't remember it.

Anonymous said...

Still, nothing beats the independance of your own car. You can go when and were you please, at your own convenience.

Are you implying that my Chuck is square?? I don't think that applies to any of his sister and brothers either.


Mike B said...

"I luv public transportation."

The thing that makes Marc Anthony's funeral oration in Shakespear's "Julius Caesar" such a stinging condemnation of Brutus is the effective repetion of the phrase, "Brutus is an honorable man."

"I luv public transportation."

Yup, I love it too ... I say it many times over when I take the filthy S-Bahn to class each day.

Mike B said...

BTW, you inspired me to re-think what I call my step-dad. He's a super guy who deserves better. But I won't call him "squared." Maybe log2n-dad (some really dumb math humor in that one).

Mike B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Claire said...

Lisa: Most cars here are really fuel efficent. The German's Audi gets 60 miles per gallon. But the train is good.

Grandpa: Dad-squared is definitly NOT square. But he is a little round. You are right about the convience of a car. When I did not have one for the first three months, I felt chained to the house.

Mike: Yeah, the subways are not always the greatest in Germany. It is best to stay above ground. "log2n-dad" is good! I wish I had thought of that.

Haddock said...

My parents split up when I was 10 and both remarried later. I dont refer to my 'new' parents as step father etc because it doesnt feel right. I call them by their first names and refer to them as my mums husband, or my fathers wife. Not out of disrespect but because I never found a name that fitted :)

PS Werder won 6-0 today! :)

The German said...

The puplic transportation is not that bad in Germany, and it starts to getting better--I want to say the vehicles getting newer. So the Sqauare DAD thing is funny.....but I think Granndpa is right! Chuck---Square---- let me think.....I don´t get it ;-)
WERDER won----Sun is shining-----Beer is good.....what else can happen.......Bayern Munich won the Championchip......there is always "Lord Voldemort" or "Darth Vader" ....

Hamish said...

I don't think Germany was designed for high heel wearing, I've seen plenty mishaps here.

You might have something with the logarithmic dad thing -- you can use the natural logarithm (base e) for your biological father.

Anonymous said...

You said "more about that tomorrow", and it's Tuesday now, When is "tommorrow" going to happen??