Friday, April 11, 2008

7 December: Farewell to the Big E & Return to SI-Suites

It’s been one heck of a day. This morning I followed John to Möhringen to drop off the E-Class at 8:30 am. He turned in the paperwork and we bade our fond farewell to the Big Blue E. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll have another car quite like it in our lifetime. John may have gotten some funny looks from his Mercedes co-workers (E-Classes are not typically driven by 30-something design managers) but we sure had a lot of good times in that car. It carried us safely through the wilds of Wales and Scotland, up and down the length of Germany, and you simply couldn’t ask for a more comfortable, capable Autobahn cruiser. As evidenced by our previous E-Class’ performance on the Nürburgring, it handles pretty nicely too. And we have the Big E’s superb braking system to thank for saving me from colliding with the Polizei on our way to Rallye Deutschland last July. It was definitely tough to say goodbye.

We high-tailed it back to the house, as the movers were scheduled to arrive at 10 am. Being good Germans, they were already there when we arrived, even though it was just after 9:00. Fortunately we already had everything ready to go for them; all we had to do was make sure they didn’t pack up anything that we didn’t want sent back to Michigan. There was one funny moment when John pointed out (in our now near-empty kitchen) that I had forgotten my beer bottle collection. As you may recall, we had about 40 different beer bottles lining the shelves on top of our kitchen cabinets. I had no intention of bringing them all home, but I did want to take a representative sample. I snatched a few bottles and carried them into the living room, where one of the movers was packing up pictures. I held out the bottles and said, “I forgot these!” He looked doubtfully at the bottles, his eyes wide, and said, “All of them?” I laughed and said, “No, just these!”

John left for work when it looked like everything was under control. The movers were quite efficient, packing up all of our stuff and loading it up in the van in less than three hours. A little while after they left, Carole came by to pick up the rest of her purchases (her husband had come by for the black leather chair and ottoman last night), including the living room rug and coat rack.

This afternoon I took Cody for a walk and then waited for John to come home around 5:00. We packed up our suitcases, loaded up the dog and cat, and drove over to Möhringen to check in at SI-Suites, back where it all began so long ago. We were given a nice spacious suite on the sixth floor – much better than the small room we had on the first floor last time around. This time we have a kitchenette, a separate bedroom, a dining table, and a comfortable sitting area. We only had a short time to settle in before we had to drive back to Botnang to await a couple of people who were picking up furniture. First Axelle’s husband arrived to pick up the dining room buffet, my small dresser, the iron and ironing board, and a bunch of smaller odds and ends. He ended up having to make two trips, but he managed to fit it all in. A woman named Marita arrived with a friend to pick up my large dresser at 7:30. She had contacted me via the Stuttgart Newcomers email group and agreed to purchase the dresser for 40 Euro. Unfortunately, she took one look at the dresser and determined that it wouldn’t fit in her car. She would have to return next week with a larger vehicle. She gave me 25 Euro to secure the sale, and promised to call when she had the transportation lined up.

Finally we got to call it a day and headed back to SI-Suites and a much-deserved dinner at the Biergarten. Tomorrow, the great move-out gets underway in earnest – we have a whole string of people scheduled to come by the house, starting with Jürgen and Sonja in the morning and then a steady stream of people all afternoon.

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