Entrepreneurial spirit, too little too late & spilled beer

I just returned from the village store. I took a few cold beers from their fridge, the coldest beers around. I like that. It’s summer. Three beers. Having a store in the village rocks. It is convenient for me, only a … Continue reading


A Canadian abroad in southern Germany

Ok, so what’s it been now, three weeks I think. Yup. I’ve been here in my new home for a scant three weeks and it feels like a few months already. Why?

Because I have  had so little time to just hang out and absorb the new culture, instead I’ve hit the ground running, looking and applying for full time work, looking at  a new rental Wohnung/apartment that my wife found for us (ironically in the same village I lived in that life time ago). Then there was the painless waiting for the residency/work permit which just arrived and I repeat myself in spending most of my free time online looking for work. That’s my full time job now, for now.

The good news is that I’ve got a tax free part time job at a nursery in the village we are moving to end of this month. However I will need much more than that to create a new normal and I can’t let up until that happens. I am not worried nor will I let it get to me. Things are happening in their own time and I am in a good place.

Cat at Rest

Cat at Rest







And then sometimes I am suddenly hit but the immensity of what I’m actually doing. Adjusting to a new life in a still new to me country; even after all these years away and its familiarity I am constantly reminded that this isn’t just another visit counted in weeks or months, no. As I peel back the layers of normal life beneath the wide eyed tourist curiosity of it all, I recognize the new real I have committed to.

How am I holding up? Given the circumstance I am well, I suppose. A bit more stressed out than I expected but that is a forgivable condition. How are my language skills? Ok. Good enough? Yes, and they will improve as I immerse myself in the culture and the daily life.

Given that the Fastnacht season aka carnival is in full tilt and the fools are out in inebriated force and colorful garb and dense, close knit village Umzüge/parades, it is I who at times feel like the fool in that often even the smallest of mannerisms, conversational etiquette and other such given formalities elude me. “Das macht mann einfach nicht,” (One simply does not do that) as a German saying intones when faced with something out of the expected Teutonic order of things.

And then there is the food … another subject for another entry.

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Dark Noisy seasonal Green Thoughts

Spring into Summer and the incessant noise of the familiar throttle propelled lawn-mower-buzzing-low-to-the-ground sound track; that slave driven high-spin whining of seasonal lawn masters coupled to their beast of repetitive burdens. One lawn chomping machine defeats the long green and shuts down in victorious silence and within easy earshot another lawn master yet viciously slashes and rips away with near perfectly executed patterns on the rich stench of freshly sliced blades.

Wooden Profile

Quote for this Day

Every man’s work, whether it be literature or music of pictures or anything else, is always a portrait of himself, and the more he tries to conceal himself the more clearly will his character appear in spite of him.
Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902) English novelist, essayist and critic

Sqeegee Goodwill Gone Wrong

Don’t give the squeegee guy a new squeegee. I mean it. I did.

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Dogged Intersection Entreprneur

At the time I thought that I was doing this random guy a favour by giving him a brand new replacement for the ratty bit of dirty sponge that remained of a once useful wind-shield cleaning tool.

The look on his face eclipsed all my doubts about giving a squeegee person anything. He seemed genuinely grateful as I held out the new squeegee out of driver side window, my vehicle already creeping ahead as the light changed to green. I heard a “Thanks mister” as I drove off.

I’d seen this particular guy at that  intersection enough to make his a familiar face. He’d been there for the past year or so and I’d witnessed the deterioration of his primary working tool. What had begun as a regulation squeegee; available at almost any hardware store, had deteriorated badly. A now tattered bit of dirty sponge no longer than the length of my hand was casually and indifferently proffered to potential customers.

So much for effectiveness in cleaning anything, let alone a wind-shield (but then again, since when is actually cleaning wind-shields the real reason to be out there in traffic in the first place?)

I’ve never availed myself of this convenient wind-shield cleaning service now available at almost all major intersections of Anytown. I still see no need. My vehicle comes equipped with two, count ’em two wipers just a flick of a switch away from doing the job; and a reasonably good job too.

But seeing this guy doggedly using what amounted to a filthy rag and who-knows-what kind of liquid that he squirted onto that rag from a crumpled clear plastic bottle, got the better of me. That was my motivation as I set out to hand him a pretty, new squeegee; the next time the opportunity presented itself. I figured that he’d be happy to save the cost of replacing his squeegee and be pleased to be able to offer potential customers a more efficient service.

The next time I saw this squeegee guy, my sympathies turned into disappointment and then frustrated ill-will. All of my good thoughts that had flooded my brain in the wake of successfully having made a successful hand-off went horribly wrong, suddenly splattering against the wind-shield of idealistic goodwill. His car glass wiping hand clutching that same old ratty, dirty bit of sponge instead of the shiny new red squeegee I’d handed him just a few days ago.

Either this guy was really rough on his squeegees or he’d sold it or was saving it up for a special day or who knows what, but barely three days later he was out creating pity and goodwill with his crusty old rag, leaving countless duped drivers squinting through a curtain of grimy mess now more evenly distributed all over their windshields.

I never stopped to ask him about the squeegee. What’s the point? I nod curtly and drive past. And I’ve gotten over that frustration.

Since then I am still mildly interested in the phenomenon of squeegee workers, keeping a curious eye on two or three of the more familiar faces that have made certain intersections their own drive through business ventures.

Short of heading over on foot to observe and to talk with these determined traffic vultures, I can’t and won’t pretend to fully understand their motivation, need or determination.

I still see that guy and others like him out there on traffic islands and every time I do, I am reminded that I still owe the person who lent me that squeegee, a new one.


Life is getting shorter. If you do not feel joy in what you do, you are not enjoying yourself.