Category Archives: Living Life

Moments of clarity, confusion, frustration, joy, perseverance, little moments, big moments….you know, Life.

Parenting American Teens in Germany

Or the Worst Mother’s Day Ever

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way. On Friday, my daughter called me from the grocery store to ask if we had certain items in stock. I wasn’t sure what she was up to, but I suspected that it had something to do with Mother’s Day. My daughter loves to cook and bake, so I assumed that a treat was forthcoming for Mother’s Day.

On Saturday evening my daughter decided at the last-minute that she wanted to see a movie with her friend and her friend’s mother. I said Okay. My daughter then calls me while she is at the movies to ask if she could stay the night at her friends house. I said sure, but don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day and have her mom call me after the movie is over. I fell asleep before I received the phone call from her friend’s mother.

I had been working hard all week on my final essays and projects for my British Lit and Shakespeare courses, so when Sunday finally arrived, I decided to sleep in until 10. I had already discovered that my daughter planned to make brunch after I heard her tell her father not to make reservations at our favorite gasthaus. I woke up, excited at the idea of omelettes, pastries, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

I checked my phone. The mother had never called. I tried calling her, but received no answer. I figured that she was probably bringing my daughter home.

At 1130 we got THE call. The one that every parent fears. The MPs called to tell us that our daughter was in the Nurnberg hospital. WHAT?!?!

She had been picked up by the Polizei at the bahnhof. She was unresponsive for two minutes as the Polizei tried to wake her up.

We rushed to the hospital (just over an hour away). When we arrived, she was sleeping in the waiting room.

The Doctor gave us her blood test. Her blood alcohol level was 1.4 when she arrived at 930 am and 1.2 two hours later. Her last drink was at 4am.

In case you are wondering how a 16-year-old can go clubbing, I should probably tell you that the legal drinking age in Germany is 16. Crazy right?

She had no idea where her coat, purse, and cell phone went. She assumed that her “friends”–who left her at the bahnhof–were in possession of her stuff, but she could not remember. She remembers getting separated from them at the Nurnberg station and then finding a Polizei for help. The Polizei gave her a train ticket to get home. She got on the wrong train. So then she gets off a few stations later and sits on a bench to wait for the next train going back to Nurnberg. This is where she passed out. A Polizei found her and called the paramedics.

Nurnberg is a known party spot for Americans and Germans. There are numerous clubs, fights, and deaths. THis is where most young soldiers (and apparently dependent teens) find trouble.

We have warned her numerous times to stay away. We have told her how dangerous it is and that the consequences for my husband are severe. Like most teens, she ignored us.

We spent the next 2 hours trying to locate her belongings. After a hopeless search, we headed off to find food and take our errant teenager home.

Long lectures, yelling, crying, and more lectures and yelling ensued. It was a long ride home.

At 530pm, her friends finally decided to bring her belongings–which contained her Passport Visa, military ID, and SS card–to the MP station so that someone would know that she was missing. Her “friends” waited almost 12 hours before notifying ANYONE that my daughter had gone missing!

I sat on my patio and watched a young mother play with her little girl. My heart ached for myself and for that mom who has no idea that in just 12 years that sweet little girl will break her heart.

Parenting is hard. Parenting teenagers is torture. Parenting teenagers in Germany is a nightmare.

So here I am, remembering the sweetest little girl that was once my daughter and every  time I think about it, my eyes begin to fill with tears.

I am so very grateful that my daughter was not raped or murdered.

She will rue the day she lied to us and went to clubbing. How do you punish a modern teen? Take away ALL social media, electronics, and friends. If I had it my way, I’d lock her in her room until she turns 18.

Do you have any teen parenting related horror stories to share? Please feel free to comment below!

Early Morning Musings and Shakespeare

The sun still sleeps, yet I sit

with the morning birds;

They drink the dew upon the leaves,

and sing a chirping morning song.

I have put King Henry to bed,

and praised his Machiavelli qualities,

while blissfully unaware of the hour;

tis a quarter to five in the morning.

Oh, William, how you do intrigue!

Upon finishing the masterpiece,

I yet yearn for more of your brilliant

prose in iambic pentameter.

Away off in the distance

I hear a dog’s echoing bark.

Does he see the third Richard, or is he

merely announcing the morning hour?

Ah me! As Juliet would sigh,

it is early, yet late–somewhere

in the between of night and day

and yet, I am at peace.

Neither tired, nor wired for daily

doings, I will sit and ponder

the worlds of Lear and Othello;

All the while–glad that I am neither.

A stirring in the next room alerts

me to others waking for the day.

Goodnight my dearest William.

Tis time to greet the morrow.

Time Is Not Fair!

It’s the time of year when I start to reminisce about the days when my kids were little. Their birthdays are coming up soon and they will be 17 and 15 years old. My daughter will be off to college in a year and a half! It seems unfair that time drags when you are young, but seems to speed up once you have children.

DIY Blues

I find myself longing for my garage back home.

My fingers itch for the feel of sanding wood furniture.

My manicured fingers look foreign–there should be paint on my cuticles and wedged under my fingernails.

My work clothes have been at the bottom of a drawer, paint splattered and worn out, for far too long.

I haven’t used a power tool other than the drill/screwdriver in ages.

I miss the intoxicating smell of stripper and turpentine.

Small crafts are fun, but they don’t invigorate me the way upcycling or repurposing a piece of furniture does. Heck, I even miss home improvement nightmares!

I should be writing a paper for my Shakespeare Seminar class, but as much as I love old Bill, I just can’t shake this desire to transform a room or a piece of furniture.

But, alas, my desires must be put on hold—at least for another 4 weeks.  After I say So long to Bill and modern Brit Lit, it’s hello to paint, toxic fumes, and sandpaper!

The Job Interview

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from the local DOD Elementary school, requesting an interview for the substitute teacher position.  I had applied for this job last fall.  I was certainly not expecting a phone call from them.  I had applied to over 20 job postings between last fall and January, and had not received one interview.  I know that it is primarily because I have not had a job in over 10 years. But, I have been a chauffeur, a chef, a nurse, a Chief Financial Officer, a secretary, a lawyer, a sales person (I have to work my sales magic on my husband to get things that I don’t need), and a maid for the past eighteen years.  Unfortunately, my experience at the Stevens Homestead LLC (Live Love Create) does not transfer into the “real” world. So, I had just about given hope of getting a job until I finish my BA and obtain my teaching credentials.

Regardless of the lack of interest in my mad skills and great personality, I bought a Power Suit–just in case someone decided that I was worthy enough to to talk to them. Funny how as it hung in my closet with the tags still on it, I had the urge to throw it out every time I needed something in far reaches of my wardrobe.  I kept meaning to get the pants hemmed, but after a while it seemed pointless.

My last job Interview was in 2003.  That’s right–it’s been 12 years! I was over the moon with joy when I was asked to come in for an interview–and terrified at the same time.  So, yesterday I Googled “Job Interview Question” and started practicing. I practiced in front of the mirror for two hours. I practiced sitting, standing, waiting, talking, and smiling. Seems lame, but as I became more comfortable being on “trial,” my confidence grew.  I printed out three copies of my Resume and references, put each one into a clear report cover, and then continued to memorize and practice my answers for another 2 hours.

After a rough night of tossing and turning as I tried to sleep, I got up early and started to prepare for my 1030am interview. by 0900 my hair was done and face was painted. It was time to put on the Power Suit. The pants were way too long! I realized then that I forgot to have the pants hemmed. I changed, ran down the stairs, grabbed the keys, and ran outside to the storage.  After about 2 minutes of rummaging I found my stash of New-Sew hem tape. I keep it around for quick fixes and projects like curtains (I used the tape on the brown drapes seen this post).  Thank God, I had just enough to hem my pants this morning!  I had the pants hemmed in less than 30 minutes! Once I was done hemming the pants, I got dressed and headed out the door.

Last Minute Hem Using Sew-Sew Hem Tape
Last Minute Hem Using Sew-Sew Hem Tape

I arrived 30 minutes early. I sat in the car and played Backgammon on my phone for 15 minutes.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s an old lady game–but in my defense, it was an old lady (my dad’s mother) who taught me how to play!

I walked in at 1015 and waited for my interview. I waited until 1050.

I’m not going to bore you with the details, but I will tell you that I ROCKED that interview!

He said “If I could hire you, I would, but I have to send my choices to HR and they will make the final decisions.”

Great–back to waiting for HR to decide if I am worthy.

It’s okay though, he said they are hiring 5 people, so my chances are good.

I am hoping to be one of the five new substitute teachers at the local elementary school. Stay tuned, I will let you all know in a couple of weeks whether or not I got the job.