France, funny stories

“Shut your whore mouth, GPS…”

The featured photo is just over the border into Germany, where the GPS tried to lead us through a place we couldn’t go…

Bill and I are now home from our four night jaunt to extreme eastern France. We had a really nice break. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, if not a bit chilly and windy. Although we have been to Alsace a bunch of times over the past several years, this was our first time in the Soufflenheim area, which is kind of different from the areas where we have been in the past. I chose a great little hotel/Michelin starred restaurant, and the French, as promised, were much less obnoxious about COVID rules than the Germans have been… although while we were gone, some of the rules in Germany were either scrapped or relaxed.

I’m looking forward to writing up our trip on the travel blog. That poor thing has been limping along for months, as we’ve stayed close to home since we went to Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria a few months ago. I think, though, since the weather is improving, the days are getting longer, and the rules are relaxing, I will be able to write better travel posts in the coming weeks. That is, of course, if Putin doesn’t decide to nuke the world.

So what’s up with the title of today’s post? I’ve decided that I hate the GPS. On the rare occasions when I drive, I don’t tend to use it. I don’t like hearing the pack a day smoking voice the GPS always seems to use. I don’t like how it gives a bunch of directions, muting my music or interrupting conversations. Bill, on the other hand, loves using the GPS. Ever since he used a Tom Tom for the first time, back in 2007, he has relied on the GPS to tell him where to go. Sometimes he’ll use that in place of his own common sense. Personally, I often want to tell the GPS where to go.

Yesterday, as we were enjoying the French countryside, the GPS came on as Alison Krauss was introducing a song on her live album. Suddenly, I blurted out, “Shut your whore mouth, GPS!”

Bill cracked up. He knows I hate the GPS. It’s frustrating to try to have a conversation with him while that thing is going. He eventually set it to give fewer directions, not that it helped especially much.

This morning, as we were coming back to Germany, we were in a deep conversation when, just over the border, we ran into an “Umleitung” (detour). As Bill turned right, because he had to turn right, the GPS said in her mournful voice, “Make a U-turn if possible.” But it wasn’t possible.

Inexplicably, Bill continued to follow the GPS’s directions, instead of the street signs, and wound up right back where he came from. I got more agitated as the GPS kept telling him what to do, and giving him bad advice, since the GPS isn’t hooked up to the Internet and can’t offer up-to-the-minute directions. Bill needs to buy a chip for the car for the GPS to be able to give real time directions.

After a few more complaints, I managed to get Bill to turn off the GPS. He was surprisingly reluctant, though. “How will we find our way back?” he asked.

I had to laugh at that, since Bill has been driving for longer than I have.

“What the hell did you do before GPS systems were available?” I asked.

“I got out the map.” he said.

“You got out the map for every trip? Even the ones on interstates or Autobahns, where there are plenty of road signs? You’ve never just used your intuition?” I asked.

Bill had to admit that he did used to do things that way. But the GPS makes it so much easier… just follow along to what the smokey voiced woman says, and you’ll get where you need to go! Except for when she doesn’t have all of the information and leads you astray! Sometimes the human mind is better for problem solving than an automated machine is, don’t you think? Most humans can see with their eyes what’s going on. Machines can’t. On the other hand, machines don’t have cultural mores, subjective standards, or other people’s opinions to influence them.

I have an unusually good sense of direction. I always have been pretty good at finding my way around. It may come from having an Air Force navigator as a father. Consequently, I would take it as a challenge to get around using the GPS as seldom as possible. I also don’t like to be told what to do, even though I do appreciate the GPS when we’re somewhere completely foreign to us. I guess that’s one of the ways in which Bill and I differ.

At some point, I’m going to need to get a new car. It’ll probably have a built in GPS system. But if I know myself, I won’t use it when I drive. I don’t like interruptions when I listen to music or when I’m having a conversation. And sometimes, it’s cool to get lost for awhile. I’ve found some really interesting things that way. Getting lost is a great way to learn your way around a place, as long as you have the time to spare. We do have the time today, as the dogs can’t be picked up until after 6:00pm.

I’m reminded of how, back when I was doing my first social work internship, I had to use my own sense of direction to find my way to clients’ houses. It’s a wonder I was able, if I were to listen to my sweet husband. But sometimes, he’s a little too quick to do what other people tell him to do. Including the GPS system… she really does need to shut her whore mouth! Especially when Alison Krauss is speaking (or singing).

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France, healthcare

Bonjour, France… it’s been too long!

We made it to France yesterday, after a somewhat interesting visit with our dentist in Stuttgart. He always gives me a hard time because I got very anxious when he had to pull one of my two baby teeth a few years ago. We ended up talking about how I have a hard time dealing with doctors, after he asked me if I had any issues with lupus. To my knowledge, I don’t have lupus, but I might have had it for years… I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010.

He asked, because I have an inflamed, red area in my mouth, just under my bottom teeth, that troubles him whenever I visit. He asks me about my health every time I see him. In the past, he’s asked me if I have Chron’s Disease. I’m pretty sure I don’t have that. But anyway, he pressed on the area yesterday and gave me a bruise. I told him a little about why I am so reluctant to go to doctors, and he told me that he, his brother, and their father are all prostate cancer survivors and “everything still works”. Wow… He is half German, half American, and in some ways, is very German.

I ended up looking up lupus and am alarmed that I might have some of the symptoms… which causes me to stress. But then I decided that I need to enjoy France, because it’s been two years since we were last here, and boy have I missed it. I mean, I had no idea how much I have missed France!

And while the town where we’re staying isn’t super exciting or special, unless you’re into Goethe, I did choose a lovely hotel with a restaurant that has a Michelin Star. We have been eating in grand style, too… This morning, we had an insane breakfast with the most delicious pastries I think I have ever had. And then for lunch, we had Moroccan food that left us pretty stuffed!

We did some shopping and walking around… I took lots of pictures. We’re really only about ten miles into France, but it feels like another world. The French are not nearly as anal retentive as the Germans are, so we’ve felt practically free. It’s awesome.

On the other hand, I already miss the dogs. This morning, we saw the most adorable beagle. He was so friendly and sweet and just wanted to talk to us. He even gave me an “arroo!” He reminded me of our sweet, departed Zane, who was super friendly and lovable. I still miss him every day. We also saw some super cute pygmy goats. I have missed the world… especially when it includes friendly animals.

I think tomorrow, we might head further afield to see what else we can see in these parts. I hope we can come back to France again soon and spend more time. I had forgotten how much I love this place.

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Ex, France

The seaglasshole is at it again…

Special thanks to my hilariously witty friend, Nicole, for inspiring today’s title. I’m going to try to keep this entry short and to the point, since we have a lot to do today, and I still need to get dressed. I’ve been sort of looking forward to and dreading today. It’s the first time I’m going out in “public” since, oh… about early January? I think the last time I left the neighborhood was January 5, when I got my COVID booster. It’s not that I’m afraid of the virus per se. I just find the rules confusing and annoying, so I opt to stay home.

Today, we’re going to go to the dentist’s office, all the way down in Stuttgart. We’ll get cleanings, then head into France for a few days. I don’t know what we’ll see or do, but I am hoping to have some fun, or at least take some new pictures. I think we can accomplish that.

Last night, Bill and I were hanging out, listening to music. I did a little snooping on Ex. It’s funny, because I didn’t used to voluntarily look for information about her. But now I kind of unabashedly follow her, because I know she’s done it to me… and because sometimes, she’s alternately entertaining and scary.

I gazed at her public Twitter account and noticed she had posted a fundraiser for herself— as in she posted it a minute before I saw it. Once again, she’s allegedly trying to raise money for her son, who is evidently afflicted with severe autism. She says she wants to erect a fence for her yard, and that she’s been unable to secure grants… so online crowdfunding is the only way she can pay for it. She’s also been clamoring for a certain kind of service dog for people who have autism. She has a specific breed in mind, though… one that isn’t typically used as a service dog.

After years of seaglasshole watching, I suspect that these pleas for money aren’t actually for her son. It’s my guess that she has bills to pay, and her shopping obsession has left her short of cash. So she’s counting on the kindness and generosity of strangers. She claims her son likes to run away, and due to his disabilities, doesn’t have a keen sense of danger. But he’s fifteen years old, and probably getting close to being fully grown. Does she really think a fence will contain him? And why didn’t she put one in ages ago?

Some of the stories I’ve heard about this situation are very alarming. Along with the tales Ex posts on her crowdfunding campaigns, she also incessantly posts about movie stars, and her fantasies involving them. Most of the time, they’re about money, but I think she’s also obsessed with fame. I remember when the older kids were younger, there was a lot of talk about trying to get them into the movie industry. But those ambitions were apparently overcome by events.

I’m sure it’s not easy taking care of a teenaged boy with severe autism, especially since she claims she has two other autistic children, one of whom is my husband’s estranged older daughter. Older daughter was not “diagnosed” until she was 21 years old. I’m sure that’s not uncommon in milder cases, although I do remember that older daughter was often described by Ex as “troublesome”. She used to call her the “Dragon Baby”. Given that, maybe people can see why I doubt her sincerity when she expresses love and concern for her youngest kid, who apparently needs much more help that she and older daughter can give him. I’m assuming #3 is still around, too, but she never posts about him.

Anyway… once again, I’m shaking my damned head… Leave it to me to fall in love with a man whose ex wife is batshit nuts. On the other hand, being married to a man with a nutty ex wife kind of makes me look a lot better than I might otherwise.

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France, true crime

All I want for Christmas is a new tire…

Bill and I made it from Nimes to a rest stop near Beaune, where we’re staying once again before we go back to Germany. Bill called our hosts to let them know we were on our way, and I went to the restroom. Somehow, while Bill was on the phone, some asswipe punctured our tire. As we were leaving, this guy pointed at the tire. When we kept going, the guy pointed again. Bill pulled into a parking spot and looked at the tire, which was indeed rapidly losing air. There was a hole in the sidewall.

As he fumed, I suggested that he call ADAC, which is the auto club we’re members of in Germany. They had us call 112 in France, which is their emergency number, and a guy came out to help us change the tire to the spare– the emergency “donut” tire. We were not approached by the “helpful” stranger, but I have read that these folks usually offer to help fix the tire or arrange for assistance, then rob their victims of their money and valuables. No doubt, the lowlife dickless criminal who put a hole in the tire noticed our German plates and figured he’d score because we’re “tourists”.

So far, all we’re out is some time and the cost of a new wheel. Because it was slashed in the sidewall, we’ll need to go to a tire store and replace the tire, which sucks, since the one that was damaged was just put on when the car was made over the summer. Fuck these immoral asswipes who can’t earn their money the honest way. I hope they get flat tires… and cancer of the prostate that causes them enormous pain, embarrassment, and an untimely death. Yes, I want them to suffer, and no, I don’t feel badly about it.

As Bill was pissing and moaning about the tire, I reminded him that this could have been worse. At least the weather was mild and it was sunny out… and tomorrow isn’t Sunday or a holiday, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the tire fixed. And at least no one was hurt… I’m not sure why someone would slash a tire at a rest stop, where there were many witnesses (although apparently none of them saw the bottom dwelling shithead doing his dirty deed). Usually, these guys slash the tires at stoplights before getting on a high speed highway. That way, the victim pulls over in an area where there aren’t so many people. We were at a stop that had a bunch of restaurants, a gas station, and lots of activity. Again… lucky, since we could have been at a place where there was no help.

Hopefully, he hasn’t followed us to our gite, because a car theft would be all we’d need…

Edited to add: Bill went to a tire store and they don’t have our size… so there is a good chance the car will have to be towed back to Germany and we’ll need to get a rental car. Seriously… fuck these people who slash tires so they can be criminals!

I know it’s a first world problem and it could be a lot worse… at least we have access to help and the ability to pay. But it still just sucks! I wish I could rewind 24 hours and not make the decision to stop at that rest stop. And I hope those who slash tires for fun and profit meet karma sooner rather than later.

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France

Bonjour to Beaune…

We’re in France, on our way south to Nimes to see an old friend of mine for the holidays. I have my laptop, but I don’t know how much writing will get done this week. I do have a topic in mind, though, and as soon as I get the WiFi password, I might get around to writing it tonight.

This might be a good time to read old posts…

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