karma, lessons learned, musings, narcissists

When “obsessed fans” are also obsessed with their own privacy…

Wednesday has arrived, and my nose has finally stopped acting like a faucet. So far– knock on wood– the skin under my nose isn’t completely destroyed. I’m a bit congested and tired. I slept for most of the afternoon yesterday, and then through the night, with one potty break. I ordered some tissues and ointment from Amazon, even though I live within walking distance of both a pharmacy and a grocery store. I threw in some mini Reese’s Cups to boost my morale, although maybe I should shop for a new Apple Watch. šŸ˜‰

I am experienced enough with life to know that I should hold off on being too optimistic. Maybe this will turn out to be a brief cold, though. I hope it will. The weather is positively glorious in Germany this time of year. Very soon, it will turn to shit for months on end. I would like to enjoy the last days of summer 2023.

Last night, just to pass the time, I went Googling and soon ended up on LinkedIn. I haven’t used LinkedIn in years, and actually thought I’d deleted my account. But no, I do still exist on that site, albeit with a very naked profile using my maiden name. I went on the site because I was curious about someone I met only once in person, but who, along with his late wife, has had a profound effect on me since we moved to Germany. I don’t think I’ve ever written about him, mainly because I only met him the one time. I wasn’t all that impressed by him on that day in late August 2014. He’s former tenant’s husband, a guy who gave Bill a fake name and basically lied to our faces about how “wonderful” the landlords were.

I found him on LinkedIn last night, and for the first time since 2014, saw his face in a photo. He’s leaving the Army and looking for work. I would imagine retiring is now a necessity, given that he has a couple of kids to raise on his own. The specialized work he did required a lot of dangerous, classified travel to exotic lands. I took a look at his profile and passed it on to Bill, who basically deciphered it for me. Some of the words he was using were code for certain activities in the military… things that civilians wouldn’t necessarily understand at first glance, but Army folks know very well.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, in spite of my curiosity. Seeing that guy’s profile just made me feel icky. I do wonder, though… I think it’s only natural.

Ever since I found out that former tenant died by her own hand last year, I’ve been left with all kinds of questions. I’m sure a lot of people might think that’s weird, or I’m just being nosy. I guess that’s a fair enough assessment. On the other hand, since she left me with this weird legacy, I figured I’m owed a little wonder. Thanks to her, I went through some pretty significant psychological trauma. Yet, I barely knew her. She knew– or thought she knew— a lot more about me than I did about her.

The only reason I even know about former tenant’s death, or have any questions about her whatsoever, is because for the four years we lived in our ex landlady’s house, she was monitoring my blogs. She had led me to believe she liked my travel blog, but she’d also found her way to my main blog, and she regularly took issue on the rare occasions that I wrote anything about ex landlady or the absolute psychological shitshow our time in that house eventually became. Former tenant would leave me blog comments, then delete them. Later, she unabashedly wrote that ex landlady’s daughter was also reading my blogs, as she chastised me for my content. In her last missive to me, she insinuated that I was “unhinged”. And yet, here I am still among the living, with no young children mourning my absence in their lives.

She shamed me over some fiction I’d written, but not yet had the chance to develop. She thought I was going to “trash” the family… who, frankly, totally would have deserved it. But, for the record, that wasn’t my plan at all. It was a fiction piece— yes, based on people I know, but most of the people who read this blog don’t even know me online, let alone off. And the story itself was a complete and obvious fabrication. Aside from that, she presumed I was writing about the ex landlady’s daughter; a woman I have never met in person, and whose first name I never even knew, until former tenant mentioned it in her final message. Ex landlady had never deigned to introduce me to her daughters. I guess she didn’t want me influencing them. šŸ˜‰

Just because I’ve written snarky stories in the past, that doesn’t mean I ALWAYS write snarky stories. Moreover, the piece I’d started writing was barely developed. There was no outline to the story. It was maybe a page or two, with no significant plot development. I didn’t even know what the plot was, myself. It also never entered my mind that my actions in late 2018– in my new home– were of any concern whatsoever to a woman I had met one or two times in 2014. If I wasn’t “unhinged” at that point, I sure started to feel that way in February 2019, when it felt like I still had a “bug” in my home.

All the while, former tenant would stress how important her “privacy” was. She used different names for every comment, most of which she later deleted. She apparently assumed a lot about me, and what kind of person I am, simply by reading and judging my blog entries. I think she also wildly underestimated my intelligence, as it soon became obvious.

When former tenant was still living, I didn’t stalk her online. I didn’t so much as look her or her husband up on Google. I tried to be respectful of her privacy, even as she clearly had contempt for mine. I tolerated her complaints and even edited for her at least once or twice. Meanwhile, she must have been assuming I am a complete lunatic. I wouldn’t mind that so much if she’d kept it to just thinking I was crazy. Lots of people who don’t actually know me have thought that about me, over the years. But she was, apparently, sharing her thoughts about me with the landlady, and then later boldly admitting it to me, as she shamed me for having the nerve to be pissed. Somehow, this was all supposed to be my fault.

It all came to a head in February 2019, when I read that final private message from former tenant about how cruel and hurtful I was to her “friends”, and demanding to know what they had done to deserve such “mean” treatment from me. The reality is, they were the ones who were cruel to me. All I ever really wanted was to be left alone. You don’t have to like me, or even respect how I live my life. Just leave me alone. Otherwise, yes… I may be inspired to write about you in an ambiguous way. The difference is, you don’t have to read what I write. It’s a conscious choice– one that is usually brought about by being a nosy busybody with a complete lack of respect for boundaries.

Folks… the reality is, I didn’t actually write that much about ex landlady. I vented a couple of times toward the end of our tenancy, mainly because she was driving me crazy. She kept accusing me of doing things I didn’t do, yelling at me in my own home, and treating me like a five year old. She’d complain about ridiculous things, like a clump of dog hair in a doorway, declaring it “filth”. She’d show up unannounced when I wasn’t prepared to receive her, then look at me with disdain when I wasn’t dressed properly. She was extremely rude to Bill, and when we moved out, she tried to rip off our deposit as she declared us the worst tenants she’d ever had. She refused to negotiate over anything, and then threatened us when we had a lawyer write to her, reminding her of German law. She also falsely accused us of theft. And all of this was happening as we were losing our beloved Zane, one of the beagles who kept me sane when I lived in that house.

Meanwhile, former tenant got a pass, because they were “friends”, even though I know very well that at least some of the stuff ex landlady was complaining about were things that happened when she and her husband lived in the house. Fortunately, I DID have those blogs, which served as a record of events, since ex landlady never did a proper check in or check out between us. I also had photos and a few comments from former tenant that helped us prove our case when we later successfully sued ex landlady. So, we were vindicated in the end, although it still left me fuming at the violation and the gall they all had. It could have so easily gone the other way, with us stuck with the bill for upgrading ex landlady’s rental house and looking guilty.

Bill and I have had a few less than stellar renting experiences, but we have NEVER been treated with the level of disrespect and unfairness as we were when we left our last house. And never before did I have someone affiliated with a landlord or landlady monitoring and reporting on my blogs. Especially not someone who simultaneously demanded privacy for herself.

I’m pretty sure former tenant had people in her family monitoring my blogs, too. I could tell by hits I was getting from certain parts of the country, which stopped when the case was settled. I imagine she told her family and friends that I was some sort of mad blogger, trying to ruin people’s lives. That’s not true at all. I just enjoy writing, and I write about things that affect me. It’s sort of my vocation. She made me out to be some kind of crazy person, when all we were doing is asserting our rights to be treated fairly under German law. I’m sure to those people, Bill and I are just crooks who ripped off a kindly elderly couple in Germany. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I’ll probably never meet those people, anyway. It still smarts a bit, though… because former tenant accused ME of spreading lies, when the opposite was true.

I tried really hard to block former tenant from my mind, but it was hard. The lawsuit took about 18 months to settle, mainly due to COVID. By then, it was around August 2021, months after we reached an agreement– our lawyer had to send former landlady another letter demanding payment, because after she agreed to settle, she never bothered to pay. Hopefully, the lawyer charged her for that letter, too. Former landlady finally sent the money to the lawyer, who then forwarded it to us. Pure contempt, straight to the end!

Once all that awful stuff was finally over, I tried to put it behind me, even though it was pretty infuriating and left me feeling violated on many levels. For three years, I had former tenant blocked on Facebook, and never so much as did an online search of her name. But then in late May last year, Bill told me something that made me curious. Since former tenant had worked for the same company Bill did, he noticed when she was no longer on the roster of employees. He also didn’t see her working for the government.

I decided to search her name on Google, just to see where she was. That’s when I found several detailed obituaries for her in at least two states, as well as a couple of memorial services on YouTube. She’d committed suicide several months earlier. So much for her privacy. She left behind her husband and two sons, as well as a host of family and friends who obviously loved and missed her, and grieved her decision to end her own life.

Here I am, years later, still ruminating on this. I think it’s because it’s September, and that was the month we moved into that house. I remember thinking from the get go that we may be in for a difficult time, but I was so glad to be back in Germany and settled somewhere. The summer of 2014 had been absolutely terrible for us. So I was just glad to be in a home, even if the former landlady had seemed obsessed with monitoring us and was very untrusting. Never did I ever conceive of being in the situation we found ourselves in a few years later.

As a person who likes to read and write stories, maybe some people can understand why this situation is still in my head. It reminds me of a Lifetime movie. All we wanted was a place to live. We ended up with a situation that I could probably turn into a made for TV movie screenplay, if I was so inclined… and maybe if it was the 90s, and people still watched such things on TV.

Sigh… well, at least it’s Wednesday, which means it’s a light chore day. Maybe I’ll find another diversion. I started reading a new book, which promises to be interesting and fun to review. And there’s always trashy TV. That might cause me less trouble than writing blog posts. šŸ˜‰

Anyway… as my literature loving husband, Bill, likes to say, “Murder will out…” Or, maybe in this case, “Self-murder will out.”

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Duggars, ethics, law, musings

“If you want the rainbow, you’re going to have to put up with a lot of rain…”

Yesterday, I got the news that after last year’s sad miscarriage, Jill Dillard and her husband, Derick, are expecting another baby. The blessed event is set to happen in July. The happy news was announced on their official Web site. It looks they’re going to get their “rainbow baby”. In the pictures on their Web site, Jill looks radiant. Her bump is already pretty pronounced, at about halfway through her pregnancy.

I must say, Jill looks very beautiful these days. I’m happy for her, and I hope her pregnancy goes well. I also hope she doesn’t attempt another home birth, but I think she’s smart enough not to try that again. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against home births as a general rule. It’s just more that Jill’s first two pregnancies were pretty dramatic at the end, and she ended up having to go to the hospital on an emergency basis. It would not be smart for her to try to birth at home again, given her history.

I still don’t necessarily approve of the transphobic and homophobic comments Derick Dillard made a few years ago. I think part of that was an attempt to cause problems for the Duggar empire, since Derick was allegedly angry with Boob for not paying them for their work. However, knowing how religious Derick supposedly is, I also suspect that he really believes most of the awful stuff he said and wrote about Jazz Jennings. On the other hand, I respect Derick for not putting up with Jim Bob’s bullshit and for, evidently, being a good husband to Jill… and not forcing her to continue to live by Boob’s ridiculous fundie Christian rules.

Today’s post title comes from a little wisdom I picked up after watching Dawson’s Creek back in the late 90s. I was in my mid 20s at the time, living with my parents, and trying to get my shit together after my time in Armenia. It was during that time that the WB network still existed, and I got hooked on 7th Heaven and Dawson’s Creek. It amazes me to think of how long ago that was. The years have flown by so fast!

Anyway, I remember that the character, Jen, played by the amazing Michelle Williams (who does a mean Gwen Verdon impression), had a grandmother who regularly dispensed trite advice. I really only watched Dawson’s Creek during the first season. I was pretty busy at that time of my life, and didn’t have much time for TV. But I do remember the episode that quote came from… as “Grams” was talking to Dawson and said her comatose husband used to say that “If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with a lot of rain.” And then she said to Dawson, “From what I’ve seen of you so far, you better buy yourself a good umbrella.” Sage words indeed, Grams. Hopefully, Derick and Jill and their sons will have a healthy new family member this summer. I also hope Derick has a good job, especially since TLC presumably won’t be there to film the birth.

Tomorrow, Bill and I will be going to Stuttgart to see our dentist. I look forward to being done with that little pesky chore. Afterwards, we will drive just over the border into France and spend the weekend. The dogs will be at the Hunde Pension. Hopefully, they’ll be okay for four nights. I suspect Arran will be annoyed at having to stay there. He’d rather come with us. If it was just him, maybe we would bring him, although he doesn’t do so well by himself and we’re going to dine out. Noyzi takes up the entire back end of our Volvo, so it’s not so practical to travel with him. He loves trips, though.

I’m looking forward to getting out of here for a brief respite, especially since we’re going to France. We haven’t gone anywhere in months. The weather has vastly improved, too. It’s still a little windy and chilly, but the sun has been out a lot. The days are getting longer. Pretty soon, it’ll be time to reconnect the lawnmower and haul the outdoor furniture up from the basement, so we can sit outside.

Although there’s a conflict going on in Ukraine, and it’s very troubling and scary, I can’t help but feel somewhat hopeful and optimistic. I’m not sure why I feel this way. I should be more scared, I guess… but I think the past two years have tapped me out on being scared.

I was sitting in my bedroom yesterday, thinking about how totally awry my life has gone. I mean, I’m very comfortable, but all of the things I planned for myself kind of went out the window. But then, I couldn’t have foreseen all that has happened over the past twenty years or so. Things that were so important back then, don’t really amount to much today. And now that Putin is talking about nukes, maybe it won’t matter at all before too long. So I feel like I just want to enjoy things for now, for as long as I can. Getting too upset about stuff I can’t control is a waste of time and energy.

I did get a little triggered last night, though. I happened across a Reddit Ridiculousness post about a person who accidentally damaged a “friend’s” laptop and offered to pay for a brand new one. The friend with the damaged computer then demanded an extra $500, because she wanted to upgrade… Can you imagine the balls on that bitch? Have a look.

That post was very satisfying to read. The ending was perfect. I can’t abide people who have the stones to try to get over in such a way. I can’t even imagine having the nerve to demand that someone buy me a brand new, upgraded laptop computer, when I negligently put the computer on a surface where people sit down. Good for that judge for holding the computer owner responsible for her own stupidity and carelessness. She probably did that on purpose, hoping to scam someone into buying her a new computer. I’m glad the really kind original poster did not give in to the extortionate demands of the thieving computer bitch. Good on her for letting the bitch sue her, and then allowing the judge to hand the bitch her ass. Serves her right.

As I read that post last night, I was reminded of our ex landlady’s attempt to force us to buy her a brand new awning. I’ve written about that sordid affair a few times and you can read most of long version of the whole awful tale here. The short version is, I had asked the former landlady to have the awning repaired, because it was leaning very low and looked like it was going to fall. She had her husband do the job instead of hiring a professional.

One really hot day, the wind was high, and the heavy awning finally collapsed. I wasn’t outside when it fell, and I couldn’t predict the wind, so ex landlady immediately accused me of being “negligent”, completely ignoring that it was her responsibility to have the thing fixed. She was VERY lucky no one was hurt or killed that day. But she focused on the fact that I wasn’t sitting under the awning when it fell. She claimed that it had been a “stormy” day. If you click the link to my first post about this, you can see that the weather was sunny that day– at least when the awning initially fell. It did storm later, but that happened after the great collapse. In the photos I took right after the awning fell, it’s clearly bright and sunny, with no signs of rain.

The insurance settlement she got from our liability policy was only 300 euros. That wasn’t enough money for her, even though the awning was 17 years old and she hadn’t had it properly repaired. A little over a year later, when we moved out, she came up with a bullshit list of reasons to withhold our security deposit. She wanted 2800 euros to buy a brand new awning. I guarantee you, though, that if the situation had been reversed, and we were the landlords, there is no way in HELL she would have paid for a new awning. I think she knows damned well that’s not how insurance works. She was trying to take advantage of my husband’s good nature, and apparently thought we were both weak and stupid people. I strongly suspect that she’s done this before, to other people… and especially other tenants. In retrospect, we should have held her completely responsible from the beginning, and refused to file an insurance claim, given that she didn’t have a professional fix the awning.

When Bill pushed back and asked ex landlady for a list of bills proving that she’d spent 2500 euros of our deposit to fix the house, as well as proof that we were responsible for the damage, she got really nasty, insulting, and unprofessional. She sent a few bills, including a couple for things that weren’t our responsibility, but were just intended to make us feel guilty for how much money she was spending (on anal retentive things like washing the roof of the carport). She grudgingly gave back about 666 euros or so, out of 3200, and flat out REFUSED to give us more. She falsely accused us of theft, and completely ignored that she did some things very wrong as landlady, as she demanded perfection from us. It was pretty clear to me, at least, that she was determined to take our money, no matter what. So Bill sued her. It took a long time, thanks to COVID-19, but in the end, she had to pay us back 73 percent of what she illegally withheld, and she had to pay our lawyer, her lawyer, and court fees.

In the end, she probably spent over twice what she tried to rip off. She also got off easy, because she didn’t follow several proper landlord procedures, according to German law. If we had been very stubborn, vindictive people, we could have nailed her for a lot more money. But we just wanted to hold her accountable, because we suspect she has a habit of ripping people off. There’s a reason why she prefers American tenants. We wanted proof of her shady practices, so we could provide it to the military installation and have a prayer of sparing other Americans from having to deal with her. Moreover, I was on the receiving end of her verbal abuse for four years, and I figured she had it coming. In spite of that sweet victory, I’m still really pissed off at her. I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. I can’t abide narcissistic, abusive people, especially when they fuck with my husband.

Now, of course, we have a much better landlord, and a better house. And, for now, thanks to Putin, Bill has job security. Or, so it seems… I sometimes worry about the future, and where we’ll end up. I try to take steps to make sure we have an “umbrella” prepared for the rainstorms… and hope we’ll see rainbows. So far, we generally do get treated to better times when there are “storms”. But I know that’s now how life always works. I am a bit worried about the world’s problems… but I’m also looking forward to better times. Or, at least a time when problems will be beyond me, because I won’t be around for them. I have always been comforted by the idea that someday I’ll be dead, and I won’t have to care about anything anymore.

I don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing over the next few days. I’ll bring my laptop, making sure not to put it on a couch to be sat upon. But I hope we’ll have the chance to see a lot of stuff, eat some good French food, and enjoy the world a little bit more than we have been lately.

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scams

No way, Jose!

Today’s post may be too racy for some readers. If you don’t like sex talk, move along to your next station.

About a year ago, I got a scammy email in my Gmail account claiming that the sender had one of my passwords and video evidence of me doing “naughty things” on camera. The sender wanted me to send $4000 worth of Bitcoin to keep him (or her) from sharing said non-existent videos with my loved ones. I posted about it on my old blog, mainly because it was the first time I’d ever seen a threatening email that used an old password of mine. The first time I read the email, I was half asleep. At first, I was really alarmed and unnerved by it, but then I was amused.

Yes, it was true that the idiot had one of my passwords, but it’s a very old one that I don’t use on any of my current accounts, and haven’t used at all in many years. Basically, the dumbass who spammed me with this threatening email was hoping to shock me into paying a lot of money because s/he claimed to have videos of me masturbating.

I won’t deny that sometimes I do masturbate. Most people do, and 99% of those who don’t are either lying or extremely boring, sexually repressed people who need to get a life. There’s no shame in it. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have. If you honestly don’t masturbate, I truly feel sorry for you. That must be a frustrating way to live. You probably play a lot of basketball or run a lot of laps. Or, at least you might if you’re a member of a certain religious persuasion.

My friend Lori shared this today, so I had to update the post with this… it fits.

I don’t care that people know that I masturbate. However, I know for a fact that no one has any videos of me doing that… and even if they did, I don’t think I’d care if they watched them. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the way I do about this subject, so people have been scammed. I closed my old blog, but in the interest of public safety, here are screenshots of that post.

So now, here it is, just over a year later. I got a similar post from someone calling himself “Jose”. He makes the same claims “Elton” does, but with a lot less finesse. Jose is not a particularly coherent English speaker/writer. Behold…

Friends, relatives, and “colleagues” (of which I have none anymore), if you get a video of me masturbating, I hope you enjoy it. Frankly, I’d rather read dirty stories than watch boring videos of people shagging themselves or each other. That’s not what turns me on. I like how “he” leaves me with the gentle advice to be more careful and visit secure sites. Yeah… thanks for that, you vile criminal.

Listen… I don’t care if you have videos of me jerking off. I suspect they would bore most people. I’m just not very sexy. I think it’s hilarious that someone would spam me with this, too… they don’t know me at all, do they? Just like a lot of the people who read my blogs and assume they know me.

No way, Jose. I’m not falling for your “Bit”. Go find another sucker. You don’t even know my name, anyway. It’s true that many people have taken the bait and fallen for this trick. I was not among them last year, and I won’t be today, either. So buzz off, Jose.

In other news… it’s August first, which means I survived July. July is historically a horrible month for me most years, so I’m feeling pretty good that we got through it. Of course, that doesn’t mean August won’t be awful, but at least we’ll be on vacation for part of it. And, with any luck, the vacation won’t result in my getting sick… or one of the dogs getting sick… or Bill getting sick. I love Scotland, but every time I go there, someone gets sick. Knocking on wood that this time, it will go off without a hitch.

Speaking of scams… today also marks what would have been Bill’s 29th wedding anniversary to his ex wife, who did all she could to rip him off while she had the chance. I usually forget about this day, but Bill reminds me. Today, I reminded him. He looked sheepish and said he’d like to forget about it, but I reminded him that if he hadn’t gone through his time with Ex, maybe he wouldn’t have ended up where he is now. Where he is now isn’t a bad place at all…

As for me, 29 years ago, I was preparing to begin my freshman year at Longwood University. I wasn’t all that excited to go there, but it turned out to be a great choice for me. I still have many great friends from those years. In fact, one friend from Longwood pointed out that we’ve had a running joke about a short story by Stephen Crane since 1991. Everyone else who sees me write “I ain’t got a gun on me, Scratchy”, will think we’re joking about The Simpsons. But, in fact, we are joking about “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”. Of course, we probably thought “Scratchy Wilson” was funny because of The Simpsons, which was very hot TV back in those days… not that I ever watched it much.

Anyway… August 1st is another day of infamy that isn’t so bad now… Here’s hoping your August is scam free and fun. And Jose manages to go fuck himself with his threats of indecent exposure.

Edited to add: Bill wonders why I would pay Jose $600 in Bitcoin when I could obviously sell that video on the Internet and make mucho dinero…

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Uncategorized

Insurance… not a four letter word.

So, when last I wrote about our landlady’s shenanigans, I explained that she sent us extra bills for stuff she paid for, in order to make a case for how much she’s spent on fixing up her house. I am sure she meant to make us sympathetic to her plight, but all it did was really piss me off. I found it a very bold and manipulative move. I am not one to tolerate emotional abuse or blatant manipulation from anyone, especially hostile, passive aggressive landladies.

Anyway, Bill called Stuttgart’s housing office, who referred him to a mediator. The mediator wasn’t in, so he called our legal insurance company. He spoke to a very nice English speaking representative who told him the following:

She confirmed that the landlady cannot keep the money for the plumbing bills because the statute of limitations ended in December 2018. As for the rest, we can ask for almost all of it back. She recommended we let her have the money for the trash (Iā€™m okay with that).

Way ahead. I will send the landlady a letter asking for the Kaution back in May (she can keep it for six months). If she refuses, then I can call the insurance company back and they will set us up with a lawyer here in Wiesbaden who will send her a formal letter in German. 

Bill

I would not want to be with the landlady when she gets Bill’s letter. I suspect she’s going to shit a brick. I doubt she’ll surrender the money easily. We may very well have to involve a real lawyer, who will write her a letter and potentially take her to court. I hope it doesn’t go that far, but at this point, it doesn’t look like her bullshit is going to stand.

Frankly, even if she does surrender the money without a fight, I want her to be reported to the housing office. If she tries this with people who lived in her house for four years and are still in Germany, imagine what she’ll do to people who aren’t there that long, don’t know about insurance or the tenant’s union, and have to leave Germany. She won’t hesitate to screw them over, especially if she doesn’t like them.

I really do want to move on with my life, but it’s gratifying to know that we don’t have to stand for this. And as yucky as this situation is, it does make me glad we’re in Germany, where people can get affordable legal insurance. In America, this might be a bigger and more expensive pain in the ass to settle.

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