From hotel to home…

This very long entry journals the process of our family getting from the hotel in Wiesbaden to our new apartment.

Before I left the states I emailed the Assistant Housing Manager of Wiesbaden Army Air Field (where we are stationed).She was able to tell me that they had several units open that we qualified for and no one with 4 kids, at the time, was scheduled to come here.We arrived here on the day before Thanksgiving, which meant we were not going to be able to go to housing until after the 4-day weekend. Matt headed to work bright and early on Monday and began in-processing, to include a trip to housing.Because we didn’t have one piece of paper (a statement of pregnancy) they had to put us on the list for a 4 bedroom unit.No worries.The next day I was off to run a few errands, to include a stop at the Clinic to get that ever-so-handy piece of paper that would give us an additional bedroom.Since we don’t have a car, our Sponsor brought Matt back after he finished what he was doing, arriving around 3 pm.This would be PLENTY of time to get the piece of paper signed and over to Housing by 4 pm.The lady who was responsible for getting the paper generated did a more than thorough job and explained so much to me.Quite helpful information, but I missed getting to housing by 5 minutes.I had Matt take the paper over the next day (Wednesday) and they put us on the list for a 5 br.As far as giving us an estimated wait time, all they would tell Matt was that there were several empty but they were on hold, needing something else done to the before they were going to be made available.At this point we had been in the hotel one week.Not that a week was a long time, but after having been in hotels for the past month, we were pretty anxious to be home.That night I had a girls’ night out with a new friend, Heather, whom I had met at the PX.(On our 3rd day here in Germany I noticed a lady nursing a baby and she was using one of those fancy nursing covers I’ve heard about.I wanted to ask if she thought it was worth the price, so I asked.Well, we’ve become fast friends and she’s been invaluable to me since that meeting!)During our dinner at Vapiano’s Heather, and another hotel guest, Katy suggested I stay on top of the housing office because Katy had already been in the hotel almost 4 weeks.I decided to be proactive, so Thursday morning I packed my boys up and we rode the bus to the Airfield.I walked in and immediately was introduced to “G” who checked the list again.I had a few questions about the houses we could get into and sat there leisurely asking my questions while the boys sat in the hallway coloring.After hearing the same thing, that there were houses empty but still on hold waiting something like painting, cleaning, etc. I informed “G” that I’d be back on Monday to see.Her first comment was, “No, that won’t be possible.”I thought maybe Housing was going to be closed or something so innocently, I asked why?She got a bit flustered and I said that I didn’t mind coming back out to check.We stumbled over a few sentences, and I don’t really remember what she said but basically, she was trying to get across the idea that nothing was going to change between then and Monday so there was no use even coming back.After this strange exchange of jibberish, she said “Hang on.”She reached over and placed a phone call.She told the person on the other end of the line that she had a mother in her office with three sons, one on the way.That we were still in the hotel and that the houses that we qualified for were on Hold status.She asked if she could find out what exactly they were waiting to be completed before releasing the houses for availability.I sat there hardly breathing, trying to keep my composure.The boys were getting restless at this point so we started a game of, “I SPY.”I was trying so hard to act interested in that silly game while hearing what I could of the conversation on the phone.After she hung up she said that the person who was in charge of the contractors, the same person who had the keys to all the houses we were qualified for, was out to lunch.She’d be back in 2 hours.I said, “I’ll be back here in 2 hours and we’ll call again.”“G” didn’t seem to mind that, so I headed to the clinic to get my OB appointment scheduled and a prescription refilled.Waiting those 2 hours was difficult, but we managed.When we returned, we found that “G” was missing.I about had a heart attack, but her desk-neighbor, “S,” was willing to help.She said that she knew “G” had called but that the houses were still on hold.She decided to get into the system, as I looked pretty comfy in her chair and the boys were back to their coloring.As she pulled up the screen she noticed that the statuses had changed for two of the units.(Air from the room was sucked out by a preggo lady trying not to get her hopes up.)I tried to breathe normally as I realized that there was a chance we were going to be moving into a house within the next couple of weeks!The only catch was that Matt was taking his driving test and not able to sign the paperwork.She let me do that, and told me that I needed to get the keys.The next catch was that we didn’t have a car and the keys had to be picked up within 30 minutes, as the lady with the keys was leaving for the day.No worries… “S” found someone willing to drive me over there.As we were walking to the car, the kind gentleman realized I was not alone.That I had 3 kids in tow.He was either worried about his car or their safety, as I didn’t have their booster seats…most likely the former which doesn’t bother me at all!He decided he’d run over to get the keys and meet me at the Food Court in a few minutes.He returned and handed me the keys to two apartments that I got to take my choice of.I was speechless, which is pretty much a rare occurrence.Eventually I found my voice, well, my fingers, and typed that as my Facebook status.We had to have the keys returned by 4 pm, as all Civilian offices close at 4 (that may be a sarcastic remark…not sure).We were hungry and the bus back to the housing area where these two apartments were located wasn’t due to arrive for 30 minutes.I got the boys settled with pizza from Anthony’s and ordered a steak and cheese from some strange place that severely pales in comparison to Charley’s Steakery.(We have one of those at Mainz-Kastel, but not at the Airfield.)I determined that if Matt didn’t finish his test in time that the boys and I were leaving for the house without him, as we needed to get to the house and back by 4.Fortunately, Matt finished (and passed) his test in time and we were off as a family to see our possible new home.Before we loaded the bus I bought a box of 9 Cinnabon’s fresh out of the oven and dropped it off at the housing office.My new friends were out to lunch but the lady at the front desk said she’d give it to them when they returned.The address was 29 Merkurstrasse 1.We had never had to read a German address before and so we tried our keys on 2 houses before we got to the right one.Fortunately, either the incorrect houses were under construction or the tenants weren’t home.When we saw our house it looked better than the two we had mistaken for ours, which was good, but we still had no idea what the inside looked like.We tried the key and for the first time, the lock turned!We were in!I really wanted to be on the bottom floor, so that’s the one we tried first, as the other option was in the same building, one floor up.We walked in and were absolutely amazed at the sight.Our house is huge.Bigger, even, than our house in Colorado!We had expected to gain a room and lose a few hundred square feet.We actually gained several hundred square feet!The kitchen is 3X the size of my CO one, my dining room is over 2X the size, and my living room is at least 3X the size.The boys’ rooms are average size and ours is pretty big!We don’t have 3 bathrooms but you won’t hear me complain!Just two to swish-and-swipe every night!We were thrilled and didn’t want to leave.I let Matt go explore the basement, which turned out to be huge, as well!What had originally served 4 families is now shared by two.We have the space under half our building, and the apartment above will have the other half.There are 220v outlets inside the basement so I’ll be able to put a chest freezer down there.PUMPED about that!Matt also ran upstairs to make sure that apartment was the same and didn’t have something we would really rather have than the 1st floor apartment.They are identical, so we decided we’d take the lower level.This particular house was originally a 4-unit building and they’ve converted it into a 2-unit building, and for now, we’re the only family in the entire building.We look forward to when another large family moves in above us and are praying for good friends for the boys.

(This picture shows 2/3rds of our house. The far left balcony is our living room, the two windows to the right are our bedroom, and you can see the balcony that stretches the rest of the way to the right side of the building in the edge of the picture. In that balcony are windows for our bathroom and Hayden’s room).

We got on the bus back to the Airfield where we reluctantly turned in the key.We accepted the lower one and declined the upper level one.Matt could come in at 8:00 am and get them for real!Less than 24 hours after I made my first appearance in front of “G” we had keys and full access to our house!God really paved a way for us and we were thrilled!

Friday morning came and I couldn’t sleep past 5 am!SO excited to know that I had spent my last night in a hotel for a while!It was a crazy day, with Matt at work for the first couple of hours, my first OB appointment at 10:00, housing inspector at 2:00, Matt was going to purchase a car at 2:30.Our sponsor took me to the apt just for me to find out that I didn’t have the one sheet of paper I needed.I rescheduled and he had to turn around to get me back.He dropped me off at the PX so I could purchase a few things.He finished getting the boys and Matt, as well as the last of our belongings, over to the house before coming to back for me.I picked up $40 worth of Burger King (gag) and we had our first meal in our house.As of yet, I haven’t mentioned that housing put a kitchen table, 6 chairs, a living room set, and 5 beds in the house so we would be able to get by until our goods come.So we ate lunch with our Sponsor in our new dining room on borrowed furniture.And it was grand!

Matt left after a while to buy the car only to call me later saying that the deal fell through.We prayed for wisdom and discernment and we both feel a peace about not having made that purchase.While riding the bus is getting old, it is doable and sufficient during the week.And God has provided me with a friend, the previously mentioned Heather, who took me to my rescheduled OB appointment.

So there is our journey from hotel to home!More to come as I find the time to write!

(This is a 3-minute walk-through video of our house as we saw it the first time we saw it. We moved in less than 24 hours later.)



About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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19 Responses to From hotel to home…

  1. Pingback: Germany – Overseas- Tour | military duty stations blog

  2. Chasity says:

    Love your house in Germany! We had one of those yucky unrenovated 2 bdrms on the top floor. It was like 152 steps to my apartment. That was eons ago when I was preggers with our first child who is going to be 17 this year. You have a handome brood of boys! I loved your story and your video.

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, sorry you had a less-than-appealing home while here. We were SO surprised when we first saw this place. Apparently, in Wiesbaden it pays to have 4 kids! 🙂

  3. Crystal Stranton says:

    Hi, my husband found your blog off of one of the FB pages. We should be PCS’ing to Wiesbaden in January. It was nice to see the tour of the housing. I am really hoping we are able to get on-post housing! We have 1 year old twins, so we would only be eligible for a 3 bedroom. Hope your experience there is going well! We are looking forward to starting ours!

    • Jennifer says:

      We are really enjoying our time here. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I know how many questions I had when I found out we were coming here!

      • Crystal Stranton says:

        Thank you! One question I do have is about on post housing. My husband is a Captain & we’ve heard that right now all officers are being made to live off post & they are keeping on post housing for E-6 & below. Do you happen to know how much truth there is to that? I’d really like to live on post.

      • Jennifer says:

        I do believe that this is a good website with the rules: I found it on the Americans in Wiesbaden FB page. Is that where your husband found me? That particular website has been FULL of information.

        But to answer you question quickly, paraphrasing:
        2a) All Key and Essential personnel will live in housing.
        4) E7 and above will only live in housing only if a unit is available that matches that rank.

        One thing. When you get here, stay on the housing people like white on rice. I wrote about this here:

        “Do you know how long the wait list is for housing?” Of course, this answer is for Wiesbaden specifically, but my advice applies. Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil?’ Squeak. And by “squeak,” I mean, SQUEAK!!!! Here’s my story . But for a short version, we arrived on a Wednesday. The next day was Thanksgiving so we weren’t able to do any “squeaking” until Monday. Matt went in and started the in-processing. By Thursday I was tired of living in a hotel with 3 boys and 20-some weeks pregnant. I went in to the housing office and sat down. After much polite but assertive squeaking we were told to come get our keys the next day. And that was after being told a few times that day that there was just nothing available. Squeak.

      • Crystal Stranton says:

        Thanks so much! Yes,the Americans in Wiesbaden FB page is where he found you. We have both joined it now. There seems to be a lot of great info on there as well. There is just so much we need to know to get ready for this move it’s starting to feel a little overwhelming! But I know it’ll all come together! Thanks again for your help!

  4. Kerri says:

    I am so excited to find your page! We will be coming to Wiesbaden in March, and I’m excited to learn all you can tell me! lol And you have a beautiful family!

    • Jennifer says:

      Kerri, nice to “meet” you! Glad you found my page. I really love Wiesbaden and I believe you are going to love it as well. Please feel free to ask questions… I remember all the ones I had before I came. If I don’t have the answer I’ll make something up that sounds good. No, just kidding. I’ll ask around and do my best to find out what you need to know. ~Jennifer

      • Kerri says:

        Thank you! For now, most of my minor questions have been answered through internet searches or by asking questions to a friend who just PCSed to KMC. But I think my biggest concern was about housing, and after watching your video, it put my mind to rest! I do wonder, though, if units with less bedrooms (because we have 2 kids, so we only need a 3 BR) have the same amenities, such as 2 bathrooms and a laundry room? Thanks again for your offer of answers; I’m sure I’ll have a few every now and then!

      • Jennifer says:

        As far ask I know all the renovated apartments have a laundry room within the apartment. I can ask around, as well. Regarding the bathrooms, I have no idea. If you haven’t found the “American’s in Wiesbaden” Facebook page, it is FULL of helpful information and some really nice people. Any time you ask a question, someone answers. Someone may have already answered the bathroom question.

  5. Pingback: Squeaking and other big accomplishments « onlypassionatecuriosity

  6. K. Demonstranti says:

    Hi, we are moving to Wiesbaden the first week in May and I was wondering if the apartments on Aukumm are nicer, or which housing area seems to have more renovated apartments. We would be in a 4 bedroom. It is nice to see a renovated apartment.

    • Jennifer says:

      I honestly have no idea. Have you found the “Americans in Wiesbaden” Facebook page? I’m certain someone there could answer your question.

      Welcome! You should really like it here!!

  7. Pingback: What we will miss: 15 – Our neighborhood. | thehamricks

  8. Pingback: What we will miss: 17 – Our House. | thehamricks

  9. Pingback: Squeaking and other big accomplishments – Only Passionate Curiosity

  10. Pingback: Our second Germany house… | thehamricks

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