Monday, August 7, 2017

A dearth of common sense among Germans on the Autobahn...

Yesterday, while Bill and I were on our way to a small zoo, I happened to notice a man driving a small car.  He had a mattress somehow secured to the car's roof.  Unfortunately, the mattress was not as tightly strapped down as it should have been.  Consequently, it was kind of flopping dangerously  on the roof.

Fortunately, the man who was driving the car was wise enough to realize that he was about to lose his mattress.  He was slowly pulling off the road onto the shoulder, where I can only assume he meant to tighten the load on his roof.  I did have to chuckle, though, because he also had his arm out of the window and was holding on to the side of the mattress as he steered with his right hand.  If I hadn't been so afraid the mattress was going to hit my car's windshield, I might have actually laughed out loud.

I wonder what this guy was thinking.  Did he really think that if the mattress blew off the roof, he'd be able to stop it or slow it down with his fragile grip?  It's about as effective as trying to hold on during a car accident instead of wearing a seatbelt.  I had visions of that mattress flying off of the roof and causing a huge accident.  The risk was very real.

Later, after we visited the zoo and had lunch, Bill and I were on our way home.  We stopped at a resthof-- basically a place that has pay bathrooms, a convenience store, and a restaurant of some sort. Here in Germany, if you want to pee at a place other than the treeline or one of the very no frills rest stops, you have to pay 70 cents.  For that, you get a clean toilet with plenty of toilet paper and a sink that has hot water.

Anyway, the resthof was a bit of a zoo.  I had to fight to get to the bathroom and struggled to get back to the car, due to the crowds in the parking lot.  As we were leaving the lot, I noticed a young couple holding a sign that read "Karlsruhe".  Karlsruhe is a town not far from the French border.  It's in the state we live in, but nowhere near where we were going.  They looked hopefully at us, apparently not realizing that Bill was driving my Mini Cooper convertible.

Most Mini Coopers do not have back seats that people can actually use.  I let my dogs sit in the back of my car because they don't have a need for leg room.  Otherwise, for most human beings, it's a no go.  I have heard that European Minis are somewhat more spacious, which seems kind of hard to believe.  Seems to me that Europeans usually do things smaller than Americans do.

Even if we were inclined to pick up hitchhikers, I wondered if they knew where they'd be sitting.  We had the top down, so it would not have been possible to strap them to the roof, like the guy did with his mattress.  I'm kidding, of course.  Actually, this is not the first time something like this has happened.  A few months ago, a man who was about 6'4" was hitchhiking and seemed to hope we'd stop.  But seriously, there is nowhere for someone of that size to sit, even in the front seat of a Mini.  :D

This week is one I've looked forward to and dreaded simultaneously.  This is the week I get the dogs' teeth cleaned and have some scary bumps taken off of Zane.  I look forward to his losing the bumps, but I also fear that they will come back with a vengeance or that his recovery will be difficult.  We are about a month out from our Scottish cruise and, historically speaking, bad things tend to happen when I visit Scotland (however, I love it enough that I'll keep going anyway).  The last time I went, I got really sick with a stomach virus.  The time before that, we discovered a horrendous cancer in our sweet old dog, MacGregor.  So I am praying that this time, there won't be any horrors, especially since Zane is going under the knife.

If you've got any good vibes to spare, we'd appreciate them...  Edited to add: their blood tests came back and Zane has an elevated ALP (liver enzyme) value.  Arran's tests were normal.  These dogs make me worry so much.

Bwahahahahaa!  Actually, this is kind of sad.  


  1. I don't know much (it would be more correct to admit that I don't know ANYTHING) about canine lab values, but relating it to human lab values, an alanine transaminase (ALT) would be considered to be normal up to somewhere between 49 and 59 depending upon the values accepted by a particular laboratory. With high-fifties being the absolute upper limit of normal, one might think that a score of, say 81 for hypothetical purposes, would be a major cause for alarm, yet two to three times the maximum normal value is still considered to be only a MILD level of elevation. Anything at all that is amiss in the human body (perhaps something as benign as a mild cold), even if it would seem to have nothing to do with the liver, is probably going to cause an elevation in liver enzymes. The same may be true in dogs. (Or it may NOT be. I know NOTHING of canine medicine.) I'm hoping this may alleviate your concern to some degree, but if the elevation is twenty times the normal upper limit, you'll be concerned regardless, and with good reason.

    I would gladly pay seventy cents for a clean restroom.

    We have a smaller percentage of respectable-appearing hitchhikers in this area. There have been times when I wish I could have taken a chance on someone, but it just isn't safe to do so around here. Most places I travel have cell phone reception, so I can call authorities if I feel that someone is in a truly vulnerable situation, but it's really not safe around here to pick up even someone who appears to be sixteen and weighs approximately ninety pounds. Ninety-pound sixteen-year-olds have been known to conceal weapons. I'll give the person whatever cash I can spare, but I can't let a stranger into my car.

    1. Well, it was his ALP value that was off. I don't know what the actual value was because Bill talked to the vet. She offered to do an ultrasound of his liver while he's under, although from what I've read about ALP values, what you say is right and it could have been caused by anything. Damn dogs.

      Guns are a lot less common here so I doubt they were dangerous. But there was nowhere for them to sit, even if we were in the habit of picking up hitchhikers.

  2. There are advantages to a small car.

    1. Yeah. I like mine here in Germany because parking spaces are smaller and there are many garages. It's also common to park on the street.


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.