JG52

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Everything posted by JG52

  1. What are you cooking today?

      The next best thing to meatloaf fresh from the oven is cold meatloaf sandwiches the next day.  I used to make English muffin bread specifically for my meatloaf sandwiches.  The bread is also good on it's own lightly toasted.
  2. What are you cooking today?

      My favorite meal to make is my Mom's meatloaf recipe, mashed potatoes, and corn.  My local Kaufland sells frozen sweet corn and corn on the cob that is just like I remember it.
  3. How trustable is an insurance/investment broker?

    My advice is don't do it, especially if the insurance broker is offering to act as your agent with full access to your accounts.  Run away, don't walk.   When I wanted financial advice to get my investment portfolio in order, I looked for Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in the U.S. for advice.  I'm sure there must be a German equivalent of the CFP.  The CFP does not have anything to sell but his or her opinion based on factors such as your income, savings, debt, retirement objectives, timeline for retirement, and tolerance to risk.   In the U.S., the CFP has a legal responsibility to act in the client's interest, unlike a broker or dealer who is acting in the firm's best interest.  Some of my friends were duped by the "experts" at First Command, who prey on young military members and sell their own product with punishing fees.  I think they would have been better off buying U.S. Savings Bonds instead of tossing their money away on First Command funds.   In my case, I found a fee-only CFP after searching through recommendations at the Motley Fool forum.  Nick has since died, but I took all of his advice and restructured my investment portfolio.  I am confident that I would have never been able to do this on my own and would not have grown my retirement portfolio to its current level without the Nick's advice.
  4. The country specification does matter when importing a vehicle into the German system.  My Ford truck is a European model purchased over six months before I retired, so the process of leaving the U.S. military system and importing it into the German system was not as painful as it would have been for a non-European model.  If I had imported a U.S. Ford F-150, as I originally planned, the cost to convert it to the European standards would have been several thousand Euros.  I abandoned the plan to import the F-150 because the salesman couldn't guarantee it would arrive in time to meet the six-month registration time in the U.S. system, so I don't know where the conversion would take place.   The dealership might be a bit creative with the truth concerning subsequent repairs after the conversion.  As I understand it, the TÜV inspection following the conversion and transfer is a one-time event and any TÜV inspection after that will not be concerned how many trips to the dealership for OEM replacements you make or do repairs you do yourself.  The post-conversion inspection is to ensure you meet the requirements at that time.
  5.   Your U.S.-citizen partner is free to apply for any GS, GG, NAF, or contractor job in Germany.  Your German citizenship has no impact on your partner's job prospects or security clearance.  If your partner is hired for any SOFA-protected job in Germany, you will receive a Dependent ID card that will allow you all of the benefits your partner receives, such as shopping at the Commissary and PX, registering vehicles through the U.S. military system, and access to the U.S. Postal System (APO).   Depending on where the job is, neither you nor your partner will be able to use the U.S. military medical facilities.  There are TRICARE authorized providers near each military community, but I think they are all German.  This is an area where I have very little experience, so I can't help.
  6.   Your dual citizenship with Germany is an immediate disqualifier for all GS, GG, Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF) jobs, or contractor positions reserved for Technical Expert/Analytic Support/Troop Care personnel in Germany.  Your dual citizenship is also an impediment if the job requires a U.S. security clearance.  There is an adjudication process for the clearance, but I don't know of any dual citizens who were able to make it through that process.   Article I of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Status of Forces Agreement (NATO SOFA) states a person who is a citizen of, or ordinarily resident in, the Receiving State (Germany in this case) is not considered a civilian component of the Sending State (U.S.) forces.  This means you will not be authorized any of the benefits associated with SOFA, such as shopping at the Commissary, PX, or using any of the facilities and services reserved for the U.S. Forces and civilians accompanying the U.S. Forces.  Likewise, Articles 71, 72, and 73 of the NATO SOFA Supplementary Agreement exclude German citizens from receiving SOFA benefits as contractors.   Your dual citizenship with Germany is not an issue if you apply for a job in Belgium, Italy, or any other NATO country.  However, the dual citizenship will still be an issue for a U.S. security clearance.
  7. I can't help you because I'm too far away and my jointer/planer (planer/thicknesser in the UK) isn't that wide.  A local shop with a Hammer A3-41, or similar machine, should be able to flatten your slabs.  Unless I wanted to tackle the slabs by hand, which is how I learned many years ago, I would use a router sled to flatten a large slab.  Depending on how much cupping and twist (wind) those 3cm thick slabs have, you might not have much wood left after the board is flat and both sides are parallel.   All wood moves to some extent, and if your boards aren't sufficiently dried or aged, they might not be done moving.  I only buy kiln-dried timber and leave slabs in my shop for several weeks to stabilize before I start resawing or cutting them to size.  Sometimes there is still movement after resawing, so they go back on the rack for a few more weeks to recover.  If your boards still have a high moisture content, then any flattening now might not accomplish much other than making them thinner with more wind later as the stresses are relieved and it dries out.   When I work with a slab that has too much cupping or wind, I will rip it into smaller strips, joint and plane the strips to a uniform thickness, and then glue them back together into a larger slab with alternating ring patterns.  This retains most of the original slab width, reduces the amount of material that must be removed to flatten, and makes the new slab more stable.  The glued joint is stronger than the wood grain, so there is no issue with the jointed strips failing.
  8. Digital Impfpass, Vaccinated in USA

      Unfortunately, it is not simple or consistent for everyone.  As I learned when I received my Moderna vaccinations from the U.S. military at Ramstein, U.S. citizens receive the white CDC card and the doctors administering the injections will not endorse the yellow WHO immunization certificate.  No exceptions.  My German wife received her Moderna vaccinations by the U.S. military in Wiesbaden.  The German doctor who monitored the process entered the information in her Impfbuch.   I did not have any problems with my local Apotheke when I presented the CDC card for the QR code certificate.
  9. Epoxy paving joint morter

    I hate pulling grass and weeds from between the blocks around my house and don't want to permanently seal the joints, so I use a low-tech solution that works well for about three to four months at a time.  I buy the least expensive strong Essigessenz from Rewe.  It's about €0.59 for a 400g bottle of 25-percent Essig and I buy a dozen or so bottles at a time.  I prefer the Essigessenz to the commercial herbicides because we have at least five hedgehogs that visit every night.   I pour three or four bottles of the Essigessenz into an inexpensive 1-liter pump sprayer that I bought from Toom.  Add one heaping tablespoon of salt for each bottle and a healthy squirt of liquid soap to the sprayer.  The soap acts as a surfactant and allows the liquid to remain on the leaves so it can be absorbed and transferred to the roots and the salt remains in the soil to provide some delay in future growth.   I adjust the nozzle on the sprayer to a fine stream and use low pressure to saturate the affected area.  Be careful about where you spray, as it will kill nearly all vegetation it contacts.  The weeds and grass will die in a day or two, with results noticeable in the first couple of hours.  As soon as the vegetation is dead, I easily pull it from between the stones and don't have to worry about it for a while. 
  10. Do German women stare at guys?

        Something similar happened to me on the train from Frankfurt.  However, I later learned her attention and smiles were not due to my chiseled physique or ruggedly handsome looks, but rather a piece of my lunch pasta that was still dangling from my beard.  My wife pointed it out when she picked me up at the train station.
  11. I'm glad the process worked for you.  The interpretation or enforcing the transfer rules seems to vary between the different vehicle registration offices.
  12. Things to ponder

      I didn't know I liked pineapple on pizza until I tried it at a Pizza Hut in Augsburg in 1997.  The sweet combined with the savory quite well.   I didn't know I liked escargot until I tried it in a small bar outside the main gate of Andrews Kaserne in Berlinin 1979.  My NCOIC was eating something served in a ceramic tray and the garlic smell was wonderful.  He let me try one and I ordered my own.  I didn't realize what I was eating until the third order arrived.   I didn't know I like sushi or sashimi until I tried it in a restaurant in Okinawa in 1976.  I ate one piece on a dare, and it was great.  My German wife tried sushi for the first time yesterday and liked it.   I've eaten lots of stuff I normally wouldn't eat and was delightfully surprised.  I've also eaten stuff that tastes disgusting but will keep me alive in the jungle.
  13. As far as I know, the compressors have only one speed and are either on or off.  The compressor's job is to turn the low pressure refrigerant from the interior evaporator coils, which now contains the extracted heat from the room, into high pressure refrigerant.  The compressor then pumps the refrigerant over the exterior compressor coils to remove the heat.  The amount of room cooling is determined by the fan speed over the evaporator coil and the cycle time of the compressor.
  14.   I'm not going to say that soft-start compressors don't exist somewhere, but I haven't seen any residential or commercial units that have this feature.  I've seen soft-start contactors used on high-volume coolant pumps in chiller plants, but this is because the shock load from trying to move a stationary water column in an eight-inch pipe can be like pounding a steel bar with a very large sledge hammer.   If you want to know approximately what the startup current is, you might be able to find an electrician who has a peak-hold, or a logging, ammeter or wattmeter.  The electrician can connect the meter to the mains and wait for the compressor to cycle.  This will be close enough to the load on the generator.
  15. I am a U.S. citizen and my wife is German.  I had to provide the A1 certificate in order to complete the Aufenthaltstitel application after I retired.  The agent at the Ausländerbehörder would not budge on this.  I took the test and delivered a the certificate to the agent.  When I eventually received my Aufenthaltstitel, the clerk (not the agent) told me I needed the B1 certificate if I wanted a permanent Aufenthaltstitel when my initial 3-year Aufenthaltstitel expired.
  16. The inrush, locked rotor current, or starting power for a compressor at rest can be two to three times the rated power of the AC unit.  If the 2.4kW rating you stated is the normal running power requirement, then you will likely need a generator capable of 6kW or 9kW to handle the increased load when the compressor cycles.
  17. What made you laugh today?

      What?
  18. I think you will find the answer is "it depends", and you will know the answer for your situation after your interview at the Ausländerbehörder.  I am an U.S. citizen, married to a German citizen who still works, and have been in Germany since 1997.  When I retired from the DOD in 2019, I applied for my Aufenthaltstitel, and my application package included my Anmeldung, proof of health insurance, financial account statements, transcripts for my college degrees, and marriage certificate.  We own our home without a mortgage and have no debt.    At the second meeting, after reviewing my application, the agent told me she would process my application as soon as I provided a German language A1certificate.  At no time during the first interview, which was mostly in German, did she mention the language certificate.  I scheduled the test in Darmstadt, and after a long processing delay, received my A1 certificate.  When I delivered it to the same agent, she made a copy of it and told me I should have my three-year Aufenthaltstitel in four weeks.  Four weeks later, I received the notice from the Ausländerbehörder that my Aufenthaltstitel was ready.    When I picked up the Aufenthaltstitel, the clerk at the main desk told me I would need a B1 certificate and a certificate for the Integration Course if I wanted a permanent Aufenthaltstitel when this permit expired.  Otherwise, I could apply for another three-year permit.  I asked why I needed these certificates, and he told me it was because I had not yet reached the German retirement age and I could still work.  I am working on my German language skills, but it is not a priority and has not hindered my ability to get around.  I think I am functionally at the A2 level, but will eventually take the B1 test.   A co-worker, who is the same age as me, retired at about the same time and lives in Bavaria with his German wife.  He has trouble with "Guten Tag" and relies on his wife for every translation, but received his initial Aufenthaltstitel without any proof of language proficiency.   As of the time when he received his initial Aufenthaltstitel, he will not need a language certificate when he receives his permanent Aufenthaltstitel.   The BAMF must have reorganized its website, because none of the links I bookmarked work.  The link Balticus provided has a BAMF link for more information, but this link returns a 404 page not found error.  Here is the current URL from the BAMF website that seems to be relevant; although, it has less information than I remember from the previous website:   https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/MigrationAufenthalt/ZuwandererDrittstaaten/Familie/NachzugZuDeutschen/nachzug-zu-deutschen-node.html   This page states "As a spouse or registered partner of a German national, you will generally be required to have a basic command of German."  I suspect the interpretation and enforcement of "generally be required" and "basic command" are up to the approving official.    
  19. Problems Installing COVpass app

    Me too.
  20.   Correct!  The first thing I did when I received my account information was change my mailing address.  Since then, all SSA correspondence arrives at my German address.  The system even puts the post code before the city name.  I can't remember about the phone number, but I think it is still U.S. only with the XXX-XXX-XXXX format.   The requirement for Experian verification is only when applying for an account online, even in the States.  This is not needed when applying at the FBU or U.S.-based SSA office.  It's too bad the SSA used Experian, since this credit reporting firm had problems with a data breach in 2020.
  21.   The failure was related to the confirmation at the end of the online account creation.  A VPN service to a U.S. server would not have made any difference.   The SSA uses information from Equifax to verify applicants using the online option instead of visiting any SSA office.  I had my latest credit history from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which was less than a month old, so verifying answers to the questions asked should have been easy.  However, the correct answer to all of the multiple choice questions was "None of the above", since the choices for each of the questions related to recent credit cards, car loans, or similar activities were not correct.   For example, one of the questions related to the source of my current student loan.  I graduated from college decades earlier but never had a student loan.  Another asked for the current monthly amount for a mortgage with Wells Fargo.  I retired the last mortgage for my rental properties about ten years earlier, but never had any association with Wells Fargo.  The other questions were similar and related to current financial transactions, none of which applied to me.   After the third attempt to break through the Equifax verification on the SSA site, I captured screenshots of the questions and multiple choice answers.  I then spoke with an Equifax agent and verified the credit report I had was current, the questions asked did not apply to me, and there was likely a problem with the SSA process.  At this point, I could return to the U.S. and visit any SSA office, or go to the FBU in Frankfurt.  The FBU process was easy, but I had to wait for the mail forwarding to send the account documents to me.
  22. I have a U.S. address and tried to set up the MyAccount on the SSA website.  My attempts failed every time, so I called the SSA office in my home state for assistance.  The SSA agent would only be able to help in person but recommended I contact the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at the nearest U.S. Consulate.    I made an appointment with the FBU at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt to set up the account, which had to be with a U.S. address.  This worked great and the SSA agent set up the account using my U.S. address, which is a mail forwarding service.  A month later, I received the MyAccount confirmation notice and login information and was able to change the correspondence address to my German address.  I now have access to my social security history back to the dawn of time.   The FBU in Frankfurt is no longer responding to appointment requests, but you might have more success with the FBU in Berlin.  However, you must have a U.S. mailing address and the means to have mail forwarded to your German address.
  23. Unresponsive American consular services

      It's been quite a few decades since I applied for my SSN or my first passport, but these two processes have always been separate.  From the DS-11 form (I bolded the text):   "Section 6039E of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6039E) and 22 U.S.C 2714a(f) require you to provide your Social Security number (SSN), ifyou have one, when you apply for or renew a U.S. passport. If you have never been issued a SSN, you must enter zeros in box #5 of this form."
  24. Unresponsive American consular services

      DD is likely Darling Daughter.   @NativeFraulein, I hope you have more success than me.  I've been trying to get a response from the FBU office at the Frankfurt Consulate since February.  The Conuslate used to have a webpage to schedule appointments, and I used it several times before.  I don't see the link now, so I assume they removed it and moved the appointment process to email requests.  Unfortunately, it does not appear that anyone at the FBU office  is checking the email queue.
  25. Twat of the day

        This is what everyone else sees.