|Gloria trying out my|
We're also fighting again with the German "Familenkasse" for our child benefits. They had informed us at the beginning of the year (after a full year of struggle with them) that Stefan would finally get the usual monthly rate, and that retroactive back to the girls' birth. Alas, after a few months they stopped paying and he never saw a cent for the first year. They didn't give any reason for this.
After we waited for some while to see if any information would trickle down our direction, I finally lost patience and spent an hour or so trying to get somebody on the phone. Amazingly enough, they have no waiting loop, but just disconnect you if all lines are busy. Yes, that's right, I actually had to call their number over and over again. And then all I got was a call-center where they evidently had no information in Stefan's files about what was going on. So much about German efficiency.
Upon my question if they could maybe connect me to the local office that was actually responsible for this nonsense they said, no they can't connect me and there's no way to reach them by phone, I can only appear there in person if I really want. Or my husband, respectively, as it's actually his application.
As much as I like my iPhone, it's a serious disadvantage that you can't slam down the receiver.
By coincidence I then came across a website of the European Union where they offer a service called SOLVIT whose sole purpose seems to be to help with this type of communication problem between national institutions of the European Union. So now I submitted our case. I heard from them within 24 hours and they promised they'll take on the problem. I'm curious if they'll manage to sort this out, stay tuned.
The kids meanwhile are having fun taking apart the furniture and pushing all buttons that they can get their hands on. Everything that beeps is particularly interesting, for example the microwave and the babyphone. To help align Lara's gaze she now has to wear an eye patch a few hours a day. We were expecting protest, but she doesn't seem to mind. The biggest problem is that it hurts when torn off. Needless to say, Gloria will cry and scream until she also gets an eye patch, which we put on her cheek. Stefan and I also sometimes wear one. Lara probably meanwhile thinks it's a strange kind of fashion.
Our November program on "Perspectives of Fundamental Cosmology" is starting on Monday, and the next weeks will be very busy for us. After that I hope things slow down towards the end of the year.
|Lara with her eye patch.|