As of yesterday, my family and I are back in the US of A — and in the process of moving into a local Best Western Hotel, which will be our home for the next four months or so while our regular home undergoes surgery. I feel very fortunate that we're able to make the upgrades, but it's still going to be a "bumpy" four months here, with the five of us plus our calico cat in a space about the size of two-and-a-half regular hotel rooms.

Europe was, in a word, fantastic. We spent a ton of time just mulling around the little German village that my husband is from, the kids playing with their cousins and indulging in gelato, and us enjoying real cappuccinos at the local Italian Eiscafé. We also took side trips to Breda, Holland; Lyon, France; and Germany's Mosel River that were fun and inspiring, but also slow enough to constitute perfect "down time."

For the first time ever, I'm almost disappointed to be back home. But then you do realize that it's the little things you missed...

For example, here's something we encounter every year that used to bother me even before I had the 'Betes, but now I find it maddening: German and Dutch bathrooms generally do not have countertops. Instead, they have these stand-alone sinks with nothing but plumbing underneath them. Above the sink, many have these narrow little wall-mounted shelves right in front of the mirror. I do not understand this.

You cannot possibly put anything down next to the sink, except a pump-bottle of hand soap that's not too wide or too slippery.  Up above, the shelves are too narrow to really hold anything but a few decorative bottles, and too high to be of any use when you're doing something bathroom-ish like say, brushing your teeth, or blow-drying your hair (dumb shelf's just in the way then), or attempting to check your blood sugar (!)

Where oh where can you set your meter down for a moment while you plug in the test strip? Nowhere, that's where. My meter and whole case kept slipping right into the sink, getting wet and soapy and frustrating the heck out of me. Not that I had to test in the bathroom, mind you.  But I often did, because: 1) that's where I am first thing in the morning and right before bed, 2) when we were out and about, that's the time my hands were cleanest and ready for testing, and 3) because yes, you know the drill, I didn't always want to explain to everyone around me (in German, no less) what I was doing and what the numbers mean.

And do not get me started on the process of changing out my insulin pump. Insulin vials fall easily into the sink anyway, do they not?

How poetically trivial that one of the things I missed most about America is bathroom countertops. Hah!

btw, if you had any inkling what the title of this post might mean before reading it: I <3 You, PWD Blood Brothers & Sisters.

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