But a very frustrating one. I had planned to use some of the money I am due back from my annual house expenses to pay to visit my sister in France at the end of June (on a side note, when I brought the annual reckoning to the renters' association to get it checked out she said that normally, for an apartment the size of mine they would expect heating costs to be around 700 a year - mine are closer to 200, I'm getting a refund of over 300 - by her reckoning I should normally need to pay an extra couple of hundred every year and I'm very glad I don't need to). As I will only have a few days off work and not an entire week the 8 hour train journey might have been a bit much so although I prefer not to fly, I promised her I would check out flights - the train costs a bit less than 200 euro so there was a chance flying might also be a bit less expensive or even that a flight one-way and train the other might work out cheaper.
I was waiting for the refund to actually arrive (should be any day now) when I saw today that Lufthansa were doing a special offer. Flights have to be booked by tomorrow so I assume it's a mother's day campaign (it's mother's day here tomorrow). I was able to get a flight for 99 euro so decided to go ahead and book it using my company credit card. We are allowed to use these for private purposes as well, as the bill is paid directly from our own bank accounts anyway. However, it's a typical German credit card, which needs to be paid off in full each month. I don't use it often but using my ordinary card would have taken me right up to the limit so I decided to use the company card to be on the safe side. Then I noticed on the booking page that if I used paypal instead of just doing a direct card transaction, I wouldn't have to pay a 5 euro credit card booking charge. So I added my company card to my paypal account and chose that as the payment method. And when completing the transaction got a little mouse-trigger-happy and ended up clicking complete before actually changing the paypal transaction to the other card. I've transferred the money immediately to my card from my Irish account but that leaves my Irish account very close to its overdraft limit. I will leave things like that for a week and if the refund hasn't hit my bank account by then I'll just go ahead and transfer money from my annual expenses savings account to cover it.
I hate having to juggle like that, especially because of a silly mistake on my part. On the other hand I am very pleased to be planning an extra-long weekend with my sister and her family. It will do my soul good to spend some time there and it'll be lovely to see the house they bought and just moved into a couple of months ago.
Maybe it will take my mind off the dentist. I went to the old dentist on Monday to have the repair done on the broken crown. He said that if a bit breaks off again, he will replace the entire crown. Then on Friday I went to my new dentist for the planned cleaning and organising a timeframe for the three onlays I need to get (he did a temporary cement filling to give me time to pay off the crown work before needing to pay out more). After the cleaning was finished (the usual, she said everything looked fine but I really need to try and keep up a more regular flossing habit - I have promised to try harder on that), the dentist came in to have a look. He was not impressed with the broken and repaired crown story at all, particularly when he saw that the repair leaves a big gap between that tooth and the one next to it with no contact point at all. He has told me that I should definitely complain about it and insist on getting a new crown as that kind of gap will just lead to paradontical (periodentical? - sorry, not sure of the English translation and the online dictionary's not helping at the moment) problems. Wonderful. I'm not looking forward to that conversation with the old dentist.
From the new dentist I received the forms to send in to the health insurance place to get their part of the payment organised (but this time it should be organised properly so that I don't have to pay and get a refund, they will just pay that portion directly to the dentist). I'll send that in and in the meantime wonder about how I'm going to find the 1,400 or so I need to pay for my portion. This new dentist doesn't have a fance agreement with a central billing place you see so financing it over six months isn't an option. The assistant told me that if I made fairly big downpayment I could spread the rest out over three months so that's what I'll do, I suppose. Pay 400 when the job is done and then three further monthly payments of just over 300. I'm hoping the health insurance will take a long time to get back to me (and that my teeth hold out!) so that I can potentially push the appointment out to July. Once I've finished with my loan repayments, I can put that money towards the new dental work, so not having to pay anything until the end of July would be ideal. It means making more than small payments to the credit card and overdraft will have to go on the backburner again but it has to be done.
The cleaning I had done cost 50 euro (another change from the other place, where the basic cleaning treatment was 90 and they tried hard every time to sell the 'luxury' package that was about 130). Since I am now paying a whole lot of money for dental insurance, I will phone them on Monday to find out how to claim that back. If I recall correctly, I can claim up to 250 euro in the first year so I will claim for the cleaning and then the rest when I get the onlays done, which will help absorb the downpayment at least. It's costing me a lot every month for that additional dental insurance but given the state of my teeth and the knowledge that they're really not going to get any better at this stage, it looks like I will be making full use of it in the years to come. The amount I can claim increases every year until after five years, I should be able to claim around 90% of the costs of just about any work that needs doing.
Right, not much else to report. I showed my CV to some German people from choir who spent a good hour tearing it to pieces so it has taken me a few days to get over that. It was all well-meant (well, most of it, one guy tagged along who I don't know very well and it was much harder to take criticism from him because I just don't have any basis of trust built up with him) and much needed but was also another reminder that if you ask a German for an opinion, you are very likely to get a very direct answer. No pussyfooting around by any means. Other than that, the only thing going on is that Düsseldorf is gearing up to host the Eurovision Song Contest next weekend and it's actually getting kind of exciting watching the Eurovision coaches passing by and seeing the signs going up all over. I haven't watched the Eurovision for years, since before it was split into the format where there are semi-finals first. But this year I will be finding a pub to follow it in. Not just because it's being held just down the road from me (quite literally - a max. ten minute drive down the road around the corner from my street) but also because the Irish entry is Jedward. And although I found them intensely annoying when they first made an appearance (and was glad I didn't live in Ireland anymore and therefore could easily avoid them) I have actually kind of started to enjoy them over the last couple of months. They keep popping up on discussion board and twitter links and they are, to use a phrase sometimes popular in Ireland, completely for the birds ( here's a sample interview from youtube - they don't come on until about ten minutes in). They've started making an impression here already so it'll be fun to see if they do well in the Eurovision.
But that's enough waffling for now. Off to floss well before heading to bed :-)