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Guten Tag aus Wiesbaden

I know the title is impressive right? 'Good day from Wiesbaden' is what is says, it only took 20 minutes to look that up in the German phrase book I have. So needless to say don't worry about me throwing any more German your way anytime soon. Anyway, come back often, I hope to update every few days or when something new and interesting happens. Please feel free to leave comments also and I'll respond in kind. Cheers! Greg

Diary Entries

Monday, 25 June 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Finally! The strike at Deutche Telekom is over and I have been promissed that I will get internet access at my appartment by July 2nd. Although I am not holding my breath, this is the firet time I have been given a firm date. So I am excited! hopefully it's true and I can post some of the pictures from my recent travels. Last weekend I took a short tour of Rüdesheim which is just north of Wiesbaden on the Rhine River. It's a very small town tucked into the hillside and surrounded by vineyards. A lot of wine making going on in the heart of a country known more for it's beer than anything else! I am hoping to return and partake in a few tours and maybe even a tasting or two.

That's all for now. Hope all is well with everyone back home!


Friday, 08 June 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Well another week and another German Holiday! This time it's Corpus Christi Day. I have no clue what that is but it gave me yesterday off. So with everything closed I took my bike out for a tour of the eastern "suburbs" of Wiesbaden. I've been out that way once before so I tried to pick up where I left off. It is an interesting country. While everything in the area is called Wiesbaden, there is actually about 20 little towns. All of them have their own name, with Wiesbaden prefix (ie. Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Wiesbaden-Bierstadt, etc) their own city hall, etc. The layout is also very different. The city centers are very densely populated with both people and multistory buildings. No building seems less than 4 stores tall. Then as if someone took a eraser to the map, there is nothing but farmland! You'll be riding the sidewalk next to a 8 story appartment building and whent he building ends, there is a cow in a field. No transition. Weird! About a mile or so and you are in another city center, another town.

Anyway... that's all that's happening here. Rather boring lately. Still no telephone or internet service in the appartment. Customer service over here is a joke. These companies would never survive in America.

Well, that's all for now.


Monday, 21 May 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Well another week, another holiday. Last week the Germans celebrated their 6th holiday since my arrival. When the heck do these people work!? No wonder they have to hire Americans to do all the work! hahaha Anyway, I took a couple trips into Frankfurt in the past 2 weeks. One was for the annual Skyscraper festival. Frankfurt has the most skyscrapers in Europe I was told and thus the reason for the festival. Actually I think the reason is so they can have a few beers on a sunday afternoon. But then again, they really don't need a reason for that. Whatever, it was rather disappointing as festivals go. There were alot of activities for kids, little if any for adults unless you consider the numberous crains lifting people into the air to look at the city something to do. I didn't... The second time was just this past Thursday. It was a holiday so no shops were open but it was nice to just walk around and see the area. There are a lot of museums in Frankfurt and I wanted to get a bering on there location so I could visit them sometime.

Well that's all for now. Hope all is well for everyone back home.


Monday, 14 May 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Hello Again!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything, sorry about that. I'm STILL trying to get internet access at my appartment. Cusotmer Service is not a high priority here in Germany!

Since I\ve been back I've taken a few trips with some of the guys from work. 3 weeks ago we visited a small city to the south called Rothenburg. Rothenburg was a former Roman settlement. As with all roman settlements they fortified the city against attach which is what makes the city a tourist point today. The original city walls (50ft high and wrap the entire city) are still intact. You can even clime up them and walk the entire perimiter of the city. Very cool stuff!! I'll post photos soon. I only got a few, my stupid camera battery died on me. AUGH!

This past weekend we went to Luxembourg City, in Luxembourg. What an amazingly beautiful country. Everything was clean, and well kept. Ken, one of my co-workers, lived/worked in Luxembourg for 2 years back in the late 90's. Apparently the government pays the farmers and other land owners to maintain their property near all the roads to ensure a "attractive countryside." Talk about a waste of tax dollars! Anyway, the arcitecture was really no different that Germany. They do love Americans there however. American resurants were everywhere (McD, Pizza Hut, Chi-Chi's, etc).

Luxembourg City is also fortified against attach. However, it is more naturally protected. The city is built on a plateau surounded by a massive gourge.

On the way back to Germany, Ken took us to Vianden, Luxembourg. Home to the only active castle in Luxembourg. The ruling family still occupies the castle in the winter months and allows tours spring thru fall. Photos coming.

Lastly, we stopped in Trier, Germany. Main purpose for this stop was the highly rated Schnitzel. Ken had raved about it for weeks and Ralph is addicted to schnitzel so... nuff said. It is a place I would like to go back to for a day. About 10 years ago they were building a parking structure in town. The excavators uncovered the ruins of a Roamn back. The vault held more than $100 Million worth of gold coins! The construction was stopped and they built a museum around the ruins. Of course it was closed since it was so late on a saturday. There are other Roman ruins including a still operational library.

Well, that's all for now. Hope all is well with everyone back home!

Until next time,


Sunday, 22 April 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Another week and a few new experiences. This week I found myself doing laundry again in the bathtub of my apartment. Not because I wanted to, but the laundry room in my building is still unfinished and the nearest laundry mat I could find is in Mainz and VERY expensive! It costs 1Euro for 5 mins in the dryer, and as with all things German, the machine is very very very small.

Anyway Naz was in town this weekend. For those that don’t know the name, he is the recruiter that placed me here in Germany. It is my first time meeting him, and while I had a vision of what this thick-accented Brit looked like, I was forewarned not to go by stereotypes. That couldn’t be more accurate! In my past I have crossed paths with a few “blokes” from England and they all seem to be taller, skinny gentlemen with a lot of focus on their dress and trying to impress people, although dentistry is not an important part of all that. But back to Naz, he’s a short chubby Indian/Pakistani looking guy. But true to his job he is a world class BSer. The group all met back at the hotel I stayed at when I first arrived and had a few (too many) drinks before heading out for dinner. Mike made the call, a nice little Italian place around the corner from the hotel. Very nice place, they spoke English and the menu was also in English. Great food, good wine and a great time was had. I made it back around 1am (I think, Dawn can verify for me, I called her on the walk back). Needless to say I am not feeling well today. Mackenzie woke me when she called at 2pm. I was up once before that, around 9am. Long enough to get something to drink and down some aspirin and crawl back into bed. Thank the good German who invented the metal shades installed outside my windows as they kept the apartment nice and dark well into the day.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

I have transportation, and I don’t mean my train pass. I bought a bike last week but had issues with inflating the tires. Seems they always sell bikes with near-flat tires and the valves do not necessarily match those of the air pumps at the gas stations. For some ungodly reason they actually sell 6 different types of valves. Anyway, I have a hand pump and air in my “ride” so I’m off!

First stop, the Wiesbaden fire department. Wiesbaden is a town of approx 275,000 people and the department is staffed with approx 250 firefighters and a 50 person support staff. They are a career department with POC assistance in the outlying areas. I found Station 1 and met a gentleman by the name of Heinz Schosmer. He is the officer on duty today and the best person at speaking English. He gave me a very in depth tour of the station, their trucks and the German way of firefighting, which by the way, requires a minimum of 19 people. They have a very detailed plan and everyone must be there for it to work. Funny thing about the station, from my experiences here, space is at a premium. The Germans have a way of utilizing every imaginable nook and cranny when it comes to space. However, the station is massive as is the grounds it sits on – it just never seemed to end. The use of space was wasteful even by US standards. Having said that, their trucks are completely opposite. It was amazing. Their main truck, what we would call the Engine or Pumper is roughly 20ft long, cab included. It can carry 1600 liters of water, 9 crew members, a massive supply of foam, technical rescue/extrication equipment, not to mention ladders, hoses, SCBA’s (including spare bottles), hand and power tools, ventilation equipment and medical supplies. Their Ladder trucks are very minimal. No water, no pump, no secondary ladders, just the main ladder and a few miscellaneous tools including two PPV fans. It has a reach of 30 meters up and 24 meters to the side when fully extended. They also have what he called “common cars” which are basically officer vehicles and command vehicles. Lastly, and the one I found most interesting is they have two trucks that are just cabs. The chassis is outfitted with a set of posts welded to it and they have a series of 6 units that can be placed and secured onto the chassis based on the need for the call. They are stored in a garage behind the station and Heinz claims a good driver can get the truck over to the garage, drop the unit onto the chassis, secure it and be on the road in less than 4 minutes. The units range from powder supply for electrical fires to a full kitchen for incidents that may last so long that feeding the firefighters becomes necessary. One last interesting note, their response to emergencies is completely determined and outlined by a computer which is programmed with their SOP’s. When a call comes in, the info is entered into the computer by the dispatcher (today it was Nikolus) the computer sounds the alarm and on a board in the center of the apparatus bay, it signals whether it is a fire or tech rescue call, what trucks respond, lights and sirens or not, and the general location based on zones of the city. There is a computer printer as you make your way from the common area to the apparatus bay, on it prints out all the info from the call, along with directions to the address. It is quite an impressive system.

Next stop, Neroberg. Since everything is in German and I cannot read it, it’s difficult to give a proper description of what exactly Neroberg is and/or why it is of any significance. However, having said that what I do know is that at the top of Mount Nero there was a temple built in 1851 called? Neroberg Tempel of course. Not much of a temple, but I can see why this location was chosen. The view from the temple is awe inspiring. Perched high above Wiesbaden, you can see for miles in every direction. Along with the temple is an amphitheatre, another questionable title. It’s a tiered hole in the ground, but when something is built more than 150 years ago, even a hole can be impressive. What’s more impressive is the Germans policy of total access. There was nothing off limits on Mount Neroberg except the old fire watch tower, which is now privately owned. Just to the south of the temple is the Nerobergbahn station. I railway built in 1888 climbs a total of 80 meters in height over the 440 meter ride. I, of course being the sadistic person I am, rode my bike up the winding roads that lead to the summit. Yea, that is not an advisable decision for a novice bike rider. Maybe Lance Armstrong could have done it without any issues, but my out of shape butt had to stop about every 100 yards! Let’s backtrack a bit shall we? First it was quite an effort just to get to the base of Mount Nero. Between wrong and missed turns I found myself at the base station for the Nerobergbahn. Thinking to myself… Self! You’re not fat lazy American, don’t take this silly train. No way! Ride to the top, it’ll be easy, and think of how easy the trip down will be! Anyway, after about 35 minutes of torture I made it to my original goal, the Russian Church. Known as the Greek Chapel, it was built in 1847 for the remains of the wife and child of Duke Adolf from St. Petersburg. The Grand Duchess and her baby died shortly after the child’s birth. It is unfortunate that they do not allow photos of the interior because it was amazing. The entire chapel is very small, maybe 35-40 feet square. The inside has a marble sarcophagus for the Duchess and her child along with numerous candelabras and walls lined in gold and ornate carvings. Another 20 minutes of riding and I made it to the summit. There I took in the sites, had a few beers and some curry-wurst and checked out the rope challenge that was built just off the side of Mt. Nero.

So that was my adventure in a nutshell. Oh yea, the trip down from Mt. Nero was much faster than the trip up. I made it down in 6 minutes… I think it took an hour to get up there from the fire station.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Today is an interesting day. I am not sure how I feel at this point. I just received word that the City of Pontiac is moving forward once again with the hiring process and they have scheduled an interview for Thursday the 26th. While I am ecstatic at the prospect of getting the job, I have a goal here and that might not be obtainable if an offer is made to me. Well, whatever happens it happens for a reason. So HOME I COME! Yea! It’s only been 4 weeks but it feels like months since I’ve seen Dawn and the kids. Mac seems to have matured overnight with my absence. Not sure if that is good or not either. What a wishy-washy mood I’m in. OK… enough for today.

Sunday, 08 April 2007

Location: Mainz, Germany

I met up with Ralph, Bob, and Kenny in Mainz for a few hours of touring the market on Saturday. Not unlike the one in Wiesbaden. But it was my first taste of Mainz and I definitely plan on making many trips back. Like Wiesbaden, it’s full of history and things to do and see. I’ve been told that it is the wine capital of Germany. It also was home to an ancient Roman settlement. In fact there are still some traces of their city preserved to this day. Anyway, that was all; I think I’ll head back for a longer look today.

Friday, 06 April 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

Good Friday

Here in Germany one of the things they take seriously is vacations or “holidays.” When there is a national holiday no one works… and I mean NO ONE! The bus/train schedules are reduced, all the stores (even Walmart) are closed, and 98% of all pubs and restaurants are closed. In light of the fact that I was going to get nothing accomplished shopping-wise, I decided to take a little walk. Well, it was supposed to be little. But I got going and before you knew it I’d walked an hour plus and found myself on the banks of the Rhine river in Biebrech-Wiesbaden. It’s a nice little town with a couple churches and a big wine community. In fact I past a sizable winery on the way, check out the pics, once I find out the times I will definitely head back there for a tour, tasting, or both! Tomorrow I am meeting up with Ralph and we are going to check out Wiesbaden’s sister city across the Rhine, Mainz. Until then, cheers!

Tuesday, 03 April 2007

Location: Wiesbaden, Germany

I’m starting to get back to my old routine back home. Get up around 5am, showered and got dressed and cooked myself some breakfast! Eggs, toast and some fruit with OJ… ahh, almost like home – I know Tuna, more food talk! Off to work I go. I left work early today with high hopes of getting much accomplished. But once again my inability to communicate doomed me from the start. I went from bank to bank in search of someone that I could convey the concept of opening a bank account. I even went into an insurance company! Sure, they spoke English, but didn’t let me open an account. He did try selling me travelers insurance! Sorry pal, not buying. Once I finally got that taken care of it was 7:30pm… much too late to catch the bus to Wal-Mart, and about an hour too late for just about every other store to be open. I guess my hangers will have to wait another day or more. Oh well.

I talked to Dusan (my realtor) today; he claims the landlord is going to get the building set up with phone and internet service tomorrow morning. So hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be connected once again to the real world.

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Recent Messages

From Dad
Greg, Hope all is well, Mom and I had a great time at your house Saturday, we set up slide and played with the kids. Next time get a slide with a higher load limit, I was dying to try that puppy out. Mac had a great time so did "E" but I couldn't get him to go down the slide yet, but give him time he'll make the run. I had a busy weekend went to fireworks and DSO at Greenfield village with Mom, then went home with Jim and spent the night, and we golfed Sunday am then went to Buick open in afternoon, it was great. Well I have to run, write back when you can and take care, Love Dad
Response: Hahaha you could have tried it... I plan on it! The bigger ones would never have fit in the yard!
From Brian
Hey Hose Jockey,
How's it going?I had to search thru the Roush email sytem to find your link here.(You know how they like to delete e-mails here). Nice to here things are going well. Have you have anymore call backs from fire depts here? I'm still plugging away at Roch hills.
hope all is well
B 217
Response: Hey Truckie, Yea, things are fine. A major adjustment but I've settled in now. Nice to hear you at elast still have a job there. Sounded like things got pretty slow. I came back in to interview for Pontiac back in April. So far no word from them yet though. Outside that, nothing unfortunetly. I did hear that Farmington Hills was taking apps. I think June 6 is the deadline. I am not appling there, can't afford to come back for the testing (June 20) since I will be coming home for a few weeks when the baby is born.

Take care. be safe and tell everyone at Roush I said HI!
From Jeff Reed
Hey Gregor...
the place looks great! At least you have a new apartment, huh? Doesn't even look like it's been lived in...
I'm 7 weeks away from the wedding, but more importantly, you have a week to get back for the Bachelor Party! Schedlbower is driving, so you can let your hair down with some good, watered-down, American beer!
The only tip that I have is to check out the HofbrauHaus in Munich. I hear the Beer Garden's amazing...
Other than that, looking forward to the postings, and hopefully you can come back to some Pistons and Red Wings championships (although if they both win... a) I have to name my firstborn "Rasheed Reed" and b) we might send you to Germany every year about this time...
Response: Hey Jeffy! Yea, the place is looking spiffy huh? I took the pics before I ruined it with all my crap. :)

Rasheed Reed... has a nice ring to it! But I think you are in the clear, the wings lost last night :(

Hope all is going well with the wedding. Sorry I won't make it for your last night of the single life, but I wish you guys a good day/night/weekend

Stay Safe!

From Marion
Hi Greg, Hello..from West Palm Beach, Florida. It is HOT..HOT..high 80's and into the 90's some days. Becky left today after visiting for nine days. It was really nice to have company and she did get a tan!! She called when she arrived in Michigan and it is raining and cold. Your apartment looks great, was it furnished or did you do it? I am running out of room, so be safe and I'll email soon.
Response: Hi Marion,
Great to hear from you! I heard she had a great time. I bet you too tore up the town. hahaha I'm kidding Rick, I'm sure they were sitting at home playing bridge everynight. :)

As for my appartment, it came as is. The white was nice at first, but I kinda feel like I'm living in a hospital now. Oh well. Only 31 more weeks. But whos counting?!

Again, great to hear from you, hope all is well. Stay safe.

From Joe
Things are slow here. JLTV has dried up for now. I am starting a CATIA assignment in Livonia. It will be a nice change. Hope all is well with you.
Response: Very nice, out from under Uncle Joe's watchful eye! Take care. I hope everyone still has a job there!
From Mom
Just found out you got internet; apparently everyone knew before me from the notes! I'm so glad your accessable again, that phone call sucked!!!! All is well. We are really considering the Saturn Aura for the next car.
(details to come-too long for the space) Take care! Love you! Mom
Response: I have access - limited - at work. still not back at the apartment.
forsay me and another classmate of ours were to come over and visit you. where would be a good place to fly into and what are your thoughts on this subject? it's your boyfriend by the way!
Response: Frankfurt Airport... it's a 20min trian ride to Wiesbaden which is where I'm staying. I'd love the visit... bring a air matress though, all I have is a bed and a kitchen table with 2 chairs. :)
From Aunt B
Hi Greg, Happy Easter! Hope things are going well for you at this time. Just spent the day with the kids. They sure keep me laughing.
Miss you lots
Love AB
Response: Happy Easter... hope you enjoyed the b-ball game!
From MOM 2
Response: Happy Easter!
From Your Brother
Guten Taaaaaaaaaaaaagg!! Just like the bud commercial! Thought you could you a little cheering up, Easter can be a very lonely time. No easter eggs hunts, no jelly beans, NO CHocolate BUNNYs!!! Hehehehe! Hang in there, remember, your doing the things that make life exciting! Hope all is well, I'm at home alone today, Heather and the kids are at Sally's, and I have the stomach flu. Life is good! We find out the sex of the baby in two week, here you got pimped on yours. Does'nt really matter, someone is going to have to move! Stay in touch, what else do you have to do! heheh. Seriously, enjoy yourself, remember, this is once in a lifetime oppotunity! Grasp the moment! (very CORNY) Love "THE SCHLITTS/NY"
Response: Wazzzabe!

I tried calling you back for over an hour and kept geting a busy signal. Hope you're feeling better. I'll try calling again this weekend.
From Ernie and Paula
Happy Easter Greg,
The apartments sound interesting. A couple of recs from a friend at work. Go se St . Stephens in Meinz. The windows were done by Chagall. A tasty meal would be currywurst. He also said the people in that area are wine drinkers so we would fit right in, Ernie could be a beer taster and I could handle the wine! Hope you are doing well.
Response: HI Paula and Ernie!!

Happy Easter to you as well. I took a short trip to Mainz just last weekend. I don't know that I saw St. Stephens though, but I will make sure I do next time. It is only a 5 min train ride from me so I plan to go there alot. I've heard that it is the wine capital of Germany! I also found a champaigne producer nearby that I am going to tour one of these weekends. I'll be sure to send home some samples for you guys.

PS you'd fit in great here!
From Mom
Well, did you fall out of Germany, or did the Tsunami get you? Where the heck are you? You didn't have that much to unpack!!!
Response: sorry, no internet at the appartment. Working on that.
From MOM!
Hey! Just remembered! Dr K went on a beer seminar last October to Germany, if the is any thing you want to know how to say or ask for let me know and I ask him!!
Response: How do you say, "where is the fire station?" hehehe actually I did find a paid-on-call dept but haven't made it there yet.
From Joe Fleischman
Great to hear from you, we were afraid you left without a trace. I went through your web site, very nice. This is a great communication tool. You sound like you are having a good time with starting a new temp life over there. GIT ER DONE! (in English that means work hard ,make some bucks and get back to your family)
Response: Good to hear from you too! Hope all is well and everyone is still there. Oh by the way, there is a couple vans here sold by Mitzubishi that have REAR facing seats standard... hahaha
From Mom
Ok, so how is the new digs? You must have an address so what is it? Tell us all about your place! Will you be able to get any English speaking stations on TV? I'm sorry I couldn't hear alot of what you were saying Friday because of the kids, but I got some explainations from Dawn. Talk when you can!
Response: I'll go into detail and post pics soon, as for the tv, I get 500 channels of CRAP! only about 10/15 in English and they are either news or televangelists. UGH
From MOM 2
Response: Hi mom! Yep, the place is pretty nice, I'll post pics soon.
From Dad
How Did your first week go? How is wheather? We are slow but getting ton's on estimates, most are for elaborate complicated systems customers want designed, what usually happens is I spend a lot of time designing and pricing and customer finds someone else to install a cheaper price, but thats business! Take care and write when you can, talk to you later. Love Dad
Response: Weather has been good really. Cool at night and in the morning, but must be near the mid 60's and sunny every day except late last night into this morning.
hope your haveing a good time! hope you miss my drunking phone calls at 2 in the morning!
Response: BOBBY! You know I miss that the most! Funny thing is, if you tried that now, it would be 8am, and I'd already be at work! How sad... :(

Hope all is well in Fraser FD... Stay Safe
From Tuuuuna
Guten tag Herr Schlitt! Man, all you seem to write about is FOOD! It's gravy this and gravy that..... hehehehehehe Surprise, surprise, surprise.....
What we want to here about is the good German bier! Hacker Pschorr, Beck's and the infamous St. Pauli's fraulien! Have fun, be safe, watch rugby and don't eat too much, otherwise we'll have to call you Uder Braten. :-)
Response: The TUUUUUUNA!

I haven't said THAT much about the food. But hey, I had some good Schnitzle for lunch, with pommes! So there. Surprisingly nough, there are so many small beweries that I have yet to see Hacher Pschorr or St. Pauli... Becks is everywhere!

Thanks for the note and pass along any Lions news to my yahoo account OK? I'm SO out of the loop!
From Mom
Hey Greggor!! So how is work?
Whatch ya doin' at work? (or whatcha working on? Nothin' new here as usual! How's the food taste? Have you been out to see anything else? Take care!
Response: Work is good, I am working on the glovebox for the US version. Food at the cafe and hotel are very good and huge protions. I eat so much those two meals I haven't been out for dinner yet!

From your boyfriend "You
Good you got in safe and you do know other german word JAGERMIESTER nice photos but i better get the the hot girl photos just playin Dawn well i LOVE YOU too cant wait to visit bye sugar
Response: Hey Zuk... thanks, I'm laughing my butt of in my hotel room the people next door must think I'm retarded! Let me know when you're planning on coming out! I could use the company.
From MOM
Good Afternoon! Did you have a good "power sleep"? Thought your agency was suppose to help you find someplace to stay?
Response: I'm still fighting the jet-lag so sleep has been tough. But its getting better.
From Tina
Just thought I would say hi and glad to hear you had a safe trip. Great pics and it looks like a neat city. Good luck with the German!!
Response: Hi Tina! Thanks, yes it is a very cool city, very cosmopolitian. Hopefully I get a chance this weekend to scout out a little more.
From Aunt B
Good to hear from you. Sounds rather interesting in your neighborhood. Will you be finding another place? I hear this one is very small. Not much else for now. Will write again.
Love Aunt B
Response: Hi Aunt B!

Yes, I will be looking for something more permanent. The hotel is nice but very costly and no room to even unpack. Hopefully within the week I can find an appartment. Talk to you soon.
From Deuce
whazz up!!!! how the hell are ya. how was the trip? how is Germany. what did macomb say? what did verban say. do you miss me?
Response: Hi sweetie! hahahaha

Trip was good, long flight but I slept most of it. Germany is very interesting! you'd like it, not a lot of HVAC places around :). As for Macomb, they still have to vote on it. I tihnk it goes to the board this week. Verben was cool, he said there were officeres that didn't want to grant me the leave. But he veto'd them.