No, sorry, not a baby or a puppy.
I'm talking about our fake/temporary German daughter, who will be arriving in mid August and staying until mid December.
This is part of the Buffalo-Dortmund Exchange program that our much loved Herr S. runs. Our young woman will attend a local girls school and we will make sure that she enjoys her time here - the program starts with structured events that are very similar to the group events we had last summer when Mara and Meret were here.
The big difference is that Griffin will leave for school at about the same time as our guest arrives and Connor will be back at school too. However, my role in the program will be to help Herr keep the girls happy and on track* and between school and social, I won't let the loneliness set in.
Last evening, I went through the letters and resumes** of the dozen girls (there are a handful of boys too, but I'm over boys) and after consulting Griffin and Connor, I narrowed it down to one and let Herr know that he can release the rest to other families.
The one we chose likes swimming, baking, reading. She is not (according to her very long and delightful letter) too much of a soccer fan, although we all root for Dortmunds BVB***. Her goals in visiting America are not just to shop the malls, but to put an American experience behind the English she has been studying.
My goals are to sort of bridge the gap into semi-empty nesting. I'm not dreading that phase, but I've housed enough German girls to believe I can be a temporary exchange mom, without a translator. Besides, I already eat the bread.
My other goals are to use the mid August arrival as a home improvement deadline. There is a bedroom to paint and refurnish as a proper guest room. The kitchen redo is slated for June and it looks like the second bathroom will get a new shower/vanity/lighting/paint at that time.
These changes will likely mean new furniture/paint/carpet in the family room and our bedroom should/could get painted then too. All expensive, but taking the current private high school tuition and putting it towards these things is the plan.
The other plan is about my health, I've got a few things to get straightened out over the next few months, but the doctors plan to get me ahead of the illness, to manage the chronic stuff, without it managing me.
Anyways, the snow is falling and I have to compose my first email to our Laura.
* Due to lack of families, a handful of last year's girls were dormed at a girls school and had little contact with local families. Herr S. spent a lot of time with this group but soon discovered that they knew that calling him with tears would lead to dinner at a restaurant - their schoolwork and his pocketbook suffered. I will be the one that gets these calls and I'm not that easily played.
** The majority of them have bunnies as pets, but one told a harrowing tale of a fox eating said bunnies. I'm still a little traumatized.
***BVB is the Dortmund local club that is run by a former German Olympian. His son was part of the group last summer and he was quite the "player" but also a very nice young man.