Friday, April 07, 2006

This is what 0C looks like at 8 am on an otherwise fine Spring morning. (See the chimney smoke at bottom right?) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Someone's in the Kitchen with Hannah

Hannah has been very domestic lately. First she was on an apple sauce-making kick. She made raw apple sauce mostly by herself (I helped a little with peeling and coring the apples, but she did all the chopping) *twice* last weekend, and it made a tasty dessert. But not very much, because she pooped out after chopping 2 apples.

Then she got the idea from a crafts-and-science type magazine (based on a tv show for kids) to make her own soap. John bought her a bar of non-creamy soap (which is surprisingly hard to find, since Germans seem to use only liquid soaps) and a lemon, and she set to work with a grater and some cookie cutters. (I got to take over with the grating when she started to flag, which added an element of danger to the whole process.) Now I know how the Pilgrims and Pioneers felt, cooking and using homemade soap. She also insisted on keeping some of the soapy water from where I was soaking the pot she melted the soap shavings in, so we poured it in a recycled squeeze ketchup bottle. Her bathroom is now littered in bits of homemade soap, either from the bits that made it into the soap water, or from the bits that have broken off the bars.

I just wish she would be half so energetic and helpful when it came time for her to put away her laundry, clear away her toys, or empty the dishwasher.

Brain, Brain, Go Away...

I am having one of those manic days where I am basically on the verge of running around in circles gibbering. I’m pretty sure John thinks I’ve already crossed that boundary, but trust me, there’s still a ways to go before I am in full-fledged freak-out mode. I just. can. not. sit. still. Or quietly.


In other news, our landlord says it may take 4 weeks or more to complete the winter garden (it’s not quite a sunroom...), because it will take around three weeks just for the windows to be made to order. Look at us with the special-order windows. La-di-da!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More Construction-Related Stuff

I wanted to sneak a picture of the guys doing the construction work, but Germany (and basically all of Europe under the EU) has pretty strict privacy laws, so I wouldn’t want to get myself in trouble by putting their pictures up on the Internet. So instead I found a photo or two to direct you all to.

There is a long tradition here of the apprentice system, and carpenters (“hand workers” in general, I guess) have their own traditional clothing even. So here’s a photo of their pants, which I find very interesting with all the handy pockets and loops and zippers and things. Not all carpenters wear the full get-up to every job, but they all wear the super-handy pants.

(By the way, click on the earlier photo to biggify it.)

Some Old-School Bitchin' and Moanin'

I am going to be co-teaching a couple of translation/interpreting classes this coming up semester, and so far I have no contract and have not heard from my teaching partner, who is actually in charge of the classes. So I contacted the person who asked me to do the job, and she told me who I needed to see in the department about the contract.

You have to understand the German office system—and this applies to private businesses, public offices, and even doctors—there is no 8-5 availability. The people may be there, but they hold office hours (like university profs in the US), and that is the only time they are open to people who do not work in their direct office environment. (Actually, for my doctor’s office at least, this means that they have “walk-in” office hours in the morning, but to see the doctor in the afternoon you have to have an appointment.) For university employees this can be as little as *1 hour per week*. I shit you not. This person is officially only available on Wednesdays 10:30-11:30. So yesterday when I got the reply from my contact person, I thought, “Hey, good timing, Nee,” and trotted on over this morning.

And the chick is out sick. The secretary in that office is... not very friendly. The secretary’s office is actually open to the public every morning, so I popped my head in to ask a question about the missing person, and you’d think I had interrupted her in the middle of open-heart surgery the way she looked at me. I’m sorry to interrupt your web-surfing, beeyotch, but I’ve got a problem that *falls within the scope of your job duties*. Aaarrgh!

So there was an hour-and-a-half down the toilet when I could have been proofreading (or blogging *g*). But I feel better now for bitching about it, so maybe I can settle down to work.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Construction Begins!

It's really happening--we're having a "winter garden" put in. Yesterday they started putting up scaffolding in the front of our house so they can go over the roof to access our terrace (instead of barging into the apartment--and hopefully disturbing our turdy little teenaged neighbor "Matthew", heh). But Spring graced them with heavy rain and a little hail, so they had to stop and finish that this morning. Then Spring rained on them a little more today, but they bravely came back in the afternoon and started tearing down the terrace. Woot! Pictures of the construction to follow.