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I’m back!

Welp, it’s been a while but I’m back! I’ve busy with things like being pregnant and having a baby. Baby B was born in February and is coming up on 5 months old, so I don’t have much time to write, but I feel like I seriously need to before my English completely dries up.

I’ll be posting more in the coming days, including a summary of what’s been going on, how the birth was, how it is being a mom on maternity leave, etc. Looking forward to it!

Good news!

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but there’s a good reason for that. I didn’t want to blab the big news prematurely: we’re expecting a baby in February!

I’ve got 14 weeks under my belt (literally) so far, and I have to say it’s been pretty crappy up to now. I started feeling nauseous around week 5 and no sign of it going away any time soon. Strangely, I feel sick in the evenings most often, so at least it’s not really interferring with work (except for today, today I feel lousy).

The fatigue has mostly faded though, which is great. I was eyeing my watch at 8:30 on some days, ready to get to sleep already.

I’ve also outgrown a bunch of clothes already, which is surprising because I don’t think I look obviously pregnant yet. But I can’t zip up any of my jeans (rubber bands to the rescue!) and I’ve outgrown all my bras. Had to go out and get a new bikini for our mini vacation to the beach in a few weeks. Just in time, too, since it’s the end of the season and there aren’t many swimsuits left to choose from.

So yeah. My life for the past few months: wake up, eat a huge bowl of cornflakes because I can’t stand the sight of bread for some reason, try to find a shirt that still fits, get to work, snack all day, get home, collapse on couch, go throw up, feel better, eat supper, watch some TV, ignore chores, go to bed early. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Should be in bed

I remember never going to bed before midnight in college, even if I had a class at 8.

Well those days are long gone! I catch the bus to work at 7:30 every morning, which means I get up at just after 6. If I’m not in bed by 10 most nights, it starts to catch up to me by mid week. Must be gettin’ old.

Don’t really have much to write, actually. Work has been stressful now that business is picking up. Now that I’m doing more coordinating than translating, I’m dealing with more people’s ignorance, roadblocks and plain old orneriness than before, simply because there are more people involved in every decision. I’ve also picked up some work in the evenings, correcting Master’s theses. They’re all written in English nowadays, and they need someone who actually speaks and, more importantly, writes the language to correct them.

Our garden is going well. This has been literally the coldest May ever, so my tomatoes and chilies aren’t growing at all. But the spinach is about to get out of hand and all the radishes are ripe at the same time, which I for some reason did not anticipate when I planted them all at the same time. Well, live and learn.

Tomorrow evening I’m meeting friends for drinks and dinner. Promises to be fun, as usual. I can’t wait for summer, virtually every restaurant and bar in this country has an outdoor seating area in the summer. Sometimes it’s in the pedestrian zone, sometimes it’s on a roof, more often than not it’s just three tables of 2 blocking half the sidewalk just outside the place. But it’s fantastic. I miss that in the states when I visit, people are just too used to the deep-freeze air conditioning in most restaurants, I think.

Sick

I’m just sick enough to feel miserable, but not really sick enough to justify staying home from work. It totally sucks.

This morning, Kürbis woke me up at o’dark thirty by scratching at the blankets. He knows this wakes us up. My job is then to hold the blankets up so he can slip in and curl up alongside you, purring like a chainsaw. It’s unbearably cute, especially since he isn’t always cuddly, but I could not get back to sleep because he was purring so loud, right next to my ear.

I’m so busy at work anymore, I hardly  have time to goof off and write anything. Our booth at this one trade fair needs decorations, I should coordinate pictures of sufficient resolution and with Chinese captions or whatever to be sent to the right person. Then a brochure is delayed because some idiot decided to take a trivial matter all the way to the CEO (literally, how we write the date in the brochure’s issue number). User manual needs to be translated, I’ll get right on that. Phone rings, it’s someone from our Chinese subsidiary wanting to talk to someone whose name I don’t understand. Another 10 minutes gone before I get that he wants to talk to someone named Schuetz and the receptionist thought he wanted to talk to me. Transfer him. An ad in a magazine is due at the end of the week, what pictures should we use? And so on. Right now I feel like I’m doing nothing but work. I have to really try to relax this weekend.

I’m going to go feel lousy on the couch now.

Back to the grind

The economy seems to be getting better, so they’re going to let us start working “up to full-time” again. It is a very complicated and boring new rule, so I won’t go into it here. Suffice to say everyone’s new hours and people’s generally low opinion of company policy were the only subjects of conversation at work today. Even though I am similarly outraged/annoyed/fed up, I’m really tired of hearing about it all the time.

My radishes, spinach, onions and chard are up. The radishes and spinach are doing best so far. There is a faint line of green tendrils where the carrots are supposed to be, but they aren’t growing very fast. The only thing missing is the leeks. I think I planted them along the bottom edge of the garden, but now I can’t tell if the little plants sprouting there are actually the leeks or just lawn. Time will tell.

Additionally, I have tomatoes, chilies, bell peppers, squash and zucchini started on the balcony, but I can’t plant them out in the garden until a) they get a lot bigger and b) it gets a lot warmer.

Well, after this riveting update, I’m headed to bed. Good night!

I spent all week at the Wire and Tube trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. My company had a booth and I, being female, was asked to work as a kind of hostess for the booth. In other words, I got people coffee, topped up the bowls of peanuts, sliced Leberkäs for guests, and washed many many dishes.

I’ve never worked a trade fair before. It was really tough the first three days, and really great the last two days. The toughest part, besides standing all day, was being around my colleagues virtually 24/7. Not that I don’t like them, but I had no time to myself at all. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever consumed that much alcohol in a 6 day period, ever.

Every day, after the fair closed, we cleaned up, packed up, drove to the hotel, got changed and went out for dinner. Dinner is always washed down and followed by many drinks. And you can’t make excuses: everyone goes and is expected to have fun. Naturally, people talk  about work, which is extremely boring since I’m not in sales like all the other guys I was with.

The fair ended on Friday. Four of us were supposed to fly home that evening, while three would have stayed until Saturday and driven home (they drove a station wagon and a van up there with all the stuff for the booth). Well, of course by Thursday evening, the volcano in Iceland was spewing ash and flights were being canceled. Ever optimistic, we held out hope all day Friday that our flights wouldn’t be canceled, but it was not to be.

The crew at the booth of a Spanish company next to ours took a taxi home. To Barcelona. All train tickets were sold out, rental cars were gone by 9 am Friday morning. They left behind a lot of wonderful Rioja and olive oil, which they had been giving away to important general managers. The hostess came over to our booth and gave us a few bottles.

By 6 on Friday evening, we had packed everything into the van. Three colleagues drove home immediately, four of us stayed overnight and drove in the morning. We had dinner and many drinks at a hole in the wall near our hotel. Afterwards, one colleague and I managed to empty a bottle of that Rioja with nothing but water glasses and sheer determination.

Needless to say, getting up the next morning was tough. It took us about 7 and a half hours to get back to Linz. My partner in Rioja-based crime spent most of the drive imitating a yo-yo: drifting off to sleep, head falling to the side, jerking back awake. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I can’t sleep in cars, I had a book along. Thank god Stefan suggested I pack a second one!

I had to skip the ladies night out I had planned to go to on Saturday night. Also, the weekend has been very short. Just today, really. But in general, it was a good week and I’ll probably be doing it again come November, at the Aluminum trade fair in Essen.

Vegetable garden

Just got in from outside. I’m “taking the week off”, which in this case means I’m working half a day Mon-Wed and taking Thursday off. Naturally, me and my colleagues all decided to go on vacation the same week, so I got stuck holding down the fort these few days since I’m not leaving the country. What are ya gonna do.

Our land lady agreed to let us have a little vegetable garden in the yard. It’s small, just 2×2 meters (6×6 ft). But let me tell you something. It is not easy to de-sod 4 square meters of lawn.

Being over-educated, Stefan and I immediately got a couple of books on gardening. One brushes this part off by saying, “Remove the sod from the area, it can be used to fill in bare patches of your lawn.” Then it breezes on to the next step. But grass wants to stay where it is, so that’s taken a few hours in total. Plus digging it all up, adding compost and some grass cuttings (which is what I was just doing), trying to keep most of the dirt within the borders.  It all adds up. But at least you only have to do this part once.

We’re planning on having tomatos, peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, spinach, leeks and greens. We might have room for a few other things, but not much. 4 square meters is a lot when you’re digging it up, but not a lot when you’re planting stuff, since you have to allow for the plants to grow.

Now to wash off. Quesadilla time!

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