Monthly Archives: July 2005

Legoland, in retrospect

Right, well, the good news is it didn’t rain all day. We took the train, which is always a weird experience. The Bahn has all these annoying little rules, that basically exist to confuse you so that you can’t possibly do it right, and then they can nail you for messing up and fine you outrageously. That’s my theory, anyway. They have this Bavaria-ticket deal where for €24 you and four friends can go anywhere in Bavaria, but only on certain trains – the regional ones, but not the intercity ones, in a very small nutshell and of course it’s really more complicated than that. So yeah, you can all go somewhere for €24, and trains depart every hour, but they don’t tell you the trains you can use the €24-ticket on depart every six hours. Actually, some media-entity here went to a train station and asked five different Bahn workers the same question, and got four different answers. So see, even the staff don’t know what’s going on.

Anyway, in case you were wondering why we HAD to take the 9am train, and couldn’t leave Legoland until 6pm, that’s basically it. So we were there too long, and people got cranky and tired. And the weather was bad, but that was actually probably a good thing ultimately, because Saturday was the first day of the vacations, AND our annual passes are not valid in August (yes, of course, you knew the Legoland people were corporate bandito scum, don’t pretend you didn’t), so it should have been absolutely mobbed, but because of the rain, it wasn’t. And the kids mostly had fun. And the lines weren’t too long, though they were still long enough. And there is no line for Miniland, which Gus really, really likes, especially because of the freight train in Hamburg harbor. And I learned that using a digital camera is not nearly as easy as it looks.

And we will probably go one more time, since we bought the annual passes and all, but I think next year we might explore the possibilities of the Playmobil Fun-Park instead. CJ told me it’s only €5,50 to get in (compare that to Legoland’s €19 for kids, €23 for adults), so it can be like a quarter as cool as Legoand and still be worth the money. In any case, it was still fun, but Legoland really does have a sort of diminishing-returns thing about it – each time you go it’s just a bit less fabulous. Not that we had a bad time, but we’re starting to see how that would be possible.

Oh! But how cool is this? Gus lost his first tooth! In the line for the Racecars at the Lego Drome! Big day, and the tooth fairy gave him a whole €1.

Wow. Another kid-milestone.


oops, sorry

A whole week without blogging, what’s that about? Sorry, I’ve been crabby and occasionally depressed, stressed out and annoyed. Probably mostly the weather, which is also making the demon spawn act up, which makes me even crabbier. And when one of them is being a buttwad, R says, ever so helpfully, “I just wouldn’t let him get away with it”, which manages to both imply that it’s my fault and utterly fail to offer any constructive suggestion. How irritating is that?

Today was the last day of school. At G’s kindergarten there was a sign up that they were having a farewell party or whatever you call that in English. I figured I’d drop him off and go to the gym and run errands, he’d eat pretzels and drink juice for 90 minutes, and then I’d pick him up on the way home. But no. They had some dreadful performance-ritual thing where the kids who are starting school in September had chiffon scarves tied to their wrists and waved them around in a little dance. And I had to stay and watch. Highly annoying.

And K’s all done with elementary school. None of his hooligan friends are going to the same school he is, so next year the work will be harder and all his classmates will hate him. Wonderful. He says they think he’s crazy. I do think he needs to change his attitude about school if he wants to get anything out of it, but I don’t know how to bring that about. I don’t know if it will be good to get away from those particular friends, who have encouraged him to misbehave in the past, or if it will be bad for him to go to a school where he has no allies. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m worried. And I can’t really discuss it with R because he’s going to be really really busy for the next year or so. He has to write another book. Gack.

We are going to Legoland tomorrow, yes, again. Because we’re insane, that’s why. Because he promised his godson. Also, R’s been invited to another conference, in September, which was when we were going to go to Croatia, the four of us. So the Croatia trip is cancelled. I am a bit disappointed, since that was my only shot at a vacation this year, but I think the conference is important. He’s also going away to the Alps for a week with K – the place was almost full, and he could only book a room for two people, and I said at the time I didn’t mind, but that was long before I realized that three days in Rome was going to be my only vacation this year.

However, I can’t really get miffed about the unfairness of it all, since I don’t want anything specific. It’s not entirely R’s fault. Plus, I am technically a grown-up now, and holding my breath about a problem until someone else makes it go away is not really a grown-up option. To be honest, I don’t really want to take his place on the Alps trip. I also don’t really want to go somewhere on my own. He’s offered me both of those, so see, he’s trying to make it fair. But I think I’ll just wait until something comes up that I do want – Kelly might get to go to Turkey for her job, and I would definitely want to go visit her. Another Eric Meyer workshop might be worth calling in the favor for too. We’ll see.

Ack. Entry too long. That’s what I get for not blogging for a week.


aw jeez, now what?

The JOB has decided to scrap the database I spent a year working on. I wrote an angry, venting entry on it, but then I remembered that they read this once, and might do again, and I should probably not let them see me annoyed, since I already got in trouble for doing it once. So this is me editing.

I am trying to be fair. I essentially volunteered to work three times my contracted hours, and pay for all the classes and books myself – for all they knew when they asked for it, a database was no more difficult than a popup window. I was basically asking to be taken for granted, and all they did was oblige. It’s my fault, and I should just shelve my ego and shut up.

I am not happy with the way things have turned out. R says I must not escalate, i.e., just because L’s emails have gotten snippy and superior doesn’t mean I should match them. But the thing is, I can’t help noticing her change of tone, and I don’t know how to pretend I haven’t noticed. I wrote cheerful and friendly because I felt that way. Now I don’t, and I don’t know how to fake it. He thinks I am making a bad choice. I think I’m doing the best I can. I can’t lie.

Back when they asked me to translate the site for €7.50 an hour I said no, that is highly qualified work and I don’t care to be exploited, thanks anyway. R said I could have put that more diplomatically. I said I don’t know how to do this German polite-fiction thing, where you know and I know but we both pretend it’s not true. He said that’s not just a German thing, you don’t say exploit in America either. I’ve been thinking about that for an hour now, and actually, I think I would. If an American company asked me to do something for $7.50 an hour when we both knew the going rate was closer to $50, I would tell them no. And I would tell them why.

What would you do?


netdisaster

I love, love, love this. Of course I applied it to the JOB site, and cackled like a maniac. I can’t decide which I liked best: meteors, dinosaurs, or the scribbling baby.

Robert suggested I might should finish out my contract (till December) and then not renew it. L is still ticked off about the blog-thing, even though I said only positive things about her. Not that she has admitted this, but the tone of her emails has changed significantly since that meeting. Anyway, in response to Robert’s suggestion I said oh, no, this is the only front-end work I get to do. I like the database course, but it’s all back-end stuff, and only slightly in line with the career I was wanting. In fact, if I’d known at the time that UW also had this course, I would’ve done it instead. It’s much closer to what I ultimately want, which is web developing. But these courses run about $1800 each, so I can’t really go around collecting them. If I get a database job-job, and make enough money that $1800 doesn’t sound like a lot – okay, if I’m making that much in a month, and still have time to take classes, then I’ll consider it. For now I’m locked into databases. Which is not a bad thing. It’s fun, it just lacks a certain creative element.

But I have strayed from my point, which is that the JOB site is the only real web design work I get to do these days, and quitting that job would therefore be bad. But then, given how much fun I just had with that site at Netdisaster, it looks like I may have a bit of unexpressed hostility toward that job, and I might should get out before expressing the hostility starts to sound like a good idea.

Something to ponder.


wha…huh? where am I?

Right, so that was two days nose down in the database, surfacing occasionally to feed a blondish child, and one day nose down in the latest Harry Potter book, and now I feel very weird – well, like I’ve been concentrating intensely on something for too long. Like my brain has been wrung out like a sponge. I need to get out more.

Fat chance. The AHF still goes to press next month, so is busy for the rest of July, which, admittedly, is not much more. I do like the job, and my coworkers, quite a bit. Then I have a phone-book-sized heap of proofreading to do – this is weird, Robert and I were hired to check a translation of a website, and now for the final check, they’ve printed out every page – the entire site – in English and in German, for us to look over again. And mailed us this heap of paper that must weigh at least 5 pounds. I can’t think why, but whatever. It’s a bit of mindless work to do, and will be good for me after the database/600-page novel. Plus I can take it on the train with me if I want – hey! Or do it on the patio! An opportunity to get out, that’s good. There’s also some neglected JOB stuff to catch up on, and a site update for a client. All small stuff, but I let it pile up and now it’ll have to be dealt with.

Oh, right! Another thing, a situation that I have not previously described has had an Event, and now you need exposition. Right, my lovely next-door neighbor, CJ, has this lunatic cat named Vera. Vera is beautiful, a mostly-white Persian, very picturesque sitting around the garden. But yes, she is insane. So are we of course – if you lived in a neighborhood with cats, you would roll up the windows of your car, right? If not at first, then at least after someone had shed all over the interior a few times. Ditto the garage: if it were not a matter of principle to keep the garage door shut, then it would at least become a matter of common sense, once you’d had to free the neighbor’s cat ten or twelve times. Unfortunately, we are not as smart as you, so we did it again. Have done it consistently for three and a half years now. And Vera has decided to up the stakes.

She peed in the car.

Now, as some of you may have guessed, Robert does not see it the way I do. Cats are basically a force of nature, and they do not change their personalities just because you glare at them occasionally. And yet Robert continues to expect her to stop going into our garage, and it does not occur to him to stop leaving it open. Actually, maybe Robert and Vera have a few things in common. But don’t tell him I said that.


gone fishin’

Well, not exactly fishing, but I’m off doing other things for awhile. The Final Project for my db class has nine parts and I am finding that I can finish one part per day if I devote the whole day to it, but I don’t have nine whole days – it really should be finished by tuesday. So I need to find another system.

My pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came yesterday, right on schedule, so once I finish the database project, I’ll be nose down in a book for a few days.

I took the kids to Munich to see Madagascar yesterday. I was unsure about taking Gus – he’s really into trains, so I thought the Polar Express was a good idea last November, and it scared the hell out of him. Robert had to take him out to ride around on the trams until the movie ended. So we warned him repeatedly that he would not be able to leave this time, and he said he wouldn’t be scared.

He wasn’t scared. He was hyper. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit on my lap, sit on his seat, go sit somewhere else, come back and sit on the floor, he was just a blur of activity. And he had a great time, so I’ll have a hard time explaining why I don’t want to take him to the next movie. Which will probably be the Wallace & Gromit thing.

Aaaaaand Robert left today for Croatia. One of his professors from UMad has a teensy apartment in Istra, and she and her husband and daughters are there now, so Robert took his new motorcycle down there to visit them and also to try the bike on a long trip, and also to scout out the location as a possible vacation spot for us, as Ms Professor has apparently somehow indicated that she might be willing to let us stay there when she’s not there. He’ll be back on wednesday evening sometime, I’ll be in Munich working, and I’ll see him on thursday. Probably.

Okay. While I was writing, some in-laws came and stole my sons, so I’d better make use of the quiet house and do some work.


update

Okay, the big ol’ crack was not actually a broken molar, though it sure looked like one. It was a filling coming loose. There was also some rot. The dentist gave him a new filling and he is more or less unscathed. Which means, since this is Kilian, that he has not learned anything from the experience, and will continue to consume sugar and try to set speed-records for brushing his teeth. I’d like to nag him into some semblance of proper dental hygiene, but I just don’t have the attention span.

Today was also Gus’s final swimming lesson. I came along, in my swimmies, to help out. I told him he was doing really really well, and I was terribly proud of him.

Sometimes mothers have to lie.