On swapping stereos when the music stops

I took the dud stereo to work with me today (by train, after bringing my bike to the bike-workshop ;)) so I could swap it back with the seller for a working replacement after work.

Read that sentence again. What stands out most? Work work work!

And it does! Nothing broken, nothing dropped, nothing lost or soaked or dismantled. In fact nothing to laugh at at all…*

The new stereo is very dull, but it works (!!! Whee!!!) and it was pretty cool that the guy was willing to exchange it, and that he even had a second one for sale at all.

I’m going to take it to work tomorrow and swap it for my original one (because that one’s programmable and has a remote, and is properly mine!).

And when I get home with it, and the world stops making me dizzy, I will sit back and enjoy the music πŸ™‚ ..

…and then clear up the chaos that ignoring my house for a few days has let ensue.

* Albert and the lion

On winter flowers

I don’t know many plants that flower in winter, in my head none had big poofy blooms.

Then I accompanied DB on a work trip, calling in at his workshop en route.

I am now better educated.

Trees do blossom in January. Especially mostly neglected trees kept in corridors.

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This particular corridor is only marginally heated and any natural light that fights its way through the workshop windows, then through the frosted glass wall dividing the workshop from the corridor is tired before it reaches the leaves. It wouldn’t strike me as the ideal climate for a deciduous tree, but it seems perfectly happy….

On molecules and foreigners in the workshop

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Earlier this week:

My soon-be-ex-colleague is sitting at a table with 2 or 3 others drinking beer. I’m at my work bank, making prettifull molecules* for a couple of people who have just graduated/completed their PhDs.

An Indian customer comes in with a box of glassware to be repaired. He officially ‘belongs’ to a different workshop, but their glassblower is off sick and we’re close by and he usually comes to us if it’s urgent.

Indian, to colleague, in English: “Can you mend some glass things for me?”
Colleague, not understanding: “hrmph?” (his version of, excuse me, can you repeat that?)
Indian: repeats himself
Colleague, ranting, in German, and gesticulating wildly in my direction: “No. I don’t see why I should do all the work. I’m not the only glassblower in the place, ask her if she can make time for you, etc etc etc”
Indian, to me: “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what he is saying, I think I have made a problem for you…”
Me: “not really, he’s always like that”
Indian, shrugs: “mmmf, he’s German”

We discuss what he needs and he walks towards the door.

Colleague: “…and next time bring a translator with you!”

I go back to the molecule, and my colleague to his beer and a monologue on foreigners and artistic colleagues.

ARGH.

12 and a half days til I’m free!!

* if anyone wants prettifull glass molecules please get in touch πŸ™‚

On Pidgeons

Today my workshop was invaded by 2 pidgeons.

I left for 10-15 minutes to print something in a different room, when I got back, there they were.

Apparently they mate for life. I was told that by most of the people who found out about my predicament.

Not that it really helped me much.

But anyway.

The main problem with having pidgeons in the workshop is not knowing how to get them out.

The obvious solution would be to open the windows.

The main problem with that, is that the windows in my workshop are old and the hinges are apparently dodgey or broken. I’m not allowed to open them.

German windows can open from one side (like any other windows) or tip ca 10 degrees to vertical. 2 of the 6 windows in my workshop can be tipped.

I like fresh air, so I’d tipped both of them.

That’s how they got in in the first place. There wasn’t much chance of them finding their way out by themselves.

Not knowing much else about pidgeons exept that they breed for life and shouldn’t be in my workshop, I went to find the Hausmeister (that’s something like a caretaker I guess. The guy who’s responsible for EVERYTHING no one else wants to be responsible for. Things like catching pidgeons. Not that he personally does anything about the things he’s responsible for. His job is to get hold of the person who is better able to deal with the responsibility and make sure good things happen).

He wrote my name down on a piece of paper and said he’d get in touch when he’d finished thinking. A little while later, he came to look at the pidgeons and confirm that they were indeed loose in my workshop.

Something like 4 hours later, 2 men appeared in my workshop – one for each pidgeon I suppose. One was short and round, the other tall and thin, the men I mean – the pidgeons looked remarkably similar to each other.

In the meantime, my colleague had come back from his doctors appointment. I told him the story so far, that the pidgeon-catchers had been summoned, and pointed to the air condtioning tubing where they were perched. He told anyone who’d listen the story of how he’d chased a pidgeon out of the workshop 30 years ago. He didn’t say anything about these pidgeons, or make any attempt to get rid of them.

When the pidgeon-catchers arrived they said we should normally open a window, but since ours don’t open, they’d brought nets on long sticks. They wanted to look at the room then they’d go and get them. My dear colleague then kindly cleared the things off his windowsill and opened the window. The pidgeons were gently nudged in the right direction with the broom while the pidgeon catchers looked on. They left before they had a chance to get their nets.

Still, I guess watching people waving brooms in the air beats sitting in an office waiting for the phone to ring…

On going away

I’m going to be away for a week.

I’m going back to school to become incredibly clever (I hope), and to catch up on sleep, and to get out of the workshop :).

If anyone had told me 10 years ago, that I would one day rate going to school equal to something like freedom, I would have thought them crazy and wondered if I should worry about them… These days I can hardly wait to get back behind a desk πŸ˜›

Anyway. I won’t be writing for a week.

Have fun dear people πŸ™‚

On skiing and looking elegant

– though admittedly not at the same time!

On Saturday I went skiing. I also went skiing on Sunday, but I’ve already written about that here. This is going to mess up the chronology of my posts, but hey… deal with it.

After 3 weeks of thawing and piffling about snowing-but-not-settling, it finally snowed properly again :). My Ski-Partner (D) wrote (on Friday – spontaneity is of the essence :)) to tell me it had snowed and to ask whether Saturday or Sunday suited me better. I had nothing planned for either day (except revision, church, dancing and a phone call to a really-good-friend-I-don’t-talk-to-nearly-often-enough) so we agreed to spend Saturday afternoon on the hill we’d been to before.

A late night of last-minute planning and faffing about was followed 8 hours later by a longer-than-expected phonecall. Turning the computer on to look up the bus/train timetable meant a skypecall with my grandfather ensued, and by the time my pizza was finished and I was dressed for the snow, I’d phoned D twice to change the time he was supposed to meet me and missed yet another bus. I ended up walking to the trainstation (via my workshop, because my ski stuff’s there), practically having to drag myself up the steps behind my house. If I hadn’t been so intent on not-having-to-phone-and-say-I-was-going-to-be-even-later, carting my ski kit across the carpark to the station would’ve been the last thing I felt like doing. The journey was uneventful and I was there before D which made me feel slightly less bad for the late start. He also reassured me that being late wasn’t a problem – he’d finally done all the things he’d been putting off doing for weeks and would have started on filing receipts if I hadn’t finally managed to catch a train :).

In short, although I was looking forward to it, I felt exhausted before we began. Despite having had a good night’s sleep, I hadn’t slept enough during the week to be really awake, everything ached, I was stiff, and grouchy and just generally not on top form. Putting my ski-boots on was painfull and lifting up the hill more so (uh, riding the lifts is known as lifting, I wasn’t trying to move mountains by hand). Getting off the lift at the top of the hill and thinking about skiing down it, or anything involving moving or putting pressure on my feet or my shins (the boots come up to about halfway) was bordering on masochism.

I moaned and whinged and asked if we could go home now. His answer? “It’ll wear off once you’ve got started – I give you 3 runs before you’re fine…” ARGH. Thanks for the sympathy vote then!

He grinned at me and off we went.

It was better than expected. 2 runs later I’d stopped hobbling, the run after that started being fun, and the rest of the evening was super.

It isn’t fair that other people get to be right so often!

πŸ˜›

We had thirty-something runs on the card to use up, so we skiied until we ran out (2 or 3 hours).

When we did run out, I wasn’t really ready to stop, but I was willing to agree that it was late and D’s hands were cold and overdoing things is silly. Also, I was promised hot chocolate and cake. That, if nothing else, was a good incentive.

We stomped back to the car (try doing anything else in ski boots) and found it iced shut. There was no way the key was going to turn in the driver’s door and no way it was even going to go in to the keyhole in the passenger’s. I suggested we try the boot. After a lot of huffing and puffing, he got it open. Then we had to re-thaw our hands to get the string off the fiddly little hooks so we could take the parcel shelf out. The boot doesn’t stay open by itself, so we took it in turns to hold it up, breathe on our hands and mess about with the hooks. After a longish while, all was ready for my big moment. Round about then I figured I could hardly keep my skiboots on in the car, so I continued the breathe-on-hands, moan, whinge, breathe-on-hands routine, this time replacing the shelf hooks with boot buckles.. To be fair though, I don’t think I’ve ever taken my boots off quicker. Especially the second one. Once the first one was off, my foot was very exposed. The comparative warmth of a frozen car was incredibly appealing.

With my feet steaming/freezing merrily behind me, I clambered into the boot and slithered, courtesy of my slithery waterproof ski-trousers, headfirst over the backseat, just about rescuing my nose from the end of the handbrake, and hauled myself through the gap in the seats and into the driver’s seat. YEAH! Now to open the door..

It did, just about, agree to my light persuasion tactics, though the passenger door didn’t, and my shoulder forgave me pretty quickly.

As I sat in the front seat, thoughtfully putting my normal boots on, I wondered why the whole thing had been so much less spectacular than when other people talk of doing it. D, busy with getting the skis and boots and helmets and gloves arranged into a well-known phrase or saying (anyone apart from my family say that?) on the back seat, paused to thank me for opening the doors and declared I was a very elegant slitherer.

Then we went back to the cafe and ate cake πŸ™‚ and frothy hot chocolate.

And that was the end* of another good day.

πŸ™‚

*except it wasn’t really the end because I still had the drive to the station, the ride to the stop next to my workhop, the half hour skis-and-boots drying rigmarole and the walk home to look forward to :). I think I deserved my sleep when I finally got into bed

On making your own rules

If I ever have my own workshop (and I would really like to), I would implement the following rules:

  • only the people who believe in me are allowed in
  • no shouting
  • no putting people down
  • nothing which smells bad and/or is likely to be unhealthy if you sniff it is to be brought into or kept anywhere in the workshop (unless it’s REALLY necessary, and the air conditioning’s working, and even then it shouldn’t be sniffed)
  • proper (real, heartfelt) laughter is “ausdruecklich erwuenscht” (means something like especially requested)
  • the ovens are there to be used, regardless of how small the thing you worked on is
  • people who talk about me instead of to me will be ignored and/or banished.

Things I’d like to be true:

  • there will be cake πŸ™‚ and tea and apples and slow cooker soup in winter
  • the windows are there to be opened
  • the radiators can be turned down if required
  • the tap water is drinkable.

And maybe some others…

On changing sides

-or how I waged war on the workshop-

This morning I left my role of victim and became the perpetrator.

This morning I asked/told my colleague about my brilliant idea. He took it far better than I thought he was going to, simply replying sardonically; “it’s a good thing you don’t go on holiday more often. I couldn’t cope with many more of your ideas.” Having agreed he even more amazingly helped me carry it out, since he’s ‘the last person who’s going to stand in my way’. Could’ve fooled me. But maybe I just haven’t noticed the rest of the world because I was looking the wrong way.

Almost 12 hours later I was finished. Naja, not really. But a lot closer than before.

I would love to post pictures but I don’t have the right cable for my camera πŸ™ Maybe I’ll figure out how to use the bluetooth tomorrow..

 

Hmm? You’re confused? No way! You haven’t guessed what my idea was yet? Hmm.

Okay.

I’ll tell you.

I swapped places at work. I am now no longer the centre of attention, I no longer have a hoard of old men sitting around watching me work, I will hopefully no longer be distracted or commented on or dragged into tortuous discussions. I will be able to go to work, and work while I’m there. I won’t have to spend my evenings practising for my exam while no one’s watching, because I’ll have spent the day practising. I won’t have to grit my teeth trying not to go mad at the idiotic banter. I won’t have to pretend I care that my boxes are blocking the way to the radio, because they won’t be anywhere near it. I won’t have to answer the telephone just when my apparatus is getting to a crucial point, because I’ll be too far away πŸ˜‰

Life could get a whole lot brighter πŸ™‚

The workshop is longer than it is wide. A row of 2m high windows runs along one of the long sides. Against the wall under the windows runs a worktop known as the windowsill. Underneath that is another shelf and under that the radiator. There are 4 workbenches each placed perpendicular to the windows, facing towards one of the short walls. My colleague sits at the back facing the entire workshop, then came my bench, then the spare bench he uses for Quartz, and then the bench hidden by something like a million boxes of Glass Things. Each bench has 3 chests of drawersΒ  holding it up (solidly – they’re incredibly cool benches ;)). One on the left, then a space for your legs, then two on the right. My bench hung over the edge of the drawers on the left, meaning you could place a table half underneath the end. The table is wider than my bench, so it sticks out on 3 sides, each approximately facing my bench. That is where everybody sits. The end of my bench was also exactly opposite the door. When anyone came in, I was the first person they made eye contact with (the rest were sitting with their backs to the door), and hence the person they brought their broken glass to. I don’t mind, that’s pretty much what I’m there for, but it didn’t do my popularity many favours.. Workshop Leader’s don’t appreciate being ignored, even [or especially] if they are drunk.

I now sit right at the front, with my nose to the wall πŸ™‚ The world happens behind me. My colleague’s not happy about it, but he hasn’t actually told me how unhappy he is, so I’m going ahead while I still have the chance πŸ™‚ He told everyone who’d listen that we were putting up the new east-west divide and only stopped when someone pointed out that he’d be on the east side… He also said (to them) that one of us was there to work and the other was there to act (or for the drama?). It’s quite nice acting and not just reacting πŸ™‚

 

Today was pretty chaotic.

We -or more specifically my colleague because I’m useless when it comes to being usefull- carted the boxes of Glass Things into the Storeroom where they will probably continue to collect dust in a similar fashion – why change the habit of a lifetime? I was going to put them on the Quartz bench and put the Quartz lamp on my table but that was totally out of the question. “What would that look like?!!”

I was never especially talented in those games where you have one space and 8 or 15 square pieces you have to slide around to make a picture. You know the ones? I haven’t seen one for years, but they were incredibly popular while I was small. Anyway, that’s what the rest of my day was like.

Once the boxes were gone I set about washing the layer of dust, grime and glittery glass sprinkles off the bench, the window sill, the window, the wall, the thin space between the bench and the wall. I’d like to say I’ve never seen such filth, but I’d be lying. I already washed everything once, and it’s only been 18 months since then. When I did it last time it had been more like 18 years since the last wash. *shudders*. Moving on. Once the worktop was clear I swapped the drawers round. Then I had to find space for all the stuff that’s accumulated over the years, and rearrange the plants to accommodate my Glass-Tubing-Rack. My old ‘windowsill’ was divided by a huge concrete pillar, my new windowsill is complete. I didn’t want to adopt the junk so I had to play Workshop-Tetris to get it all into the other spaces. As soon as there was space for my feet on my windowsill I washed the windows, and moved the plants. Then I moved everything from on top of my old bench to the new one. In between times I swept the floor, including under the radiators, and explained to everyone who came in and wanted to know, just what exactly I was doing.

It’s amazing/terrifying how much RUBBISH you collect when you settle in anywhere. I’ve been there for just over 3 years. I have 15 drawers and several cardboard boxes – bits of broken stuff that I need to mend or rescue the joints off, preparations for projects I never got round to finishing, small bits of tubing that are too short to put back but too long to justify throwing away, bits of paper with scribbled lists of things to do, or instructions for building something undiscernible, newspaper articles, Wikipedia-printouts from conversations with the ‘other guy’ (he can be relied on to bring a semi-relevant article with him the day after a discussion), old calendars.. just STUFF!. There was no way I was going to go through it all today, so I’ve hardly touched the content of the drawers, preferring to leave it for a better day. I packed everything else into fewer, bigger, boxes where it can also wait for me to get round to it. I’m thinking of tackling it Flylady style – 15 mins at a time.

What also amazed me was my colleague’s enthusiastic clear out of the things that have been occupying the end of my bench since my arrival. As long as I was there they HAD to be there; “that bit of the table’s ours”, now I’ve gone; “if we’re doing tidy, we’re doing tidy properly” !! Still, I can’t say I’m very sorry they’re gone. I’m not sure how much anyone needs small, talking, stuffed domina-mice.

 

Now to get some sleep so I’m ready for tomorrow πŸ™‚

 

Oh yeah, and I’m allowed to decorate the wall too πŸ™‚ 2 x 3 1/2m fresh unadulterated wall – mmmmmmmmm πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ And no more naked ladies!