November Impressions

Back in June I had to define all my vacation plans for the rest of the year. Despite Corona foiling our plans at a road trip into various near-by countries, we managed to explore some parts of Germany new to us. But that was only about half of my vacation contingent; in November I had to take more. We stuck around Regensburg, watching the infection numbers rise to our dismay.

I took a few pictures:

And then some more today, when the sun finally revealed itself again:

PSA: “Siemens SIWAMAT xlm 147f family” beeping

I had a heckuva time getting this question answered on my own; here’s hoping this post is useful to future owners of the same product.

Our Siemens washing machine started beeping at the end of every cycle. As far as we know, it never did that before a few weeks ago (and we’ve had this machine for 16 years at this point). Continue reading PSA: “Siemens SIWAMAT xlm 147f family” beeping

Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 3: Schwarzwald

After a four-hour drive down Germany’s western border with France and a hop through the Schwarzwald towards Bonndorf…im Schwarzwald, we arrived at the final Ferienwohnung destination for this trip. The arrival was not without its complications, however; TWO of the little towns off through which we were supposed to drive on the last leg of the drive were closed to through traffic, causing us to scramble and miss our predicted arrival time by an hour. Fortunately, we kept the landlady in the loop and she was accommodating. Ha. Continue reading Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 3: Schwarzwald

Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 2: Rheingau

We were originally going to head from Freinsheim across the South of France towards its Atlantic coast, but…Covid-19 happened.

Most of our winey traveller activities in Germany have been along the Weinstraße but there are lots more spots to visit for a tipple. Like the whole Rheingau. So, with a lot of the travel demand reduced in general and all regions of Germany back to school (whether in classroom settings or otherwise), the selection of Ferienwohnungen on short notice when all the relevant regions of France hit the Risikogebiet list was surprisingly rich. We picked out a Ferienwohnung in a former nuns’ home directly on the banks of the Rhine in Lorchhausen. Continue reading Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 2: Rheingau

Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 1: Freinsheim, Bad Dürkheim, and Wiesbaden

The annual Kulinarische Weinwanderung in Freinsheim didn’t happen this year (but you can relive its glory through our write-ups here, here, here, here, and here if you like).

See full screen

Corona squashed the big event in the town, but that didn’t completely shut down everything, so we went anyways. Couple reasons for that: Continue reading Fall 2020 Vacation — Part 1: Freinsheim, Bad Dürkheim, and Wiesbaden

Working from home thanks to Corona

Yesterday my management asked our department to work from home as much as possible until further notice. For me, it’s theoretically possible to work from home 100%. I did that once, in Q4 2014 or ’15. I thought it would rock, because

  • my boss is in Nürnberg
  • my employees are in Romania
  • at the time, I didn’t work closely with the people geographically close to me
  • my customers are around the world
  • I could get my gym routine done in the mornings before work and still be ready to work at 9 with time to spare

…but actually it kinda sucked, because:

  • our apartment was cold, dark and had lousy WLAN access in the office area (a repeater only helped a little bit)
  • lunch became a daily challenge — planning it, cooking/reheating it, or buying it
  • (and this is the big one) I needed casual random human interaction (water-cooler style) a lot more than I thought, even to the point of bugging @sarah1976 with social neediness.

This time around, what’s different?

  • better lighting and heating in the home office area
  • better WLAN connection (still not great)
  • better kitchen in this house with an ability to cook and eat outside, weather permitting
  • two outdoor sitting areas, either of which is suitable for work outdoors (if I dispense with the docking station and monitors)
  • I frequently collaborate with another department less than 3 minutes away by bike (but are they requested to WFH as well?)
  • My own scope grew between the first time and this time; I work closely with those geographically close to me now (in addition to my team members in Romania)

What’s unchanged?

  • My boss is still in Nürnberg and my employees are still in Romania
  • The morning gym routine is still doable before work at home or in the office (but…how long will that facility stay open?)
  • Have yet to master the lunch planning
  • I expect I’ll be socially starved again, despite lots more diverse subject-matter interactions since the first time around, if this WFH-until-further-notice stuff sticks around for more than a couple months

What’s changing in your work-life balance as a result of Corona?