man, what a long day

I only worked a half-day today, but it was a duesy.

This morning the weather was not very conducive to easy commuting by bike into work. There had been substantial snowfall overnight. This wasn’t the stuff that melted as soon as it hit the streets like [the previous snowfall I reported](http://www.regensblog.com/2005/11/21/criminy-its-not-even-thanksgiving-yet/ “first snowfall of the season”), but rather the kind that stays in the form of real snow if it’s on grass or sludgy slush if too many cars run over it. Like a trooper, I stuck it out and left early and made it there a lot faster than most people who tried to arrive at work today in their cars. Traffic problems, accidents, and yes, even German drivers also appear to forget how to drive as soon as those soft, fluffy flakes start gently floating down from above.

I had to bawl out one of the guys on my team at work (let’s call him Mr. X) — whom I consider a service-provider — for (repeated) sloppy workmanship and an especially bad follow-up on root cause tracking yesterday, so I was already feeling a little gunshy when I got into work. However, I thought it couldn’t get worse today than it was yesterday, at the very least because today Sarah and I started our yoga course at the [*Volkshochschule*](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=Volkshochschule “what does that mean?”) with our good pal and esteemed doctoral physicist [Tammy](http://www7.nationalacademies.org/policyfellows/Fall_2005_Fellows.html “who’s that?”). Yeah, you read right. Our yoga instructor is an astrophysicist — how cool is that? Anyway, I’d asked my boss for the next 9 Friday afternoons or so off so that I could get make at least an honest attempt at keeping my overtime hours in check. That’s when Tammy’s course is offered, so it works out perfectly with my schedule.

Long story made short with regard to the office: one of the guys I work with, let’s call him Mr. W — whom I consider an internal customer of mine — has had it up to here with Mr. X. He dropped a nastygram on the whole team, but we really all knew for whom it was intended. The thing with my job is, I’m the glue that holds together the fragile relationship between my department and the IT department. My department hates to have to talk to IT (and indeed, when they do, stuff invariably goes wrong), and IT doesn’t really like to talk to everyone and their cousin from my department. They’d rather have one contact person (i.e., me). Mr. X and Mr. W have a rocky history between them, and it’s never been good, and every now and then it blows up completely, and they never really heal. Who has to play referee? Who has to go hold everyone’s hand and say “there, there, I know how you feel, with the big, bad, mean Mr. \[X|W\]. He’s just got to learn how to deal with people…” Yeah, that’s right — I get to do that. Whoopitydoo. Now I have meetings with Mr. X’s direct supervisor and that guy’s supervisor to try and do a post-mortem on the whole situation, although the whole situation is relatively clear. If Mr. X and Mr. W refuse to work together, that means we have to have a go-between who takes the specification from the customer and gives it to the engineer. Yeah, I’ve become that paranoid guy from Office Space.

So that whole thing had me in a crappy mood as I flew out of the office in a mad rush to make it all the way across town to get my our yoga class on time. The weather had improved, but the street conditions were actually worse than on the morning trip. But you know what? An hour and a half of controlled breathing and interesting stretches and a little meditation (or at least some quiet time alone with your thoughts) near the end of it really makes a big difference.

That, and [*Glühwein*](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=Gl%FChwein “what’s that?”). The *Glühwein* (of which there are several interesting varieties) really help the mood a lot. Yesterday, the *Weihnachtsmarkt* (OK, I know you’re getting sick of looking up all those words — it’s the Christmas Market) got going into full swing. At night, the bigger town squares in Regensburg are positively packed with people until about 8 pm when most of the food/*Glühwein* stalls shut down. Here’s what it looks like when empty:

Regensburger Weihnachtsmarkt am Neupfarrplatz - after pretty much everything is shut down

After that, you go find a bar to hang out in. In our case, we met up with Tommy and Natasha and a couple other friends from the VHS (that’s the abbreviation for *Volkshochschule*, for future reference) and had a 1/2-meter sausage (mmm, in a nice crusty baguette with all the condiments you can think of on it, include horseradish), and a couple of mugs of *Glühwein*, before heading off to a little courtyard at [Haus Heuport](http://www.heuport.de/ “fancy-schmancy restaurant right across from the Regensburg Cathedral”) to continue the drinking and snacking. I had a crepe filled with Bailey’s Irish Cream. That was weird, but very good. Sarah described it as sort of a boozy pancake.

Right now, she’s snoring next to me pretty loudly. The poor thing is all worn out from speaking German all day today. That was part of her warm-up phase for the big test tomorrow. Ideally she should be speaking German all day to everyone everyday, but in most cases we’re just too lazy to do it at home, too.

I’m sure she’ll do fine on her test, but I know there is a fair amount of stress involved in it for her. Let’s all wish her [*viel Glück!*](http://dict.leo.org/se?lp=ende&p=/Ue0E.&search=viel+Gl%FCck “what does that mean?”)