Monday, October 15, 2018

Adulting...Still Hard After All These Years

The night before I left for Canada, my dishwasher (19 years old) announced its imminent demise by dramatically activating the ground fault circuit interrupter. BAM! A little troubleshooting revealed that it is the fuse marked with "dishwasher". I tried switching it on and BAM, I was sitting in the dark again. The cold rinse cycle still worked and so I managed to get the water pumped off at least. Just in case, I deactivated that part of the fuse box before leaving for the airport.
When I came back,  I had a busy week with minimal time at home and accordingly did not need a lot of tableware. On Saturday, I tried my luck again and was met with the same dramatic show of instant darkness 10 minutes into the washing cycle. A little googling revealed that this is typical of dishwashers where the heating element is broken. Mehp. Not so great timing when you have dinner guests, but worse things can happen.
First moment of mild panic along the lines of "OMFG, how do I get this inbuilt beast out and how do I disconnect it?!". Then I found out you can pay a flatrate to have the old dishwasher removed and taken away for recycling as well as connected the new one. Yay.
Next moment of mild panic (or maybe not quite as mild anymore) when I took out my measuring tape and questioned that the new slimline dishwashers were quite the same size as mine, as in: "I think mine is extra slim". A little chat to a representative of the rare breed of "available household appliances sales person" convinced me the that a few millimetres don't matter and they are all standardised. As I did not quite believe him, I measured the solitary dishwasher they had displayed in the store, just to be sure.
Next moment of panic in the checkout process of the online store when I realised I could not specify a certain date (or at least a preference for one) when I would like to have my order delivered and installed. Just a rather vague time window. A call to the shop further confused me (shipping and installation is done by a third party vendor). I was torn between going for a model available in "1-3 working days" or another one "6-9 working days". What if this is just a random number and the delivery guys end up calling me while I'm in Hong Kong?! I eventually bit the bullet and ordered the "1-3 days" version. Fingers crossed! Sometimes it feels unfair to a) not have some competent adults making these decisions for you and b) not live in a nice commune with 3 people who work from home, or are retired already and have nothing better to do than to wait at home for deliveries and plumbers that announce their arrival "between 8:00 and 13:00". 
Plus, why don't dishwashers live eternally in the first place!

Monday, October 08, 2018

We Like to Move It, Move It! (Well, Sometimes)

Among the adjectives my friends use to describe me, "sporty" rarely features on top of the list, simply because I'm not. While I really love skiing and would gladly ski every day during the season if I lived in a ski resort town and had the opportunity to do so before or after work, I don't really do any other sports regularly apart from swimming, which I don't practice in a truly "sporty" way, either. This does not mean that I don't like to walk or move in general.
For this year's birthday, Frida gifted me tennis lessons because she desperately wanted to have a partner to play with and nobody in her family was eager to take on that role. I was really looking forward to it as I had actually toyed with the ideas of learning to play tennis myself. Somehow we struggled to find a time and place to put that plan into action and so she suggested a badminton course offered by the University of Vienna's Sports Institute instead, together with her hubby (known here as the Prototype). Well, last Thursday we had the first 1.5 hours session together with more than a dozen others, most of whom could technically be our children. It was SO much fun and the time was over really fast. If nothing else, our "laugh-muscles" were trained extremely well. Remembering the last time I played badminton, back when I was still as student myself, I also vividly remembered feeling like a granny with severe arthritis for days afterwards when I could hardly lower myself on the subway seats. I told Frida "Wait for those sore muscles!" "No way" she said (the Prototype was in my camp and also thought we'd feel this). Both of them run and work out regularly so I could be convinced that it would just affect me. The day afterwards was fine, but on Saturday, I struggled to climb stairs. I wrote into our WhatsApp group "And, still no sore muscles?" "OMG, the LEGS!!!" she answered. I'm relieved it's not just me who feels old and decrepit, but I am really looking forward to next Thursday.

Monday, October 01, 2018


As I am writing this, I am still in Canada, on the final leg of a 10-day road-trip with my mother, who gifted me this package tour for my birthday this year. I have to admit that I have a bit of a condescending attitude towards group holidays and did not greet this very generous gift with due respect and enthusiasm. With the exception of day tours in Australia and Japan I did not have a group-holiday experience since I was in Jordan with my Mum and this vacation had a rather traumatising element that both of us vividly remember to this day. I got violently sick the first night in Amman, shaking with a high fever that developed while Mum was out for a digestive walk and getting dehydrated so quickly that I passed out in the bathroom when getting up in the middle of the night to...well, you Mum waking up from the thump of me hitting the bathroom floor.  Not that this killer virus or whatever it was put me off group tours. Apart from the fact, that I love planning trips a lot (sometimes I think I should be a tour-operator in my next life...)it also has a lot to do with the fact that I am a very impatient person and group tours tend to come with a lot of waiting for others, typically, and also that I get easily embarrassed on behalf of others (in German, we have a very apt description for this, fremdschämen). In all fairness, both are not to bad with the present tour in Canada and I realised that it is actually quite nice for a change to outsource THINKING and just do what you are told to do. It's like being a sheep in a herd, gladly flocking after the rest of the gang whenever you are told to look somewhere, go for a pee, or hunt for food. Not the worst experience...and yet I have to say that could not imagine just travelling with groups of random strangers rather than with a handpicked set of select friends.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Meet Grace Ful

Two weeks ago, I added one more handbag (wink, wink) to my collection. I went to buy it with Bestie Boy, who also took the above picture, where my hair is considerably longer than it is now. I really love it, as not only do my legs look way slimmer than IRL, but this spot (in front of the Firm's Vienna office) is dear to my heart. I still miss working right in the centre pretty much every day. The bag in question is called "Graceful" and was released by Louis Vuitton about a year ago. I just LOVE its slouchiness and since this is my first LV bag in the "Damier Ebène" I was extra excited and have decided it is THE autumn bag if not all year round bag that I had been waiting for. 
So lovely and just the right amount of "slouchiness".

An this red lining. Swoon.

Grace, as I like to call her, is a beauty...and yet so down to earth. Love.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Belonging or: One Year Later

Last Friday, THE annual company-wide event took place: a relay team triathlon with hundreds of participants. From what I found out, it always takes place in September. Last year, the triathlon hype completely bypassed me and on the day it took place I had a hearing with external training vendors with 2 other colleagues at the office. It was only when I saw photo and video coverage on our corporate Facebook channels and heard colleagues rave about the fun they had, that I realised it might be worth going the next year. I always only intended to attend as a "fan" (every team gets to nominate one fan to accompany them and cheer them on) until I ended up agreeing to sub for a swimmer that dropped out the day before. As it is not a "real" triathlon, i.e. with considerably shorter distances, the 250 m of swimming was not such a big deal and I did have great fun. The biggest revelation and partial contributor to said fun, however, was that as I was in and around the event tent, I met and said "hi" to many people I got to know during the 14 something months I've been with Household Name by now. Had I attended last year, less than three months after I started, I would definitely have felt the need to stick to the few colleagues I already knew (which might well have annoyed them). I am not a shy introvert by any means, but it does feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable when you are in a huge crowd and basically don't know anyone. Way different this year! As I was sitting eating overcooked pasta with my best work friend (the one I wrote about here), whom I have decided to call Bestie Boy here, bitching about people analysing our sporty performances he agreed that it is actually incredible how many people we now both recognise. I realised that this sense of belonging was something I had missed. At the Firm, I was one of a handful of people with the longest tenure at the Vienna office and  felt I knew "everyone" at several other offices abroad, too. Also, the sheer size of Friday's event made me think of the many company events I attended in the past decade. Well-organised fun events that were some of the greatest memories of my time at the Firm...where in retrospect it probably also took me a year to feel I really belonged, but my nostalgia made me forget that detail.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Something to Look Forward to

This past weekend, I was in Klagenfurt, getting to enjoy the lake weekend that I had forgone due to the wedding I had to return to Vienna for last month. The weather was beautiful and I got to go swimming just as planned. 
The Friday I arrived, my Mum also received the itinerary for our trip to East Canada in less than two weeks time. It is a package tour (my birthday gift) and I checked out the hotels that were listed and made a seat reservation on the Lufthansa website for the two of us. What with all my gazillion weekend trips this year, I had not put too much thought to that trip until very recently, to be honest. Now that the trip is getting closer and we have more details, I am looking forward to revisiting a country that I had only visited once, 23 (!) years ago and am beginning to paint those vague images I had in my head with bright colours. Our roundtrip includes a visit to Niagara Falls, which is definitely a bullet point on my bucket list that will be ticked off.
In general, I love having things to look forward to (well, I guess that's human nature and not a rare condition): trips abroad (or to my parents' and the lake), meeting friends I have not seen in a while, dressing up for going OUT out, trying a new cake recipe that I know my colleagues will appreciate, getting started on a new DIY project, you name it. Pretty much every Monday to Friday I am seriously looking forward to the weekend and this is actually some thing I think I might miss when I am retired or be in the lucky situation (not that likely in the near future) that I won't have to go to work any more.

Monday, September 03, 2018

My Happy Place

As I am writing this, there are no blue skies like last Monday when I took these first photos on the last day of validity of my 3 months card for Vienna's municipal outdoor pools. I managed to use it 28 times, this summer, 3 more than in 2017 when I first decided to get such a "season ticket". While there are many more pools to choose from, "Strandbad Alte Donau" which I also discovered only last year, became my absolute favourite. Not only does it only take me 15 minutes from the office, but I simply love its charming retro flair. It is a place where I can switch off the minute I pass the gates and get handed my locker key for the changing rooms. When the weather is not so great or I have plans later that evening, I only go there for a quick swim, others, I catch the last rays of evening sun and read until closing time or meet a friend whom I introduced to this gem this summer. 

I love the no-nonsense 1960s (?) architecture, the many flower arrangements with great attention to detail and all the (mostly elderly) regulars that play cards, share slices of watermelon and run after grandchildren. For children, old-school entertainment is provided and I once got really nostalgic when I saw a group of them peacefully draw on the concrete tiles in front of the changing rooms with crayons, no electronic device in sight.
I would not mind owning one of those houses along the banks of the Old Danube, but looking at them is okay, too. I particularly love the sailboats that are the icing on the cake of my postcard-perfect escapist vacation mood.

Example of the omnipresent flower arrangements:

My friend likes to lay by the old wooden bridge, which is pretty impressive, too:
From your sunbed you look up to the sky and the tops of some seriously tall trees:

Looking forward to next season!

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