Month: February 2008

Churches and Hooters…

On Friday, we joined my brother, Lilo, and Mac on a trip to Neunkirchen to celebrate Mac’s birthday. Neunkirchen translates to Nine Churches, where it does indeed have several churches. It also has a Hooters. The irony is as thick as steel… just kidding. 🙂

In Baden-Wurttemburg, smoking inside establishments has recently been banned. Neunkirchen is, unfortunately, in another state, so we were surrounded with chain smokers. When I mean chain smokers, the buy behind me had four cigarettes in a row and several more after a “smoke break”… ha ha, I’m funny, I know. One of the ladies at the same table (they were all smoking) had an estimated seven or eight in a row. For anyone who knows me, they can understand how nauseated and sick I was feeling. It was absolutely disgusting.

Aside from the inability to breathe, I have to say the restaurant wasn’t too bad. I didn’t eat (I had a big lunch), but everyone seemed to enjoy their food to whatever extent… and three of us passed out in the back seat for the long drive back. Still funny to have a Hooters in a town named Neunkirchen though…

My Neighborhood

Our house is on a tram line, so we have easy access to downtown. I took a short walk down our street, and found we have a lot of great shops nearby! A butcher, small bookstore, car rental, cafe, bakery, spa, some restaurants, a Japanese furniture store, a billards cafe (bar), and a few other miscellaneous shops exist just on this particular street within two or three blocks either direction!

Oh yes, I have a rudimentary “virtual tour” of our place now. I missed a room (confound all those rooms!) and a didn’t get a good picture of the backyard and garage. But, here’s a tour if you’re curious:

take the virtual tour


PS We got this place for its location, its amenities, and the assumption we’ll have a lot of guests. We better have a lot of guests! 😛 So let us know when you’re planning to visit… 😉

Tiddies Two

Sorry for the title, I couldn’t help it. 😛 Short for tidbits…

A great safety feature for German homes, the doorknobs on exterior doors do not turn. The only way to open a door with a knob is with a key. You use the key to release the latch (what would happen if you turned the doorknob), then use the knob to push or pull the door open. All our interior doors have handles you turn down to open, not doorknobs.

Windows do not open vertically against gravity (usually requiring a jamb of sorts to make sure it doesn’t fall). Instead, two primary options are available for opening windows: turning a handle or pulling down a lever. Turning a handle, the window opens like a door would or inward/outward on a hinge at the top or bottom. No sliding action. The most frequently used is the turning of a handle. We have a lever type for a door, however. The lever, when pulled and locked down, lifts the door out of its secure notch, so the only way to open it initially is from the inside.

Most German beds consist of two mattresses (unless you’re single); pretty much only one mattress size is available and you have to buy two to get a bigger bed. The mattress has a fitted sheet, then you throw a duvet style comforter over it. This is very similar to the Japanese method, making obsolete the flat (unfitted) sheet. The standard pillow is 80×80 cm. Take a standard American pillow, add another inch to an end, then make it square. That’s the standard German pillow. Of course, a rectangular version is available that fits fairly well in an American pillow case.

Rugs are less expensive here because hardwood floors are very common. In fact, heated floors are fairly common. We do not have heated floors, but my workplace does.

The Library

We are working on centralizing the libraries in Europe, so I have been encouraging writing policies and standards. This is also for my own benefit, to better understand how to do basic tasks around the library… 😛 While I wait to get certified to do my job, I have also helped weed materials and actually purchase new materials! Mostly in computers and Internet-related topics (photography and music as well), but it’s nice to try out different aspects of librarianship.

I have also already given a presentation and have two more coming up with a possible trip back to DC for further work. It is a truly busy time to be working at this library!

My first goals are to modify the Web catalog significantly, then redesign the Web site. I am pushing for a content management system, but I think what will happen first are static pages as I evaluate what software I can use. To get any approval, a piece of software must go through an eighteen month accreditation process first. Really slows things down, as one can imagine. I am still feeling out options and learning a great deal about the general environment I am in, so I may get things to move faster once everything makes sense. For now, lots and lots of training!