Sunday, June 30, 2013

This and that

I went back to the garden to actually help out yesterday. It was lovely to be back, even if my body is letting me know today that it may not have appreciated the unusual exercise. Although given that I spent nearly two hours thinning carrots, I thought I'd hurt a lot more than I do. I did get up and stretch well from time to time, that must have helped. There were about half and half people I know and new people. Those I knew all remembered me and seemed pleased to see me. None could believe that it had been more than two years since I was there. While I had decided that in the beginning I'd just start off slowly and go once a month once I was there it was hard not to get enthusiastic again and start thinking that maybe I'll go next week after all. But I really don't want to get overwhelmed again so I have said that I'll be there every second week. I have several things that I already planned to do next Saturday and adding the garden on top of all that just doesn't make sense. It's just three hours but that means 35 minutes to get there, three hours work, one hour having tea, a chat and a light lunch (how light depends on who has brought what with them) and another 35 to 45 minutes getting back (connections aren't as good in the afternoon so I usually end up waiting ten or fifteen minutes for a tram). I wasn't home yesterday afternoon until quarter to three and I was, I will admit, shattered. The remnants of the last bout of bronchitis are still with me and it was a very busy week so adding in a couple of hours of physical work just about did me in. I went to bed shortly after getting home and slept deeply for a couple of hours.

At least I put a wash on before I went to bed so that when I got up that was finished and ready to be hung while the second wash went on. Which means that by now everything, except two pairs of socks, is dry and I spent nearly an hour and a half doing the ironing - both the stuff just washed and what has been accumulating over the last couple of weeks while I've been unwell. It's even all put away. Having cleaned the bathroom yesterday, emptied the bin and brought down all the recycling stuff, not to mention getting the washing up done, it feels like I've nearly gotten back to having the basic housekeeping stuff under control.

One of the best parts of having gone back to the garden is, of course, that you get stuff to bring home so I scored a couple of handfuls of the thinned out carrots, a bunch of marjoram, a bunch of chives and a lettuce as well as a few loose leaves from a lollo rosso.  (I do have a photo but am feeling much to lazy to get up and walk into the kitchen to get the camera at the moment)  Okay, edited to add photo of all but the majoram, which is hanging up to dry.

My savings totals are going down as I get close to my fifth anniversary of living in Germany and all of my annual bills, like insurance, start arriving. I have just about enough to cover them all so although it's going to be killing me to watch the total diminish to almost nothing by September, it feels great to actually have that money on hand and be able to pay the bills immediately.

That also means that I've now received the first of the documents that I'll need for my tax returns next year (liability insurance, one of the two insurances I am required to have under the terms of my rental lease and something that just about everyone in Germany has anyway, is something you can set off against taxes). So although the Table of Doom is still looking pretty terrible, I did spend a bit of time this morning making sure that all of the tax related stuff still lying around from a few weeks ago when I submitted my tax returns for 2011 and 2012 was properly filed. That way, the plastic envelope that I use to collect everything in one place was empty again and I can start collecting everything for next year's tax time easily. I am determined to get my returns in early next year and what with planning on doing some courses this year, I'll need to organised as it'll all be a bit more complicated next year.

And on that note, I found someone to do some German lessons with. Sometimes my not-so-subtle method of telling absolutely everybody I meet what I'm trying to do works and I got a recommendation from someone it would never have occurred to me to ask. Sent the woman an email and she phoned me back within a couple of hours and I've arranged to have my first lesson next Friday after work. At 35 euro per hour it's reasonably priced and once we've had our first couple of hours, I'll be able to decide a bit better how many hours I want/need to do. Just covering the basics again should be done in four or five hours but I might add another four or five just to get some extra practice. That would also bring me up to September and the start of the translator course quite nicely. Am interested to see how it goes.

Finally, since this is turning into a mammoth post for one that was just supposed to be a few bullet points, I had my annual review in work last week. I hate, loathe and despise this type of meeting more than I can ever describe. Even though I am pretty sure that my boss is up-front and lets me know immediately if I'm doing something she wants done differently and even though, rationally speaking, I know I'm very good at my job, the couple of weeks leading up to a review leave me a bit of a wreck, convinced I'm about to get fired for some obscure fault or other that I hadn't realised anyone had noticed. Self-esteem issues? Moi? At any rate, everything was fine and overwhelmingly positive even. Since they abolished bonuses for admin staff last year, that was the last time my review ranking made any difference but I still had to fill out the stupid form this year. I just copied over from last year (when I was cheeky enough to give myself the highest possible ranking and it was approved!) and it all went through without question. It might not make any difference, since there'll be no bonus this year, but at least when it comes time to move on, no matter what kind of a reference I get, I'll have my print-out of the annual reviews showing that year on year, they were happy with my work.


Moonwaves said...

Strange things happening with comments today. I got an email notification with a comment from P. from but there's no comment showing up at the actual post. Everyone seems to be showing up as anonymous, too. I'm going to leave it for a day or two and see if it sorts itself out. I haven't changed anything in the setting so am not sure what's going on.

Fiona said...

I hate performance reviews, too. Not sure why they do them since they seem to undermine morale so much, even for many people who get glowing reviews!

Lol glad to hear a mention of the Table of Doom. I've had a bit of a burst on the Cupboard of Doom here.

The garden produce looks so fresh and summery!