Sunday, September 28, 2008

Goodbye to Summer 2008

Summer went by so quick this year; I have been so overwhelmed with work the past three months that the end of summer slipped by without me really noticing. On my walks to and from work, I had noticed the weather getting cooler and sidewalks getting more and more strewn leaves. Yes, autumn is here. Here in Germany, it got cooler earlier than last year.

What did I do this summer? A lot of time spent at work and not too much fun stuff. I went to visit Seattle in mid-June for two weeks, stopped in Miami for a couple of days on my way back to Germany, got away for the Fourth of July weekend on a road trip to the Alsace region of France, and went camping outside of Amsterdam in late July. So from 1 July to end of September, I had but a three day weekend off during the 4th and a weekend off in late July. All other days within that period, including all weekends and the Labor Day holiday, I spent at work. The last month, I have been working 10-12 hour days including the weekends. This was the last weekend before the end of the fiscal year. Two more days to go – Monday and Tuesday, and life for me will start getting back to normal.

The last three months, I was able to get the following project awarded: 13 DoDDS-Europe school force protection projects; a dental clinic renovation at Grafenwoehr; two major hangar roof replacement projects at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield; a hangar electrical and pneumatic systems upgrade in Mannheim; three separate health/dental clinic renovation projects at Mannheim; two fitness center renovation projects at Mannheim; a hangar renovation, construction of a new parking lot, construction of a 35k ton loading ramp, and rehabilitate an existing building for deployment processing center all at Ramstein Air Base; construction a new fence around a hazmat storage facility at Mainz-Kastel; and flooring replacement and locker room renovation projects at Baumholder High School. All these new projects total to $14M.

I will be celebrating the first day of the new fiscal year, 1 October, by taking the afternoon and the rest of week off. That day, I will be headed to Munich with friends from work to enjoy Oktoberfest. I had a blast last year; I am sure we’ll top last year’s experience. We have a group of 10, mainly friends from work and a few friends of friends visiting from the US. Our reservations are for Thursday, 2 Oct, in the Hofbräu tent, one of the bigger halls at this event. I am thinking of sticking around the area for the weekend. I will fill you in with details on future posts.

Here are a few photos from last year:

Inside the Hofbräu beer hall.

2007 Oktoberfest group.

Hippodrom beer hall, where we had reservations last year.

Hofbräu beer hall, where we have reservations this year.

My new Mini Cooper Clubman will soon be arriving. I should be getting my chili red, black front striped car around 10 October. I will make sure that I catch up on my travels using this vehicle. I had planned to go to Stockholm for the Columbus Day weekend, but that should be about the time that I pick up my car. So no Stockholm trip.

Upcoming trips: I will be going to Adana, Turkey on 20 Oct to conduct security needs assessment and survey on one school there. The plan is spend a day in Istanbul, before heading to Adana. We will surveying three schools in Spain (Rota and Sevilla) in early December. I may stick around for the weekend after we do our work and do sightseeing in Sevilla. We will visit five schools in England in late January. And in February, we will visit two schools in Sicily. In between those school visits outside of Germany are eight other school visits within Germany.

As far as personal trips, I would like to get away on weekends as much as possible, especially holiday weekends (Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving). I have no specific plans yet. I will try to make it back to Seattle for the Christmas holidays.

Despite missing out on most of the summer, I still had some wonderful times. My most memorable moments of summer 2008 include the following:

1. Camping with the Antonio family and friends at Nehalem Bay State Park on the Oregon coast.

Family Camping, Nehalem Bay State Park, June 2008

2. Enjoying a hot summer day at the front porch and back yard of my Seattle home with Jeremiah, Gavin, Cameron, Payton, and Jeremy and eating popsicles to our heart’s content.

3. Camping at Eguisheim and Ribeauville, visiting Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, and walking the grounds of Haut Koenigsbourg castle all during a Fourth of July weekend road trip to the Alsace region of France.

4. Eating escargot and foie gras, also during the trip to the Alsace. The escargot, smothered in garlic butter and pesto, was tasted (or should I say tested) during a dinner at Ribeauville. The foie gras was savored as an appetizer during a dinner at Eguisheim. Both were very tasty, but were also pricey.

5. Camping at a campground outside of Amsterdam especially during the rainy second night. I managed to stay dry throughout the night with a semi-permeable tent. See previous blog for pix.

6. Visiting, once again, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. This was my fourth visit to the museum -- I never seem to tire seeing the great works of art by a master.

7. Both summer bbq and beer bashes hosted by a friend from work. They were nice, quick weekend getaways from work.

Finally, I responded to his e-vite for his birthday, but I forgot to wish him a happy birthday on this site. A bit late, but here it --- Happy Birthday Jeremiah!!!

1 comment:

  1. SEVENTH?!?

    My parties came in Seventh?

    After the snails?