Posts Tagged boys

Sunday Column (431)

An immensely intense week I may say. A highly enjoyable week though. It went very quickly too. A normal busy Monday lead to a 3 day off-site in London. That meant I stayed over in London, didn’t sleep well and was sitting in marathon meetings, working early until late. But it was inspiring, useful and drove the business forward. Given one doesn’t have a commute, is used to getting up early, a 7 am start in the office is amazing. One gets so much done. Yet it is intense, but also enjoyable. GSD = Getting Sh*t Done! To finish off the week I met with a friend from NY and ex colleagues on Thursday. That was nice. Friday I made it home for bath time and the boys were delighted to see me. So was I.

Having tried to get over some virus earlier in the week and hence didn’t exercise, I just had to do a 7.5K run plus I had to take an early train to get to the Home Office. The, hopefully, final step to get my British passport, the interview where they ask you all those questions to verify you are, who you claim you are. The guy interviewing me tried to make it funny and entertaining. At least that’s how it came across and I felt very awkward. Anyway, my passport should be with me in the next few days. Some questions were who my parents are, where they were born, which way I drive to take the boys to school etc.

It definitely concludes a successful week. A week when you don’t sleep well, feel under the weather, yet have so much energy and drive to work throughout. I was buzzing on Friday. I so enjoy that. What I didn’t enjoy? Not seeing the boys. So coming home on Thursday to see one still awake at 9, it broke my heart to tell him off to go to bed. I would have preferred to cuddle and listen to him about his week but he had to go to sleep. And the other? He woke just before 10 being thirsty, came downstairs and gave me the biggest smile and cuddle. That made my week!

Besides work and life, there are so many things going on in this world. Article 50 was triggered this week. That means Brexit gets real. There is no way back now and just as well I now have both nationalities. I am safe to chose but hope I never have to. As I mentioned before, the future doesn’t equal the past. With the world changing, we need to realise that years from now we might decide to move elsewhere. Maybe years from now I find myself applying for another nationality in a country far (or close) to home. One just doesn’t know. I will watch the next 2 or more years to see what is coming our way. We must stay flexible and vigilant, always trying to better the situation for us and the generations to follow. That’s our duty.

This weekend we did what the boys wanted to do for ages. They were so taken by the lambs last year, we had to go back this year. So we went to a farm to see the newly born lambs. What a lovely site. Also we saw a sheep giving birth, another one trying and a newly born calf. It was amazing to show the kids and even for us. I am not as taken with the little lambs as my family is, but it makes you think about the time your kids were born. How much effort it was and how much we were fearing for them and the mother. How much pain mother had to endure. It is good to be reminded, yet the main purpose was for the kids to cuddle with the little lambs. They absolutely loved it.

Tomorrow I am off to Germany again. I have taken a temporary assignment to help out leading the office in Hamburg. That not only makes me more busy, which is the part I mind less, but it takes time away from the family. Weekends have to make up for it and hence my wife and I, having known each other for 13 years this week, really plan the weekends and quality family time. So far so good. Easter break is around the corner.

So have a fantastic week, stay safe.
From my little corner of this world,
Volker

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Sunday Column (410)

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What a week. A great week actually. Being in pitch season we worked a lot. Nothing extreme yet it was close to 60 hours. I am loving it though. Because it is fun, a great team, and a great goal. And for those who know me, if I say we worked a lot, we really did. Long hours. Early hours. Collaborative. Successful. Amazing team. One team, one dream – that’s what they say! I do enjoy my job and I mean it. Whilst I am self conscious that people in my company read my blurb, I am also conscious that this means there is an interest in my person. That is nice to know. I am no celebrity, but in my little world of online and digital marketing, people seem to know of me at least 😉 That’s not a bad thing.

Anyhow, I am due to present 5 facts about myself later on this month for the company. I am excited about it. Not that anything isn’t known about me, there will be (hopefully), some new things coming up that people didn’t know about me. I might just put them on here then too. We shall see. Every time you join a new group/job people need to get to know you. It is a chance for you to redefine yourself, and reposition yourself, but also things that other people that know you take for granted, will have to be re-established, e.g. working hard, being reliable, not being good at visuals.

Actually this week was the first week back from holidays too. An amazing week off that finished with the annual fireworks. We took the kids and they loved it. And the bonfire afterwards too. And I enjoyed it too. We as a family had a great time, and given the age of the kids now, we can do those things, go to bed a bit later and do things we could never do before. That is so nice. But of course life is changing. The wife goes back to work, so on Sunday I couldn’t take the youngest to his best friend’s party because she needed the car. Luckily we got a lift in the end. Yet another excuse to get myself the midlife crisis Jaguar. I am saving up for it!

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Not seeing the kids during the week isn’t nice, but when you see them it is more intense, which is nice again. Not sure that makes sense. Yet when I was working on a document at 6 am on Thursday and the oldest woke up and sat next to me, wanting to download his week, I couldn’t. He isn’t self conscious enough yet to mind, and enjoyed watching some TV (whilst I had my noise cancellation head phones on), but it isn’t nice. Yet, when you think you get a little bit of a rest and the youngest wakes you at 3.30 am on Friday, and you cannot go back to sleep, that’s not great either. So Friday was a bit of a struggle to stay awake and focused. You just cannot win, and I am not complaining. Having seen one of my supplier earlier in the week, he looked shattered. New borns, yes I remember them, however it is getting better. So a 4 hour night is fine once in a while. Just always happens on the wrong day 🙁

Brexit is another topic this week. Look at what is happening. The government now needs approval from parliament to trigger article 50. Wow. That’s going to be interesting. Does that mean we might not have a Brexit. It looks like the whole country now understands which consequences a Brexit might have. Are we back paddling? Hopefully we are. I have an appointment with the German embassy this coming week to get an ID card. This way I can start the process of sending off for a naturalisation to become British hopefully early next year. A lengthy process but I should be alright. I am married to a Scot. But, and I think I mentioned it before, if Scotland joins the EU and splits from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, what is going to happen? Maybe my wife has to rely on me to become an English citizen? What a mess! For the time being I am glad Brexit isn’t Brexit yet. Maybe it never comes to it, yet I am sure Britain will negotiate different terms with Europe regardless. Whatever happens, I hope I can stay and don’t have to worry.

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There wasn’t much else going on this week to be honest. Work, a bit of play, some sleep and my exercise routine. I really try to not miss my runs. Another train strike on Friday, some early days in the office. Getting shit done. I am buzzing of the thought of work. I know it’s sad, but that’s how I roll. Yet the weekend was all about the boys. To unwind, to spend time with them and make sure to make up time. Birthday parties, playing in the forest. Then again you can never make up time. But you can be more in the moment and be more with them. And they are giving back. They are enjoying to have me around for different input to their mum. We can do boys stuff 🙂 So to my earlier point, once I get a (car) toy, maybe they help me maintain a semi classic car? We shall see.

Next week is another busy one. There are a few people I would like to catch up with. I had to postpone a few meetings and lunches and catch ups due to train strikes, work and other matters. Back to a more regulated, more normal life. Nope, won’t happen, illusion. Yet that’s the game I am in now and I love being centre field. That’s where I excel.

Onwards.
Upwards.

Have a good one,
Volker

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Sunday Column (295)

It is November. Time keeps flying and only another 6 weeks to Christmas. Wow. I just had a week off with the family. Nothing was planned but staying at home at half term, taking care of the puppy, spending time with the kids.

Having a puppy is great yet hard work. Potty training, entertaining, particularly if you cannot take it for walks yet. Chewing on anything, playing with the boys’ toys and generally just wanting to be entertained. A 3 year old too forceful, and a 5 year old too shy with it. We made a lot of progress and in less than 2 weeks time we can take her for walks. I cannot wait.

What I enjoyed most about the time off? Getting on top of things like putting away the firewood for the winter. Cooking. Sleeping. Running. Sitting in the living room, putting the fire on at 4pm, having a glass of wine, chilling out, trying take aways… Not everyday though 😉 Doing some minor DIY things. As mentioned, thanks to the dog we couldn’t really go anywhere for long.

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We managed to clear the loft out a big. Old toys, cloths and baby stuff. Something I was looking forward to for a long time. It feels like we made the cut, we moved on. We don’t have babies anymore. We have two boys that are growing up. Now we got a puppy. With 8 months they should be ‘grown ups’. So from mid next year I can say that I have a 4, 6 and 1 year old child. That’ll be nice 😉 And the cat. Yet it has to be seen if Hänsel will hang around. And the wife is talking about dog number two already…let’s see what is there to come.

In the meantime I focus on the NOW. The very moment I enjoy spending with the boys and the family. Building Lego, going swimming, polishing the car or tidying away the firewood. Whatever it is and whatever we can do as a team. It is nice to create shared experiences. Things they will remember for years to come.

And in a subtle way you teach them about life. That the old toys from the loft going to people that have no toys. That cannot afford toys. And that there are people that don’t have hot water or warm houses in the winter. Those little things we keep forgetting and we must remind ourselves and our children about. Every year, coming to Christmas, I reflect on where we are and what we can do for others. And I do want my kids to be involved. In school they teach them Africa doesn’t have any money. But it isn’t only Africa, it can be in your own country too. We too often forget.

But don’t let me get too sentimental. After all we still got six weeks till Christmas. And then another year will commence. I got the feeling 2015 will be a year full of positive changes. I can’t put my finger down yet but anticipate that whilst a lot of things change, for better or for worse, we will see a very positive outcome from it, even if this is still years away for us to realise.

I also managed a great MTB ride and a few runs. So trying to stay active.

Have a great November,
Volker

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Sunday Column (243)

There are those weeks when you think that you want to say something but can’t or shouldn’t. No, I don’t want to slack the train companies off for working from home on Monday after the storm. It was nice and the boys appreciated every minute. They loved having the MIL over too. Tuesday and Wednesday just flew past in the office, and Thursday I met an old friend and business partner for lunch. That sounds as if we are a very old, but we aren’t. I had a day off on Friday. I met amazing people on Wednesday night. I had a good week. Oh, and the catch up with some more good friends on Thursday night. And, the party on Sunday, the walk on Saturday…..yes, this week has been fantastic.

I am sitting on a train again when starting to write this post. Reflecting on a good week, reflecting on the good moments, focusing on the important things. I just had a pint after my Rotary meeting, and thought of starting the weekly column. My wife posted on Facebook that my oldest said, at age 4, that he wanted to get married one day. To his mother of course.

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We have all been there. The mother is the most important person in the world. When he is sick he asks for her, when hurt or upset he asks for her. Why wouldn’t any one not want to marry their mum?

The answer is obvious to our eyes. Yet, looking at the world from a four or two years’ old perspective, life is different. “I love you Daddy. I missed you during the week Daddy. You are not following the story on the Apple TV Daddy. Ich möchte mehr Apfelsaft bitte. I want to sit next to you.” Dads clearly fulfil a different role to mums. Mums are just amazing. They comfort, are around the whole day and care for one. They know when I am hungry, when I would like a drink, when I need a kick up the bum. They know when I am cheeky, rude, friendly, listen or not. They are the person I would like to marry.

Even after all those years, my mum still gives me the best advice. She still worries and has done so for many years. This will never change. And that’s really it. Simple. Our most important person in life. Even a wife cannot beat that, sorry. No surprise there that most men actually choose a wife that is similar to their mother 🙂 Or some wives have to put up sharing their boy with his mother. No, that’s luckily not the case with me.

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Enough about that. On Friday and the weekend I spend lots of time with my kids. Actually…Colin said to my wife on Saturday night that the best thing he did on Saturday was spending time with me. It makes me proud! On Friday I took the kids down to Brighton. A train ride, chips on the beach and then a stroll through SeaLife Brighton. They both enjoyed it a lot, but I think I enjoyed it most. I haven’t done that (ever) before to actually take initiative and take them both out by myself. The reason is that until now I have been too busy with myself, focused on other things at the weekend, and they were too little to do it. Only in the last 6 months, really this year, I enjoy spending the time with them, being there for them and have the confidence to take them out by myself. And the fun we had!

This might sound sad but I am not alone. Speaking to other dads, chatting with friends, this is normal. More so for some than others, and we all have different relationships to our kids, we all love them yet have more or less difficulties engaging with them. I believe that by this time next year we spend so much time together doing things, that mum will be jealous. Yet, as said above, she will always be the most important person in their life.

It is about the focus. Focusing on the people you spend time with and want to spend time with. Work is still our majority of time outside the house. You often cannot choose your colleagues yet you can choose what you do for a living. Then family, good friends….as said above, this week I chose wisely. I had a great week.

Rounding it up with the fireworks tonight. I probably report on them separately in a post, the weather is supposed to be rainy and we might just watch it from the top of the hill in the car, or not at all. We shall see.

I look forward to next week. There is lots to happen again. I got plans 🙂 But they often don’t plan out 🙁

Have a great one, look after yourself.
Volker

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Sunday Column (220)

This week started out very slowly which I kind of enjoyed. My project got postponed to September which means I could slow down a bit and focus on other things I wanted to sort out for a long time. This was really to de-clutter. First of all I de-cluttered my Facebook news feed. Too much stuff you follow, you like and don’t really care about. Then I did the same for twitter, removing a few people I followed, then my Google Reader feed which I moved to Feed.ly. I wanted to decrease the background noise, the noise that constantly keeps you thinking you are missing something despite the fact you didn’t miss anything. Nice to feel a bit more at ease, and less disturbed. I also de-cluttered a few books, old pictures and “stuff” you carry around. Good to do a spring clean 🙂

I also managed to spend more time with the family this week. Despite interviews and interview preparations, I managed to go swimming with them, went to the park and also entertained Rohan for 2 hours (!). He is a wee pickle, so I found those hours very intense, really not used to him being full on. It seems so much easier to look after an almost 4 year old instead of a 2 year old. Normal you’d say, but I am still learning. Or will I ever understand properly?

On Saturday a friend and his two kids and I with the boys went to Brighton. Two brave kids who pulled through with no sleep. Daddy was tired though and fell asleep on the sofa. I really admire the daily work my wife puts up with!

Regarding the swimming: that was fun. I was the only bloke with 5 other mothers, R and I playing for 30 minutes under supervision and sang songs. Just that I don’t know any of those children songs, so besides being the only bloke I was the only one not knowing the songs. Never mind, we had great fun and R was exhausted afterwards. So was I to be honest as I had been back on the treadmill that morning. We are getting there. C was funny in the afternoon but as an almost four year old he needs a lot of attention. All the time. It is hard work, so a lot of respect goes out to my wife (again).

On Wednesday, and you can now tell I write this as we are going along this week, I managed a 5 am start on my bike to cycle across the South Downs. I didn’t take any pictures but absolutely loved it. I saw a deer, a fox, many rabbits and the odd early birds (in terms of people). I was very energised all day and drafted a few more blog posts 🙂 So watch this space on some more updates. Thursday was my day in town and I had a few meetings, catch ups and input on what to do next. Also, I got a few requests to do things and made progress with my project. I love being busy and catching up with friends too.

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I also managed to make progress on my book this week, go swimming for myself (1000m) and I almost finished reading a book. With R being up most nights and the exercise regime, less food and dull weather, I have felt tired most of the week. Never mind. My wife and I got into a new routine of doing things which make us work alongside each other much better. This is important, as I haven’t really worked from home for such a long period of time. It is working out quite well and I am busy most days, however I believe moving forward I’d prefer a 9-5 job out of the house. Not only will it have more security, it will also mean that I progress in my career which is important for me. I can always decide in 5 years time to not continue doing it and become another ‘digital consultant’ but by then I’d have more experience. However, in the meantime I might just take another project on to tie myself over. It is a difficult decision and with the consultant offers I get it might be a close call.

With the long weekend I spent, as said above, lots of time with the kids and friends. I haven’t really done that since I got time off but can now afford doing so. The initial seeds are planted and I need to see which ones will come to something and which ones not. It is an interesting job market out there with lots of room for freelance and consultancy work. I enjoy it and meet a few good and intelligent people which is just a fantastic way of networking and understanding things better.

Life is good for the moment. I could be happier but generally speaking things aren’t that bad. However, give me another 4 weeks and my wife will try to chase me out of the house 😉

Oh, I forgot to mention that I took all my coins to the bank and we got around £180 which we donated to Save the Children. I feel privileged by putting change aside to be able to donate this sum once a year to charity without it having any impact on me. It feels good to know it makes a huge difference to children around the world.

Have a good week!

Volker

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Sunday Column (201)

Happy New Year.

New traditions: curry night on the 31st which resulted in me ordering my first ever Vindaloo. Fantastic….but I didn’t finish the sauce 🙂 Then the following:

It happened. After years of thinking about it and living in a big city, we finally joined the National Trust. We got the car sticker and feel really mature. We have four venues close by and visited one on the 1st of January for a New Year’s walk (tradition again). Wakehurst (www.kew.org) which offers a fantastic scenery to walk your heart out. For our small family after being stuck inside with bad rain, this was a fantastic change in the winter sun. Three knackered boys and a tired wife 🙂

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New Year Resolutions? No 🙂 I don’t really make any resolutions. Drink less, join a club, use my energy, keep exercising, be a good dad and husband and continue doing well in my job. Enough for me. Nothing specific to be honest. A few things I want to do, achieve and so on, but with the move this year, knowing it is going to be for 30 odd years, I am glad if I settle in, find a routine and get on with it. Go with the flow. Everything else can be done in 2014 😉

I had two weeks off. Yes, the first week I was checking emails, sorted some requests but it wasn’t a full day in the office. The second week, e.g. after New Year, I took off completely. That means for me to turn my work phone off (I hate having two phones but on those occasions it is unbeatable), and not checking any mails. A week with no work disturbance. Don’t get me wrong, I am not too bothered seeing emails or staying on top of things, it is more the factor to make clear to colleagues “I am off, leave me alone”. If you don’t send that signal and you are available all the time people expect you to be. And to be honest, I am not irreplaceable, am I? Maybe I should be? Never mind.

Now, the best experience over my holidays is simple: the boys. I enjoyed them cuddling in bed in the morning, sitting with them for three meals a day, watching TV, playing train tracks (less popular these days), going for walks, soft play, building castles, having chats, comforting them, telling them off.

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I like to think I am blessed having two healthy boys at a great age. Whilst I cannot wait for R to be a year older and not needing a pram and nappies anymore, I don’t want to miss this “two year old” stage he is in. He just runs off, tries to grab attention, being stroppy, waking us up at night (less often though), and being a little “Quälgeist”, German for “ghost/spirit that annoys and pesters you”. A lovely little fella though and I love him to bits. He develops his own, very strong character, without me really noticing. His language is better developed than Colin’s at the time but he is less fore coming, more coy but cheeky at the same time. We shall see how he will be like in a few months.

Colin is a typical three year old, coming up to four years next summer. Trying to help mummy and daddy, educating Rohan and being the big brother. Very well behaved, or shall I say he knows when he oversteps boundaries. We still have to tell him off, but that’s quite normal. I love his statements like “not yet Daddy, 5 minutes” as if he had any sense of time. Or when we went for a walk and my wife had his frog (comfort blanket) coming down a steep hill, I said to C “should we just leave mummy up there”, he looked at me and said “my froggy”, he really got his priorities right 😉 He seems to understand German, speaks little and he slowly gets into that “why” stage and you can explain to him what’s going on in the environment. He wants to understand or learn what certain noises or things are. A great age.

I enjoyed the time off with the boys. Soon I am back at work and they are going to school and daddy time will be limited to the weekends. No point beating myself up about it, that is just the way things are and to make up for it, I need to be 110% there at the weekend. My dad was a teacher and home after lunch, so was my wife’s. So we both grew up having both parents around in the afternoon. I really had to work from home or locally but then I couldn’t do what I do now, and I wouldn’t want to miss that in the world. Probably a philosophical question, but whilst of course family and kids are more important than a career and self fulfilment, there is this bit in me that is very career oriented and likes to work (ever watched “Up in the air”?), enjoy moving up the career ladder. The best of both worlds is just not always possible but we are trying to make best possible arrangements.

I guess that sums up a great break. We met up with friends, had lots of fun and enjoyed quality time. The next long weekend is not too far away, then there is Easter, summer holidays, and before we know it, it is Christmas again….time flies.

Have a great 2013. A good start unless you were back to work this week. We looking forward getting our routine back and I look forward going back to work tomorrow.

Best wishes,
Volker

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Sunday Column (180)

Just one of those weeks I guess. A tad stressful but an ok week I suppose. Too much booze but good catch ups. Good nights and chats but no gym training due to a sore foot, just not my week I suppose. And to finish the week off I pulled a muscle in my upper back, eating pain killers like chocolate raisins. I am getting older I suppose.

You know, some weeks, and normally the ones with the unpleasant muggy weather, one just never gets on top of anything. You run out of time, assume train times, miss connections, get delayed. Like a pattern you attract these things. Happens. Line drawn. The universe? What have I done?

You know some weeks, you think you live in paradise. You find out a neighbour gets burgled, and someone tries to steal a cash machine from your local bank. Did we move to the wrong place? Have we made all the right decisions? Are we good? Will the universe be good to us? Will we find our positive energy again?

Of course we will. All things work out at the end, and eating the elephant in small pieces will get us there eventually. Then again if we had won the 148 million in the lottery jackpot this week, we could have accelerated a lot of things. Including retirement 😉

I was thinking about challenges this week, those tasks you have in front of you. The ones that get you out of your comfort zone, get you going, get you learning. All here, all good. That is important to me. That makes me. If those challenges are gone, I will not survive for long, I will seek new ones. I must be crazy I think sometimes. I just cannot relax and chill. Onwards and upwards. Over and over again.

Like an Olympic athlete I suppose. Always be ready, ready to win. To fight. To go the extra mile. To sacrifice. To be the one. To be positive. Yeah! Chaka!

Now the week ended with me presenting my productivity deck at work again. It has been over a year since I last presented it but I still find it useful to my staff. The reason is mainly to create awareness of your energy household, your needs, your aims and objectives and what you really want in life. It is about finding your own path and your own balance. This includes work-life balance but also spiritual balance, dietary balance and physiological balance. I did what I enjoy most: teaching and coaching useful things. Each slide could have been an hour presentation. A seminar. A session.

The weekend was quiet-ish. My back hindered me to do much. A low in DIY enthusiasm, we spend the Saturday chilling out as a family. Sunday on the other hand we went to visit friends in Winchester. They just had a baby boy and it was really good to see them.

It has been a long week, an interesting week. The sun is out and watching the boys in the garden gives me the greatest joy. Walking in the quiet cul-de-sac meeting the neighbours. Potting new plants. Playing and sitting with the boys in the garden watching the world go by. Relaxation. Family.

We arrived.

Have a great week.
Volker

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Sunday Column (158)

A week of travel away from home is laying behind me. Of course my job requires a lot of travel, however this week was a whole week away which is unusual. I enjoy it to the extend to get a few good night sleeps, but I often end up staying up late with clients or colleagues which causes the reverse effect. But it is always well worth it 🙂

Anyway, I had a very positive week, met some very impressive people and got to know a lot more about management, products, and innovation. What else could I ask for?

Last week, for some reasons, my write up about “Fatherland” had the most views and hits. Maybe, but only maybe, I got reminded this week that I am actually from Germany. But I cannot translate any more, I don’t even feel that I understand Germany any longer. I am detached. But I still hold the passport, keep some of the traditions and apply some of the “German thinking” to my life. But I am truly settled in the UK. More so when we get our new house of course.

On that note we are making progress. I believe all reports and surveys but one have been done. We now carry out some more detailed survey to clarify some issues for peace of mind (hopefully), and will then be ready to move…..fingers crossed.

I wanted to add something else about my travel and being away from home. It is not a problem in general but I believe Colin is now in an age that he starts asking and questioning where daddy is. Managing his expectations in times like these are not always easy. Also, he wouldn’t understand yet if I spoke to him on the phone. With kids you always seem to be in transition. That of course doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Regarding the tablet question: Yes, I still want an ipad3. Yes, I can still afford an ipad3. However, I don’t really need one. Not because it won’t be fashionable to own one or to use one, and not that I don’t know what all I could do with it, but….I hardly use my Samsung Galaxy tab which I got from work. Once I use that more often and make “use of it”, I am sure I can justify the ipad3. Or do I really need to justify it 🙂

Anyway, have a great week everyone.

Volker

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Sunday Column (144)

As a child I never travelled much. Austria or Denmark with my parents, usually by car and we never flew. That was fine then and I have no regrets. I wasn’t jealous of other kids that did fly. Even when I grew up, I never went anywhere. A short trip to Spain and a motor bike trip to Italy and Denmark. But that was about it. Another bike trip around the UK of course. Only when I got married, our honeymoon took us to Thailand, and boy did I love it.

My hotel was next to one of those towers, never noticed the other 🙂

This week I went to Madrid for business. Business travel is always a bit different, unless you get to know the locals. My luck was that our Country Manager in Spain is local but since he wasn’t free the night of my stay, I met with another friend who has lived in Spain for over 10 years. Now, I was shown Madrid. I am not talking night clubs but tapas. The little dishes you have whilst having a good chat in one of the local bars. Having a beer, or a glass of wine, a snack. It is fantastic. You find different and very fresh flavours. If you follow me on Foursquare you will see where I have been. Whilst I abandoned the daily use of Foursquare, I still check in at places I like to remember. Like a travel diary if you like. So, I just wanted to say that business travel, tiring as it is, can also be a lot of fun.

Now the strike action of the public sector. Only in Cameron’s Britain did I ever experience strikes, riots and high unemployment rate. I am might be biased as for the first 8 years of me living in the UK Labour was in power, and maybe they messed a lot of things up. But lately I get increasingly annoyed of what is happening. Anyway, arriving back at Gatwick there weren’t any queues, no problem whatsoever. Fantastic.

But enough about travel. Work is very tiring as it is, but very rewarding too. I even went into work on Friday when I had a day off. This time though to show off the family. It was great to just sit there on Friday afternoon and presenting the kiddies. And the wife of course 🙂 They enjoyed it and I believe my colleagues enjoyed it too. We then went home and did some Christmas shopping on the way.

We also went Christmas shopping in Bromley on Saturday. I believe we decided on a new hifi system so we can dock in our iPods and iPhone(s) as well as USB sticks. Not an easy decisions but as my wife and I are both half deaf, we don’t need a super duper hifi system, LOL.

We also made food plans for Xmas. I cannot wait. I know that after Christmas I want to change a lot of food and drink habits in order to live a lot healthier. We shall see. I have been saying that for years.

Last but not least I am very happy with our fibre optic broadband. I streamed an online movie on Friday night and it was fantastic. Good quality.

Oh, and a quick word about the kids. Every weekend I start enjoying Colin more. It seem as we get along better, communicate better and get to know each other well. Today we went for a long walk (10 km), of which he slept most of it. But even just being out and about with the boys for a walk gives me great satisfaction.

Enjoy December, I think I am slowly getting into the mood for Christmas.

Cheerio,
Volker

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Sunday Column (133)

I don’t want to start with “what a week” again but it was….I squeezed my official working hours into a 4 hour working week and feel like Q4 has already arrived. With me pretty much being out of office for the remainder of the month, I am very busy catching up on things. But, things are moving in the right and a very positive direction. I am very excited.

Enough about work, as this week there were two main highlights. One was that I met my American friend again for drinks. We had a fantastic time and caught up again. Great night, fabulous time. I wish I will see him more often, and who knows, maybe I will. Catching up on 17 years and looking at the present and future just takes time. He is a true friend, it is fantastic.

The other highlight was the weekend. My wife decided to go away for the weekend. So I had a whole weekend with my boys. And I did enjoy it very much. It made me realise how well you have to be organised and how much you have to concentrate on the two little men rather than yourself. We went to a play group, had lunch, diner, play in the garden and the usual bath. They were both so exhausted that they fell asleep instantly on Friday. So did I after a glass of wine.

Saturday was different again. We went to town to do some errands, then played at home and had a wee nap. Including myself of course. Plan was to drive to the golf course to go for a walk but the car made a funny noise so I took it down to the garage – it might be the gearbox 🙁 Just what I needed before our big trip to Germany next month. I guess better now than when we are on a big trip. So we walked around Kelsey Park and got soaked on the way back, heating and drying up in front of the fire.

I don’t want to sound too proud but I am, being able to get them to bed in time and being organised enough to get through the day was an achievement. I know that my wife does it every day and has a different routine but for me who hardly gets involved but the weekends, this is quite a thing. Of course, as my wife argues, she has to do a lot more stuff on top of “only taking care of the children”, where I might have taken short cuts. No ironing, less cleaning, disposable nappies etc. But, I was surprised how easy it was at times. If I wanted to do it again? A clear yes, but not on a regular basis. Maybe men are just not made for that 😉

But seriously: I think it made me realise how rewarding it is to be an entertainer for two young kids for a whole day. How responsible you have to be in order to feed them, change them and cuddle them at the right time. It made me realise what a crap dad I am at times when I forgot to take Colin’s milk or when I had to call my wife over again to ask small things that I didn’t know. Shouldn’t a dad know about everything.

Surely, I would have survived without my wife being reachable, but it helps. I value and appreciate her doing this job every day, and it made me realise that I should maybe more often take the boys out myself. I can do it. Maybe it would help my wife too if I take them a Saturday or Sunday. I always think it happens automatically when they get older, but I guess I don’t have to wait, do I?

Also by doing that on a regular basis, it will help me to bond with the kids. To understand their needs and understand where my wife’s challenges are. I love being able to help more, but as in many households, I decided I want a career. I love working and I am passionate about what I do. So it is difficult to be the best at both worlds. But, of course, I continue to try.

So I am glad once the wife comes home again and takes charge 🙂

Next week will be busy. The ATS and dmexco are about to happen, so lot’s of catching up to do with media and exchange guys. I am really looking forward to that.

Buzz me if you are at either event.

Have a good one,
Volker

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