Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 24

Tuesday started like any other day. I woke around 7 or so, did my jail cell worked out, showered, and headed down for breakfast. I was pretty excited to get back to Bob's since I had learned quite a bit about EmberJS from PeepCode's tutorials. I had gotten the "Aha!" moment late last night and was anxious to apply what I'd learned.

He and I worked together at the table up until lunch and then decided to head out for lunch at a quiet little Italian restaurant near his flat. We both ordered pizza and sat around and shot the breeze for a while afterwards. Bob was trying to "learn me" networking tricks, so we ended up staying longer than usual... Who am I to interrupt IP routing techniques?

As we were leaving the restaurant, it had began to sprinkle a bit. We made it back to "the office" with damp clothes and geeked out for the rest of the afternoon. Around 5pm I headed down to the hotel and got ready for a nice evening with Bob and Michelle.

Around 6:30, Bob and Michelle arrived at the hotel and we all walked a few blocks away to a nice restaurant named Zum Hirschchen for dinner. I ordered a genuine German dish of steak w/ mustard sauce, potatoes, and salad. What is a German dinner without beer? That's right... it isn't. I had a few beers to help wash down the deliciousness.

When in Dusseldorf, drink Alt beer. Kolsch beer can only be consumed in Koln. At least that is the motto. It's very similar to OSU vs. Michigan. At one point, Bob noticed that his Alt beer was in an Kolsch glass. This is wrong on many levels and it deserved a picture. I'm sure the tables around us thought we were nuts. We took about 20 pictures of this glass because it was hard to get the word "Kolsch" into the picture.

We stuck around the restaurant for quite a while and had great conversation along with a few too many shots of Jagermeister. Thanks for the great night Bob and Michelle!!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 23

Monday was a great day. It was mostly work related greatness, but great none-the-less. The day started with a hearty breakfast in the hotel. All of the waitresses know me by now and begin preparing my coffee for me before I even sit down. I always thank them with a big smile and a "danka!". The return the smile with a very nice "bitta". I'm convinced they think I live here now.

When I arrived at Bobs, he and I gathered our thoughts of what needed done for the week and dove right in. It was a very productive morning. Bob and I hacked away across from one another at the table. Around lunch time, we headed to Sevens with Michael and Michelle to get some delicious doner at the restaurant on the lower floor. Matt was still at an exam, so we took the metro without him and hoped that he might meet us there later; he never did arrive so we assume he would find his own lunch, :)

After lunch, Bob and I headed back to the flat and continued working. He and I worked at the table and time seemed to pass by very quickly. At one point we decided that we needed guidance on  problem we were having and found a killer site called PeepCode.com which offers packages for learning various technologies. We got a 5 pack and began watching some nerd TV at the office desk. Before we knew it, Michelle was telling us it was time for dinner. She had prepared a delicious meal of shrimp and noodles with salad. Michelle and the boys enjoyed picking on Bob and I for getting so excited about our taste in good TV. Some people watch action flicks or horror flicks. Bob and I prefer nerd flicks. :)

After dinner we wrapped up a few last minute things and then I headed back down to the hotel around 8 or so. I was able to talk with Jennifer for a while and watched a bit more of my nerd TV before calling it a night...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 22

Sunday was a pretty relaxing day. I woke up around 9 am because I simply couldn't sleep anymore. I decided to get a few things done and just hang out. Food didn't sound good at all yet, so I skipped breakfast and decided to go outside and get some fresh air instead. I walked all around and snapped a ton of photos in the process. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

Around noon, I decided it was time to try and eat some food, so I stopped at a waffle place in the Altstadt (yes, I spend a lot of time here) and ordered some banana waffles. Oh. My. Goodness. Yum! After gorging on waffles, I headed back to the hotel and relaxed for the better half of the day. I continued to work on my cool new project and watched soccer on TV... in German. My window was open the entire time and I enjoyed listening to the cars and people outside on the streets. The weather was perfect and I really enjoyed the sounds of downtown Dusseldorf all day from 3 stories up.

For dinner, I headed back down to the... wait for it... Yep, the Altstadt and ordered some doner at a corner cafe. The Altstadt was packed with people by this time who were all out enjoying the weather. I walked around and got a few grocery items and then headed back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the night.

I posted my pictures to my Google Plus account. Click here if you'd like to see some beautiful pictures of Dusseldorf on a perfect Sunday.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 21

Today was a great day! I slept in until about 11 am. Since I had already missed breakfast and didn't have enough time to head to the Altstadt for breakfast, I decided to dig through my goody bag from the Marathon and "make due". I feasted on pretzels, salami, apple juice, a bag of peanuts and an apple that I snuck out of the breakfast hall yesterday morning. It wasn't the healthiest of lunches, but it worked. No coffee.

Today, I was going to go see Nick's football team play a game of American Football on the south-side of Dusseldorf. It was about 6 miles away and Michelle generously offered her train pass for me to use. This saved me about 5 euros since I wouldn't have to buy a ticket. Bob was able to explain my route over the phone and I took detailed notes. It was pretty fun riding the UBahn by myself through the main train station and out into the burbs. I arrived in Tipplesburg and a few local bike riders were able to point me to the right direction once I got off the train. I was happy they spoke English and had an iPhone with GPS to help me. :)

I arrived at Sportspark Neiderheid right at 3pm. The game had just begun and I found a comfortable spot on the sidelines where I got to watch Nick in his element. He is the coach for the Dusseldorf Blades woman's football team. He basically just paced back and forth along the sidelines "coaching". :) The weather was absolutely perfect and everybody ended up with a little bit of sunburn today! Sometime before half time he spotted me in the crowd and came over to say hello. The girls played a good game, but ended up losing to Berlin with a score of 42 - 19. It was a great game and I had a lot of fun; I actually got into it a few times on the big plays. It was a lot of fun!

After the game, Nick and I headed back to his place so he could change. He had a nice place in a quiet neighborhood. Once he got out of his coach's uniform, we headed to a nearby restaurant called Scotti's and had some burgers and fries with his team. By the time we had finished eating, it had gotten pretty cold. We decided to head back to his place so he could grab his jacket before going out for the night.

We ended up going to the Altstadt around 11 pm with his friend Vera, from CrossFit. We went from bar to bar, and Nick knew quite a few people at each place we went to. He used to be a bouncer at a few of these places, so we would show up to the door, he'd shake hands and catch up with the bouncers as they rattled off some German. The next thing we knew, we'd all go in the door and have shots or beers delivered to us. Awesome!

We hung out at the Altstadt until about 2 am and then I stumbled back to my hotel room in the chaos of the crowds. It's amazing how busy the Altstadt is at night. During the day it's a beautiful cobble-stoned oasis filled with restaurants and shopping. At night it turns into a party jungle with bars and lights. I love it!!

When I got home, I was able to talk with Jennifer for a while and then I was in bed and asleep by 3 am.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 20

Today was Friday and was a full on day of progress. Bob and I worked diligently to get a prototype working on this project that we're doing, so we had our hands on the keyboard all morning. Around noon, he and I walked down to the corner and ordered pizza which we ate out on the sidewalk on a busy street. It was really neat to see all the traffic whiz by while we sat and talked.

Busy Corner Restaurant

Alt Eisenbahn

When we got back to the office, I was able to find my girls on Skype before they got on the bus. Today was "western day" for the kindergarten so Daizi was in her element.

Jazzy, Daizi, Lizzie, and Me

Bob and I continued to work through the evening and for dinner we had to man up and cook our own food... Well, actually Michelle cooked it, but we had to heat it up. :) We had sloppy joe sandwiches with french fries and Mezzo Mix (mmm). We almost had too much sloppy joe mix, but we felt obligated to eat it since there were (oddly) two buns left. As it turns out, Michelle had left enough for her too. When she returned from town, she opened the refrigerator and saw nothing... Oops. We are mere men trying to live in a womans world sometimes. Sorry Michelle... If it helps, they were delicious. (?)

Bob and I continued to work into 11 pm. We were both very excited to have something working before the end of the word day in Chicago (7 hours behind). We got it working pretty well and enjoyed a few glasses of some really good Lofroaig Scotch before I headed back to the hotel for the night. When I got home, I tinkered around on a few things (VMWare SNAFU) and then I passed out.

A day at the office. :)
Today was a great geek-out day! I love my job.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 19

I arrived at work around 10 am and worked a full day with Bob. He and I are getting a ton of work done. I wish I could talk about it, but I simply can't at this time. Just know that we are buliding some next level web stuff over here. :) For lunch, I enjoyed the second half of my Subway sub from yesterday and we stayed busy here in the flat.

After work, Me, Bob, and Michelle all headed to Koln to spend the evening with Dariush and Rita. We arrived around 7 pm and I got to see my little friend, Nouchine. She was shy at first, but started to open up after a bit. Jonathan made a cameo appearance at one point when we arrived, but he was pretty sleepy (ie. grumpy) and went to bed. We all sat out on the back patio area and enjoyed the weather. Dariush and Rita prepared a really amazing meal tonight. We had salad, lemon flavored chicken, rice cake, and a delicious Iranian dish with egs, chicken, and eggplant. Nouchine hung out with us for a while and then had to go to sleep eventually as well.

Nouchine ready for dinner. :)

Where's Nouchine? Anybody?...


Beautiful night to be outside.

Michelle, Bob, Me, Dariush, and Rita
After dinner we sat around and enjoyed coffee, drinks, and conversation. It really was a great visit and I hated to see it end. Thank you, Ghobad's for a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Germany 2013 - Day 18

Today was a good day. After an overtime day at work followed by a scotch-fest with my friend Herbert, then an all-night blogathon, I decided to let Bob know I'd be an hour late. I arrived at his flat at 10 am sharp and we began our day. Today was a pretty beautiful day outside, so we worked with the doors and windows open.

At one point my old friend, "Nuts" came to visit me on the back deck. This year he had a big acorn and buried it in Bob and Michelle's flower pot. We watched him bury it, and then he left for a few minutes to do something only to return and make sure that Bob and I hadn't stole his buried treasure. When he realized we weren't going to do anything with it, he scurried up a tree branch never to be seen again.

Making sure we didn't steal his nut.
For lunch, the family all went to Subway and ordered foot long subs. Matt and Michael are on exam week this week and the next couple of weeks, so their school schedule is very sporadic the entire time I'm here during their exams. After lunch, Me, Bob, Michelle, all came back to the house. Bob and I worked until around 7 or so. The entire time we worked, we had an amazing aroma filling the air... That of a delicious dinner.

Michelle had made a decadent dinner tender fish with rice and vegetables. The fish had a honey mustard glaze sauce drizzled over it which added some crazy flavor to the meal. I really can't say enough about all of the amazing foods that Michelle has prepared while I've been here visiting. She's quite an amazing cook. I always see her cook books open, and I'll admit that from time to time I peak at the pictures of what she's cooking and get excited. :) Thank you for all the amazing dinners, Michelle!

Around 9 pm, I came home pretty well spent. I called Jennifer and we talked for over an hour. She caught me up on all the latest news around the farm. I'm pretty anxious to get home and help her around the property.The yard is out of whack, and a lot of spring cleaning needs done. I don't expect her to do all these things by herself, and it is hard being over here knowing they are piling up back there. I think an Enrique Iglasias song goes here. :) I fell asleep at 11 pm after one long day...