All beginnings are dificult

Monday morning 10 to 6, the alarm goes off. “I hate Mondays” and all I want is “another 5 minutes”. In best guerrilla style I carry out an attack on the snooze button of my alarm. Then I wrote an article for the newsletter of the German MPS-Society about how I manage to reconcile leisure, work and school. The article was well received and so Michi wanted to publish it in the MPS-Falter. Here we go …

Get to work

It’s 10 km from my place to “HT Labor – und Hospitaltechnik” ( laboratory – and healthcare technology) in Heideck, where I work. There I have a parking space right in front of the door. At my desk there is a special scoliosis chair with a split backrest and memory foam padding. Our trainees are also very helpful. Often enough I find a pot of tea on my desk in the morning because the kitchenette is on the first floor and the staircase is too steep for me.

After starting the computer, I check my emails regarding some kind of emergencies or requests for help. No? Brilliant! Then let’s get started with the daily business. My job really is diverse. Actually, I am a trained technical designer, who drifted into the fields of programming. I program modified machine programs for our automatic production line, meaning that I feed the programs with data thus getting the finished part in return. That was how I started my career as programmer in the company, followed later by the interfaces for constructors to ensure that they do not have to transfer the data by hand any longer but only press “the go on then button” after the construction of the components. I broadend my language skills from Frankish (no Standard German) and English to a conglomeration of programming languages like Fortran, Object Pascal and C#.

Many of the MPS patients have already made experiences with the products of our HT laboratory – and healthcare technology. We already equipped operating rooms, intensive-care units and hospital rooms in many German and Austrian hospitals. When I started to work there 10 years ago, I wasn’t aware that this company situated in a small village like Heideck processes projects worldwide.

From the many different products we manufacture, I always learn something new. How to build high-safety laboratories, how radiation shielding and noise insulation work and so on. When I don’t programme, I help developing products
(facilitating the debugging of my programmes at the same time), support users in the resource management system or help the production control with adjustments in our system. I am never bored. After a busy day I am going home – closing day, feels great.

Back home refuelling body and mind is on order. Best with green tea. While waiting for it to be ready I get my school books. It’s pretty funny. As kindergarden toddler you think “before this I had more free time”. As schoolchild you recognize that “kindergarden was better somehow”. And as working adult you conclude that “school was more relaxed”. So I thought it’s time to go back to school. I signed the contract only to realize: “distance learning – crap: school and job, arghh!” However, it has worked quite well up to now, which means that I am in the third semester of my advanced training as a certified technician. Only until 2019 … Not to say much more. It’s school: mathematics, physics, chemistry (to be honest the thing with the acids is just toxic), construction and development, machine elements and things like that. It’s exhausting, but very interesting. I normally spend an hour burying my nose in my books.

Do you know how many calories a brain in overdrive burns per hour? Depending on how long I hold out, I study more than on my usual days or not. One of the advantages you have when you can organize your time as you like. No half term holidays and about 45 hours study time in addition to working per month is pretty draining. Since I also attend school on Saturdays irregularly, I have to give up the one or the other weekend as well. We are 15 students at the moment and I suppose it’s going to be one of the “last man standing” things. For relaxation I play computer games or program the community homepage.

Some call it music

Thankfully, life is more than job and school. Once a week it’s time for the “Jungenband” band practice. I put “Jungenband” in quotation mark on purpose because it’s our provisional name until we make up our minds. Each one of us is too old by now to be considered young, not even with a great deal of goodwill. Anyway, we rehearse three times a week for services, confirmations and now and then weddings. What kind of instrument do I play? I started with bass.

Unfortunately our guitarist unexpectedly left the band and so I took over his place. So many strings. I had to complete the sounds and noises “boom” and “roar” with “strum” and “thrum”. We have a lot of fun together and the dissolution is off the table. Only they don’t let me sing. “You do want people to cry for the right reason” they answered after I had offered to sing at a wedding. Well, I must confess, my singing hints musically to death metal (haha).

Besides that I test my skills in a “solo project” in my little home studio. Here my voice fits very well to the music. Loud, hard and fast. There are people who go to the gym to improve their stamina. Have you ever asked yourself the question why musicians sweat on the stage? Three minutes of hard’n heavy can be quite exhausting. Let alone the useless running to and fro … my poor neighbours.

Now and then I meet friends to play the drums. Congas, bongos and Djemben, whatever is at hand. Sometimes we even have a sitar and often lose track of time, asking each other afterwards how it can be that three quarters of an hour or more feel like three minutes. Sometimes it happens that I am hired as bassist for projects thus meeting people I would never have come across. Music unites people. Far as Papua New Guinea

Sleep my child, sleep

After a hard day’s work I prepare dinner. Sometimes I simplify the chemical structure towards C (carbon dioxide). Then usually I can barely keep my eyes open. Now off to bed, another evil eye on my arch-enemy, the alarm, and Zzzz.

Something new every now and again…

Recently I’ve become godfather, with devotion. Since 22 May 2017 I have been into the ERT once a week. I am curious as to what the future will bring to this effect.

How do I manage to juggle work, school and personal time? No idea, just go for it.
Something new every day. We will see what happens tomorrow.
Markus W.

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