I've been using the same Ziener snowboarding gloves I bought in Germany for >16 years. They've held up marvelously, but it was time for an upgrade. THey were still warm and waterproof, but as you can see the material started to flake away on the thumbs. I thought I may be pushing my luck on how long they would last and since I was in Germany for the last time, the time was right. I was very please to see that they still make a very similar glove. They both have flexible wrist guards, but they're removable in the new model. They both have that easy to grab/use velcro strap over the wrist. Also, the new model's cords are a bit thicker and a more generous length. If you're looking for quality that will last you...look no further.
As a part knowledge worker, I'm no stranger to sitting for long periods of time behind my computer. I figured out 16 years ago that my back pain was mostly the direct result of the way I was sitting while working on my computer. The "ergonomic" chairs that most people can afford are nothing of the sort. To achieve true ergonomics, one has to spend a bit more money. Either that, or just stand all day & suffer the trade offs of foot pain.
This chair is very well built - I bought the below kneeling chair 7+ years ago & its still kicking. It's Swedish & called the Thatsit Balans with back by Varier. So much so that I expect to gift it to my future grand-kids. I recently had a small plastic piece break. I emailed the company & they sent 2 replacements the next day! No questions about when I bought it or proof of purchase (however, I did send them a pics of the worn out part), they just supplied the requisite part. I'm definitely a fan! One super-minor drawback is that you have to tighten the hex screws about once a year as you're swaying back & forth on a real wood frame & the screws do tend to loosen over time. No big deal - takes 2 mins once a year. No regrets here!
If you're a fan of the Showtime show "Billions", you'll see a different variant of this chair in the background of Taylor's flat in season 3 episode 6. BTW, this particular chair is offered in multiple frame types, seat colors, & seat materials. It ultimately works out to be thousands of possible configurations.
While I really enjoy my kneeling chair, my next job has me exiting my chair many times per hour & entering/exiting the kneeling chair that often can get a bit frustrating. So, I recently bought this German-made chair (called the Swooper). It's also configurable to the tune of thousands. I came across it many years ago online, but couldn't find a local dealer to test it out. As fate would have it, last year my wife's doctor had one in her office. I was caught testing it out by the office secretary (whoops :) ). I was hooked. It's super extensible - it can be normal height or really tall where I'm almost standing & leaning on it.
We put these tips together because we wish we had them prior to moving. They would've saved us some time and money. More specifically, this outline of tips is intended for Soldiers or Civilians (Army or Air Force) who permanently change station overseas to Germany. It includes more specific links for PCSing to Wiesbaden (which includes Clay Kaserne & Hainerberg).
- It’s 3x faster & has 2x coverage but is more expensive (you pay for what you get).
- They don’t take VAT forms & their app and website are NOT in English.
- 0341* to get Telekom German voicemail into English.
- http://pass.telekom.de (while NOT on wifi) to enable & pay for data roaming.
- TKS is for cable & internet if you live on the Kaserne.
- TKS “Verify Data” from Website / DoDI # from your CAC Card, then leave the SSN blank.
- Adding an autopay credit card, don’t forget to go to MyTKS/Contracts tab to link that card, otherwise you’ll have an unpaid bill & get charged a late fee.
- VAT forms - I didn’t receive all mine back from TKS. Just get the official print out from the TKS desk & take that to the VAT office.
- Occasionally there’s a US website that requires a VPN in order to access it.
- Best bank I’ve used - no need to use Community Bank if you use this & it’s cheaper in the long run.
- Transfer money from USAA at a lower fee with https://transfer.xe.com/
- The key to this is to only withdraw euros from a bank other than the ones on base as to avoid their crappy rate.
- Change everything to English - look just to the left of your name.
- Shipping with prime then seller as Amazon.de ensures it can be delivered on the installation - you take risk with 3rd party vendors.
- You can also use the VAT form.
- It’s a combination Super Target & Costco.
- They do take VAT forms but the receipts have to be from the same month as you use the VAT form. You also have to get a stamp from the customer service counter on each receipt (the day you get that receipt).
- Driving to other countries - fill up before you cross the border as the Esso card only works in Germany and the price of fuel is about 2.5 times the cost.
- Google Maps - you can load offline maps of the areas you’re vacationing to.
- Train - for traveling with small kids, it’s worth paying for the family room.
- Backpacking your kids can be much more convenient in crowds and uneven terrain.
- Esso Card Status
- Lockmuehle - Best kids park ever. Cash only though. Check the German site for the “real” hours as they don’t update the English one very often.
- Tobolino - Best indoor toddler/kids park around. Cash only as well.
- Thermalbad - Great indoor heated pool.
The toy that our 3.5 year old keeps going back to over & over is what we call, The Green Machine. It's actually called the PlasmaCar. Our son has been using it for 17 months just about every other day. Beware though it has two major faults, the first of which will become abundantly obvious within minutes. The plastic wheels that come with it are NOISY. They also slow your toddler's roll. I replaced mine with this kit & the blissful return of quietness is not to be understated. The polyurethane wheels are a must! The other fault is the semi-sharp nose. Your toddler will definitely seek to ram your leg and the occasional wall. To minimize the pain & to quiet those collisions, just tape a section of bumper from the furniture protection roll (which I'm sure you've already invested in) to the nose.
I've done the grand search multiple times for a solution that allows me to work with my laptop from my sofa in a comfortable way. As evidenced by the rejects to the right, you can see that I've been looking for the optimal sofa table/desk/stand/tray whatever you want to call it (part of the problem I might add).
The Ergotron WorkFit-P Sit-Stand Workstation is the best solution I've found to date. Its articulating arm and platform are sturdy, stable, & large enough to hold my MacBook Pro as well as a full glass of wine without moving. You can tighten it up to be as ridged or loose as you want. It's light, durable, well designed, and thus far - proven to be semi-toddler proof. I can lift and spin it effortlessly out of the way in an instance all the while the platform is horizontal to the floor. I had an older version, similar to the Ergotron (however from a different manufacturer), but that one had a smaller platform and was much heavier. As you can see from the picture below, I've attached my USB Type C HooToo hub to one of the corners with double sided tape and it works marvelously. The workstation came with 2 different types of mounts. As you can see from the pic below, I've elected to drill a hole in my table to use the more stable mount - no regrets here, but definitely not for the feint of heart.