May 022012

The Adventure Continues….

You know how when you first heard about the concept of open heart surgery someone told you that they had to stop the heart in order to work on it?  And then they would get it started again once they had it fixed and everything would be OK!  You may have thought “wow, that sounds super-dangerous and like a terrible idea!  But, maybe it makes sense, and it is probably better than the alternative… Hmmmmm…”

That was this week.

Today Spellbound Entertainment GmbH shut its doors- soon, we hope, to morph into some slightly streamlined version of its old self with a new name, new owners, but basically the same raison d’ etre.  The heart is not currently beating, but we are watching the doctors unclog the arteries and waiting for them to use the paddles to get things going again….

So What Happened?

Basically, many months ago, they had a big contract blow up in a messy fashion.  They were getting things stabilized after that and had financing all set up to fund them over the gap. But, they had their bridge financing fall through at the last minute.  That triggered the insolvency that I reported earlier, which meant that the company came under control of the German Government.  The last couple months have been spent trying to work out a plan that would be acceptable to the team from the German Government- i.e. some plan that would show stable financing for at least one year of operations.  They came close, and are still working on it.  But at press time, they only had some of the deals finalized that would cover the entire one year period with their current expenses. 

So, on to Plan B. 

They shut down the old company.  They create a new company.  Then they rehire only enough staff to cover the projects that they have firmly in hand and signed for at present.  As more work gets nailed down (and there are deals in process), they hire back as many more as they can.  But, for a couple of weeks while the new company is being legally established, everyone is out of work.

So, What Does That Mean For Us?

The Scary: today David got official lay off paperwork.  Unfortunately, this is getting to be rather old hat with us!  What the heck is with this industry?!?  But, for goodness sakes, who would have expected the second largest gaming company in Germany to go belly up all of a sudden?  In any case, yeah, I had a couple hours today where I was sort of a zombie while I processed all this.  We had to do a quick run to the market and David kept having to drag me and face me in the right direction because I would sort of…. wander.  After the instability caused by his last lay off, I think it triggered a bit of a minor panic-attack.  But, I am feeling a bit better now.  Technically, if David is not rehired, we could get thrown out of the country in about 4 months, but that isn’t going to happen.

The Comforting: the entire company got the same paperwork, and the folks from the unemployment offices came down to Spellbound to give them a little talk.  Then they all walked over together to fill out paperwork as one big group!  Well, actually, as two big groups- they separated them into German and English speakers and handled them that way.  The poor French guys were in with the English speakers and got no special assistance at all.  The most fluent folks helped translate for everyone else. 

David has worked here just long enough to qualify for German Unemployment benefits- which amount to 60% of your normal salary.  So, you see, we are definitely not experiencing Germany as tourists!  We are right in there with everyone else.  In fact, perhaps we are even being Euro-fashionable!  Sigh….  His paperwork was, surprisingly, not among the most complicated for the very international group- the French folks again got the fuzzy end of the lollipop and are going to have a heck of a time, it seems.  And, anyone who was only hired recently is SOL.

The Good:  Since they already do have a couple of contracts signed and just need a company established with which to fulfill them, that means that his actual Unemployed time ought to be (knock wood) very short.  The current estimate David was given for his particular job was about 2 weeks.  Of course, we have heard similar things before.  But I am REALLY hoping it is true this time around!  

Other Good Things: we have had kind folks offer to help us should things get tight.  A very comforting thought, indeed!  Also, hey, it looks like David gets a short vacay!  It will even overlap with a couple days worth of DD’s, and the weather is getting quite pretty!  Luckily, we knew it was a good time to have a little padding, so we have a little bit of money set aside to handle the deficit.

Also, on the Good List- you have to admit that having the entire company go through something like this is a bit of a long-term team-building experience!  David says it was probably the most social day he has had in ages, with everyone sitting around chatting and gossiping and joking and consoling while they went through the process.  The folks who wind up in the new company will have been in the trenches together.  It will be interesting to see their interactions as they rebuild. In the mean time, people were exchanging emails and contact info that hadn’t been handed over the entire time he had worked there.  So, that was also a nice development.

Ok, well, that is pretty much what we know right now on that front.  What else is up?

The Hair

Well, let’s see.  I was feeling so good and Springy and Adventuresome earlier this week, that I dyed my hair again!  This time I went with the German purple color (that comes out coppery red in the light, and a more berry color in the shadows on me) and then dyed over it with some Blue that I got in the States on the underside.  That turned out sort of blackish on first rinse, but I think it will fade to a deep velvety blue-violet.  I figure everyone is looking at the weird American anyways, no point in hiding :-)  Though, to be fair, Germans dye their hair all sorts of weird colors- not Blue, though.  I am not sure why.  I have even seen green, but never blue dye here in Germany.

The basic look, lighter graduating down to dark

The stripes, the top color is a bit more
purple than it looks here.

Closer to the coloring as it looks indoors- outdoors it turns
much brighter and more coppery.  The unfortunate side effect of
German dyes on my hair.

The Plunge

Last Friday when I went in to see Tom, my physical therapist, he was holding an object that looked very much like a cross between a bathroom plunger and something that would be inappropriate to discuss in a family-friendly blog!  This, he said, was going to be much less painful that one of the previous techniques he had used.

Actually, it looked just like the things above, but without the IPA branding
(Institute of Physical Art, apparently). 

Ummm.. What?

At first I thought he was joking, but he was totally serious.  Apparently this is a newish therapy for releasing the layers of skin/muscle from one another so they can move/drain/function properly.  After injury, they can tend to adhere to one another and make things stiff, so the therapist needs to break the bonds that are keeping them from moving apart.

It works pretty much like you might expect… if you ever expected your PT to pull out a slightly obscene blue and crystalline plunger and attach it to your person.  He had me lay on my stomach then attached the plunger to my injured shoulder… then he, er, wiggled it!  It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but it didn’t really hurt either.  It just felt… weird.  I guess it did what is was supposed to.  I am pretty sure I was able to move better after the treatment than before.  But… yeah.  VERY bizarre, and perhaps not my most dignified moment of all time!

Next Up: DS Turns 12, Our First Local Dinner Guest, and more on the Spellbound Saga when I have it!

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