Jul 152012
Deflating the inflatable

Ok.  So this last couple weeks has been recovery from our travel adventures, catching up on work, getting ready for summer, and continuing our efforts to figure out what the heck we are doing.  Nothing really thrilling and exciting, but ye old normal Americans Living in Germany sorts of stuff.  DS is still working on finishing off his disposable camera so I can post photos from his landschulheim experience.  But, here are just a few tidbits to share.

Google translate says
“Because bites from the competition the teeth.”
Kerstin?  Hans?  Marc? Diane?  Kim?  Someone?  WTF?

 It is still all the little challenges….

Yesterday David did the shopping.  As a rule, I stay home whenever we have to shop on Saturdays because the stores tend to be so overrun I get mild panic attacks from the press of people.  I dictated a list to DD as I kneaded some dough, and then while they were out I remembered something we needed and called DS, who is the one always sure to answer his phone.  But, when they got back, some of the items I had asked for were missing. DD had missed one of my dictated requests.  And DS had completely failed to relay my message to his dad (he had been searching for an unusual item at the other end of the market when I called and by the time he returned to the group, the message was lost in the glow from his triumph of finding Buttermilk)…. So, David had to make a second run to get batteries and light bulbs and bacon.

It wasn’t too surprising, then, that my dear husband was not thrilled to discover the next morning that no one had mentioned the fact that we were almost out of toilet paper!  Downright annoyed would better describe his mood.  But, whatever his feelings,  1/4 roll was unlikely to sustain a family of 4 for a full 24 hours.  Especially with two women in the mix.  So, we spent some time trying to figure out where on earth one could find TP on a Sunday in semi-rural Germany.

The only answer we could come up with was a gas station mini-mart.  Until recently, the nearest one of those open on weekends was 1/2 way to Kehl.  But, (woot!) David remembered that they had just finished a new one near his work.  Hey! worth a shot.  Surprisingly enough, they had the item in question. Easy Peasy!  Though, in my excitement, I accidentally tossed David a pack of paper towels to purchase first. ah well, we always need more of those, too.

So, in the end, we got a couple emergency rolls of TP with far less fuss than we might have feared.  BUT, it meant we had to be exposed to the above sign prominently displayed at the new Jet gas station.  I think it is talking about taking the teeth out of the competition.  But….  Um.  EWWW.

UPDATE:  David got one of his German friends to translate the sign.  It is an idiom that means “The competition breaks their teeth on us”- i.e. we are too tough for them.  And the sign is apparently made by a well-known German cartoonist with low-brow grotesque aesthetics. So, there!  Learn something every day.  


In other news, the weather here is starting to show the earliest signs of an autumnal chill.  Most days are still hot and humid, with rain storms blowing through every couple days.  But some of those storms are now carrying a cool wind, and the damp isn’t always muggy.  I took this as a sign that it was time to do some cooking! So, in honor of Bastille Day (aka La Fête Nationale)  I made Beignet, Blackberries and Baked Bacon.  Then I used the leftover dough to make cinnamon rolls the next morning.  :-) I admit, I am still pretty proud when I can accomplish decent results here.  I am getting better at it, but it is still a challenge to do everything in a tiny kitchen, with different ingredients, none of my high end tools, and appliances all proportioned for Lilliputians but meant to serve for, well, Germans!  It still feels just a wee bit like I am a homesteader grinding her wheat by hand…. (which, admittedly, I don’t do…. no place to keep a dang mill)

Believe it or not, we are already getting eating pumpkins in the stores, so the next project is probably pumpkin pie!  I have two of the orange gourds sitting on the counter waiting to be roasted now.

Also, right now, DS is out on his daily “run”. He goes out most days to make the loop around the corn field and past the factory near our house.  He either runs or rides his razor.  This time, though, he left while it was overcast and 2 minutes in, thunder started.  5 minutes in, the rain poured down.  I have placed a towel by the front door.  This is going to be an unexpectedly wet one, I think!

SECOND UPDATE: DS was only somewhat damp after his run, but, he reports that near the river he encountered a troop of ducklings.  As he approached, they raced out in front of him to seek refuge in the water.  That is definitely the sort of thing that is supposed to happen when you are out running in a rainstorm in Germany!

Stuff we still don’t know

Been in this apartment about a year, now.  So, unsurprisingly, many of our lightbulbs are starting to burn out.  Here is the problem.  We can’t figure out where to buy replacements!  We have tried about 3 times, now, and each time we get something that is just a little, well, wrong.  I think next time we are going to have to seek expert assistance.  Cause seriously, check this out:

This is what our lights are supposed to look like

This is what the one over my work area currently looks like

The one with the little silver attachments is what is supposed to fit…
The golden one is all we could find.

Also on our Challenge List- my new glasses have scratches on one lens already.  Since we got the scratch coating, and I have only cleaned them with the micro-fiber rag that came with them and pure cotton towels, we think there may be a problem with the manufacture.  Will a German optician be better about fixing the problem than Lens Crafters was in the States?  Stay Tuned to find out!

Durmstrang Drama

Our lovely reflective paint marred by dried rain rings and the divot.

See that dark circle?  David and DS were on their way to Durmstrang when all of a sudden they heard a huge KNOCK!!!  David thought at first that they had blown a tire, but the car drove OK and DS was able to pinpoint that the sound had come from the roof.  When they got to the school, they discovered that a passing truck had kicked up a rock or bolt that had slammed into the roof of the car, creating a divot in the paint!  I was just grateful that it hadn’t slammed into the windshield, because that would almost surely have been a more dramatic drive to school than anyone would need!

Durmstrang has actually been seriously abuzz with the end of the school year approaching.  DD has been out for almost 2 weeks, but Germany is on a different schedule, and, apparently, they work hard and play hard in these parts!  The other day as DS and David got near the school, packs of students were running about with painted markings on their faces and cans of shaving cream in their hands.  They were using the cream to style their hair in unusual ways- and they tried to stop the car as David drove up.  Deciding that he wasn’t really secure with what these hooligans might be up to, he continued on without stopping, and came at the school from the less-used side, dropping DS in relative safety.

As it turns out, this was the preliminary excitement for an all-day sports event with students competing in various physical trials throughout the day.  The rowdy students were just getting pumped for the fun!  DS was a bit bummed, actually, because he was still sick with a head and chest cold and thus didn’t do as well as he would have liked.  All the students would shout “Ami!  Ami!” as he passed (slang for American) trying to root him on, but he just wasn’t up to his normal ability and came in last in a couple of the races.  He worried that he let the crowds down!  Being a minor celebrity has its price, it would seem.

German Voyeurism

There is a motorcycle in that field!

The other morning we awoke to the unfamiliar sound of sirens, and when I looked outside, I noticed emergency vehicles blocking the road! David threw on his shoes and walked out to get the scoop.  What he found was all our neighbors out and about- Doing Chores where they could clearly see the action.  The cleaning lady was out with her daughter, pulling weeds (mind you, we have a gardener, too!)  The dog owners were out walking their dogs.  Etc.  The only one there without a secondary purpose was the man we call “the straight-backed old gentleman”, who, as senior Male on scene, took it upon himself to gather info and relate it to the inconspicoulsy gathered apartment dwellers.  Apparently a motorcycle had gone off the road and into the corn.  The driver had been taken to the hospital and the bike was “kaput”.  I wanted to get a better photo of the emergency crews, but since I had no fake chores to do, I had to settle for this one from our kitchen window!

  One Response to “Daily Life Quick Update”

  1. Haha. I was going to say something like “The competition fails/can’t solve the problem there” but tooth-breaking is much more fun to imagine.

    Hope you guys are surviving the last couple of weeks of Durmstrang (at least now you’re armed with enough toilet paper)!

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