Yesterday was rough. I was supposed to put on real clothes and wake up before 8am in order to get my son back to school (before 8am).
Well, no one woke up until 8am when Jack came in and hopped on my bed. I noticed it was light outside. In Germany that’s a bad sign since it doesn’t get light until around 8am. You guessed it, we were off to a bad start.
Normally I wouldn’t have panicked but Mondays are forest days (they leave around 8:30 am and come back around 1 pm), so Jack would have to be on time and you have to pack a backpack and snack for forest days. Oh Lord, and I’d have to find his cold weather bibs and his waterproof mittens and a clean hat… had I even finished our ski trip laundry? NO!
So, thank the good Lord, we had bananas and I had the good mind to make some GF cranberry strawberry muffins the night before. I found a hat with questionable origins, but it fit him, threw his bibs and mittens in the car and I turn the car on to heat up. It’s 11 degrees. When my car is running I cannot make myself shut the driver’s side door. I’m afraid of the car locking itself or the kids locking themselves in. So, the car door is open and I’m buckling the kids in, then I run back across the street to lock the front door. I jump in the car and shut the car door. No I don’t. My car door won’t shut. My brand new car door won’t freakin’ shut! I see the notch that catches the door frame and try to pry it in a different direction. Nothing.
Now, here’s where I tell you that I’m perfectly aware of the laws in Germany. You aren’t supposed to let your car run idle. Good Germans turn their cars off at stop lights. I think you’re supposed to. I’m not a good German, but I don’t usually let my car sit running outside of my home. Did I mention it was 11 degrees? Rather than let my children get frostbite, I yell at my car while it’s running, I stick a pen in the door, I go inside and get a screwdriver, I look through my owner’s manuals. Nothing. Finally, I give up and am looking up the number for ADAC (German AAA) and have given up all hope of getting Jack to school.
Then I hear a tapping at the window. It’s my grouchy old neighbor. The last time I saw him he was wagging his finger at me and threatening to call the police and I would get a whopping TEN euro ticket for parking there blah blah blah! Sometimes when you are playing single parent with sick kids, you take your chances on that 10 euro ticket, mister. So, he goes off on me for about five minutes in Germglish about how it’s OK to run your car for five minutes when it’s cold, but not thirty and the smoke from my car was entering the windows of all nearby homes, and he wouldn’t be calling the cops on me this time (I also learned he is a retired police officer which would explain his penchant for the law and the calling of the law). Then he pulls out this spray bottle that says -70 (I couldn’t read the rest) and sprays it in my door latch thingy and shuts my door.
Number one, my door was FROZEN after being left open for a minute. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I’m from the South, this sort of thing blows my mind.
Number two, was this guy being nice in a German sort of way?
I rolled down my window and thanked him and asked what was in that bottle. I own my own bottle now, thank you.
I would like to add the disclaimer that these self-described “typically German” things seem to only happen to me. I could very well just be a poor citizen.
Regardless, I rushed off to the Waldorf School and I’m one of the first people there. It’s a min-man day (they don’t follow the usual schedules on theses days). Everyone else seemed to know this would happen and there was no forest trip that day.
Everyday is an adventure when you can’t read or speak German but LIVE in Germany.