Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dinner at ???

We had friends for dinner last night and I had sort of a Hausfrau breakthrough.  Typically, as our guests are pushing the buzzer at exactly 7:00 (yes, the stereotype is true, Germans are exceptionally prompt) I am in full hysteria mode. Half-dressed, flour strewn across counter tops, glob of butter affixed to my nose, second degree burns on right hand from forgetting to use hot pad when pulling casserole dish out of the oven while simultaneously trying to dress a salad with a homemade vinaigrette reduction.

Not this time.  I was on it. On. It

The Menu
Appetizer: Antipasto and Aperol Spritzs
Main Course: Lasagna, garlic bread, arugula salad with shaved Parmesan
Dessert: Strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped creme

The Timing
Guests due to arrive at 7:30.   At 6:25 the lasagna elements are complete and ready for assembly and insertion into the oven at 7:00.  Strawberries hulled, macerated and refrigerated. Salad prepared with dressing laying in wait.  Garlic bread seasoned and wrapped in foil.  Antipasto assortment prepared and ready for plating at 7:25. Me? Showered and dressed.  The only thing left to do?  Make the shortbread a quick 15 minute venture that I plan to kick out after sticking the lasagna in the oven.  Leaving a whopping 15 minutes to run a comb through my locks and apply lip gloss. Kiss. Kiss. The long and short of it?  I had a whole half hour to spare.  I am rocking this Hausfrau thing. Rocking. It.

So, I decided to check email with the free time.  As I sit down at my computer my husband says to me:
TK: What are you doing?
ME: Checking my email.
TK: Now? They're going to be here any minute.
ME: Nuh uh. It's only six-thirty.
TK: Yeah, they're coming at six-thirty.
ME: (controlled hysteria) But you told me they were coming at seven-thirty.
TK: I did?
ME: Yes, you DID.
TK: I said, "halb sieben."
ME: NOOOO, you said seven-thirty!

Brief Language Instruction Interlude
Telling time in German is a bit different than telling time in English.
In English, we say seven-thirty meaning half AFTER seven. 7:30
In German, they say halb sieben meaning half BEFORE seven. 6:30

Back to our previulsy scheduled programing
ME: NOOOO, YOU SAID SEVEN-THIRTY!!!!! (now in full-blown hysteria)
TK: I said seven-thirty? I meant halb sieben.
ME: Which is 6:30 which is NOOOOWWWW!!!!
TK: Can I do something to help?

I was not pleased.  Really. Not. Pleased. Fortunately, we have the coolest friends in the world so when the buzzer sounded at halb sieben/six-thirty we mixed a drink and they joined us in the kitchen. It was a great night with good friends.

But I was still really peeved with TK.  Bordering on pissed. Or, as we say in German "stinksauer"  pronounced stink sour (a new favorite word). No, not because he screwed up the time.  It goes much deeper than that.  You see, since moving to Germany I've been somewhat off-kilter.  I couldn't seem to find my niche.  I don't work.  I don't have offspring. I didn't have friends for a long time.  I gave the Hausfrau thing a good go but I don't think I'll ever make it to German standards.  The idea of someone randomly ringing my bell for an impromptu Kaffee and Kuchen paralyzes me with fear.  Proper Hausfraus are always prepared for company.  There is always a fresh pastry in a tidy breadbox. A good Hausfrau's home is always spotless.  That is their job.  They take it seriously. They sweep the stoop and the driveway. Every. Day.  They wash the kitchen floor. Every. Day. 

My idea of doing the laundry every day goes something like this. Monday - wash laundry. Remove from dryer. Throw dry laundry on living room couch. Tuesday - fold laundry and place on coffee table five minutes before TK gets home from work so that I appear to have had a productive day. Wednesday - move folded laundry to bed.  This is preceded by my making the bed.  I make the bed. Every. Wednesday. Wednesday night. Move the folded laundry off the bed to the chest beside the bed. Thursday - put laundry away. In. Drawers. And. Shit. Friday - rest.  Whew.  So it's not like I'd found my niche with the whole Hausfrau thing either.

But there was one area in which I excelled.  One challenge which I could master in every situation. One talent which I truly considered my niche.  Language Idiot.  I am the one who can not form simple sentences. I am the one who who stares blankly into German faces when asked anything beyond "what is your name?" I am the one who has to count on my fingers when told the movie starts at 20:00. Me. Me. ME! I am the language idiot. Not you, my dear bi-lingual husband.  You are messing with my niche and that is just so... Not. Cool.

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