Thursday, May 20, 2010

New German Word - Embarrassed (Sich Schämen)

As in, I was so embarrassed I could have died.  Ich habe mich so zutiefst geschämt, dass ich sterben wollte.

But I didn't die and therefore I blog.  Here is my shame for your enjoyment.  Schadenfreude at its best.  About once a year the water-meter-reader man comes around and checks our water usage.  (As an aside, do you think if you had to tell people that you were a water-meter-reader a thousand times you'd get tired of it?  I think it's mighty fun to say.  I'm a Water-Meter-Reader and I'm currently dating a lady named Sally.  She sells seashells...)

Anyway, there are no surprises here.  They tell you two weeks in advance and give you a time slot.  He comes in, checks the meter, writes a few numbers down on his clipboard and is off.  Our water meter happens to be located in our bathroom and looks like this.

Now, we've touched on my Hausfrau skills before and there is, to be sure, some improvement to be made.  But then there is also the practical side of me which said, "just clean the bathroom because that's all he'll see."  And that's what I did, or to be shamefully honest, that's what Thomas did.  The man who wakes up every morning at six to bring home the euros cleaned the bathroom before work while I lazed in bed.  As if there weren't enough reasons to adore him.  I seriously need to get on the scorecard soon.  But I had, really had, intended to clean the bathroom myself and indeed I did squirt the meter with a little Windex to make them all shiny and purty and whatnot.  I even ran a broom over the front entrance hall off which the bathroom lies. 

So the Meter Reader Man shows up and it's not one but two men in official looking work uniforms and they have buckets and toolboxes and a whole host of other stuff that generally doesn't interest me.  MRM #1 asks me (I can only presume because I really didn't understand him) where the water meter is and I point to the bathroom.  WRM #2 asks me to take him to the kitchen. The kitchen?  My kitchen? With the half-eaten frozen pizza on the table, the breakfast dishes (ahh hell, last night's dinner dishes) still in the sink?  The kitchen in which the wine and beer bottles destined for recycling are currently fighting each other for counter space? The kitchen with the spaghetti-sauce plastered floor that I really have been meaning to mop. Right after I do the windows.  That kitchen is right here, sir.

Turns out, it was sort of a whole water overhaul thing.  It involved wrenches and washers and water pressure meters and water run off - hence the buckets.  It also involved checking the thermostats on the radiators in every room.  Yes, that's right every room.  On a scale of 1-10 I'd say my house was on firm five footing which is to say that one need not fear for rats and roaches but if dust bunnies are your thing, well then as the iconic Bob Barker used to say...Come oooon down. Fortunately, I had made the bed in the bedroom because it was Wednesday.  And I make the bed. Every. Wednesday.

As he moved from room to room, my panic increased.  With every new door opened my stomach lurched deeper and my face turned redder.  Because, lucky contestants, behind door number three was this:

What no man (other than my husband) was ever meant to see.  As proof positive please find exhibit A: the closed curtains lest a nosy neighbor try to get a peek in. Now in all fairness to me, this is not the normal state of this room.  About three weeks ago, in a fit of spring fever brought on by a warm, sunny day, I decided to do a great clothes purge.  Change out the winter clothes for summer clothes.  Get rid of anything that didn't fit. Wash and iron anything destined for summer wear. Et cetera, et cetera.  Just one problem.  The sun disappeared after that day and hasn't reappeared since.  We've had the coldest, rainiest month of May in 20 years.  I think in the last 17 days the sun had appeared once just to taunt and jeer.  So, instead of tank tops I am still wearing sweaters on a daily basis.  Needless, to say, I couldn't really put away my winter clothes and I lost the momentum for purging and prepping my summer clothes so I just left everything in a state of tried on, didn't fit, threw it on floor, chair, bed, bookcase.  Oh, and the wet towel on the ironing board.  That was from this morning.  I took it out of the bathroom because I wanted the bathroom to look nice and clean.  Respectable-like. Bite, I'd like you to meet my ass.

I was horrified.  He actually had to climb over two huge plastic bags of too-smalls to get to the thermostat. I wanted to say, "I'm donating those," hoping he'd think I was generous, warm-hearted - any descriptor other than disgusting slob.  But I don't know the German word for donate and I thought he might think I was trying to offer my wrinkled crap as some sort of bribe for lowering our reported water usage so I just tried to look all cool and un-phased as he tripped over a giant dust bunny munching on a lone Converse sneaker.

So what have I learned?  It is important to have a presentable home at all times.  So, if it ever stops raining and the sun comes out for longer than a factory man's lunch-break, I will get my June Cleaver on and do some serious spring cleaning.  But until then, I'll just shut the door.


Keia said...

Haha! Very funny written, I like your blog :-)

Frau Dietz said...

I also like your blog, I just stumbled across it and you're hilarious. Where have you gone? Please come back and write more.

Expat in Germany said...

Very funny post, but if that's all you've done in Germany that is embarrassing, you're doing well. I seem to embarrass myself at least once a week :)

Hockey Wife said...

Stopping by to say a quick hello! I found you though the expat site while looking for other bloggers in Germany! Moving back this fall with my hockey playing husband and our two year old!

Munich breaks in the city said...

Excellent story. I have a German cousin (long story about an uncle scarpering to Berlin and forgetting to ever return home) and he is the neatest person I ever met, so I guess most Germans are like that.
Anyway, I found this blog because I was looking for information on things to do during Munich breaks in the city but your story cheered me up no end. Schadenfreude indeed

Dana said...

"But I didn't die and therefore I blog." :D Very funny post. And I feel you! Back when I first moved to Germany and didn't work so much, I was the one responsible for being home for such visits. And even though my husband did prepare me for what would happen, I always seemed to be caught off guard or missing some piece of the puzzle lol