Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saws and jackhammers

Six o'clock came way too early for me, so I kicked Angie out of bed and told her to cook me a pot of coffee while she watched the kids. Regrets and I are not strangers; we have a long and complicated history and this morning was yet another example of why I should never expect Angie to listen to anything I tell her.

I woke up three hours later and first of all, there was no coffee. I didn't understand this at all - my instructions were clear and I thought that I had given her more than enough time to brew a pot of the brown glorious. More irritating, though, was witnessing the aftermath of Angie's version of 'watching the kids'.

As I grumbled my way into the living room, my ears were assaulted by what sounded like a romantic prelude between a saw and a jackhammer. Before I could identify the source, my eyes were assaulted by dark brown streaks all over the floor, the wall, and the sofa. I followed the bizarre artistic trail and found an odd-looking bearded kid that slightly resembled Tommy. As I came to the very thankful realization that it was chocolate, I stumbled across Angie, racked out big time on the sofa. Ah, that explains everything.

I sighed, grabbed a sponge and inadvertently gained a twisted appreciation of how difficult it must be for murderers to wipe the crime scene clean.

I informed Sleeping Beauty that I still wanted my coffee and reminded her that I now know how to 'sanitize' the place if she failed to deliver. As she struggled with how to boil water, I took Tommy out for his first solo-ride.

Germans are not especially known for their humor, but when it comes to teaching kids how to ride a bike, the concept of training wheels is somehow funny. When a kid turns one, they typically get a 'Laufrad', which translates into 'walking bike'. There are no pedals, so they simply walk along. In theory.

My back would have greatly appreciated training wheels after ten minutes, but after fifteen - Tommy nailed it. I know it was basically assisted walking, but I was still mega impressed. The cool thing is that they learn balance right from the start, so when it comes time for the bike with pedals, they don't fall over as much. In theory.

After our brief and not-so-humorous training lesson, we got in the car to go visit Handan and Deniz and their newly formed family of four.

I guess it only takes fifteen minutes of biking to tucker out Tommy. David immediately sported his patented mischievous look. He's less than half German, so I found it less than half funny and yelled at him to not do whatever the hell it was he was grinning about. He obviously inherited his listening skills from Angie, though. Shortly after this lovely snapshot, David decided to see if Tommy could continue sleeping peacefully if he pinched his nose shut. He can't.

Thanks to David's curiosity, the last thirty minutes of the ride were wakefully unpeaceful. At least we did not get lost this time, since I refused to allow Angie to navigate. I had wisely demanded the street name and house number before leaving the garage. I then let Victoria's sexy British voice navigate us to the wrong street. Huh?

Unlike last time, Victoria was not the one to blame. I was a little torn, though, since I know from previous trips how jealous Angie can be of my navigation system. She and Vicky have a long history of mutual hatred that is only exacerbated when Angie does stupid things like punching in the wrong street. Huh?

The ladies managed to work out their difference after a quick phone call to Handan to get the correct street name. Women are vindictive by nature, so I was not exactly surprised when Vicky snickered the remaining directions to our destination. Technology 1, Angie 0.

I have a sneaking fear that Angie wants another baby. She confirms my founded suspicion every time we come within burping distance of anything cute and cuddly. I burp all the time and have often been self-described as being both cute and cuddly, but today's candidate - Emre. Whatever.

What was interesting is that Tom has apparently inherited Angie's jealousy gene. Seconds after Angie picked up Emre, Tom stormed over and started baby-screaming.


Short and not-so-sweet, but at least his point was well expressed. Men normally settle their arguments with some kind of macho sweat-event, and in the end, the tiny men decided on a knee race.

Tom only looks like he's losing. He's a bit older than Emre, though, and he has David as a mentor, so I was not really surprised when Tom elbowed his way to the finish line. David was so impressed that he came out of his super-secret camouflaged hiding spot to high-five Tommy.

One minor drawback to David's maneuver was that he held on to the plant as he raced towards Tom. The plant followed David, the pot did not. After an emergency replanting, we (Angie and Handan) decided that we (Deniz and I) should take the boys and go do whatever. As luck would have it, there was a street festival on, so the what and ever were covered. Let's go!

Luck had nothing to do with Davey's first game.

It involved tossing beer caps and gambling, so he had an advantage on the other kids that was inevitable. From what hairy-chested man does this boy learn his skills?

The second game was a bit less up his alley.

It involved repeatedly carrying a wet sponge to an empty bucket and squeezing. David's pretty good at squeezing things, but sponges are normally something that you use to clean with. Judging by the amount of dirt and filth in our apartment, I can totally understand why he was not quite skilled in the more practical applications of a sponge.

In addition to uncleanliness, David was drawn to the chance to perform operations.

Dr. David approached the carnie trick with delicate hands and determination. The operation was to successfully navigate a small circular patient from one end to the other without electrocuting him on the juiced up metal railing.

It was actually quite sad. Not only did the patient die, but it died a very loud and 'buzzy' death. Judging by the carnie's look, it wasn't his first casualty of the day. Whatever, circus freak, just stamp the boy's card and toss him some candy that'll rot his teeth!

At one point, we passed a stand where they cover up people's goofy looking mugs with face-paint and glitter.

I knew right away that resistance was futile, but the line was longer than a back-to-back episode of 'Felicity'. Deniz quickly assessed the situation and decided that he could simply go up and swipe some face paint and skip the whole 'waiting in line' thing.

The plan worked like a charm, except Deniz mistakenly chose Destructo Dave as his partner in crime. As Deniz was liberating a wax crayon, Davey 'accidentally' smashed one of their make-up mirrors to the ground. Two sweaty and rather irritated women glared at me as if to demand an answer. I casually pointed at Deniz and shrugged my shoulders. Then I grabbed my boys and we ran.

When we got back to the house, it was surprisingly quiet. It took me a second to realize why, but then I remembered that Yappity Angie had gone with Chatterbox Handan to visit her new baby boy at the hospital. Handan's, not Angie's, for you inquisitive lot.

Deniz must have missed the normal level of noise, so he initiated SpeedRacer2000, a game that involved a baby tub and a lot of imagination.

Eventually the ladies showed up again from baby sniffing little Kerim and they finally made my long-awaited coffee. I had assumed that I would need a little perk before coping with the car ride home. As it turned out, though, Deniz and I had mastered just the right mix of adrenaline, sugar and excitement to ensure a ride home that strangely reminded me of saws and jackhammers.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I was the driver for the race car with Deniz.
David: When I make all the games and I win some more candy.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When the boy in the jumpy bounce - he kick me in my ear.
David: When I make the paint on all of my face and then BOOM! Sorry, haha! That was funny.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To sleep until the kindergarten is over.
David: I want to play with mommy.

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