Sunday, November 14, 2010

Papa needs a new watch

Yesterday started out with a search party to find Papa a new watch courtesy of the Zeit magazine. They are sponsoring a scavenger hunt where 21 watches were hidden in 21 different literary locations throughout Germany. They published photographic clues and one of them happened to be a picture of the Old Bridge in Heidelberg. I've been known to frequent The Brass Monkey on occasion and the pub is located by the Old Bridge, so I somewhat fuzzily recognized the location.

The task was simple enough; go to the photographed spot at 10:00 on November 13th and search for a watch. They also planted an email address somewhere in the vicinity for creatures like us who show up late to everything. You could email the answer to their riddle and still win a consolation prize. They 'claimed' that the clue with the email address would be there for three days. Too much foreshadowing?

Right, enough background details. The picture above was taken shortly before it dawned on Tommy that he wasn't coming with us. Let me just say, I had never heard a pirate scream like a little girl before.

David would have so been on the search team, but he was sicker than a Marilyn Manson fan club, so we left him behind to stare at the CD player. We didn't actually put batteries in it, but I'm pretty sure that just staring at it helped him somehow.

Peter promised David that if we found the watch, he could have it. It was so brotherly-love like that I almost lost my breakfast. I didn't explain to Peter that there was no way in hell the watch wasn't mine when we found it; mainly because my ears couldn't take two wailing pirates.

Along the way, we did draw a few looks.

It was mostly hot women who wanted to touch my biceps, but a few of them actually noticed Peter and chuckled. Yeah, laugh now ladies - we'll see who's giggling later when my new watch tells you what time it is.

When we finally arrived at the search site, Peter busted out his liar skills and informed me that the castle behind him was his. That's great, son, but first of all, that's not a castle; secondly, you might want to go jump in the river; I think your pants are on fire.

The location was completely desolate, but the lack of humans did not deter us; we got our search on. We searched, and searched, and searched. After a while, I starting cursing between searches and eventually, when I was damn close to punching pedestrians for asking why we were dressed up like pirates, I admitted that it was time to walk the long plank home.

Thanks a lot, Zeit magazine. I hope you're happy with yourself.

To avoid a complete meltdown, I took my clueless pirate to his sports class. Along the way, Peter showed me his creative version of 'Think no weird, see no weird, speak no weird'. My favorite was the last one.

'Super - now go do some sports.'

Instead of sports, Peter decided to jump up and down on a ball that he had cleverly nicknamed 'Treasure Watch'.

Clue? What clue? Oh yeah, there it isn't! Maybe it's there! Or maybe there! How do like them watches, huh?

After a rather therapeutic hour of imaginary watch bashing, the inner voices in Peter's head were back to whistling Dixie.

Between renditions, I explained to Peter Piper that I needed to go to the electronic store and then to the grocery store.

'Don't worry, though - I'll take you with me to the electronic store and drop you off at home before I go grocery shopping.'

'I don't want to go to the ektronik store. I want to go grocery shopping.'

'It's electronic, not ektronik, and please don't tell any of my work friends about this conversation.'


After dumping grocery boy off with his Mama, I went to the electronics store to buy an external hard drive so that I could finally back up all of our digital pictures. Along the way, I got a little distracted.

I'm pretty much impulsive anything, so if you combine shopping at an electronics shop without a marital chaperone, it should be no major surprise. Apparently, it was a minor surprise to Angie.

'You bought a WHAT?!'

'It was on sale. I love you.'

'My birthday was THREE weeks ago and you haven't managed to pick up my birthday gift but you bought a TV?!'

I wasn't quite sure if her last babble was a question or a statement. Doesn't matter. I know it does not happen very often, but Angie actually had a point. Her birthday was three weeks ago and her gift was still waiting in another city for me to pick it up, but come on - it was a Samsung flat screen and it was ON SALE! Hello? Clearly not my fault.

The rest of my night was evenly divided between studying the new TV manual, taking care of sick-o Davey, defending my purchasing strategy to people who should not be bitching to me about spending money, and staring at my naked wrist. Thanks again, Zeit!

Day two of our watch-hunt began with David trying to convince me that he was feeling better.

'I go with, Papa, 'cause I are all better now?'

'Nice try, buddy. You're still on sick-duty, but we'll keep you updated if we find any clues this time.'

I wasn't overly optimistic that Zeit would deliver, but we donned the pirate gear and embarked on our second journey to put some bling on my wrist. Come on, Zeit - Papa needs a new watch!

Peter whistled about halfway there before asking if we could take the car. I explained that it would actually take longer to walk back and get the car and that he should just pop his snot bubble and march on. Lazy-bones then demanded that he be carried. I immediately frisked the boy for the drugs that he had obviously been smoking, but I came up empty. I guess his class has already covered the chapter on concealment.

When we got to ground zero-clues, we met a nice couple.

'Are you here for the scavenger hunt?'

'Jeez, lady, was it the eye patch or the skull cap? Come on, what gave it away?'

It was at this point that the woman stopped speaking to me. I did notice that the man was blushing slightly and staring at his shuffling feet.

'Yeah, see - I was here yesterday as well. When I found the clue with the email address on it, I got so excited that I snatched it up and ran home to claim the prize. I didn't notice the inscription until late last night.'

It was in German, but it went something like this:

[Please do NOT take this home with you - write down the email address and leave this where you found it so that you don't inadvertently break the hearts of small children and hairy-chested bloggers]

The poor guy looked so worried that I started cracking my ass up. This obviously puzzled him, but I'm used to that. Luckily, Peter broke up our awkward stare-down with a simple question followed by a tiny lip quiver.

'So, where is it?'

At least the considerate clue thieves had returned the evidence to the scene of the crime; they even pointed Peter in the right direction.

Peter grinned like the village pirate and even danced a jig for the clue snatchers. He then wanted to race to the post office to claim our prize. I tried to explain the difference between mail and e-mail, but he had already moved on and was babbling something about the soccer game.

Yes, today was Peter's first live soccer game. He grabbed his vuvuzela that has been in time-out since the World Cup and we picked up Opa. The skies were blue, the sun was shining and, for a change, we weren't late. That's not to say that I don't need a watch, though.

I was worried that Peter might blow his damn horn for 90 minutes and annoy the crap the poor lady in front of us, so I laid down the Vuvuzela Decree.

1. You can only blow the horn if there is a goal, a player gets a red card, or someone streaks across the field.
2. Lift the vuvuzela up in the air so you don't make that woman's ears bleed.
3. Make sure that you....hey, what is Opa doing?

I thanked Opa for breaking rules 1 and 2 so that Peter had the visual on what he wasn't supposed to do. The lady in front whipped around rubbing her ear and asked if there had been a goal.

'Nope. Streaker. You just missed it.'

'Huh? What did you say?'

I gave the lady the universal circle sign for 'turn around' and continued to watch Hoffenheim dominate Freiburg.

Peter was quite impressed with everything, but after 40 minutes without a goal, he started to get bored. At halftime, we hit the bathroom and he actually admitted to me that waiting in the long line for the toilets was more fun than parts of the game. Okay, weirdo.

The second half wasn't as exciting as the urinals, but at least a goal was scored. It was in the last ten seconds of overtime, so it was quite unexpected. Unfortunately, it was Freiburg and not Hoffenheim. Peter didn't care, though. He nearly blew the head off of the woman in front of us and began screaming like a madkid. 'Gooooooaaaaalll!!'

The man next to me asked if I was aware that we were in the Hoffenheim section. For those non-soccer fans, let me translate that question for you: 'If you don't shut your kid up right now, that yellow horn-thingy is going to make it hard for you to walk properly'.

The message was understood, loud and clear. Even Opa thought it was time to go.

'Oh, it's time to go already? I'm sorry, it's just - you know, I don't have a watch, so I wasn't sure if it was time to go or not. It sure would be nice if I had a watch so I could tell when it's time to save my first born from getting beaten up by angry fans. I just hope that Zeit isn't the type of magazine that would idly stand by and allow the beating of innocent kids simply because I don't have a watch.'
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When that man he show me the watch clue.
David: As I stay in pajamas the whole day.
Tom: I sleep in the car.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Davey was coughing on my head and laughing.
David: When my eyes they hurt when they are closed.
Tom: That was a big fire owa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To watch the new TV.
David: Papa, you know it already - the new TV.
Tom: I watchy snakes.


  1. Gosh I just love these kids. They are so cute!!! :-)

    So no new watch, then?

  2. I love 'em, too. Sometimes. Not sure on the watch, yet - waiting on the Zeit Magazine to deliver. (No pressure, folks!)

  3. What a strange (near)coincidence! My 15-year old Swatch finally died on me and it's the only one I like to wear. I'm still grieving.

    And I also got my first flat screen TV which is a pre-Black Friday SALE - a Sanyo..

    What's not to love about those adorable kids? 'love them too.

  4. Ceci - I could write a whole blog about what's not adorable. :-)

    It is quite the koinky-dink - I just hope you don't start drawing on your walls with a red crayon.

    We know people in the Swatch business - if you can name or describe the watch, we might be able to help. You can email us at