The Germans Are Coming

I just spent twenty minutes ironing a shower curtain.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Surely, the end of the world is coming.”  But never fear, Interwebz!  It’s not that ominous.  Though, to be honest there is something coming that has me all flustered and overwhelmed – my Germans.

Well, not ALL my Germans are coming.  Tripe won’t be here, just his parents.  And my parents.  Which reminds me I need to pick up a case of wine.

I’m not even sure when they’re getting here exactly, but I believe it will be sometime next week…mostly because when I asked Mom she said, “I dunno, sometime next week.”  So now I’m terribly panicked that I won’t have time to get ready.

“But Elly, it’s only Thursday.  You have DAYS to get ready.  Stop whining.”

You know what, Interwebz?  First, I don’t appreciate your mocking attitude.  I thought ours was a relationship built on mutual respect.  And second?  Are you paying any attention?  THEY’RE GERMANS.

I suppose I should tell you the back story.  (I’ve recently discovered that I’m bad at back story, preferring to focus on vagina-related punch lines and embarrassing details about my brothers.  So consider this an attempt at reform.)  Back in NC when we were kids…oh crap I’m bored already.


Really?  We’re serious about this back story thing?  Fine.

Once upon a time my family made friends with this German family that had a kid (Tripe…ok FINE, his name is Axel) who was one year younger than me and one year older than Thom.  For the five years they lived in the States, we spent damn near every holiday with them – especially the Fourth of July.  (Huh.  I wonder if that’s where my fondness for Fourth of July festivities began.  I’ll have to ask my shrink, Dirty Diana, about that next week.)  But then [cue sad music] they moved back to Germany.  [music swells, lots of stringed instruments preferably]  Cities crumbled into oceans of fire.  Ok, not really – but it was quite sad.

Parted from our dear family friends, we pledged to see each other as often as possible.  [cut to shot of Daniel Day Lewis screaming, “Stay alive!  I will find you!”]  One summer, Thom and I would traipse off to Bonn to crash with the Germans for a few weeks.  Then the next summer, they’d ship Tri…er, Axel over here to hang with us.  When careers and finances allowed, the parents would travel as well.  One year we’d rent a house at Myrtle Beach, the next a house in the Swiss Alps.

Are you satisfied, Interwebz?  Can we move on yet?  I’m trying to explain why I don’t possibly have enough time to get ready for my house guests, damnit.

Really, simply stating that Ursula and Gerd (I know, cutest names EVER) are German should be enough explanation, but I’ll give you a specific example just for kicks.  When we stayed at their home, I vividly remember every sink had a rag tucked underneath it, reserved solely for the purpose of wiping down the basin.  Because Ursula would wipe down each sink no less than 4317 times each day.  (Side note:  I tried to incorporate this practice into my daily routine, once upon a time.  Which reminds me, I should probably pull out that dust-covered rag I’ve had wedged between my pedestal sink and the wall for the past seven years before they arrive.)

I haven’t exactly cleaned the apartment since I took it off the market over a month ago.  Ron is back.  This morning I found Mildred stuck to the kitchen floor.  What we have here, is a situation.  Mere moments after those adorable Germans kick off those leather sandals and walk on my filthy floors with their suddenly dingy white socks, they’re going to know just how bad I am at housekeeping.

A few years ago, I won a trip for two to Budapest, Prague and Vienna.  (I know, it’s good to be me.)  Of course I couldn’t waste a chance to see my Germans.  We turned it into a family outing with the whole German crew as well as my parents.  Wouldn’t you know, by the time we arrived, Ursula and Gerd had drafted a loose itinerary for our time in each city.  I remember it looking something like this:

8:30 – Breakfast

9:00 – Tour old town

9:20 – Astronomical clock

9:35 – Coffee

10:15 – Charles Bridge

…you get the idea.  They are adorably particular.  So far, here’s the agenda I’ve mocked up for their visit:

Wednesday or Thursday (probably) – Dinner and a show, hopefully Fela

So yeah.  I should probably get my ass in gear.  The problem is, I’d rather sit around and learn some German-themed song that Herbert and I can perform for them.  Something like 99 Luft Balloons or Winds of Change…or this classic from the David Hasselhoff catalog.  Any suggestions?

Is it wrong that I love that Hasselhoff video?  Maybe I need to get out more often.  I’m just not sure if my restraining order against Jesus has come through yet…


  1. We have Germans, too, sort of. Long story.

    Budapest, Prague, Vienna? That’s one of my dream vacations.

    Several years ago, when the Hasselhoff video first surfaced on the ‘net, it made me realize my boss at the time reminded me of a red-headed Hasselhoff with a Patron problem. Only no one knew they both liked their alcohol…

  2. This is exactly how I feel every time my parents are coming to visit. Since they don’t plan anything (we’re just a smidge German, I think that’s less than 1%) preferring instead to call from the car, thus inducing an instant panic attack. Did I mention they only live 45 minutes away?!

    Don’t worry, Cutie. It’ll all get done somehow. It always does!

  3. I thought maybe they were coming from Germany to surrender to the west once again and bow down before your wall lamp hanging skillz. If they bring an extra brown shirt, let me know – I’ve always wanted one.

  4. my grandma ammering would iron her shower curtain. too. and her underwear.

    tell ya what though, even with all of her persnicketiness, she always found plenty of time to get her drink on. what a woman!

  5. ahhhh, zee germans…
    im ashamed that im not as well-versed in deutsch as i should be considering i took 6 years of it in school. i really want to just GO to there so i can immerse myself in the culture and hopefully shock the language center of my brain back into business.

    ps – my allergies are being total a whore-face right now too. its always gets like this from about the last week of august to the last week of september. why can’t fucking ragweed go somewhere else to die so i can just BREATHE like a normal person?

  6. OK, believe it or not you have given me a nice nugget there for my novel – the sink wiping thing. Was I crazy not to think of that!? And the up-to-the-five-minute accurate itinerary is a gem too. I did not KNOW I had all this German expert in you!!!

    1. I can also say the following phrases in German:
      I’m a gay cripple.
      Eat my nectarine.
      My penis is a flamethrower.

      I’ve got ALL kinds of knowledge.

  7. OH those wacky Germans!! Gotta love em though. They give us the goodness of their cake, sauerkraut and beer…. oh and ME – yeahy! Course they are a bit anal retentive at times.

    1. I love my Germans, madly. If you’re not careful, you’re going to have to deal with me madly loving you, too. It’s not as promising as it sounds.

  8. What lovely Germans to have in your life!

    Please tell me you watched the roast of The Hoff on Comedy Central. If not, find a way to view it now. Fucking hilarious. There’s just so many reasons to pick on him, including that video.

  9. I’m just confused now because the only German I know is a slovenly slum lord who has no schedule, sits on his throne, collects rent and has fecal stains on the back of his tan dockers.
    Why is your German so superior to mine? I’ve been laboring under false delusions about these people. I shall do research.

  10. Holy shit balls, my Gramma was from Germany so I so feel you on this. And I’m so fecking anal retentive when it comes to houseguests that my boyfriend literally had to sit me down and give me a timeout. HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND!!! 😉

  11. Just remember this if you remember nothing else. No goosestepping. And in the amazingly wise words of Basil Fawlty, do NOT mention the war. Plus the serenading them with Herbert thing will help immensly particularly if you can master Edelweiss. No wait, that’s Austrian. Definitely don’t do that. Make some strudel and make sure if you go to a beach that you get there early in your lederhosen and occupy all the deck chairs.

    Have I covered every German cliche yet or no? I CAN go on… 🙂

  12. I took two years of German in college. Couldn’t pronounce R correctly (deep throat FAIL) so I gave up. Since then I’ve always had some inferiority complex when it comes to German(s). Sigh.

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