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The Upstairs Germans

April 21, 2009

Our family lives in a basement. I refrain from attaching the word ‘suite’ as that implies things I am not willing to imply. In any case, on top of our basement lies the rest of the house and in the rest of this house lives a father and daughter who are German immigrants. This is one of the highlights of our basement existence, for a number of reasons.

#1. Our conversations tend to go something like this:
Me: Hi! How are you?
Wolfgang*: Oh gut gut. Ver are you going?
Me: Grocery shopping.
Wolfgang: Oh ja! Gerheimlinkin derfuschaus licher…(ha ha ha)
Me: That’s soo true. (ha ha ha) Ok. Bye. (what?)

#2. Everyday our mud room either smells like a German buffet OR like a fruit bath, despite the fact that this is where we keep several pairs of fermenting shoes. (This reminds me of the time I made cabbage rolls in the slow cooker and the guy who used to live upstairs left this message on our answering machine: “Hey guys, it’s Bob from upstairs. Just wanted to know if you left your garbage in the mud room or something…kind of a funky smell up here…trying to figure it out…sorry to bug you…”)

#3. They buy generic-brand food in bulk, decide “it taste to something of cardboard” and then they give it to us. I now have two flats of condensed soup in my pantry and two boxes of frozen burgers (not in the pantry).

#4. Wolfgang knocked on our door one morning with some kind of blow torch in his hand wanting me to read him the instructions on the side of the can. As far as I know, he never got it to work. I will take the credit for that, thank you.

#5. They bought a $600 stainless steel barbecue from Canadian Tire that spans the width of the back deck. Why? “In Germany, vee don’t have only small like dis ja…ha ha ha!” (makes small circle with his arms and then pretends to light something on fire)

#6. When Wolfgang hears us leave in the morning, he likes to wave us off from the front window. Sometimes he’s holding a beer, sometimes a creamsicle. Sometimes he’s dressed. Sometimes not.

*This is not his real name. However, I took German in grade 8 and of all the fake text-book Germans buying bratwurst and asking for directions to the discotech, Wolfgang was my favorite.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Davida permalink
    April 21, 2009 9:18 pm

    Claire, this was hilarious!! I absolutely needed a good laugh before I started my lesson plans and this was it!!! So funny!!!

    Thanks for that!!

  2. Jean permalink
    April 22, 2009 8:23 am

    For some odd reason it reminded me of that ad campaign a few years ago about “the little German in your fridge”.

    I don’t do lesson plans but I needed it anyway. Good one.


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