Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Cuckoo's Nest

 At some point in time many stop denying the insanity and just own it. In the case of my Mom.. she digs deep and gets in tune with her inner raging German and proclaims everyone else is out of their gourd.

 Hast du einen vogel?!?
 translation: Do you have a bird?
 meaning: Are you nucking futz?

 It asks if you have a bird (in your head).. the phrase is accompanied by a gesture pointing to the head.  The American equivelent is asking one if they have a screw loose.

 I am a master of miscommunication. Without the use of an outline, puppets, a cinematic trailer, and an interpreter.. conversations are dangerous with those to which they claim I am genetically linked. There is no room for forgiveness even with a language barrier. The language barrier.. oh the joy. Finding yourself so far up a creek without a paddle, that soon you discover you also have no floatation device to pilot in any case.

 A prime example is this..  many years ago my Grandmother came for a visit. After several months of expected kowtowing from the younger generation, one snowy afternoon I made a catastrophic error. My lackluster grip of the German language sent me hurdling to the lowest peg of the family pecking order.
 I had the heat cranked in the car and in 3 little words I managed to cement my familial ranking not just at the bottom of the barrel.. but under it.
  I asked...

 "Bist du warm?"

 The simplistic translation in my mind I was asking "Are you warm?" As in.. the inside of the car is hotter than Vegas in July can I shut the farking heat off yet? But oh no... that was not what I had asked. It seems certain key slang phrases take many many many many years until they make they way to the Chicago suburban German weekender speaking handbook.

 I had just asked the UMU (Uber Maternal Unit) if she was gay. (Takes a bow.)

 Truly it is a gift. It's like the compulsion I develop in other countries to ressurect hand gestures I felt no need to do after 3rd grade.. only to my sisters' horror as it turns out I am giving the masses the bird.
 Timing is everything. Leave it to me to have a moment of inspiration at the most inopportune time and announce my amusement without the tact of a verbal filter.

 With the arrival of the Maternal Unit back to "home" came yet another flurry of work. A lot to do, little time to do it, none of it makes sense... and almost none of it is in any way productive. I mean we are getting a lot of things done, just almost nothing is being tackled on our "To Do" list.

 When one door closes, sometimes it automatically locks. Her current battle is with doors. Frankly.. they are winning. No less than a half dozen times a week she is locked out, or locked in somewhere. Anyone and anything is also subject to finding themselves unwittingly imprisoned. I can now say my Mother has locked me in the basement for hours. She's also locked herself in the basement for hours. Did I mention there is no way out/in the basement except for the door? No phone either.
  The furniture apparently is on a pilgrimage to destinations yet to be determined. I know I can't be the only person who is related to a chronic redecorator. Not long after her return, 9 very large solid wood bookcases were compelled to take residence in her living room. A flight of fancy as not long after they whispered to her their need to be moved yet again... and then again.. and then again. The only thing worse than indecisive bookcases may be the wanderlust found in couches, desks, buffet tables, etc.

 The window to ideally work the soil has long passed, but the prospect of quickly turning in some compost into the heavy clay soil so it can breakdown over winter was so tempting. Double digging clay is back breaking work. My husband and his mechanical brilliance revived the old beast and got it roaring once more. Flea beetles and several other pests will overwinter in the debris, so getting the garden turned is a serious need just to help control their population next year. 
 The plan was to till the next day. The beast not only tills the soil, but as well puts you through the wringer as you try to control it. You essentially get twice the amount of work done for the same amount of physical discomfort. Compost in various stages was unloaded onto the garden and sorted. (My Mom tosses her compostable materials onto the pile.. still in whatever container it was collected.) Any movement near the compost pile instantly triggers a poultry party. The scramble is on to beat the birds to tidbits that should have never been in the pile.. like milk jug rings, rubber bands, twist ties. The inevitable chase as one snags such a treasure and runs off with the prize... and me right behind them attempting to reclaim the loot.
  As if I didn't have enough action going on while chasing chickens all over the yard.. my Mom decides while someone is outside, it is a good time to let her dog run free for some fresh air and exercise. 

 Her dog is young, tall, untrained, able to CLIMB fences, and loves to chase anything. All hell broke loose. Now my husband and I are both running like a-holes saving chickens while trying to catch the dog. McGinty the Rhode Island Red rooster hopped the fence to hang in the backyard patio now that it was dog free. He pecked my Mom who was hanging ever menacing laundry on the line while wearing offending footwear. She promptly went inside and called a neighbor.
 We caught the dog (he had roughed up a few chickens, but none were hurt.. just terrified), brought him back inside, got McGinty back to the coop, dealt with the compost, got the birds tucked in for the night... and then put the tiller away in the garage it was already dark.
 The next day a panicked call from my Mom at 9am. Something about the dishwasher.. yelling... yelling... come quick.. then a click. Her kitchen was a bubbling mess. Seems she accidently put Palmolive dish soap in where the Jet Dry was supposed to go. Back to the house, get the shop vac and tools... back to the farm.. mop the mess. Mom decided now was a good time to go to the store.. on her way down the street she sees her dog tied up to a tree in the front yard of a farm several doors down. As she is getting him, animal control comes up. Fiasco follows. We still are working in the kitchen tackling the bubble trouble. When she finally returns she informs us..

 "Oh the neighbor will be here in an hour to take the roosters."

 Wait.. What?!?!? One of the larger farms was processing their birds as well as others that day. We already had arrangements set in place. I'll spare you that drama. My husband managed to fix her dishwasher the next day.

 The garden is still untilled. Oh.. maybe now I should mention that she broke the tiller the same evening my husband finally got it working.

 With our freezer now currently holding roosters, she kindly offered to hold the organically raised turkey in hers. She pulled it out yesterday to start thawing. Her dog got at the turkey.
  So today I have to see about getting another turkey. I went over to the farm this morning to let out the birds, feed and water them. I brought in some eggs as the girls are offering 6+ now every day. My Mom was on the phone with my younger sister and said..

 "Can you believe that they still don't have the garden tilled? They still haven't put in any garlic. I don't know what they do with their time." 

 I can still get a frozen turkey ready in time for tomorrow. I don't know why I am rather unphased by any of this right now. It does get to me sometimes...  then my daughter asks me how our day was with unabashed glee. The worse it is the funnier she finds it.

 Some families occasionally fly over the cuckoo's nest. My family owns it.


  1. I relate to the last part but since I have never asked my grandmother (Either of them) if she was gay I am at a loss on the first part of your post.

    Happy Thanksgiving and perhaps you should re-freeze the turkey and use it to knock the dog out with.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving PP!

    You mean to tell me no one has ever taken something you have said deliberately out of context for no other purpose than an arguement?

    It's like that cat picture that floats around.. I must bitch or I will blow up.

    The dog.. I have to dog-nap him for massive corrective training. At this rate he's an accident sure to happen.

    My Mother + coonhound mix... = worst combo ever.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving.

    "If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other folks then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding."

    Zora Neale Hurston

  4. Dear Anne - you sure have your hands full and i do not envy you one bit. but i admire and respect how you are handling it all. and thank you sharing it.

    today we are thinking of all of our internet friends, both old and new, who have shared much with us and allowed us to learn. thank you. you and yours are in our Thanksgiving thoughts and prayers.

    i hope that you have a joyous, and uneventful (though unlikely!) Happy Thanksgiving Day!

    your friends,
    kymber and jamie

  5. @ Mr. H... you zero in on the best quotes! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    @ Kymber.. It is never a dull day! I hope you 2 had a wonderful feast.

    That is something I also treasure about the blogs I follow.. the inspiration, the drive, the creativity, the knowledge, the accomplishments, the discoveries..

  6. Patience....wish I had yours. Have a great weekend and sorry I'm late to the post..been kinda busy here.

  7. Anne - just read your comment on our horrific Thanksgiving Dinner post - thanks for sharing your horrors too! and i loved the barbie kitchen - we must have the same kitchens - bahahaha!

    as for faucets and sinks - have hubby check out

    that's where we got our red double sink for half-price. also our faucet and sprayer. they have some really good deals on some very expensive name-brands, their customer service is awesome - AND they delivered our purchases right to our door!!!! we are in the middle of nowhere!

    so give it a might find a treasure!

    your friend,