Lately, I limit myself to one errand a day. It’s all I can really handle in this new motherhood stage of my life. Any more than that and something surely goes wrong, leading me to want to cry, hide from my child, fight a German or light this country on fire. Yesterday I attempted 4 errands in one 6 hour block. Yesterday was a flat-out disaster.
First, I had to go to the hospital to get a note for my short-term disability saying my placenta almost killed me so that I can have it extended. I was promised 4 days ago that it would be there at 1100. I was there at 1045, which is like 1100 to Germans because if you show up at 1100, you are already late. The secretary, who has seen me in there 8 million times by now, told me she had no idea what I’m talking about and to come back at 1200, which makes no sense because I knew she was not going to bother to go find the doctor or look for the letter but I didn’t know how to say any of that so I just gave her a thumbs up and said fine but had no intention of coming back in one hour because what the hell was I going to do with only 45 minutes to kill, though I considered going to McDonalds for a milkshake, but instead went home and fed the tiny monster, ate and played with the dogs, then returned at 2pm to get my note, just as the secretary was leaving. Of course she was leaving, because no one ever works in this damned country, certainly not after 2pm on a Friday.
“No note but I told you to come back at 1200.” Strike one, Germany. What in the christ did it matter a. WHAT YOU TOLD ME TO DO and b. IF THERE IS NO FUCKING NOTE WAITING FOR ME THEN YOU SHOULD BE APOLOGIZING FOR WASTING MY TIME NOT ME APOLOGIZING FOR NOT RUSHING BACK TO SEE YOUR STUPID FACE 59 MINUTES AFTER I SAW YOU THE FIRST TIME.
“I know you told me to come back at 1200 but I couldn’t.” I pointed at Sawyer and blamed him, though he was not the reason I stayed home for a few hours. “Do you know where the letter is?”
“No and I am leaving.” She put her coat on and started walking away, telling me to get the doctor paged. How in the hell this woman needs another day off is beyond me. These people were just off from 20 December to 5 January hiding in their houses with their lights off and metal jail shades down, most likely wandering around with their house shoes on, eating 4 hour breakfasts of hard rolls, tubed meats and cold chunky oatmeal, most recently celebrating Epiphany, which is merely an excuse to eat all day and celebrate THE END OF CHRISTMAS, so I highly doubt she was so stressed out she needed another day off.
Twenty more minutes later the doctor appears and tells me she has forgotten my note and can I come back Monday to get it? First of all, this makes me realize she’s a half blood. No German would forget my note. Also, she was smiling. Half blood. Either that, or she’s a shitty German. I left pretending not to be angry, saying it’s no problem to come back Monday, when I really wanted to remind her that it takes me a goddamned hour to get my shit together to leave the house and I’d rather not drag my child out on Monday but I refrained. I needed that note.
*Side note about shitty Germans. Did you know that one of the reasons Germans claim not to smile at strangers is because smiles are special and should only be reserved for people who deserve them? I’m dead serious. Look it up.
Next stop was Telekom, where I needed to go get a password and username for the new, upgraded router we got that is supposed to make our internet go from 3 seashells to 50 seashells. I hear this is going to do wonders for our household, so says Mr. H, and the reason I’m off to do this annoying errand is because he is stuck at work and suggested I “swing by” and get it, “if I had the time”. He says “if I had the time” in a way that questions what I’m doing all day and I remind him that the phrase “swing by” somewhere should be reserved for places that are on your way to or from home. This is 15 minutes out of my way in a direction I have no interest in heading but I go because if I don’t, I have no internet or TV for the weekend alone I signed up for with Sawyer. 48 hours of baby time in silence was not high on my list of things to do to torture myself, which is why I went to Telekom. Also, yes, I measure internet speed in seashells. I have no idea what the megabits or whatever they are mean and I have no interest in learning.
Anyway. The entire visit took 2 hours, primarily because the young Turkish salesman with the Grease inspired hair style and Jersey Shore inspired outfit took one hour and twenty minutes selling a 65-year-old Marooner (the most hated and ugly of German women) her very first cell phone and proceeded to discuss every plan, phone and case with her while I stood behind her holding Sawyer in his car seat wishing she’d die. She didn’t.
As soon as the old hag had her Samsung and left, Mr. Jersey Shore informs me in his German German German that he has to let the lovely couple behind me go now because they were there first an hour ago and they are just finishing up an order. I am proud I know what he’s talking about but now I hate everyone in the building. 20 minutes after that, Sawyer wakes up from napping on the floor of a cell phone company for 2 hours and starts shrieking like a teradactyl, refuses his pacifier and wants to be held. Lovely. So there I am holding an angry child in a bear suit while the man behind me that just came in is taken because he only has to buy a battery and that should take oh, 3 minutes more of my life that I can’t get back. I reach in my pocket to get my phone so I can translate ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS I WAS HERE FIRST YOU GODDAMNED TWITS but realize I’ve left it in the car charging which infuriates me and so I grind my teeth and hope I don’t break my jaw.
And then, because of course it would be this way, he asks what he can help me with and then proceeds to say no, no HE DOES NOT SPEAK ANY ENGLISH. Fantastic, two hours wasted to hear that because I am obviously equipped to discuss routers and passwords and the postal system and contracts in German. So I’m trying not to cry or flip a bunch of ugly Samsung phones attached to wires on the floor while I hold Sawyer with one hand and use the other to keep his pacifier jammed in his mouth without choking him while I begin a splendidly awful game of pictionary that just resulted in this young gentleman ACTUALLY SPEAKING ENGLISH. Well obviously he can. He’s 38ish and everyone 38 speaks English in this damned country. Why he waited me out that long is beyond me. I’ll assume he likes to watch unstable women break down in public spaces. Seriously, this shit happens to me every day.
After leaving in the amount of time most people spend at the cinema with my new password, I make sure the next thing I do is take the time to text Mr. H in the car, telling him Telekom can now be added to the same list IKEA is on and that I have his stupid pw and that I am going home. What I meant to tell him was that I blamed him for this entire mess and that I would never be leaving the house again and that all of this was his goddamned fault not so much for staying at work but for shooting sperm in the back of my uterus last spring.
Sitting on my couch an hour later, I am relieved. I have my water, my coke with ice, my cheese and crackers and I am topless, feeding Sawyer and getting ready to watch a movie before we go to a friend’s house for dinner. The tiny one, however, will have no part in the feeding. He’s angry and hungry and going through a growth spurt and so in an attempt to get him to eat a lot and then sleep, I strip all his clothes off, stick some cheese in my mouth, a nip in his and firmly hold his head against my boob so that his face is smushed. I don’t think forcing my child to eat is bad parenting considering he WANTS to eat, he just does a shitty job of it sometimes. So there he is, just in a diaper, sucking away and looking sleepy when no lie, I hear a rumble, I hear him grunt and then sure enough, I feel one pound of something unload in the bottom of his diaper and I hear him sigh.
“Good for yoooooooou, dirty pants,” I say encouragingly and so proud, proud that is until I feel it. All one pound of whatever did not stay in the diaper. No. Half of it had actually blasted up his back, out one of the legs, shooting like fireworks onto my lap, in between my thighs, on my hands, couch, floor and some landed in my hair somehow. It was mustard color, neonish, though, and it was hot and wet and sticky and just goddamned everywhere.
Just then I started to gag and realized I had a small window to get him clean before I potentially puked on him, which I figured was a worse offense and so I tucked him under one armpit like a football and with my free hand, I tried to clean my pants with a hand towel so that I could stand up. This, obviously, seemed like the perfect opportunity for Bull to start a game of tug of war, which I lost, and so off he went, parading around with a towel full of shit in his mouth. Now I’ve got a screaming baby tucked like a football and I’m chasing and threatening Bull who has not one fuck to give about my dramatics which is clear by how delighted he is to have a new towel to chew on, which he does, poo and all.
Fifteen minutes later, Sawyer has had a baby wipe bath and is in new clothes, Bull is banished to his bed where he sits smugly glaring at me, and I am standing in the dining room in front of 3 large windows that face the neighbor’s house naked, frantic because my nipples have started to shoot milk onto the new dining room table and I have no shirt to put on, no free hands and not one ounce of sanity left.
So yeah, I had a rough day yesterday. We won’t be leaving the house today.