Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wood burner mayhem

It’s four o’clock and I am finally home from work! I walk into the house and what a surprise! Smoke came billowing out of the door. I’m not kidding. It was like a freaking Cheech and Chong movie. My first words “Damn Dirk”. Here he comes wondering out of the back office (where he has been playing video games) and says “is it smoky in here?”. Well yea, it’s smoky. It was so heavy, I could taste the yucky chemical taste.

I begin to panic and run around opening all the windows and doors. I swear he just stands there. So, I start shouting “What the hell, I mean seriously WHAT THE HELL!”.

Well, he had decided after more than a year to try out our wood burner for the first time ever. I guess it didn’t work.

He had the phone book out and open to a certain page and says call that guy. It turns out that guy is the guy we bought the house from. He realized at some point he needed help, but didn’t actually call for any. The smoke was actually coming out of our heat vents.

He says he has no idea what is wrong it other than the smoke keeps coming and the blower on the back won’t start.

I have been home about two minutes by this point and am calling “that guy”. Turns out he is in a meeting and will call us back. I call my friend Sheri (because she has a wood burner and right now is the closest thing to an expert that we have). Sheri tries hard, but isn’t sure what to do because 1. she can’t see our problem and 2. she has a different kind of wood burner. I feel like a big jackass for calling her : ) She does say that sometimes you have to open the ash tray to let the fire get hot enough to get the blower to work.

That seems to work. As far as getting the blower to kick on.

By this point, I have only been home about 20 minutes and am still wearing my coat and shoes from just walking in. The house is now like an ice box because all the windows and doors are open.

I begin to get really pissy all over again. I just kept shouting what they hell were you doing and why didn’t you fix this!! As I am walking around closing everything back up, I notice Dirk is still playing his video game in the computer room. I really wanted to rip the computer out the wall and throw it at him. He didn’t seem to think any of this was a big deal. Later he says that he tried for THREE HOURS to fix it and was tired of trying and fresh out of ideas.

It all worked out in the end. I talked to “that guy” on the phone for about 15 minutes while he explained all the tricks of making this thing work correctly. We still aren’t exactly sure how to use it, but the house is nice and warm again and, thankfully, smoke free.

I found out later that Dirk actually started the fire at like 1:00 so it had been burning about four hours and had not gotten hot enough (for a number of things he didn’t realize he was supposed to do) and the house was so full because he just let it run for about 20 minutes with the smoke pouring out.

Maybe this wood burner thing isn’t such a good idea!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yucky Idol

It is once again time for American Idol. I always knew it got on my nerves. I couldn’t really figure it out until this season started.
First, is it me or is this show on ALL OF THE TIME?? It’s on for hours in a row like three days in a row. That is just too much for me.
Second, I think it’s kind of mean to laugh at the stupid people. Don’t get me wrong. I do laugh at them. But it just really isn’t enough to amuse me for two hours at time. I know it’s lame, but I kind of like it once it gets narrowed down to the good signers. Last season though- all my favorites were voted off early in the season. So I didn’t watch at all.
I also don’t think Simon is mean enough for it to have any effect on me. I don’t think Ryan is funny and Paula….well…. not high quality TV.
Mainly my problem is that Dirk watches this crap (laughing out loud so loud I can hardly hear). Then decides that HE should try out for American Idol. He knows he can’t sing at all. Suddenly he thinks it’s funny to pretend that he doesn’t know he can’t. So, three nights a week I listen to his terrible off key singing. As I am sure you have all heard me say before he never knows the words to songs (See Danielle and Mason’s blog). I hear “pave paradise and put up a f***ing lot” (should be “parking lot”). Last night it was Amazing Grace for two hours…. He knows one line!
I can’t wait until American Idol season is over!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

German odds and ends

My friends have been asking me to post a little something about my recent trip to Germany. I have been back for just over a week and still I just can’t figure out what to say. Basically this was a family visit, not a vacation. You all know what I’m saying. There was no site seeing or lazy days. It was pretty much what you might expect for a visit to a family members wedding. Lots and lots of decorating and meeting with Dirk’s old friends and family. Nothing too exciting. So instead of telling about the trip, I thought I might point out some of the things I had forgotten about Germany.

First, I guess I had forgotten what a LONG flight that is. Maybe I am getting older and just don’t travel as well, but this trip felt so much longer than before. It didn’t help that we had what felt like 50% children on the flight. I had a particularly sweet little boy behind me the whole trip that wouldn’t shut with the stupid “kid” questions. You know, how do planes fly, what if it cost a million dollars for a plane ticket, that kind of thing. Then he kicked my seat for most of the trip. Right next to this kid was a crying baby. Good fun. Not to mention, Dirk did not travel as well this time either. Those of you who know him, know that he is a tad high strung, right. The whole time he was like we only 3 hours to be at the gate, we better hurry! He was constantly checking his watch and telling me to hurry. I wanted to lock him in a bathroom and leave him there!

Some things I think my memory blocked out for good reason. For instance, how awful it is to have to depend on Dirk for information. I realize that is my fault, I could have learned more German. But I didn’t. So, I am pretty much stuck with whatever information Dirk feels I need to know. For more than a week I had no idea what we would be doing that day or the next day. I just went along… kind of fun now that I think about it. But not so much at the time. More German came back to me than I had expected though. I had forgotten that all Americans use many German words because we don’t have American words for the thing. Like Rouladen. This is like really large blinds that are on the outside of the house and can be moved up or down from the inside of the house. These things will black out even the brightest sun. They are great. But we don’t have these things. Rouladen is a plural word in German, but it doesn’t sound like it to American ears, so we call them Rouladens. I had forgotten how much I love those things. You can sleep anytime of the day.

I had forgotten a lot of really great things too. For instance, everything is an event. Coffee in the afternoon. This is a several hour event with nice china and fancy platters with the cream and sugar. Normally with really great cake. Dinner is also several hours long with lots of good food and desert and coffee. The plates are prepared as little pieces of art. You almost feel bad to mess them up.

Most of all I had forgotten how soccer is a way of life. My husband actually made me drive to the soccer stadium and has his picture taken because he is afraid he will forget what the stadium looks like. We have about ten different pictures of the place.

Isn’t he cute… He has been going to games at this stadium with the same group of friends since he was in diapers. Everywhere we went people asked about which team he watches now and how he gets updates on the Monchengladback soccer team… He hasn’t been home for two years and THIS is the first question people ask.

I had also forgotten how crazy driving is. It’s so much fun to drive on the autobahn, which is what everyone asks about. But those are just highways with no speed limit. Town driving is the hard part! The picture below is a road in Dirk’s hometown. And yes, this road is made for two cars to drive at the same time.

You see, cars can park pretty much anywhere they want. The black car right in front of us is NOT moving. So, if a car is blocking you and another car from passing on the street, one of you must pull behind the parked car and let the other pass. It’s very much like a game of chicken. There are also these “obstacles” in the road when you come into or leave a village. It’s almost like puzzle pieces that are used to make people slow down. I didn’t get any pictures, but it is the same idea of one car letting the other pass.

This is a photo of a “round about”. This is in place of a four way stop. The idea is that it moves traffic along faster. The cars in the circle have the right of way. So, if you come to a round about, you wait until you can get in and the go all the way around. If you want to make a left hand turn you go right around the circle until you get to you left side turn. Actually they do keep traffic moving faster.

The only thing from the wedding I wanted to share (because this is getting a bit long) is this cool heart painting. It is just a large canvas that had squares sketched in. Each guest used paint at the reception to paint in a heart for the bride and groom, who had the painting framed and hung in their new home. Pretty cool huh.

Otherwise the wedding was pretty much a wedding. It was a two day event with the legal ceremony, lunch at a restaurant, then cake and coffee at a second location on the first day. Then a large evening reception on New Year’s Eve complete with fireworks and champagne outside at midnight.

It was a pretty good trip and I am sure not the last. I hope everyone else had a great Christmas and New Years!