Monday, June 06, 2005

The Bird Man of Ziegelhausen

My husband's family, at least on his dad's side, has a strange affinity for birds. His grandparents used to have a house full of the vermin, I mean, parakeets and cockatiels, plus doves out back, and his grandmother used to cook scrambled eggs for them and let them drink out of her coffee cup. (Needless to say, I have never kissed her on the mouth. And I don't leave D.D. unattended around her in case she decides to cook her up and serve her to the rest of the family.) Family grudges have been held over who let whose bird escape. And L.H.'s dad is always going on about a song he composed and taught his bird to whistle. He'll be on Broadway next.

In the past, L.H. has shared my distaste for all things feathery and indiscriminately excretory, but now he swears he's been hearing a bird outside our window who is singing the Munchkin-Land tune from The Wizard of Oz. I think he's getting some fumes up through the floor from the teenager in the apartment below us. I haven't heard the bird myself, but L.H. claims he was vindicated in the case of the piss bugs (which we actually saw in action on one of his grandmother's trees), and he will be proved right this time. Quite a track record, eh?

According to the Partaay Quiz (that's not misspelled) L.H. took at D.D.'s behest on the Disney web site, Dijonay of Proud Family fame has labeled him a "Party Pooper." "That explains why I never get invited back; I should go before I leave home," he quipped. (We're all about scatalogical humor around here, since we're in BIL withdrawal.)

And in related news (wait for it...), D.D.'s German is not just bleeding into her English these days, it has taken it hostage and is only letting it out for cigarette breaks. She doesn't use the cute kid-English for bathroom functions anymore (one and two, remember?); instead she has to "make a big (or enormous, in her case) or a small." If you don't learn any other German idioms from this site, be sure to master this one.

The weather is driving me mad(-der; ha ha *twitch*). If the first day of Summer is June 21, why am I still wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt and a jacket? We had four clear, warm, sunny days about a week and a half ago, then a pretty powerful storm blew in with thunder and rain to cool things off, which we appreciated at the time. On the plus side, it also knocked a bunch of baby chestnuts off the trees, so that means less head-conking this fall. On the minus side, it seems to have also taken casualties among the apple trees down the street.

Since then we've had cool, wet, almost warm, windy, and cloudy, but no truly warm weather. Why oh why did we buy that oscillating fan? I feel like a fool for pushing our long-sleeved clothes and sweaters to the back of the closet, because who knows when we might need them again (like today)? In Texas, you put everything made of yarn away in May, and you get it back out in October. There is no overlap in the seasons. Here, you never know when a new one has started. L.H. found out that it is now safe to put out geraniums, i.e., no threat of frost. At the start of June! Ok, I should stop this line of complaining before I give myself a stroke.

Some of the Spring/Summer phenomena I have noticed around here are UGLY pumps and loafers, and thin, white cotton pants. If you ask me, the latter are a recipe for disaster. And the former—so ugly! I saw one woman in normal clothes and *gold glitter flats*. D.D. had a red pair as a 4-year-old that we called her Dorothy shoes (it's the Oz recursion!), but I had never thought of them as appropriate for 25-year-olds. The other shoes look like someone sent a dumpster from the 80s through a time portal that landed in the local department stores. Eek!

Another Summer pastime is mowing. I have seen the following techniques used here in our village (keep in mind that the sides of the valley are steep, and houses are built up along both sides): mowing with an industrial-strength, tractor-type mower; weed-whacker followed by raking; a scythe; and sheep. The last two amuse me to no end, especially since I can watch the mad scyther while I wait for the bus near D.D.'s school, and we can sometimes hear the sheep bleating from at home; they usually sound pretty pissed off, although I don't claim to be a sheep interpreter. I would be pissed off, too, if I were an ersatz lawn-mower, lazy owners.

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