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Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind…the day you think starts out OK, but degenerates quickly into a quivering mass of stinky pooh and you have no idea how it happened and why you have been singled out. I’ve had many days like that. Here’s one of them…

The waking up and getting Ellwood to school was fine, despite being alone with a three year old and a new born baby. Hubby was in the states interviewing for a new job, so I was on my own in Germany with both children. No problem- I am woman, hear me roar! After bringing the three year old home from daycare, I laid the baby down- and he actually went to sleep!

Taking advantage of this opportunity, I gathered some laundry together and prepared to head to the basement of our apartment building. Ellwood was playing and I told him if he wanted to join me as I took the laundry downstairs, he would need to put on socks. This was Germany, after all, and it was February, which means it was cold. He declined the offer and continued to play.

Not trusting him to stay in the apartment while I was gone, I locked the door as I left and took the keys with me. Less than five minutes later, as I emerged from the cellar, I was greeted by a smiling Ellwood at the top of the stairs. Somehow, he had found the extra set of keys, put them in the door and turned them properly to unlock it and stepped outside. Wearing socks. Super.

Sighing, I took his hand as we headed up the next flight of stairs to the apartment. It is here that I started to get nervous. The doors in the building would lock as soon as you closed them. If there were keys in the lock on the inside when you closed the door, you would not be able to open it from outside. And he had closed the door when he left the apartment.

Hopeful that I could still open the door, I tried my keys. To no avail. In my mind I was thankful that the baby was asleep in his crib, but of course he began to cry, as if on cue, almost as soon as I realized my way in was barred. Frantically, I began to make calls on my cell, trying to find out how I could get the door opened. Meanwhile, Ellwood was condemned to sitting by himself.

Thirty agonizing minutes later, a locksmith arrived and opened the door in maybe two seconds. Those few seconds cost me 150 Euros. (At the exchange rate at the time, that was $225!)

It didn’t take long to get everyone back into the swing of things. I had guests coming over that night for pancakes since it was Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Fasching, depending on where you happen to be. Ellwood didn’t want to cooperate with me and peed on the floor, then continually spit in protest. (Aren’t children just lovely?) He calmed down once our guests arrived and the supper went quite well.

The evening ended on what I thought was a truly positive note. Both children went to bed without much fuss after a bath and I settled in to a conversation with Hubby who was checking-in in between flights. As we were wrapping up our conversation and Luke Skywalker was making waking noises, I noticed an odd smell and moseyed into the front room to find smoke on the ceiling.

My first thought was that there was fire in the apartment above, so I raced to his door and started to pound on it. Not getting a response and noticing that the door was not hot, I hurried downstairs to the property manager. His wife followed me to my apartment and when she saw the smoke, raced to get her husband. Meanwhile, I gathered up the children, put on their coats and dragged them out of bed.

The property manager met me halfway up the stairs as I headed down and he rushed to my place. I kept telling his wife we needed to call the fire department and get out of the building, but she stayed on her couch, shelling peas. Nervously, I waited for the worst.

After about five minutes, the property manager came into the room and said something to his wife in Russian before leaving again. She smiled and told me what had happened…

As I was winding down from the day, I had put 2 new pacifiers for Luke Skywalker into a pot of water to sterilize them. Forgetting they were there, they eventually melted 1 1/2 hours after I put them on the stove. All the property manager found was an empty pot with white stuff stuck to the bottom releasing a terrible plastic smell throughout the apartment. He had opened all the windows in an attempt to air it out, but it was still stinky.

The boys and I finally went back upstairs about 30 minutes after the start of all this. They went to sleep immediately, but I decided I should put them in the living room with me since it was the only room in the place which did not have the overpowering stench of plastic. Both boys did a good job of falling asleep to begin with, but Luke Skywalker had difficulty. My fault again, since it was too warm for me at first in the room and I turned down the heat. It wasn’t until 5am that I noticed how cold it was. By then, he had woken up every hour…because it was cold.

And so I ended my horrendous day getting only an hour of sleep at a time starting at about 11pm. Ever had one of these?

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