Thursday, March 17, 2011

From domestically hopeless to domestically deficient

Before Thomas and I moved to Germany back in November, I worked as a writer in large company’s public relations department. I can still hear my Journalism 101 professor in college saying, whatever you do, don’t go into television news. So what did I do? Majored in broadcast journalism.  Fine, he said. Just please, please don’t go into PR! Sorry Mr. J. But if it’s any conciliation, I’ve hung up my PR…um pen? At least for awhile.

These days, my time is spent buying German language books, looking at those books laying on my kitchen table, and occasionally opening one – if only by accident when my cat pushes it off the table.

I kid, I kid. Well mostly.

In order to prepare myself for the daunting task of (eventually) working on my master's degree in German, I've been attending a language course, practicing with anyone unfortunate enough to get stuck standing near me (although my charades skills seem to be improving faster than my German) and watching local TV (it's amazing how little vocabulary you need to understand a show like Bauer sucht Frau (translation: farmer searches for a wife). In between that, I've been getting to know Munich, doing a little writing and even taking care of daily Hausfrau tasks like cleaning, cooking and laundry.

Some of these tasks have proven harder than my German studies though…and given the complexities of German grammar, that’s saying a lot. Take ironing, for example. The other day, I spent about 30 minutes ironing one of Thomas’ dress shirts, only for it to look a whopping five percent better than it did when I pulled it out of the wash.
Yeah, this is post-ironing. Awesome, right?
Since then, I’ve tried each setting on the iron, various levels of pressure and contorted my body in more ways than Linda Blair in the Exorcist to get a better angle (okay, that last one was a slight bit of an exaggeration). Nothing has helped. Well, at least I can rule out ironing from my list of possible, hidden superpowers. Whew. That would have been lame anyway.

Of course, no one has ever called me domesticated. Back when I was single, my idea of a balanced home-cooked dinner was a chocolate Sunday and a dirty martini. That said, I’ve at least done pretty well in cooking since moving to Munich.

Exhibit A: one of my latest cooking endeavors: tofu sauté
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of me patting myself on the back…if only to smooth out the wrinkles in my shirt.


  1. Wow, anyone would forgive you a few creased shirts for an amazing dinner like that!

    I'm good at ironing (but pretty rubbish at both cooking and German grammar) but here's my top tip should the ironing get you down. Since having two children in quick succession, I can honestly say I have ironed maybe about 5 things - and my boyfriend irons his own shirts now. Sometimes a decent lack of sleep over 4 years is a wondrous thing!

  2. Good grief look at that food!!! That's amazing!! I can't imagine ANYONE is going to be complaining about crumpled shirts after being fed a dinner like that. We don't have an ironing board so I spent last summer trying to iron over an antique balloon-backed chair. My top ironing tip would be to not do that. But neither B or I have ironed anything for months now: during the winter, he's worn jumpers over his shirts so no one can see them anyway, and I just wander round looking like a total wreck.

  3. That's why there are dry cleaners. You can even tell them how much starch you want!

  4. Wow. That dinner is amazing. It looks professionally laid out.
    And ironing is why I only buy my husband the no-iron athletic fit shirts from Brooks Brothers: if you take them out of the dryer while they are tumbling and hang them, they really don't need ironing. And the cost of a cheap dryer is less than using a dry cleaner.

  5. The meal looks awesome. Id love the recipe. Don't they have Dry Cleaners in Germany? I NEVER iron. Never.

  6. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.