Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Hilarious Father and GermEnglish (aka Schnibble Deutsch)

Way before I came along, Mom and Dad and the first 3 kids lived in Germany.  Dad was a paid killer.

What?? He always tells people he was a Paid Killer!  Ok OK He was in the Army.  (I told you he's Hilarious!).   He was in "field artillery" whatever that means besides now he's deaf as a stone.

Dad was making BIG BUCKS back then - just like those horribly overpaid military people do now - probably a couple hundred dollars a month.  A Month.  With three kids to feed.  Yeah, real big bucks. 

Mom and Dad were moving out of their luxury apartment that was slightly bigger than a shoe box.  Apparently in those days, the landlords came by and painted before you left and then did an inspection.  These high-priced painters took time to tape everything out and only paint what should be painted slapped the paint on, including painting the lock on the catch on the door shut so that the lock wouldn't pop out.  Dad didn't want to chip it out himself for fear he would make a mess and get charged for damage, so he called the German version of the Building Super.

Now Dad didn't exactly speak German.  Dad communicates in a lot of languages, but, for example, despite growing up in a French speaking household, he failed French.  He has his own way of "speaking" languages.

Mom's in the kitchen, half way into the stove wiping it out (no self cleaning ovens in the 50's!)  She's real tall - 5'2" -  and weighed about 99 pounds, so she pretty much was sitting in the oven scrubbing it out.  The door at issue was some kind of fancy folding door between the enormous (ha-ha) galley kitchen and the dining area.  Unlike Dad, Mom has the gift of actually speaking a few foreign languages.  She can't understand a word you say when you answer her, but she can formulate the most perfect, grammatical sentences in Spanish, German and French.  Don't worry, her English is fluent both ways.

So Mom's sitting in the oven and the German version of Tim the Tool Man Taylor walks in.  Dad points to the door and demonstrates the problem.  Mr. German Tim inspects the door, turns the handle a few times, shrugs his shoulders, and looks at Dad.  Dad says to the man, in Dad's version of perfect German, "De klinckin wit da hammar, ya?!" and makes a hand motion like he's smacking the door with a hammer.

Mom is laughing so hard at what she has long ago dubbed Dad's Schnibble Deutsch (like Spanglish but funnier), she falls completely into the oven.

Mr. German Tim gets a Big Smile on his face and responds, "Ya!  Ya!"

WHAM, de klinckin wit de hammar and the Lock is Free.  No paint chipped.  No docking Dad's meager salary.  Whew...

Good thing Dad picked up a little German in the TWO YEARS he lived there.

What?  That wasn't German?  How about this:
Mom came home from errands one day (in Germany) and Dad, who was supposed to be home, was gone.  Their housekeeper was there so Mom took a chance and asked her if she knew where Dad was.  Dad spoke no German, Fraulien Maria Spoke No English, but what the heck.  And Maria tells mom (in German)  with confidence, "He's at the bank." 

Dad gets home and mom says, "What did you tell Maria before you left?"
Dad says, "I told her I was going to the bank."
"No," says Mom, "What exactly did you SAY?"
Dad says, "Ish been goin to da bankin"

Cue peals of laughter from Mom ....

Or the time when Captain Dad had a little problem on Base.  Seems the boys got a little rowdy one night and knocked the drinking fountain around and it broke.  Dad had two Lieutenants who worked for him who spoke pretty decent German.  But when the German Workman came, he "spoke" with Dad. 

Dad tells the German Workman: "Das bubbler esh kaput."
German Workman:  "Ya yah"  and fixes the water fountain.
As the German Workman leaves, he tells the Lieutenants (in German) (out of earshot of Captain Dad), "From now on when I come, I would like to speak with Captain Dad - he's the only one who speaks German."

Dad hears roars of laughter from the outer office.

Dad says "what's so funny?"  Lieutenants tell him what German Workman said about wanting to speak with dad. 
Still laughing they said, "No offense Captain Dad, but you don't speak German!!!"

He's a character...


Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my gosh...I can only imagine how it was for them over there. HE is a hoot!!!

Dysfunctional Mom said...

How funny! He sounds like a lot of fun.

Gigi said...

I love to hear these tales of your dad - he's so funny.

JO said...

My german speaking son says "hey "Das Bubbler esh kaput" is easily understood. It means "the waterfountain died". LOL. Who knew?!! See he DOES know german...grin.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Das est funny schreiben.

yogurt said...

I'm sure those were tough years, especially for your mom with three kids in a shoebox but I bet they really appreciate the memories now.

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