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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cookie Delivery, and the Resulting Embarrassing Moments

So I've been feeling a little crunched for time the past few days and I've had the cookies all packaged and ready to go to the neighbors since Monday.  The original plan was to deliver to the four neighbors we know best (which can be loosely interpreted to mean the four in closest proximity to us who at least wave at us in a friendly manner) on Thursday as a family.

But it was raining, as seems normal for this December.  So instead, I put Sam down for a nap and left Jesse and Lily to watch music videos on the iPad while I hurried to drop the cookies off.

I was so unprepared.

Neighbor #1:  Lilo.  The only embarrassing thing about this was that she didn't understand why I was giving Christmas cookies when it wasn't Christmas.  Hard to explain to a partially deaf 85-year-old sweet German lady that I'm just trying to be nice but I really don't want to be delivering cookies on Christmas Day :o)  She was also really excited for the framed black and white picture of her, Lily, and myself.

Neighbor #2:  The Garden Neighbors.  This was the trickiest and most embarrassing.  But it comes in two parts... here's part one.  (They don't speak English.)  I was thinking that if they didn't come to the door I could just leave the cookies on the step because I had attached a note that said "Frohe Weihnachten, from Jesse and Jessica Aiduk".  But I wasn't sure they'd know who we were, since we've never officially met besides saying "hallo" and such... and they like to flirt with my babies, as all cute old people do.  So I also wrote our address underneath so they'd know it was from us.

Neighbor #3:  The Ehmans.  She practically dragged me into her house.  I wasn't expecting this.  I thought I would just be dropping cookies off and heading on my merry way.  She introduced me to her husband, who also remembers a little English from his high school years.

Let me interject here with an aside.  Can we talk about how amazing it is that they still know English?  I mean come on!  I took Spanish in high school but that doesn't mean I can carry on a conversation!  They're almost 75 years old!  They act like it's no big deal... "yeah we learned some English over fifty years ago so we're a little rusty".  Oh yeah?  I learned some German about five minutes ago and I already forgot it!  Sheesh!

So she seemed so excited to show me around her living room... which included a tour of her lighted Italian nativity set, the view from their house (everyone on our street has an awesome view), and a balcony tour of their garden.  They thanked me for the cookies and I felt like that seemed a good time to say I'd better be on my merry way (in a more polite way... I think.) but that's when it happened - she asked me if I'd like to sit down for a cup of coffee or tea! 

If you're wondering why I would be freaking out about a simple cup of coffee (which I accepted) was because under my beautiful cream pea coat and pretty red scarf I was wearing... my pajama shirt!  I just wasn't thinking I'd be asked to take my coat off, so I threw on a pair of jeans and my coat and scurried out the door.  Oh also, it was slightly embarrassing to take of my hat and reveal my greasy hair to the world... but what was I to do?  They practically giggled when I agreed I'd stay... both of them scurried about getting the coffee ready.

I just tried to smile and remember that they probably didn't even notice what I was wearing... and I managed to keep my scarf on so they couldn't read the writing of my U-12 soccer shirt from at least 14 years ago.  Hard to believe I own and wear a shirt that old.  Harder to believe I wore it for fancy coffee at my neighbors.

I say fancy because they served my coffee in a beautiful cup and saucer while setting a lovely little platter of chocolates in front of me!  Just me.  That was a little weird... I had to try to be polite while listening to their fascinating life story and also eating a chocolate or two in between their questions to me.  It just felt weird drinking and eating in front of them when they weren't, you know?

When I was finally allowed to get my coat back on (whew!) they thanked me profusely for the cookies and sent me on my merry way.  I called Jesse while I was on my way down to this side street that gets you up to the Upstairs Neighbor's house.  He just laughed.

Neighbor #4:  The Upstairs Neighbors.  So remember that these guys are the ones that technically live on the street behind us, but because we all live on this awesome hill, their garden boarders our backyard and is also above us in the typical German tiered fashion.  But like I said, there's a sidewalk that I discovered that can take you up there.  As I was approaching their house I was getting a little nervous because they don't speak English either.  I saw Mr. Upstairs walking into his house so I waved and held up my plate of cookies.

Again with the dragging me inside.  I was really getting nervous at this point... at least the Ehman's speak English!  As I entered the door and passed on my holiday greetings to Mrs. Upstairs I was greeted by a young woman.  And I thought, "The younger generation of Germans usually speak English... I might be saved!"  And sure enough, Sabina, their daughter who was visiting them for lunch from a neighboring village, was our translator.

But again with having to take my coat off!  And this time it was even worse because they had a roaring fire in their living room and there was no way I was getting away with leaving my coat on.  Mr. Upstairs insisted on taking my coat and scarf to hang up.  Ugh.  With the pajama shirt... really, Jessica?  

Oh well, I just visited away and ignored my embarrassment.  And drank carbonated mineral water (so very German) and had small German cookies (again with being the only one eating and feeling weird about it!).  Sabina was very friendly and I was so glad she was there because I was able to thank them again for sharing their vegetables this summer.  We were able to exchange names (they really wanted to know the girls' names!) and they are now Harold and Mrs. Upstairs to me.  Just kidding it's Harold and... blank.  Because her name was really difficult to say and so difficult to remember... but I will learn it eventually and get back to you.

It was fascinating to talk to them.  And even more fascinating because of how excited they were to talk to me!  So much smiling going on!  When we were done Harold got my coat and helped me put it on!  So chivalrous!  He also led me down through his garden to show me the path they usually take directly to my backyard!  And Sabina relayed that I am more than welcome to use it in the future.

Sorry Brother (and anyone else who dislikes wordy posts), I know this is a long one.  You don't have to finish if you don't want to ;o)  I'll be back to my regular scheduled, short, and well-illustrated posts soon!

But part two of Neighbor #2 is as follows:  I was getting ready for dinner at Paula's and was a bit nervous as I thought "Oh no, what if they don't use the door I placed the cookies by?  What if they're cookies rot and aren't discovered till Spring?  What if they think I just played a big mean practical joke on them?  Maybe I should call Lilo and have her call them and explain the situation for me..."  Then I heard Jesse talking to someone in the living room.

I ran out (thank the Lord I had showered and changed out of my pj shirt!) to see Mr. Garden!  With my plate of cookies!... ? .... Crap.  Jesse explains quickly that he *thinks* Mr. Garden thinks the cookies are meant for us because he kept pointing to our name and address.  OOPS!  And of course I was flustered so any helpful German phrases that I might have known/remembered went right out the window.  I just resorted to universal "sign language" and somehow we awkwardly came to the understanding that they were for him and his wife... he was very thankful :o)

So lesson for next year:  Take the kids.  Take a translator.  And for heaven's sake don't wear your pajama shirt!

The end!


  1. Hahaha. That was highly entertaining and had me giggling throughout it. You're so brave! But what a good memory that is! :)

  2. that was a GREAT experience and i want to thank you for sharing it with us (and brother- please don't say anything to Jessica about long posts- they are wonderful!)
    I could 'hear' you telling this story Jess and my cheeks hurt from smiling so hard :)
    Amber's right- you are pretty brave! I appreciate how your "I want to" give my neighbors Christmas cookies actually turns into, "I gave" Christmas cookies to my neighbors! [I typically get stuck on "I want to...)
    Great job you ancient pajama top wearing, not so optimum hair day hiding, Christmas cookie giving, coffee and fizzy water drinking woman, you!!!

  3. literally falling off the couch laughing at this silliness . . . I'm pretty sure I've begged you to get rid of that very shirt more than once!!!

  4. He doesn't really care (right, Brother?) I just like to pick on him about the one time way back when that he pretty much told me he skims the long ones ;o)

    Why should I get rid of such a gem of a shirt? ;o) I *guess* I should just keep it inside the house, huh?

  5. Hahaha!! I love it!! You have such Chutzpah! (...in the modern sense of the term. I use that word in honor of Hanukka.) I've been in our apartment for a year and have only met the neighbors next door twice!! You put me to shame and have much better stories for it ;) -Cassie

  6. I agree with Amber. You are so brave. I would have never done this. eek. scary!

    If it makes you feel any better about the pj shirt...my landlord surprised me the day after James left to show me what all to do at the house before I left for Texas. I was in my robe, and had been deployment bawling! I hadn't touched the kitchen dishes for a few days and there was all of James's gear all over everywhere! AND he had to come in my room to check the heaters and I had been packing so there was stuff everywhere. :( I was so embarrassed.

  7. Oh Jen... yeah your story makes me feel a little better!