Tag Archives: Marriage

The German Accent: Ain’t No Place for the English “T-H”


“You just put your lips together and… blow.” — Image Credit: tiffany terry (https://www.flickr.com/photos/35168673@N03/) — Subject to CC Generic 2.0 Copyright.

I love my wife’s accent. It’s cute — sort of ambiguously European — with a rare subtlety which likely stems from so much time spent in the United States and her years of being married to me; an American book nerd who experiences heart palpitations whenever someone misuses the homophones “there” and “their.”

But who doesn’t enjoy a good foreign accent? They sound cool and unique. More attractive, even. (Except for that God-awful Cockney English accent. Holy shit.) So I cherish what precious little remains of my wife’s German accent, and record it whenever she lets fly with a real zinger. Yes, her mispronunciations make me laugh out loud, but I do not mean to mock her; I truly enjoy the linguistic differences. (And this road goes both ways, I’ll have you know: My wife laughs her sweet ass off whenever I try to say “ice cubes” in German. The word is “Eiswürfel,” pronounced, “Ice-vuhr-fell,” but I can’t stop saying “Ice-TZWUHR-fell.” Makes her lose her shit every time.)

One remnant of my wife’s accent is still going strong, however, and that is her total disregard for the English <th> sound, as in “theater,” “weather” or “Thor, God of Thunder.” (And yes, I am a comic book dork, as well as a fantasy nerd and sci-fi geek. I loved the movie Prometheus. It rocked so hard I’ve been hassling my wife to watch it with me since 2012.) So it was with much glee that I wrote down my wife’s quote the other day, after she came home from a particularly arduous day at work and demanded immediate relaxation, saying:

“I want to watch a movie so hard. We could even watch a sci-fi. We could even watch your ‘Pro-mee-toys.’ “

If you would like to read another classic mispronunciation post, check this one out: My German Wife Gets Stuck in Traffic, Struggles Adorably to Pronounce the English Letter ‘J’

Pruney Fingers: My German Wife Explains Why You Should Get Out of the Bathtub Right Now


“Dear God in heaven, what does it MEAN??” — Photo Credit: SuperFantastic (https://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Generally speaking, I am an environmentally conscious individual: I ride a bike; I recycle my garbage; I try not to set rubber tires on fire. You know, the usual. My one destructive vice, however, is wasting water.

I love long showers and baths. As a kid, I used to take showers with the drain plugged so the tub would fill halfway with water. I would then lay down on my back and let the droplets rain down on me with just my eyes and nose sticking up out of the water, like a little pink alligator. I called these my, “Swamp Baths,” and they played hell with our water bill.

Even now, I’m the very last one out of the shower at my local gym here in Hannover, Germany. Not even the stupid 15-second timer on the showers can stop me from wasting enough water to revive the Mojave Wasteland. I don’t even know why I do it; something about the heat and the water soothes me to my core. Makes me docile and slow-witted, like a cow on its way to the slaughterhouse: “Jesus, Betsy just dropped dead right in front of me. Oh well, better keep shuffling toward those men with the bloodstained aprons…”

So I’ve never really understood why people think it’s time to get out of the shower, pool or bathtub just because their skin is starting to prune. Are wrinkled fingertips truly the klaxon alarm to end bathtime? Maybe parents made this shit up so their horrible little children would stop robbing future generations of potable water. Some people think pruney skin occurs because the outer layers absorb warm water, causing the cells to expand and fold over on themselves. Others explain it as a vestige of evolution, which gave our extremities better grip in wet conditions. Personally, I think it’s a random, ugly little phenomenon which cannot be explained, much like yawning, orgasm toe and piss shivers.

All I know is I’m gonna stay in the tub until I’m goddamn good and ready to get out. My German wife, however, will end bathtime long before I do, explaining:

“It is time to get out. My fingers are getting schrinkled.”*

*I suspect this may have come from the combination of the English word ‘wrinkled,’ and the German word ‘schrumpfen,’ meaning ‘to shrink.’

If you would like to read another classic quote from The Wife, check this one out: My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth

When Your German Wife Makes More Money than You: Lessons from an American Expat in Germany


“It’s not a contest, Dear.” — Photo Credit:
Vladimir Pustovit (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pustovit/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Copyright.

As you know, I am a graphic designer from Portland, Oregon. After my German wife and I were married, I dropped everything — including a house, car and full-time job — and moved with her to Hannover, Germany. Overnight, I morphed from a gainfully employed agency designer to a nervously self-employed freelance designer, complete with panic attacks and night terrors in which my home mortgage  — personified by an accountant with the head of a bull — would chase me down and stab me repeatedly with a rolled-up copy of my credit report: “You’re gonna miss your next payment, you little bitch. And you’ll probably miss the one after that too, because you don’t have a steady source of income. You’re just a worthless little piece of monkey shit, aren’t you? And your wife is too nice to tell you, but your breath always sucks.”

Luckily, it all worked out. I built up a client base filled with awesome, inspirational people — most of whom found me through this blog — and I’m enjoying the hell out of working for myself. (Company policies include: “Casual Monday-through-Friday,” “Pantless Skype Sessions” and “Mandatory Pilsner Sensitivity Training.” [Our HR department has been trying to crush this last one for years.])

You know what else came as a pleasant surprise? When my wife finished her Referendariat training and landed a job as a full-time Gymnasium teacher. That’s when her income level shot past mine like a lubed-up piglet on its way to the teet. Not only did she earn more money in Euros — which, at the time, were way stronger than US Dollars — but she earned more after taxes. (Unsolicited Expat Tip of the Day: Most Germans think of their paychecks in terms of net income. They lack the requisite sense of entitlement to think of pretax money as their money. We Americans like to focus on the exact amount Uncle Sam is stealing from us, crank up our blood pressure a notch or two, then simmer through the rest of the day in impotent rage. It’s tradition.)

Anyway, when my wife landed her job, suddenly she was the primary earner, and I became a trophy wife with fake tits and an adorable hobby / business venture. You might think this would crush a real man’s ego, but if you’ve read this blog before, you know I’m not a real man at all. I loved her new pay grade! Where we simply split our financial obligations before, now we could do things on a sliding scale. And the peace of mind was the best part; I knew if I ever had a bad month, she could cover the difference and save me from taking it in the shorts.

Of course, the power dynamic has shifted a little; I can’t just shoot down every purchase decision and Ebinizer Scrooge my way through life anymore. My wife has her own money, so the other day when she suggested we get our wedding rings engraved, I refused, saying I would not be spending any more money that month. To this, she replied:

“But maybe I can spend money. I am the bread maker now.”*

*Of course she meant “bread winner,” but I like her expression way better. 

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Explains the Optimal Weather Conditions for Seasonal Allergy Attacks

Unsolicited Marriage Advice from an American Expat: Be a Good Listener and Your German Spouse Will Thank You


“What’s that you say, dear? I’m having trouble hearing you over all this dysfunction.” — Image Credit: Sue Clark (https://www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Copyright.

My German wife and I have only been married since 2012, so I’m not an expert or anything, but being a good listener seems to be a pretty important part of marriage. That is, if you want to stay married, I mean. If you’d rather catapult yourself through a sudden divorce, go ahead and let your eyes glaze over whenever your spouse starts talking to you. Hold your thumb down on the TV remote, steadily increasing the volume until the sound of her voice is drowned out entirely. You’ll be on your own in no time.

But being a good listener doesn’t necessarily mean you have to actually do anything. In fact, the less you do while your spouse is talking, the better. When it comes to daily communication — like when you tell one another about your respective workdays — listening is really all about being present. Face your spouse. Keep your eyes open. Nod every once in a while. Maybe throw a grunt or two in there. It’s so easy! By merely being present (in body, if not in mind), what you’re actually doing is allowing your partner to vent. You’re refraining from doing or saying things which might hinder the verbal diarrhea your partner so desperately needs to spray you with. Just square up to that fire hose and take it in the eardrums.

Obviously there are times when you need to actively comprehend what you’re hearing and then offer up some kind of response, like, “Yes, honey, it sounds like that woman on the train was being a bitch. That bitch.” — but those times are pretty rare. On a daily basis, most people just need to unload their emotions onto something slightly more animated than a freshly painted wall. This is why, when my wife comes home and tells me in vivid detail all about her day at work, I just shut my dirty hole and watch her talk. And for this small amount of effort — 9 times out of 10 — my German wife will reward me by wrapping things up with a sigh and saying:

“Thank you for your open ear.”*

*Translated directly from the German saying, “Danke für dein offenes Ohr.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Struggles to Organize A Traditional Swiss Raclette Dinner in America



My German Wife Deals with Referendariat Rage (AKA: Teacher Training Tantrums)


“Honey, it’s gonna be okay. Please don’t spin your head around 360 degrees and blow vomit in my face.” — Photo Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer (https://www.flickr.com/photos/katietegtmeyer/) — Image subject to CC 2.0 license

Back in the spring of 2013, my wife was still a Gymnasium Referendariat teacher (like a clerkship position, or “teacher training”), which meant she was working her sweet ass off making lesson plans for high school students, teaching classes, writing papers and sitting through mind-numbing seminars — all without the guarantee she would even have a job when it was all over. As an outsider, I must say the Referendariat program seems designed specifically to eliminate the weak-willed and insufficiently motivated teachers of tomorrow.

This makes a certain amount of sense though; they have to cull the herd because teaching positions in Germany are highly sought-after. You get sweet benefits and earn a nice salary, and if you’re working in a state which offers it, you can attain “verbeamtet” status, which is the American equivalent to tenure. On top of all this, the job itself is highly respected. (Unlike in the States, where we regard our high school teachers like social workers sacrificing their health and happiness in a vain attempt to dissuade young, blossoming criminals. “You’re a high school teacher? I’m so sorry. I mean, that is just so good of you…”)

But the Referendariat program is harsh, man. The teachers in training report to senior-level teachers within their chosen subjects, typically two, but sometimes three people who have been working for a few decades and decided they want to earn a little more money while they crush an aspiring teacher’s dreams. If the teachers you’re reporting to are complete assholes, guess what? You’re in Fucksville! And the stress levels are just insane. In my wife’s group — which consisted of about 25 other teachers in training — panic attacks were commonplace, and some had complete physical and psychological meltdowns. Like, where they had to go to the emergency room thinking they were having a heart attack, or spend the night in the psych ward because they had a nervous breakdown. I’m not kidding. One teacher just straight blacked out and stopped responding during her final exam. It was crazy.

But my wife — bless her German soul — never really lost her shit. Sure, she was super tired, stressed out and pissed off from time to time, but she was a real trooper about it. There was one thing she could not abide, however, and that was receiving contradictory instructions from the senior teachers. One would tell her to be louder and more effusive, and another would tell her to be quieter and more conservative. This pissed her right the hell off, until one day she came home, dropped her jacket and said:

“I should get a gym membership. I want to punch a bag.”

If you would like to read another Denglish post during my wife’s time as a Referendariat, check this one out: My German Wife Offers a Simple Solution to the Problem of Clothing vs. Closet Space



My German Wife Reveals Her Maternal Intentions with a Single, Horrifying Question


“Oh look, he’s got your mother’s tail…” — Photo Credit: Bernt Rostad (https://www.flickr.com/photos/brostad/) — Image cropped from original and blurred — Subject to copyright (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

My wife and I are part of that stubborn group of married people who ask not when, but if we will have a baby. We’re very focused on our careers at present, and yet, most of our friends already have kids — or plan on having them just as soon as their swollen genitals will allow. Naturally, this generates a great many conversations about the subject (babies, not genitals), all of which end with my wife or I mocking children, their parents, or the baby-making industry as a whole.

Now, at this point, I need to remind you I am a graphic designer and I work from home. For me, this means two things: 1.) I don’t give a shit about kids, and 2.) I sit in my tiny office in front of my computer all day long, wearing my favorite black Electric Six sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over my head. Keep in mind, wearing a hoodie for 8 hours straight will trap the body heat against your ears and turns them bright red. Like, dog penis red.

So, back in April of 2013, my wife and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth before bed — probably discussing the latest birth among our circle of friends — when we started joking around about the half-breed German-American monstrosity we would produce if we ever decided to have a child of our own. (I think it would have claws like a gremlin and speak in Denglish riddles. My wife simply thinks it would be an amalgamation of all our least desirable genetic traits.) I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt back to spit a mouthful of toothpaste into the sink and revealed my freakishly red ears throbbing beneath the harsh overhead light. That’s when my wife laughed and pinched one of them, asking:

“When we have a little goblin baby, can we eat the ears first?”

If you would like to read another post about my wife’s unique attitude toward having kids, check this one out: My German Wife Shops for American Baby Gifts



My German Wife Compares Me to a Feral Child Raised in the Jungle by Apes


“Look Ma, I can swing all by myse-OHSHIT!”– Photo Credit: BillBl (https://www.flickr.com/photos/billbliss/) — Subject to CC Attribution 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Back in March of 2012, my wife and I were in the kitchen cooking chili. (And not just any chili, but ultra spicy, bowel shivering, anus puckering death chili.)

During the course of the food preparation, we struck up a conversation about German vocabulary. Specifically, she taught me how to say the word “television,” which is “der Fernseher.” Literally, “Fernseher” translates into English as “far seer.” I nodded and stroked my chin, and we both took a moment to enjoy the blatantly obvious logic behind this discovery. Then my wife smiled and gestured with a large wooden spoon in her hand, swirling it in the air like a magic wand of knowledge, declaring:

“I like when we speak German together so that we are both learning. Like Tarzan and Jane.”*

*Guess which one of us is the cultured debutante, and which one is the talking monkeyboy in a loincloth…

If you would like to read another post about my German wife’s wonderful talent for unique articulation, check out this other gem: Coastal Breezes at the Oregon Coast Affect Exactly ONE Part of My German Wife’s Body