Apples and Banking and Messy Pie

| September 19, 2013

photo-1The other day, this happened. And then I had to make pie.  Much like my recent acquisition of raw milk, the acquisition of a crate of apples was quite unexpected.  But if I understood the man correctly, this apple situation is going to repeat itself twice more over the next year (one would hope with slightly less disorder).

How, you ask, did this happen?  Partly because I have a hard time saying no, and I suppose partly due to my inability to understand the metric system.  So there I was, just standing around the kitchen making my child mac ‘n cheese for lunch, when the doorbell rang.  What always happens happened: the dog went batshit crazy, Sequoia ran to see who it was, I picked up the intercom phone, and over the sound of a barking dog, I listened to a very fast-talking German.  I caught that he was selling apples and potatoes and told him I’d be right out.

He stood by the gate with a small basket.  He offered me a slice of apple.  No birds came swooping down, no deer frantically charged to warn me they were poisonous, so I took a bite.  It was a mighty fine apple.  I listened to his spiel and asked how much the apples cost.  He asked how many apples we ate a day.  I said one.  He then described different amounts of kilograms, which we all know I still equate to miles, and gestured varying sizes of piles that would appear on my doorstep 3 times a year.  The man looked up from the gate and saw Sequoia watching from the window.  He asked if she spoke German and I said yes.  He motioned for her to come out, as he held up an apple for her to see.  Sequoia, who knows how that story ends, stayed inside.

I told the man that the smallest works.  He quoted me a price and I told him that yes, I’d take the apples.  I ran inside to my boiling macaroni, which was finished, and tended to that while Sequoia held up the timer and said, “I’ve been trying to tell you it’s done!”  That’s when I realized I only had one 10-euro note in my purse.  I ran outside and told the man, who by now had filled a crate with apples.  A crate larger than I’d expected, because I don’t understand kilograms.  He told me they accepted EC cards.

Now, we’ve just recently opened a local account in town out of frustration that our overseas bank has a European, but non-EC chip that is accepted at very few places that don’t already accept regular credit cards, which is even fewer places.  My EC card is about a week old, and unused.  I told him as much as he ran it.  He then asked for a PIN number.  I told him to wait.  I ran inside and pulled out the bank file.  I found a letter with a pin number in it, memorized the number, ran outside, and punched it into the handheld machine.  Wrong number.  I ran back in and read the letter.  It was the online banking PIN.  I opened another letter.  Mobile phone PIN.  It is worth noting here that if I didn’t have to memorize so many PINs and passwords, I might have room to learn the fucking metric system.  Finally, I found the PIN for the card.  The instructions assert that with a fingernail you can scrape to find the PIN beneath whatever super-strength PIN-concealer the Germans use.  In reality, your fingernail scrapes off everything, including the PIN and the paper below.  At this point, with the man already having placed the larger-than-expected crate on my doorstep while my dog went apeshit while my child asked what I was doing with all those apples, I began rummaging for change.  I asked Sequoia to run up and check the nightstands.  I counted the coins in my purse, Sequoia’s purse, and the change jar.  I came up with the apple money, much to the relief of the apple purveyor who, I failed to mention, was now standing in the rain.

Paul came home a few hours later.  “I see you got some apples.”

“I’m gonna make pie.”

Now, there’s a reason I’m not visited by Martha Stewart.  The other night, when I made my first homemade soup of the season, clam chowder in a bread bowl, the soup was amazing, but the kitchen looked like it had been invaded by a bunch of campers who had been forced indoors on a rainy day.  And this apple pie?  This is probably the best-tasting apple pie I have baked to date.  However, the kitchen looked like bears had torn open the bag of flour and padded around before wiping sugar on a 6’ stretch of countertop, a sink, a stove that was not in use at the time, and then an additional foot of counter space.  The bear then accidentally shot some apples out of the mixer (allegedly) onto the floor with his flour-and-sugar-matted paws before placing the top crust onto the pie in such a manner that it appeared that Sequoia had baked the pie.  When she was three.  With the help of a bear.

No bears are owning up to any of this.

photo-1If you need an apple, help yourself.  There’s still a shit-ton of them, in a rain-soaked crate, sitting on my front step.

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Category: Ex-pat Parenting, FAMILY, featured, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, Shits & Giggles, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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  1. Marietta Mitchell says:

    funny that a American would right away think of poison in a harmless apple….reminds me, when first moving to the USA my husband told me never to open the front door to a stranger,,, What not open the door? seemed natural to me coming from Germany.. seems there is a lot of fear in Americans and it has not gotten better since 1970 when I moved here….big dose of Paranoia? . . should have written blogs about all the funny American things lol

    • If you haven’t read the recent “Simpler Times” entry yet (), you should check it out. It touches on that sense of fear/comparison between Germany and America. It really is a difference, isn’t it? Thanks for reading.

  2. Valerie says:

    Sounds only too familiar – and I do actually understand, in theory, what a kilo is. Still adds up to a lot of apples. And a lot of change to pay for said apples. But how can you really say no to the poor sod standing at your door, offering you and your kids tastes of this apple and that (my kids are not scared off of food by the possibility of a little poison).
    Hint, make applesauce. At least you won’t have flour spread around the kitchen, too.
    Wait until the potato seller and the door-to-door baker find out you are a buyer. Let’s just say that you should always keep plenty of cash on hand.