On working with men (and trying to understand them)

I┬áneed some help with a problem that’s going round and round in my head. I’d be grateful for insights….


Over the last few days I spent several hours working with a retired electrician who’s a friend of DB’s. We planned, installed and wired up the new lighting in DB’s aquarium. We went shopping for the parts we needed and talked about ‘Gott und die Welt’. A few things went wrong, lots of things went right, and although we’re pretty much finished, and could probably leave it as it is, we still have a little bit more to do, because it will make it that much better. He’s coming round tomorrow to put the finishing touches to it.

The electrician is a great guy. I like him, and working with him is fun. As we were working, he said we work well as a team.


Before Christmas, I spent a couple of days working with DB. We planned, installed and replumbed the replacement kitchen counters and old sink. We went shopping for the things we needed and talked about ‘Gott und die Welt’. A few things went wrong, lots of things went right, and although we’re pretty much finished, and could probably leave it as it is, we still have a little bit more to do, because it will make it that much better. (There are also plenty of other projects waiting for us in the kitchen, and the rest of the house, just waiting for us to make time to get round to them).

DB is a great guy. I like him*, and working with him is fun**. As we were working, he said we work well as a team.


Today, DB and I went to help the electrician move a heavy wooden workbench. Naja, I’m not that strong, so reality, DB went to help and I went along for the ride.


When we got there, his son had already helped him.


“Your woman’s been bullying me!”

Instead of moving the bench, they both complained to each other about how awful it is to work with me, how I am nit-picky and awkward and stubborn and slave-driver-ish, not to mention my perfectionism. How I bully them and boss them about. They compaired how much greyer they’d become and how much they’ve aged since knowing me/working with me. They agreed that it’s a pain in the wotsit to listen to me explain anything and that it’s easier to ignore me and say ‘yes dear’ when I finally shut up than to try and follow what I’m saying. They swapped examples of things I did or said while working on the respective projects which they found superfluous and/or annoying. They laughed companionably.

As they laughed louder, I got quieter.


This evening, as I wondered out loud whether it would be better if I kept out of the electrician’s way tomorrow, so as not to cause him any more grief, DB didn’t have a clue what I was talking about.

Obviously I should carry on and finish the job with him. Why on earth not??

When I told him I didn’t feel particularly wanted on voyage, being as how they both find me a nightmare to work with, he said that was ridiculous; they both love working with me. The electrician wouldn’t agree to come back to finish off if he didn’t want to work with me.

I said it didn’t sound like that earlier…

Apparently, according to DB, it’s my own fault if I apply their words to myself/my behaviour (= take it personally) and think they’re getting at me. Especially since they/we live in Berlin.


Can somebody please explain male logic for me, because I don’t get it.


*’God and the world’
** and live with him ­čÖé
*** (most of the time)

On getting sentimental about cutlery and cheese graters

I’ve been here almost two years already, and, until yesterday, still had a couple of boxes in DB’s parents’ cellar.
I didn’t unpack them when I first moved in because we (DB and I) still had the crazy hopeful idea of knocking the kitchen and dining room together. One side of the wall* was already down, and adding more things to the miniature kitchen, purely in order to repack them a few weeks later seemed ridiculous.
Then DB’s parents reorganised their cellar and the boxes were buried.

I’d missed things occasionally, and always assumed they must still be in a box and tried to get by without. Mostly I missed kitchen stuff, useful things like serving spoons and lasagne bowls. Like a decent grater. Like the chopping board I also used as a cake board. Like the skewers for testing said cakes. Like the cutlery I spent months looking for before finally finding a set I liked, then deciding it was too expensive for cutlery but choosing to splash out and buy it anyway, because it felt good and I liked it and because why on earth not?! Back then, I apparently had a lot of free thinking space for thoughts about cutlery.



As I said, the move was almost two years ago, and we still have half a wall and separate kitchen and dining room and external boxes.

Perhaps the only way to encourage change is to start accepting what already IS…..


Anyway. (again)

Yesterday, we went caving (‘cellaring’??) and came back with two boxes of kitchen stuff, two boxes of clothes I probably no longer fit, an ancient flatbed scanner, a couple of towels and a cushion.

As I was unpacking, I was amazed at just how much stuff I was really happy to see again. (Also at how much stuff I’d packed expecting to unpack again soon. Things like spaghetti and cocoa powder.)

I always thought I wasn’t materialistic. I’ve generally not been bothered about second hand stuff or having the newest whatever. BUT. Apparently I have the ability to get very attached to cutlery.

I never knew a person could get attached to cutlery. I might even have worried about someone who said they were.

It still felt good to unpack it though. Really good. Like I’d been missing a part of myself and not just a handful of forks.



You can worry about me now. I won’t mind – I have my cutlery and a cheese grater!

* The wall is basically a row of wooden posts with a wooden fence on each side and with insulation in the gaps. DB and a friend took down one of the fences and took out the insulation before figuring out that they might need some way of holding the ceiling up before they could remove the posts….

On waxing table legs


This is my table.

It’s a work in progress at the moment.

A couple of years ago a friend saw it sitting forlornly on a pavement, thought of me and rescued it by packing it into her huge van and bringing it over. We fought it up the stairs and that’s where it stayed until DB came to rescue me. He obviously had to rescue the table too, so we fought it back down the stairs and into his slightly less huge van.

DB doesn’t have patience with ugly or broken things.

The table was neither ugly nor broken, but the previous owners had graced it with a large burn mark in the middle. I’d solved the problem with a tablecloth, DB prefers permanent solutions and got the sander out.

It’s spent the last week being prettified.

First it was taken to pieces.
Then all the pieces were sanded.
Then it was my turn.
I have oiled the top 5 times in as many days. I only did the legs twice.

It’s actually not oil, but some kind of wax in a solvent. The stuff stinks but apparently it’s harmless once it’s dry.

It has to be put on in incredibly thin layers so 3 or 4 brush loads are enough for the whole table top. I load the brush, paint against the grain until the brush is empty then spread it in the direction of the grain until the table’s shiny.

There’s something remarkably decadent about painting against the grain. I haven’t decided what it is yet though.

It’s quite therapeutic too.

This evening’s entertainment will be carrying the parts into the house and putting them together.

I hope we don’t bash it (or the door frames) in the process.

Still, there’s always my tablecloth….. ­čÖé