Today it is -3C in the small village of Bargau, that is 26 degrees F.
There is a light snow on the ground and the streets are white and riddled with footprints of man, dog and bicycle tracks. What are the chances of a 68 year old man riding a bike past my house today. Sehr gut, ich lebe in Deutschland!
And tonight, I finally decided to stop sleeping with my German husband.
My decision was an epiphany of self perseverance as I refused to enter our sub-below freezing Schlafzimmer. My decision came when I could actually see my breath. That’s when I drew the line. Being a well travelled and relatively cultured American, I was totally unprepared for “die Deutsches Schlafgewohnheiten für gut gesundheit”, the German sleep habits for good health.
Most Americans including me, have no idea how the other half of the world sleeps. Or maybe Europe, or just Deutschland. Surprise… When I get into bed with my Deutsches husband it’s not all warm and cozy. It’s unbelievably cold. It’s not my husband Andreas, he is warm and snores like a bear. It is the cultural logistics of our beds. For starters, we have 2 single beds on one bed frame. These single beds are 8 inches thick and made from foam rubber. You can have synthetic foam, but we bought the ecologically correct ones for about 600 euros each, ouch!
The mattresses are not bouncy, springy or with special back support. They don’t have pillow tops or make waves – (like my mother’s water bed – true story!). Just 2 pieces of foam that sit on 2 adjustable wood slat box springs. The wood box springs remind me of some type of torture contraption in a Svengali movie and are quite a mystery. I guess they can be adjusted to soft and hard along with the ability to sit up like a patio lounge chair. Quite an ingenious sandwich if not for the fact that two single beds pushed together side by side creates one big crack. And that’s where I, the American sleeps. Only because I would rather sleep on the crack and snuggle up to my husband than turn blue.
Our bedding is equally as annoying. We have two separate single sized comforters. There is a crack below me and a crack above me as the two comforters separate in the night! I have visions of velcro as I toss, turn and think of ways to connect them and still be able to wash them.
And then it is so, so cold.
Germans sleep with their windows wide open and they don’t heat their houses at night. Central heating does not exist here. There are none of those lovely floor vents continually pumping out warm air, with one big regulating control switch. In German homes it is very common for each room to have a radiator that can be manually adjusted to turn off. Which our is! My friend reports that her “Schwiegervater” father-in-law sleeps with both windows open and he wakes up with icicles in his nostrils. – I can believe that.
What is ironic is the fact that we are considering, right now on whether we should insulate the entire exterior of our house. The cost is about 30,000 Euros. Am I crazy? Why would you spend 30 grand then leave the windows open at night!
Unfortunately, it is fruitless to argue the point with my husband, so I decided to leave. I moved into my small lonely office with the futon couch closed the door and cranked up my radiator!
Sometimes our marriage feels like a “I Love Lucy” rerun. As with Lucy and Ricky, it is sometimes the crazy nutty things that can create such cultural clashes. We did though come to an agreement.
5 minutes with the window wide open to air out the room, then only 20 minutes with the radiator full blast, and a very large investment of good ole American flannel sheets.
Bis Später, the American Frau