Keys to the Castle

Today was the day.

Before the alarm even went off at our agreed upon time of 6:30 I was awake, slumberly brain atingle in bed, its figurative ears perked to the fore in the fashion of a dog’s at the suggestion of a bone.  I recall this giggly, sizzling anticipation from my childhood; Christmas and Easter in particular did it to me. For a holiday I was ready. No, I was more than ready. I was a ready machine. Wakeful far before dawn, I’d lie in my bed and imagine the sweet unknown set to materialize in just a few gauzy, lightless hours, my juvenile brain whipping up a frenzied holiday sideshow of rabbits and Kris Kringles decked in the season’s  finest, lugging sacks heavily laden with swag. I was amped for Weichnachten and Bunny day the way I was amped for today, and today didn’t even include a morsel of chocolate.

Today was the day for keys!

With my specialest of beardfriends and the racecrutches jammed firmly into my fists, I made my gimpy way to Nordbahnhof to catch the 12 up to Prenzlauer Berg. As the stops ticked away, I grew more and more agitated, containing the rocking and doing my best to keep my eyes from popping out of my head like those of a kid who on Christmas morning has already scarfed all of her chocolate stocking stuffers, thus ceasing to register danger, fear, fire or anything at all but sugar (not that I’d know about anything like that from personal experience. *cough*).

I won’t pretend I was sweet and drippingly lovey in my excitement over being on our way to bag the keys to our new (very old) apartment. To what I can only imagine was Niels’ chagrin, I was on the other side of anxious. On this side, most decidedly the dark one, everything has to go PERFECTLY and everything has to be ON TIME and everyone must be QUIET and MAKE SENSE or the vein in my forehead willexplodeIswear. Because we arrived in time to avail ourselves of the earlier Straßenbahn  (I fastcrutched like a motherfucker, mind you), we had time for coffee at a super cute café called Krümel on our new block and it, even more than the swift arrival, calmed me down. I’ve since concluded that when the braying beast within is soothed rather than piqued by caffeine, it’s probably a sign of a truly grave caffeine addiction. I hope this isn’t a problem. :/

Anyhow, our meeting with the Hausmeister–which means exactly what it sounds like it means in German–went well. We walked (Niels walked–I hobbled) through the house, testing windows, confirming the integrity of Jalousine and inspecting for chipped baseboard and cracks. After signing off on the acceptability of our bright, beautiful wohnung, our new landlord we
lcomed us warmly and excused himself to take care of…whatever it is that Hausmeisters take care of, which, as I understand it, is pretty much everything. I of course took the opportunity to pee in our new home (Coffee, it’s what you do, and I do not fault you.) and then giddily crutched out into the street, smooching Niels goodbye before he skittered off to the U-Bahn stop and booked it to Nokia.

I was alone in our new neighborhood then, and my next mission was quite clear: breakfast. Out of general embarrassment by the idea of thrice visiting Krümel in one morning (we’d already gone back in to snag a bagel for Niels), I decided to be brave and try the Rocker/Grunge coffee shop I’d walked by on my many tours of Stargarderstraße. At the licks of loud, fuzzy guitar escaping from the café’s open door and small decorative skeletons festooning its chalkboard, my suburban, ladylike heart felt briefly threatened by the place’s early morning aggression. There was a rather more Dexter Morgan facet of me that registered, however, as excited, dangerous, challenged, even, by its hard exterior. Breakfast would be had, and had here.

I have no idea what the place was called as it lacked any visible signage–perhaps one must be a level 10 Harley Davidson Goth wizard to see it with naked eyes. I do know the important thing, though: that there was a veritable mountain of delicious dark rolls with loads of toppings from which to choose flanked by a rich assortment of breads and pastries the fat kid in me wanted to stuff into her face until the point of geyserdom. Happily, I controlled myself and had a coffee and a brown roll with thick slabs of feta and salty sun dried tomatoes wedged atop a pale tarp of lettuce and oreganoed oil. I read the newspaper in German and tooled around on the Android, covertly observing the tattooed and biker-jacketed clientele who, despite our differences, were civil and smiley to me. Nobody even tried to steal my racecrutches.

I think I might like it there.

Belly full of tasty German sandwich and mind abuzz with happy, caffeinated thoughts, I crutched back through the gray morning mist to our new home to take a few pictures, but mostly, I admit, to use the bathroom. That’s when I fell really in love with the place. I’m not certain that this album will show up here on WordPress due to its living on facebook and all, but it’s worth a shot, right? Plus, anybody reading this is likely to already be a facebook friend, so you can just figure it out from there, na?

Suffice it to say that our new home is beautiful. I feel comfortable there and am convinced–deep in the gut convinced, the way Caitlin Schiller likes to be convinced–that Niels and I made the right choice about this one. I have the keys to the castle, and Niels and I have our first ever home. Life is too good to me for me to believe and circumstances have been kind. I ask only that my foot heal, stat, and that this luck, this contentment, this new-start goodness will hold.


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