13 April 2008

A Zecke by Any Other Name...

So it turns out that I am the least-observant cat owner in the entire world.  This can be proven by the fact that, of the four people who petted my cat last week, I am the only one who didn't notice the gigantic, blood-engorged tick firmly embedded in the skin of her neck.

So okay.  I can't remember the last time I saw a tick (known as "Zecke" in German), and I don't remember how the situation was resolved.  It was probably on one of my Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, and probably either a boyfriend or a veterinarian took care of it for me.

Here I am on my own, however, in more ways than one.  My German tutor noticed the tick and offered to remove it for me, but I didn't have the right equipment, which she described to me in English and German.  (It locks, she explained, and then you can twist it.)  She looked up a nearby pet-supply store where she was sure I could find one, and we looked up the directions using Google Maps.  Unfortunately it was a long way from my house and in the opposite direction from work.

My son's babysitter noticed the tick, and flatly and pre-emptively refused (even though I hadn't asked her, nor was I planning to ask her) to remove it.  "I don't do that," she said in her perfect, and perfectly charming English, but helpfully wrote down the name of the equipment I needed ("Zeckenzange," or "ticktweezers") and told me where I could get it -- any Apotheke, as it turns out.

Apotheke, in case you couldn't guess, is German for "drugstore."  As is so often the case with German words that resemble English ones, I have a terrible time pronouncing it correctly.  I want to say, "uh-PAW-thuh*-key," like the first part of "Apothecary."  But that would be 180 degrees wrong.  The correct pronunciation, if you want Germans to understand what you are asking for (as in, "Wo ist eine Apotheke?"), is Ah-poh-tay-kuh, with more or equal emphasis on each syllable (with maybe a smidge more on "tay").  For some reason I find this nearly impossible to do.

*The "uh" in "thuh" should be a schwa, but I am clueless as to where to find one in Blogger.

But I digress.

After a very busy and stressful week I finally found time to go to an Apotheke, and I managed to ask in my awkward German if they had "Zeckenzangen."  Whaddya know if they didn't bring me one post-haste, and all for only 3€.  I took it home, shut the cat in the bathroom with me, and went to work.

Hang on, I left out a key step.  I carried the Zeckenzange box to my trusty MacBook, typed the directions written on the back of the box into Google translator (my favorite part was where they give you two options for how to remove the tick -- essentially twisting versus pulling -- and recommend twisting with this verbiage:  "time-tested method"), and committed the instructions to memory.

Then I shut the cat in the bathroom with me and went to work.

Approximately three seconds later, and that particular tick became a part of history.  (Yeah, I made that tick rue the day he met me!  Take that, you... TICK.)  After noting the ease with which I was able to remove the tick using the "time-tested method" recommended on the box, I decided I should probably also follow the box's recommendations for dispatching the tick to tick heaven.  It worked exactly as promised, but... eww.  I mean really, eww.  I want never to have to do that, ever again, in my entire life.

I miss having a boyfriend.  I miss having a boyfriend for many reasons, and this is one of them.  I want a boyfriend, or a husband, or even a man who just lives in the house and takes care of the spiders in the corners and the ticks on the pets.

Is that really so much to ask?

No comments: