I'm back and giving this another try ONLY because I talked to my mom on the phone last night (plain old phone-no Skype. SO primitive!). She patiently pointed out to me that Germany is chock-full of people that use German keyboards and they all mostly ok. Really. No reports of mass keyboard-induced insanity are flooding in from the place. So, it only stands to reason that with a bit of time and courage, I too could master the dreaded beast.
And so I have, pretty much.
I'm not saying that this is quick or fun, but I'm managing. And it sure beats being out of touch with all my cyber friends! Thanks so much for the messages of sympathy and support. Your comments, as Garrison Keillor says of Powdermilk Biscuits, "give shy persons the strength they need to get up and do what needs to be done". (Replace the word "shy" with "fearful of German keyboards and very slow, elderly computers" and it fits perfectly.)
The main news to report around here is that we have SNOW! It started in the night as the rain pattering on the roof above my bed suddenly went silent. It was 3am and I thought, "It must be snowing." Then I thought "OMG! I forgot to shut off the water to the outside faucet! It's going to freeze and burst!" This dreadful idea was enough to send me rocketing out of my bed and out into the snowy night wearing my pyjamas. I went down into the cellar and got the water turned off. That was the easy part. I still needed to drain out the upper part of the pipe. This involved kneeling in the snow beside the house, pushing over a large cement drain cover and reaching down into the dark, damp depths to open a spigot at the base of the pipe.
In the light of day in fine weather, this is not an impressively difficult task. But at 3am in a snowstorm, it takes on a certain epic grandeur.
In my opinion.
I guess maybe you had to be there....