Aug 142011

Just by way of introduction….
          If you ever see me looking like this:

Put me to bed in a darkened room- I have a migraine!
In fact, I had a migraine for about 3.5 days last week, but, luckily, it was gone by the time (dun dah dah DAH)

Our Stuff Arrived!!!

And, knock wood, No Bedbugs!

Check it out.  Here is our living room pre- and post- movers:


Our wee empty apartment is now a wee fuller apartment!
Here are a couple other favorite arrival photos:

DS only brought the little grey kitten in his luggage- here she is telling the new arrivals of her adventures!

My Spices!  Yay for Pensey’s!

DD’s Gargoyle made it unscathed.  She is pleased!

Other than the boxes, we got Our 3 Beds, a cedar chest/bench, a folding table and 4 folding chairs.  I actually was a bit stressed about the whole thing, so I took DS out to run errands while David and DD handled movers.  Seemed fair since I handled the whole shebang (and the last 3 weeks of packing) from the other end.  This time the movers were only there for about 2 hours.  They drove down from Paris, carried up our stuff, had David check off each box as it came through, helped put the beds together, and then toodled off.  Easy Peasy.

Less Easy Peasy? Figuring out what to do with all this stuff.  As you may recall from earlier blogs, Germany has no built in closets.  And, you may have noticed from my exhaustive list of 9 furniture items, we didn’t really bring much in the way of storage with us, either!  So, clearly we are going to need some stuff in which to put our stuff!

Stay Tuned on that project.  It may take some time……

Geek Priorities
But, the most important action item, of course, is getting our computers up and running!  Geeks that we are, we have 4 main computers.  One for each of us.  And, we now know that they are easily convertible to 230 current by flipping a switch and attaching a new cord.  Unfortunately, all the peripherals (monitors, speakers, etc) are not so easily convertible.  Nor is my Kitchenaid mixer.  And I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer!

While still back in the US we went to Radio Shack and Fry’s and pestered the local fauna about which adapters and converters we might need.  Honestly, they weren’t a great deal of help.  The Radio Shack guys tried.  The Fry’s folks were (as usual) completely absent. But, we did have a nice time kibitzing with several Europeans all trying to find adapters for their particular countries.  We eventually wound up buying 3-4 converters and a few adapters, figuring we would solve the rest of the issue from this end.  Now that we are on “this end” I must admit that this is an item for our Not Easy Peasy list!

First off- the adapters we bought:

 So, that is where you are supposed to plug in your appliance.  Notice anything interesting?  Me either at first.  But, then it became REALLY obvious.  These are not grounded outlets.  One of these is supposed to be rated for up to 2000 Watts.  WTH sort of appliance needs 2000 Watts of energy and doesn’t have a grounded cord?  Boggle.  Tell ya what, my Kitchenaid and all 3 monitors definitely have grounded cords.

 Notice anything interesting about this side?  Us either, at first.  But, let’s just move on down to the next photo, why don’t we.

All German outlets these days are recessed.  Sunk.  Pushed back.  Dug in.  You *cannot* reach them with a flat plug like the ones on the converters 2 above.  Luckily, you can reach them with an adapter like the one seen directly above.  But, needing an adapter for your converter seems… silly.

Now for the excitement.  I found something that would fit!  We brought our DVD player from the US so we could watch our Region 1 DVDs.  Ok, great!  Plug it in, flip switch.  Lights, whir, Excellent!  Attach to TV, hit Play- “Something Strange, in the Neighborhood- Who ya gonna call- GHOSTBUSTERS!”  Looks like I left a DVD in the machine.  But it Works!  A little loud, but definitely functional!  Woohoo!  Stop the DVD, walk away for a couple minutes.  Come back to-

Smoke!  Small grey wisps of what is definitely smoke.  Ah Crudmonkeys!

Rescue the DVD, Unplug machine. Let it air.  Frown deeply and breathe slowly. 

What went wrong?  Well, I am not 100% sure. But, I think it has to do with the adapter I chose.  It was the larger of the two and apparently had 2 settings.  One for up to 50 Watts with no particular warnings.  And one for “up to 2000 Watts”, that warns to use only for “non-electronic heating appliances”.  50 or 2,000 Watts?  Really?  How does that even work?  I can wire a light, but this stuff is beyond my ken.  In any case, seems that the lever was switched to the 2000 Watt setting. In retrospect, that was probably not the correct one!  DOH.  So, now we are almost definitely minus one US DVD player and possibly minus one less-than-useful $50 voltage converter.  In the plus column- er, well, honestly not much in the way of additional understanding!

But, we do still need to figure out how to get adapters that WILL work.  Only now we need to do it in German.  Wish us luck!  

Other Adventures:

Every weekend we try to do a couple things.  1) we try to get out and explore someplace new.    2) David tries to take the kids out for a long walk.  Sometimes I go along and sometimes we combine 1 & 2, but we figure these are good uses for our German weekends.

This week we skipped #1 since we will be spending the week on that project (Köln and Zurich- Next blog!).  But, David wanted to take the kids for a walk today, so around lunch time he gathered them up and headed out.

About 20 minutes later the sky opened up.  I mean it was WET.  For the next hour and a half it alternated between torrential cloudbursts and dry spells or sprinkles.  I had no idea which direction they had chosen to walk, but I thought they might appreciate a ride home, so I tried calling.  Only to discover that we had no cell service for some reason!  All three cells at home (kids and mine) were unable to call out.  Come what may, their journey would be unassisted by me.  I laid out some towels and a sign by the door:

Hopefully it means “For Drying”

Then I waited.  And waited. Finally, the phones started working again and I got a hold of David.  It wasn’t a good connection, but they were on their way home and they were fine.  Here is what they looked like when they arrived:

He even brought home a loaf of bread

Not a drop of water on them!!! They had waited out the first downpour in an ice cream parlor, eating the kids’ first triple scoop cones ever.  The kids thought this was quite the wonderful adventure to be sure!  Then they had made their way home ducking into strategic locations along the route.  The weather was hot and humid when they left, so, yeah, that is how they were dressed.  No jackets or hats.  Just some good timing and judicious use of shops, awnings and bus-stops.  Definitely some memory building there!

Anyways, next week’s blogging should include some fun stuff.
European Travel, Gaming Cons and Friends

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