‘Are we idiots? Wait – don’t answer that’

I’m going to answer that. Yes, we are idiots. It’s official. And now my landlord probably knows it because I WhatsApp’d him about our stove top drama – requesting a tutorial at his earliest convenience. His answer ‘OK’. Its not ‘Fine’ but it might as well be.

We haven’t been able to cook. We can use the oven – but that took two of us and a lot of pressing, pulling and what not. It shouldn’t be this hard to cook a pizza, but alas. It was. And it came with a great deal of arguing.

‘Stop pressing that! I just pressed it and the light came on. You pressed it and the light went off!’

‘Does the light have to be on?’

‘I don’t know, but light seems better than no light.’

Eventually, I just pressed a bunch of buttons, turned knobs and the oven started getting hot. Do we understand Celsius v. Fahrenheit? No. But we know 100 Celsius is boiling so we backed into a temperature that seemed right to cook a pizza.  That was 4 days ago. Since then, we’ve eaten out, or had crackers and water.

We couldn’t get the range hood to work either. We had to be doing something wrong.

Jeff just came into the room where I’m reading.

‘Induction.’ He announced.

‘What?’ I was confused – We don’t have those in the US – not that I’ve heard of.

‘Induction. That stove top uses induction to generate heat.’ And then he pulled me off the bed to come with him into the kitchen.

‘How do you know that and why do I care?’ I asked.

‘Look.’ And he pointed to the cook top. Sure enough, right there is said ‘Induction‘ on the burners.

‘So?’ It meant nothing to me.

‘Induction cook tops use magnets to heat the pan. These people had childproofed the world in here. It’s an induction cook top.’

‘Huh?’ I’m not going to say I wasn’t impressed. ‘Get the pan I brought and let’s see.’ I had brought a copper pan to heat my milk for my coffee in the morning. I haven’t been able to use that little pan and it’s made me cranky.

We put water in the pan and again, we fought over button pushing and lights and numbers flashing. The pan didn’t heat. I needed to deflect. Jeff had taken out a pair of his precious, hard-to-buy-size shoes from one of the suit cases, so I could pack my copper milk pot. I started pushing button on the range hood and the light and fan went on. Mystery solved there. Guess the stove top power controlled those.

‘I think you’re wrong about it.’

‘I think I’m right. The copper pan isn’t magnetic.’ Then he went to look it up to prove he was right, and damn it! He was.

‘We need to get these ‘Induction Hobs’ for your copper pot. That’s the only way it will work.’

‘Seriously? I can’t find a yoga mat in Valencia. I’m going to find an ‘Induction Hob’?’

‘I know where to get one. I bet ‘The Worten’ has one. They sell induction cook tops.’

So where are we walking a mile to, right now in the dark? Yes, The Worten. We live at the Worten. It’s like when we used to live at The Home Depot back in the US. We’d make 3 trips a day on the weekends for some home project or another. We’ve already given these ‘Worten‘ people over 3000 euros and I can’t go anywhere because they’re always gong to deliver something. And now I’m going to give them more money for Induction Hobs.  Dear Lord.

But we will go and we will buy these things. And tomorrow night we will eat lasagna with sauce I will start in the morning and cook all day. I have all the spices for it. I’ll just have to make one of my many trips to the Mercadona and El Chino tomorrow. But these Idiots are going to eat homemade pasta with garlic bread and a ceasar salad for dinner tomorrow night. Now I just gotta get Jeff to call the crane operator to arrange to have my couch brought through the window of a 6th floor apartment. Baby steps.


Mopping Things Up

Whenever you move from one place to another, there is always a period of time where you straddle both places. Bills from the old place that need to be paid. Banking from one place to another. Stuff like that. We have a lot of that stuff and today is the day to knock a lot of it out.

Our old bank in the US had us sign a bunch of papers before we left. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but suffice to say, they screwed it up and we’ve had to buy a printer, scanner and fax machine so that we can go back and forth to fix it all. The first one we bought last week arrived broken. But today? Success! We are scanning, signing and faxing and we’re finally getting it all straightened out – I hope.

I learned how to use our bank’s ATM and change my PIN so I can use the card at the grocery store now. It seems like a stupid thing but it’s been hanging over me and I have been putting it off. Now I’m good to go.

I still can’t log into our bank online. We finally have Spanish cell phones but you have to log in online to to change our American cell #’s to our Spanish cell #’s and we can’t log in until we get those damn short codes that we can’t get on our American cell phones. Ugh. So I can’t change my phone number on my account, so I can log in and change my phone number. It may require a metro ride and a chat with my friendly banker, Ana.

We’ve ordered all our appliances and by Friday I am assured that our clothes will be spinning in our very own washer/dryer. We will be wearing clean clothes again! Who knew I’d feel so excited about that.

On Saturday, we ordered our dishwasher. It will take 3 weeks they say. But then they always under promise and over deliver here. Which I find I LOVE!

‘It will be 10 days for your cell phones to arrive.’

Heavy sigh. Then 24 hours later I get an email that I can pick them up at the store.

Jeff’s monitor arrived and it works and is now set up in his office. He’s happy again and I know this because his corny, and very obscure, jokes have surfaced. On our walk yesterday through the Jardin del Real we were looking at the different palm trees. Each is signed with the Genus, etc.

‘Soon you won’t even have to look at the signs to know which ones they are.’ He told me.

‘Yeah, why’s that.’ I asked

‘You’ll be a ‘palm reader.’

Yes, that’s Jeff in a nutshell. And he’s back to being him.

Today, I’ll be buying a shredder – yes, I’m a little addicted to seeing important papers with my identity numbers cut into infinitesimal pieces while I watch. It’s a hobby now.

And in a bit, I’ll be heading to ‘El Chino’ to pick up yet more household items. They’re closed for siesta right now, so I have to wait. I can’t quite see the store from our balcony so when I tried to go earlier I found the cage across the door way.

Oh well, I needed to go to the Mercadona anyway to buy some salt and pepper and garlic powder. Not that I’m cooking anything. We still can’t figure out how to turn on the stove top and the landlord has been busy. Yes, we’ve downloaded the Balay manual in English, but the people before us had little kids and this place is over-the-top childproofed. I think it requires a code they set up. Ugh. Any way – like I said, we aren’t cooking anything but I like to have spices.  It makes me feel better.

So I headed to the Mercadona and attacked their spice section. WOW! They had a lot. I held up Google translates photo app and decided to purchase one of each kind. I mean, when might I need sweet v. regular paprika? I have no idea, but when I do, I’ve got it! And the spices here are CHEAP. Garlic back home was like $5. Here it’s .55 euros. Crazy.

I’m used to being stared at now, so when I went up to the check out and put all my spices on the belt and heard others commenting on it behind me, I took it in stride. And then, just like everyone else, I put in my Spanish bank card and it worked. I feel almost like a local. Just like in every other instance, slowly but surely, it will all come together.