There is good news and bad news with the new house. The good news is we finally have internet. Yay! No more tethering to Spanish mobile. And the guy who came to install it was such a pro. Jeff made me write a glowing letter to Pedro’s friend at the cable company.
Jeff was giddy. ‘The guy says we have true fiber. Portugal was so far behind installing new technology. But their government has gone heavy on the funding the 5 years so they’ve leapfrogged older technology. So we aren’t like many other places – like our apartment in Valencia- where they say they’re fiber but use coax from the street into the house. We are fiber all the way, baby!’
And, no kidding, it’s lightening fast internet. Crazy fast. The bad news is that it turns out all that amazing ceramic tile is like a Faraday cage and there will be no immediate service in the kitchen or dining room. Jeff is plotting a solution. But with this type of news our remodel will have some new design requirements.
And Jeff has acquired a new best friend who he spent the morning getting to know.
‘They always send me out to the people who only speak English.’ He told Jeff. ‘But I can tell you where other Americans live in this area.’
So now we know.
In other news – Living in Valencia, I went to the store nearly every day. We didn’t live like we used to in the US when we would do a big shop weekly for groceries or a huge Costco run. But now that we live where we do, outside of town, we have to go back to our old ways. Making lists, checking in with the person who is waiting at home. Just in case. You don’t want to have to go back out for what you forgot because its a ways away.
Pre-Cv19 we ate out a lot. But during those months inside we cooked at home. At least our meals were healthier. And now that we need to plan our menus in advance, we are trying to do the same. But its been a bit of a challenge learning a new kitchen.
Jeff loaded the car with some of my small appliances. But the greatest challenge has been this. I call it The Beast.
This is my new oven and stove. Left side runs on gas. Right side on wood. I’m fine with that. The SMEG cooktop works great. How we’ll ever get it out of here when we remodel I haven’t a clue. But its the gas oven that has had me in fits.
Our first night here we stopped at the store and grabbed some groceries quickly before meeting the owners. Frozen pizza would be just fine since it had been a long drive from Valencia.
We unloaded the car and I preheated the oven so it would be ready to go after a couple of loads from the car. After 5 minutes, I came back to take the pizza out of the box and get it going. The oven was off. What? I followed the instructions the sellers (yes, they were arguing with each other) had given me during our walkthrough. Ugh. So I turned it all on again and put the pizza inside. The oven pulls out like a drawer. Its much easier to load/unload than other ovens I’ve had.
I went out to unload more stuff and came back. The oven was off. I opened the oven drawer, and while it was warm, the pizza was still frozen and sweaty looking. Huh?
Bending down, I went through all the instructions I’d been given.
‘Set the temperature first’
Then ‘select the mode’
The ‘push the on button’
Finally ‘set the timer’
I did all these things, again. Stood back and looked at The Beast. It was making those clicking sounds as heat is expanding the air inside. Great!
I went upstairs to unpack and set an alarm on my phone for 10 minutes. I’m a notorious oven-forgetter. Legendary or infamous in our family. Take your pick. There is the ‘Onion ring incident’ I’ve never lived down. And too many ‘Just cut the top layer off. It’ll be fine.’ Jeff has actually served me food I was cooking, after I forgot. ‘Oh.’ I say surprised, ‘Its done already?’ He just shakes his head. As part of my work release from kitchen-prison I had to agree to set timers.
I came back down to check on the pizza when the timer went off. Opening the oven drawer I could tell it wasn’t as hot as it should be. What?! I went thru all the procedures, again. The Beast hummed, again. I sat there and watched it, and waited. Minutes ticked by. It seemed to be getting hotter. At the 6:08 mark, it shut off. But why?
I would have fired our pizza oven up, or built a fire on the right side, but I didn’t have that kind if time. Or energy . So I did the procedures, yet again, and it started right up. Again, I sat there and watched. 6:08 it shut off. I checked the pizza. Not quite done. So I did it all, again. Jeff came into the kitchen.
‘Just set a timer. You don’t have to watch it.’ He told me like that would solve everything.
I explained the issue and he did something that makes me insane. ‘You’re probably not following the instructions. Let me try.’
This got him a free eye roll. But maybe I had missed something. So after it shut off again, I stood back and let him try. At the 6:08 mark it shut off. AGAIN!!
‘Huh. Something isn’t right.’ He stated like this was new news. Clueless I wanted to punch him, he wandered out of the kitchen to leave me to it. It took only one more ‘6:08’ and the pizza was done. We were tired. I would worry about the oven another time.
After completely forgetting about it, the next night I whipped up garlic, lemon, rosemary chicken with potatoes and approached The Beast. I would figure this out. No, I wouldn’t. As Jeff watched the sunset on the terrace shouting ‘It gorgeous tonight. Come see.’ I sat on the floor in front of the oven. Turning it back on every 6 minutes and 8 seconds. Could I gave called Pedro? Yes. But I call Pedro for everything now. My pride wouldn’t allow it. I began to wonder what garlic lemon rosemary chicken and potatoes would taste like on a stove top cooked in a frying pan.
It began impacting my culinary choices. Jeff noticed my creativity but didn’t make a big deal of it. He had no clue either. But then I had to meet Pedro to get the cable/internet set up. And I casually mentioned the oven.
‘It is a bit tricky.’ He agreed. ‘But if you remember to set the timer to blah blah blah you shouldn’t have a problem.’
‘I’m sorry. What was the setting?’ I asked.
‘22:38. Sorry for my English.’
It was the clock! That’s what they were fighting about that first day. So after my appointment with the internet provider, I went home and made some teriyaki skewers and it worked! If I set the clock to 22:38 the oven will stay on FOREVER!! I feel sure there are other secrets The Beast is hiding. I’ll find them eventually. But for now I’m satisfied with our temporary detente. And if worse comes to worse I’ll order UberEats on our lightening fast internet.