Posted in June 2012

Internet Is Officially Dead

A guy showed up at the apartment last week and “did some things”, and now our internet doesn’t work. I did not realize this would happen. I was scheduled to go to Kieler Woche, a giant festival up in northern Germany with my brother. I had not yet exchanged phone numbers, or figured out where I actually needed to go.

Well, I’m back now, and everything worked itself out. I’ll post more about it later, but basically I spent the last week selling “New York burgers” out of a stand at the festival. It was a really great time, filled with burgers, real Brooklyn IPA, and shots of pear alcohol. I need to go back to sleep.

And as soon as our internet is back, I’ll post more.

Will We Win?!

Lidl Lottery

Lidl Lottery

You get to play if you spend over 30 Euro at Lidl (a discount grocery store). It says we have to scratch off the soccer balls and reveal three “goals”, in which case we win the prize in the center (which we have to scratch off to see).

What will we win?? Stay tuned!

Longest Word So Far

Einzelverbindungsnachweis.

That was on our bill for the internet connection. It contains 25 letters, and means “itemized bill”.

While I was typing it in, I thought “gosh, have I hit the spacebar in the past few seconds? Did I miss a space? Did they miss a space?”

Kloster Andechs Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel

Kloster Andechs Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel

Kloster Andechs Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel

I’ve sampled a lot of beer here in Germany. I go to the grocery store and grab almost every single kind of beer they have. I skip the ones in plastic bottles, but the rest come home. Sometimes I drink them warm. Sometimes I drink them cold. Depends on how I feel that day, really.

Throughout this experimentation, I’ve never been amazed. German beers tend to be very similar to each other. Sometimes a beer will be a bit stronger than average, or have a particular quality that shines through (maybe better to say “peeks through”), but it’s never very far away from the average.

So you can imagine my delight when I tried this one. Rich and delicious. I’m sure I had several other adjectives to go along with it, but I drank this almost 3 weeks ago. But even though I don’t remember what it really tasted like, I do know it was the best German beer I’ve had yet. Really quite great.

Budweiser Budvar

Budweiser Budvar

Budweiser Budvar

I’ve been slacking off with the beer posts. And the meat posts, to be honest. The reason for this is because posting lots of small photos that require heavy editing, are just a pain in the ass. My laptop has performed admirably, but it’s no speed demon.

Luckily for you, my desktop has arrived. So without further ado, I bring you: Budweiser! But not the American version! In fact, they’re two completely separate companies. This one is based in Czechoslovakia.

Unfortunately, the beer is still boring.

Next.

Real Genuine 100% Pure German Sauerkraut

As soon as our boxes arrived from the States, I unpacked my sauerkraut jar. This is a typical glass mason-type jar, which I have been using to make sauerkraut for about a year now. I already had non-iodine salt. I just needed some cabbage.

Everyone knows what the typical head of cabbage looks like. The grocery store only had one (gross) head of normal cabbage left. The only ones left were strange. So I picked the strangest of them. If we are going to go weird, we may as well go all out.

Cone-head Cabbage

Cone-head Cabbage

It turns out to be only weird in shape. The smell and touch and are exactly what I was use to, and if handed a few chunks of cut cabbage, I’d have not known the difference.

So our first batch of real German sauerkraut is in progress! Made with German salt, with a weird German cabbage, in a fantastic German city. In a French-made glass jar. Weighted down by an American microbrew pint glass. Maybe it’s more like 98% German. Close enough.

First Batch of Sauerkraut!

First Batch of Sauerkraut!

The real fun will be trying all the other weird cabbages. I wish I had some more glass jars.

Our Junk Arrived!

Boxes of Junk

Boxes of Stuff

It took about 7 weeks, but all our worldly belongings finally made it to Germany! We had them shipped by boat, which takes forever. Every day, I longed for a sharp kitchen knife and a sauce pan. And I can’t wait to get my rocking chair put together. The floor in this apartment is ridiculously hard.

There were a few small damages to larger furniture items, but everything packed in a box looks good. What I didn’t see coming, was electric problems. Before we left the US, I went around and checked a bunch of electronics. My computer? Check. Monitor? Check. Various other things? Check. Everything else? Forgot to check!

So here is a comprehensive list of all the electronics we shipped three thousand miles, and can not currently use.

  • Rice cooker
  • Bread maker
  • Computer speakers
  • UPS battery backup
  • Laser printer

I was hoping to avoid getting a voltage converter, but it looks like we’re going to need one. I hate converters.

But enough of that! Time to make some sauerkraut!

 

Loud.

Germany just won against Portugal in the European Cup. It’s very loud outside.

 

The State of Laundry Technologies and Their Effects On A Modern Household

When we lived in New York, laundry involved several awful steps. And it was always awful. Not so bad that we didn’t do laundry when necessary, but bad enough for me to start whining the day before. Soul-sucking boredom. And folding was a pain too, because it meant you had no choice but to stand near Really Annoying Guy.

Stuttgart doesn’t seem to have many laundromats at all, so we really needed a washing machine quickly. But washing machines are expensive, so I spent several days researching our options. It had to be small, because our hookups are in a tiny corner of our bathroom. So small, that if you were to plot the depths of all the washers and dryers on the market, we’d be left with the smallest third of the “small washers” market. 58 centimeters is not a lot of room.

You are probably aware that we had the option of stacking a dryer on top of the washer, but what you might not know, is that they make washer-dryer machines that are all in one! You just stick your clothes in, add detergent, and set some options. Bam! Some hours later, you have clean, dry clothes! We wanted one. And it was cheaper than buying two machines.

Well, long story short, we got one. It’s sitting in our bathroom right now. It’s glorious. We’ve only washed three loads so far, but it’s perfect. We’re still experimenting with the options. Oh, and it has a timer to delay the start until later, so you can launder overnight if you wish. The only downside is that washing takes at least three times as long as it used to. The Cotton cycle with drying can be almost four hours long!

But it seems to do a great job. And we don’t have to leave our apartment to do laundry. And it looks kick-ass. There’s a display that tells us how much time is left, the current cycle mode, and error messages when you try to mess with it. And the spin cycle sounds like a fighter jet. A quiet fighter jet.

I’ve stopped whining about laundry day.

Internet Nightmare Horror

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but there’s a chance we’ll be without internet for several days. I realize, moms, that this isn’t what you wanted for your children. You taught us to call early, with plenty of time to have a technician set up the modem.

We called a couple days before we moved. We ordered DSL service from O2 and assumed that the internet package would arrive in about a week. That’s what we deserve for ordering late; a few days of stealing internet from neighbors!

When we moved in, the previous tenant (who we knew) was boxing up his modem, and said “Hey guys, did you order internet already?” And we said yes. So he called the company to see if they could just switch our service to his modem. Unfortunately, that was too complicated. So in an act of great kindness, he left his modem with us. It was already paid, so it didn’t cost anyone anything.

After a week of not hearing from the company, I called their hotline.

“Sprechen Sie Englisch?” No.

“Sprechen Sie Englisch?” No.

FINE.

I walked to an O2 store and talked to them about it. The lady offered to call them herself. Some words were exchanged.

“When did you sign up?”

“Last week”

Last week??

Apparently, one week is waaaaay too short to expect a telecom company to set up a service. Silly Americans! They need at least three weeks. THREE WEEKS?! So we’ll probably have to return our borrowed modem before our new modem arrives.

Anyway, if anyone wants to mail us a care package filled with internet, we’d both appreciate your kindness.