Friday, September 4, 2009

In Which I Have a Bone to Pick


This is my stove.

It is a behemoth with four gas burners and two electric burners on the top. Inside there is only one oven rack, but it is large enough to hold a Thanksgiving turkey or two lasagna dishes. Those are the good things about it.

The cons?

First, you have to light the gas burners and the oven with matches. I am not afraid of gas stoves. But I wish I could find an appropriate clicker here so I wouldn't have to be scrambling for matches all the time or taking them from local restaurants. Airlines frown on putting those nice clickers in your checked luggage. I know because I asked.

Second, the whole thing seems to pitch ever-so-slightly forward making cookware slide off the front two burners. All omelets and pancakes come out uneven. But even this I can live with; I just don't use the front burners (although The Spouse does).

What has really stumped me this week was the discovery that one of those electric burners is often on (i.e. hot to the touch) even though I never use those burners and the control dial on the front of the stove indicates that the burner is off.

Well, it isn't.

How on earth do I have that fixed?

Short answer: I probably won't. I'll just add that to the list of Things That Won't Get Fixed Because of the Language Barrier. That list includes

* The curtain rod in the living room that the cats pulled out of the wall and
* The piece of wood trim that holds the magnets that keep the doors closed that the cats pulled out of the closet.

Just an aside: We own pets because they lower our blood pressure, right? I mean, that's what all the literature says, doesn't it?

I don't know who to talk to about making these niggling repairs since Man Friday doesn't speak any English and neither problem seems worth bothering our Non-Russian-Landlords-Who-Live-in-China-Now.

It's not like I don't have tools here. I suppose I can fix at least the closet trim myself. But who wants to?

I can take solace in the fact that all of this makes for good blog material. Except lately I've been . . . well, vexed because it seems that when, say, dooce, one of my favorite bloggers, has a domestic problem, all of the Internet reads her tale of woe.

Don't get me wrong. I adore dooce. I bought her book. I wish only the best for her, and that includes a minimum of domestic hassles. I laugh with her; I cry with her.

But her washing machine nightmare wasn't any funnier than mine. Not only did she get to solve the problem speaking her native language, but she got 2906 comments on her blog entry about it. Because she has a gazillion readers. I'm lucky if I get 100 readers a day (yeah, I know who all of you are, too . . . the Internet has powerful tools). I was reading along as she explained her predicament, and I was thinking, "Oh, I so feel your pain, girl. Now, let's take it from the top in Cyrillic!" (Go back to May 2009 and wander through the archives if you missed my saga. It goes on and on and on . . .)

Likewise, when I read her posts about the birth of her second child (go here, here, and here if you haven't read them already), it was like reading about my own Journey of Discovery Regarding Birth, which also took place largely in another language except that time it was in Spanish which no one can complain is too hard. I mean, really.

Okay, dooce gets the points for that one since she actually recorded her experiences because, like, blogs weren't invented yet when Skittles was born. But I think I ought to get some credit for getting there first. And for the ensuing police investigation. Dooce didn't get to have a file opened up when she applied for her kid's passport, nor did she get to have her building super whisked away by the cops for questioning about the señora on the séptimo piso. Seems the Argentines find it a bit odd when an almost-40-year-old American woman has a homebirth in the center of Buenos Aires. It is a good story, and it's even almost funny now looking back, and I suppose I really ought to write down what I can remember nine years later while I can still remember the details, if only for Skittles and not my own shameless blog self-promotion.

The point of all my rambling here, I guess, is the fickle nature of the Blog-O-Sphere. Okay, first you actually have to write stuff down. But then it seems so capricious which blogs manage to attract readers. Even the Julie/Julia Project . . . you know, the blog, the book, the movie with Meryl Streep? . . . How did readers find her blog in the beginning?

Because, let's be honest here. I want Meryl Streep to play me in the movie.

On a sunnier note, the doorbell rang rather late last night. I had just returned from the opening of HOW DO YOU DO . . . MOSCOW? (because I was one of the people they photographed . . . look for me . . . "The Blogger") which is a very cool project about expats by expats. You should check it out. Anyhow, at the door was our neighbor with a huge bowl of apples from their dacha.

Aren't they lovely?

I'm making apple crisp today, that's for sure.

The Spouse wants to know why, if they have a dacha large enough to produce so many apples that they can afford to give huge quantities to the neighbors, why haven't we been invited out there yet?


Tina in CT said...

OMG! You had your daughter at home when giving birth in Argentina! How many gray hairs did that give your mother?

The Expatresse said...

She was there, actually. It was a water birth, but NOT unattended. In fact, I had an OB, his midwife, AND a neo-natologist present.

petersblurb said...

If you are only using the gas on the cooker, why don't you simply unplug it from the electricity?

Ian said...

Well I like reading your blog! It is always entertaining if nothing else. So you at least have some fans. How many people can really say that they have 100 people who listen to them all the time?

I tried writing my own blog but I found out that it is vastly more difficult to write something entertaining than it is to read something!

Did you see the apartment tour that the lady who writes "Adventures from Abroad. And her husband" was showing off? That is one nice Moscow apartment.

The Expatresse said...

petersblurb: BTW, I like your blog a lot. Re: unplugging, truthfully, I had not thought of that, but not sure I can get at the wires. I'll look. It's sort of built into the counter . . . can't even get under it to shim it (that's assuming I can get to a store to by the wood . . .

ian: I think I know all Moscow/Russia bloggers. Well, I know OF them. Except for the hard-core academic/poli sci types. I confess I don't read all of them.

VC said...

Good luck with all the repairs! Don't mess around with electrical burners though - there is no way of disconnecting them without lifting the panel of a stove.
You have a wonderfully sarcastic style; do record your past adventures, like you said, at the very least your kids would enjoy reading them.

Ann said...

Love your blog. I spent 2 years in Bratislava (now back in the US). I also read your Bratislava Babe blog. Just wanted to tell you that you have 101 readers.

jkatze said...

Dear Beet,

1. Your gas stove/oven problem can be easily solved - just get one of these
I guess you can buy one at a supermarket/hardware store or at a local market.

2. Don't let someone's blog success put you off. Your washing maschine epic was and is one of the funniest things I've ever read (including WRDIII and Crooky's outfit story)!

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