Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a Small World

I am, believe it or not, incredibly patient with All Things Computer. But this is largely because I am Change Averse.

I've mentioned this characteristic before in regards to travel and new experiences in general.

I don't like change or new experiences very much. And I'll suffer through no end of inconvenience to avoid having to Try Something New.

But The Spouse is getting me a new computer for Christmas and boy, oh boy, am I ready for that! Especially today.

Dear God, why is my computer so freakin' slow today?

Maybe it knows I've already mentally dragged its sorry ass to the DUMPSTER! and it is just stickin' it to me one more time.

I know I am getting a new computer because The Spouse called me the other day and asked me what he was getting me for Christmas this year. As in, "Did you already buy yourself something for Christmas?"

I had not. Because I don't know nuthin' about computers.

There was a time, back when I got paid to go to an office, when I would, honestly, go through the manuals that came with the software when I didn't have anything to do.

Really. It's true. Because there was also a time when I sometimes got paid to document software. And I know hardly anyone ever opens those manuals. And documenting software is about the most thankless job out there.

Okay, teaching first grade is the most thankless job out there.

But documenting software for a living is B-O-R-I-N-G.

So I would, from time to time, read the software and go through the tutorials. Just because I could.

Alas, I cannot do that with this computer because, you see, we bought this computer in Austria and that means I have a German operating system. Also I have an Argentine copy of Word.

So after having the computer yell at me in idiomatic Viennese, it is such a pleasure to open up Word. Because Spanish is sooooo easy.

Why did I ever complain about Spanish verbs?

The subjunctive? Bring it on.

Two forms of the verb to be? Child's play.

Because even The Spouse has to resort to google at times in order to translate some of those German error messages.

My new computer is a Dell Inspiron 1545 Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300, 2.1GHz 800Mhz, 1M L2 Cache. I don't know what any of that means. I do know it is being shipped to the Winter Dacha in the Ancestral Village, and that it is scheduled to arrive there about ten minutes before I have to get back on a plane to return to Moscow.

As long as it gets there.

But none of this has anything to do with what I sat down to write about. It is what came to me as I tried to load photos off my camera and onto my PAINFULLY SLOW COMPUTER THAT IS GOING TO THE DUMPSTER AND I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.

What I was going to write about was that The Spouse had to fly to London last night.

(Yes. I know. He also has to fly to Sweden on December 20, which, you may note, is ONE DAY AFTER  he was supposed to fly to the Ancestral Village. But this is all fodder for another blog entry.)

Since The Spouse normally takes the girls to school, when he is away then I have to take the girls to school. I decided to use the opportunity to hop over to the gym right after and do my swim.

As I was walking up the sidewalk in front of the Radisson hotel . . . the lovely, salted sidewalk of the Radisson hotel . . . the only salted sidewalk I have ever seen in my time here in Moscow . . . I saw, standing in front of the hotel, a guy I knew from Bratislava.

He was Food and Beverage Dude for the Radisson there back about the time I was IWC Women's Club President. So Food and Beverage Dude was my good friend. I used to have to hotel kitchen cater my own parties for me because the food was good and extremely reasonably priced. I just loaded everything into the back of my car (ahhh . . . the car! I used to have a car! I even drove it myself!) and kept it all in the garage which was like a giant Walk-In Refrigerator in the winter.

Anyhow, I think I scared the bejeezuz out of him because I could not remember his name, but walked up to him and said, "I KNOW YOU!" His eyes got really big for a moment until he figured out that I was not some Deranged Stalker in a Big Russian Fur Hat.

Isn't that funny? I mean, it makes sense that he would end up at another Radisson. It even makes sense that he might work for a Radisson in Russia. But that he would happen to be standing outside on a day when I changed my routine and happened to walk by?

Things like this happen to me all the time in Moscow.

A funny story about F&B Dude requires you to know that he is not a very big person. He is one of the most professional people I have ever met. Impeccably dressed. Always on the ball. But he is not much taller than I am and I probably out weigh him by a good 30 pounds.

You have to know this for the story to be funny.

He liked my kids. And my kids always liked the chef statue that stood in front of the hotel restaurant in Bratislava. You've seen them, right? It looked sort of like this. Except the hand that held the sign broke. So it was useless to F&B Dude, and he told my kids they could have it.

Like I need a chef statue.

Anyhooooo, I went to the hotel to pick up the statue. F&B Dude was not about, so I told the restaurant manager that I was there to pick up the little man.

That's what I said. "The little man." Because I didn't speak Slovak very well. I figured the manager would know what I mean. I even gestured. I held my hand about chef statue height.

He told me to wait a moment.

When he returned, he did not have my chef statue with him. Oh, no. He brought me F&B Dude.

Speaking of Food and Beverage, I saw Jamie Oliver make this pumpkin soup on the teevee the other night. I made several modifications to it:
  • I didn't have any coriander seeds, so I just used garlic and chili pepper on the roasting pumpkin.
  • I didn't have any chestnuts, so I roasted a zucchini and added that to the soup instead.
  • I used my regular (Hungarian) bacon. 
  • I had fresh sage, but it had been in the fridge for a while, so it was sort of dried sage. I didn't use a lot, because I didn't want the stick-like stems in the soup. But I crushed up some leaves with my fingers and added them.
It was so good, I have roasted some more pumpkin today, and I'm making another batch.

What happened to the chef statue, you might ask?

In Bratislava, there was a place out by one of the malls where you could drop off certain things that didn't really belong at the landfill and that the garbage collection people would not take away. I lived there for almost seven years and did not figure this out until a few weeks before we moved to Moscow.

One day, while the children were safely playing at someone else's house, I took Chef there rather than move a broken statue to Moscow. And, although the Internet said the place would be open, it was not.

So I carefully lowered Chef over the fence and drove away fast fast.

The next day I came back with more things to drop off. The facility was open. And Chef had a position of honor by the front gate.


valentina said...

I am, as you well know, also very change adverse. For instance I always order the same thing on the menu and for 6 years ate orange beef every Monday night at our regular 7pm Monday night Chinese dinners. Then I switched to LoMein for a few years and then sweet and sour chicken which they made fun of me for as it is not "Real" Chinese food, but I liked it. Now I am into 2 eggrolls and half an order of pot stickers... I will probably eat this for a couple of years. We have begun our 11th year of Monday night Chinese...

And I will eat the same thing every day for lunch for 2 weeks with no complaint if I like it... I was the kid who ate a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich every day through 6 years of grade school...( and BTW you probably are right about teaching 1st grade as being a thankless task, although I teach college and sometimes wonder if it isn't?)

So I can truly relate to the change resistance. I always wondered if this were just me or if others have it and now I know you do too. The thought of new computers sends shivers through me... They switched my teaching lab from Macs to Dells and I still have not adjusted. I have had 6 Macs over the years at home and always one in my office at the university so this was no small adjustment.

But then I discovered my students could all just help each other and I didn't have to learn to use a Dell after all! But it NEVER would occur to me to read a manual! And I taught instruction writing for years. I always told my students " You are writing to a hostile audience! They do not WANT to read what you are telling them!" Oh how true that is!

Good luck with your new present! I am sure you will adjust just fine, unlike some of us who would be throwing tantrums at having to give
up our Macs for a PC! xov

Momo Fali said...

That story is great! Too funny!

Tina in CT said...

I agree that your story is funny.

Does that mean that your husband will be joining you and the girls at your midwest home at a later date?

I am in a packing frenzy, worrying that I won't find all the bills that need to be written before I leave and that I'll forget something that needs to be done. I had such high hopes of quiet evenings this week with the dog watching Lifetime Xmas movies. Fat chance! I leave on Fri. for your -5 degree weather wearing my fat, puffy, down coat. I'll be the one wearing the Cinderella blue down coat.