Monday, October 15, 2018

Adulting...Still Hard After All These Years

The night before I left for Canada, my dishwasher (19 years old) announced its imminent demise by dramatically activating the ground fault circuit interrupter. BAM! A little troubleshooting revealed that it is the fuse marked with "dishwasher". I tried switching it on and BAM, I was sitting in the dark again. The cold rinse cycle still worked and so I managed to get the water pumped off at least. Just in case, I deactivated that part of the fuse box before leaving for the airport.
When I came back,  I had a busy week with minimal time at home and accordingly did not need a lot of tableware. On Saturday, I tried my luck again and was met with the same dramatic show of instant darkness 10 minutes into the washing cycle. A little googling revealed that this is typical of dishwashers where the heating element is broken. Mehp. Not so great timing when you have dinner guests, but worse things can happen.
First moment of mild panic along the lines of "OMFG, how do I get this inbuilt beast out and how do I disconnect it?!". Then I found out you can pay a flatrate to have the old dishwasher removed and taken away for recycling as well as connected the new one. Yay.
Next moment of mild panic (or maybe not quite as mild anymore) when I took out my measuring tape and questioned that the new slimline dishwashers were quite the same size as mine, as in: "I think mine is extra slim". A little chat to a representative of the rare breed of "available household appliances sales person" convinced me the that a few millimetres don't matter and they are all standardised. As I did not quite believe him, I measured the solitary dishwasher they had displayed in the store, just to be sure.
Next moment of panic in the checkout process of the online store when I realised I could not specify a certain date (or at least a preference for one) when I would like to have my order delivered and installed. Just a rather vague time window. A call to the shop further confused me (shipping and installation is done by a third party vendor). I was torn between going for a model available in "1-3 working days" or another one "6-9 working days". What if this is just a random number and the delivery guys end up calling me while I'm in Hong Kong?! I eventually bit the bullet and ordered the "1-3 days" version. Fingers crossed! Sometimes it feels unfair to a) not have some competent adults making these decisions for you and b) not live in a nice commune with 3 people who work from home, or are retired already and have nothing better to do than to wait at home for deliveries and plumbers that announce their arrival "between 8:00 and 13:00". 
Plus, why don't dishwashers live eternally in the first place!

Monday, October 08, 2018

We Like to Move It, Move It! (Well, Sometimes)

Among the adjectives my friends use to describe me, "sporty" rarely features on top of the list, simply because I'm not. While I really love skiing and would gladly ski every day during the season if I lived in a ski resort town and had the opportunity to do so before or after work, I don't really do any other sports regularly apart from swimming, which I don't practice in a truly "sporty" way, either. This does not mean that I don't like to walk or move in general.
For this year's birthday, Frida gifted me tennis lessons because she desperately wanted to have a partner to play with and nobody in her family was eager to take on that role. I was really looking forward to it as I had actually toyed with the ideas of learning to play tennis myself. Somehow we struggled to find a time and place to put that plan into action and so she suggested a badminton course offered by the University of Vienna's Sports Institute instead, together with her hubby (known here as the Prototype). Well, last Thursday we had the first 1.5 hours session together with more than a dozen others, most of whom could technically be our children. It was SO much fun and the time was over really fast. If nothing else, our "laugh-muscles" were trained extremely well. Remembering the last time I played badminton, back when I was still as student myself, I also vividly remembered feeling like a granny with severe arthritis for days afterwards when I could hardly lower myself on the subway seats. I told Frida "Wait for those sore muscles!" "No way" she said (the Prototype was in my camp and also thought we'd feel this). Both of them run and work out regularly so I could be convinced that it would just affect me. The day afterwards was fine, but on Saturday, I struggled to climb stairs. I wrote into our WhatsApp group "And, still no sore muscles?" "OMG, the LEGS!!!" she answered. I'm relieved it's not just me who feels old and decrepit, but I am really looking forward to next Thursday.

Monday, October 01, 2018


As I am writing this, I am still in Canada, on the final leg of a 10-day road-trip with my mother, who gifted me this package tour for my birthday this year. I have to admit that I have a bit of a condescending attitude towards group holidays and did not greet this very generous gift with due respect and enthusiasm. With the exception of day tours in Australia and Japan I did not have a group-holiday experience since I was in Jordan with my Mum and this vacation had a rather traumatising element that both of us vividly remember to this day. I got violently sick the first night in Amman, shaking with a high fever that developed while Mum was out for a digestive walk and getting dehydrated so quickly that I passed out in the bathroom when getting up in the middle of the night to...well, you Mum waking up from the thump of me hitting the bathroom floor.  Not that this killer virus or whatever it was put me off group tours. Apart from the fact, that I love planning trips a lot (sometimes I think I should be a tour-operator in my next life...)it also has a lot to do with the fact that I am a very impatient person and group tours tend to come with a lot of waiting for others, typically, and also that I get easily embarrassed on behalf of others (in German, we have a very apt description for this, fremdschämen). In all fairness, both are not to bad with the present tour in Canada and I realised that it is actually quite nice for a change to outsource THINKING and just do what you are told to do. It's like being a sheep in a herd, gladly flocking after the rest of the gang whenever you are told to look somewhere, go for a pee, or hunt for food. Not the worst experience...and yet I have to say that could not imagine just travelling with groups of random strangers rather than with a handpicked set of select friends.
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