Did I ever tell you about the thirteenth pay month? Here in Germany, some companies, divide the annual salary over thirteen months. The thirteenth pay is also known as Christmas money. My husbands firm adds it to his wages at the end of November. Of course, once the tax man has bitten his ugly jaws into it, the final sum is nowhere near a months pay. But it’s still a great bonus. I heard from a friend recently, that due to the recession many employers have canceled Christmas money. Shame.
We have been looking forward to our Christmas money for some time now. We have never, at any point in time had any intention of spending it on Christmas. To be honest, I have already bought most of my presents. I like to be organized so I have as few panic buys as possible, remember the diabetic with her several kilograms of chocolate? Not good. Anyway in my experience, if I leave it all to the last-minute, I don’t really enjoy the run up to Christmas. Instead of soaking up mulled wine at the Christmas market, you’d see me dragging four kids through one crowded store after another, trying to hide potential present ideas from them (badly) and becoming frustrated, standing in long queues.
So now that we’ve completed most of the work in the house, well except for the terrace (technically, that’s outside the house), we figured, finally, we could treat ourselves.
And I have spent the last four years dreaming of a new cooker.
In case I haven’t told you before I like to cook. I mean, I really like to cook. And I cook really a lot. I love food and I love feeding other people. Generally, I cook twice a day, so a hot meal for lunch and then again for dinner. But the thing I really can’t stand, is when something isn’t cooked exactly right. When something goes wrong in the kitchen, I turn into an erupting volcano and in contrast when everything works well, I’m a happy bunny.
Armed with this knowledge, I’m sure you will understand that my last oven drove me to distraction. It cooked very unevenly, thus muffins at the back may well have been burnt while those on a lower shelf remained almost raw.
Lovely Mr Fix-It did his best. He took apart the oven, as is his way, and cleaned various parts and tended to them. But to little avail. The oven remained irregular and very annoying.
It has always been my wish to have a gas cooker. However, gas cookers are seldom used in German kitchens and Mr Fix-It expressed quite clearly that we would never have a gas cooker, as he felt them to be unsafe. If he knew just how often we’ve had a small fire with our electric cooker, I’m sure he may equate the dangers.
Which reminds me, yesterday as my hubby fitted our ‘only to be fitted by a qualified electrician’ new hob and I sat reading through the WHOLE of the instruction manual, I found myself again noticing the differences between us. Namely I needed to read the entire manual but still had no real idea of how my new hot plate worked, and he read not a word and just pressed things and had it up and running in a jiffy.
But the manual was informative to me. I have now been re-educated. Next time I set a pan of fat on fire I will just put a lid over it and turn the hot plate off. Instead of running through the full length of the house, past anxious children, and throwing the burning pan out onto the lawn.
The neighbours, will however, be less entertained.
So as you’ve by now gathered, the Christmas money has gone on a new cooker. After many lengthy discussions and several trips to the shops, we decided that there’s no real point in purchasing yet another substandard cooker. Instead, we should buy something that we’re both really happy with.
We purchased an induction hob and I can tell you, I’m not only happy I’m truly ecstatic. It’s better than gas! So hubby is pleased with it too. Yesterday, he managed to fry an egg in 20 seconds and I suspect that will become his new party piece. He informed me last night that he might actually ‘get into’ cooking.
The oven is separate and should be delivered in the coming days.
Our whole weekend has been based around our new cooker. The hob arrived on Saturday, then we went to a factory outlet to buy new pans. Bliss: buying kitchen stuff at bargain prices. And on Sunday we thought why wait for the oven? And fitted the new hob. Then cooked everything we had in the house.
So Christmas money spent, smiling faces we decided to relax. Watch a little TV.
Nope. The projector was DEAD.
While the man of the house dismantled, poked, shook, blew, hoovered, screwed, unscrewed and re-mantled – I hit the washroom.
Our washing machine is six and a half years old and is used on average twice a day. That doesn’t mean I wash every day. I don’t always get to it. What it does mean is that although I sometimes miss a day others I can churn out six full loads.
Can you guess what’s coming next?
The washing machine had decided not to spin the water out properly. I shook a t-shirt to hang on the rack and it splashed me. I put another load on hoping it’s just a blip. The fabric softener lay in the drawer, strangely untouched.
Upstairs the projector still wouldn’t play ball. My man by this point had retreated to the old-fashioned technique of hitting the appliance (actually that and kicking are the only two ways I personally have had any success in fixing something). But no joy.
I returned to the cold cellar and checked the next load. Very wet. Once the clothes finally dry they will also be crunchy as it appears the machine has developed a distinct dislike for lenor.
A dismayed Mr Fix-It did all he could with his tool kit.
He went to war with our washing machine but the battle has not been won.
Still, maybe the new oven will arrive today (now Monday). Hopefully the safety instructions will not say ‘Do not use this appliance to dry very wet washing’. After all I don’t think I will be able to use it for cooking for a while. Because when I got up this morning the fridge had decided to make a loud and somewhat disturbing noise.
Please note: This blogger is from here on in happy to review any electrical appliance, or for that matter any black or brown leather sofa. The latter should however be somewhat rip proof, unlike the one we apparently abuse at the moment.