Friday, February 20, 2009

Going Without: Update

Well, within 24 hours of my previous post here, the internet connection kit arrived in the mail, and the television guy came over to set up the dish, and we finally got a washing machine.

German washing machines are really interesting, and somewhat of an enigma to me. They have a very odd combination of energy efficient and energy consuming features. Axial (front-loading) machines are the norm, which makes sense, since these are much more energy- and water-efficient. And the machines have a gazillion settings for temperature, extra rinsing, prewash, lint removal, heavy items, light items, wool, you name it, so you can customize your wash settings. Finally, they tend to be pretty small: we have one of the largest non-commercial washing machines you can get, and it holds 7 kg (about 15 lbs). This is actually pretty convenient, since, of course we did not get a (mechanical) dryer, so we have clothes hanging in the living room on the indoor drying rack, and I am not sure it would be so fun to have a really large load of laundry draped about the house. It's only charming till you sit on a wet sweater.

All of these energy saving, Germanly efficient elements are super; however, the only setting on the machine that uses cold water is the wool-sweater setting, which also doesn't spin or agitate as much. The coldest "normal" wash temperature is 30 C (86 F). Mysterious lack of energy awareness, there. Also, wash cycles are measured in HOURS, not minutes. The "basic" wash setting is called 40-60 Mix, and it is 2 hours, 20 minutes from start to finish. This doesn't seem very energy efficient to me. What the heck is the machine doing for two and half hours, anyway? Stuff gets clean, you can be sure. The elastic in your socks might die after a week and half, but, by golly, it's clean!

Not much to say about the t.v. and internet, but the car search continues. We would really like to get one of these cool little van/car things they have here. They are like a compact car base with a little extra height and rear seats that are a bit higher than the front, sort of a microminivan. If you're curious, we are looking at (used) the Opel Agila and the Suzuki Wagon R+. Mercedes A160 or Toyota Yaris Linea are also in the running, but mostly too expensive for our budget. Looking for a used car is really annoying, especially without a car! We have looked at a few cars close by, but there is always the suspicion that there might be one cheaper in the city, but then we'd have to go to Hamburg. Not that Hamburg is particularly far by subway, but it seems all the used car dealerships are in places far from public transit. Funny how that works.

I will post again as soon as I find the USB cable for the camera. There are pictures of where we live as well some nice shots of the three of us. Then I will comment then on the weather, the landscape, our house and other fun stuff. Till then...

1 comment:

  1. Kelly! I hope that you are enjoying the adventure that you are on. What a ride thus far!

    I am sure that you will be an integral member of the village very soon, making an impression with your magical open smile and easy laugh on all the local wieners.

    Hugs to you all from the country with the Black President with the Arabic name.