Monday, November 8, 2010

2010 11 08 - Ya Moskoviche: Domestic Life

Ya Moskovite means I am a Moskovite or I am from Moscow. Actually Billie Jo has informed me the Russian term is Muscoviche.

I am none of the above really, but up until now pretty much all you have read about is sight seeing, relaxing, and me whining about doing a little school work (and breaking my fiancee's camera).

Well if you are staying in an area for two months (or five months in Jo's Case) Not all is a vacation. You need to get involved in the chores of living there. These means all of life's commercials - stuff like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

Monday is an off day for me while Billie Jo is at work and I try and take care of a few domestic items on my day off.

We have a washer but no dryer. This is not a huge problem except the washer is a little small - perhaps that is fine for Billie Jo and all her girl clothing, but you get about two pairs of boy clothing in there like my Levi's and the thing is stuffed.

Washing Machine Control Panel

As you can tell this should be easy for me to use - the buttons are set up just like a cassette player, er, I mean CD or DVD player for you youngsters, er, I mean an mp3 Player - There is probably a more contemporary reference, but that is as far as my 40+ brain has progressed. At any rate there is a Play/Pause button and that is something I understand. We always use the delicate cycle - there are about a dozen of them - they are on the dial and could be the signs of the zodiac for all I know. The Zodiac sign for Delicate is a Flower.

Regardless the washing machine in Russian is much easier to operate than that thing we had in Paris - I am convinced the French folks were just messing with us and that wasn't really a washing machine - it probably was a cassette player.

The washing machine is located in the kitchen - we also have a dishwasher but rarely use it - Jo probably used it all the time before I got here, but no longer feels the need since she now has me doing the dishes.

The stove is a bit of an oddity it has gas burners but an electric oven. We A) turn on the gas line and B) hand light the burners each time we use the stovetop - I have never worked in a restaurant kitchen but years of living shall we say this, uh.. Quaint apartments have trained me at this whole stove lighting business. Still I get nervous every time. My advice to any novice is to always light the burner with your left hand.


Instant Coffee

Coffee (KOFE in Russky) within the Russian home is largely of the instant variety. I am pretty much a coffee novice and this is not an issue for me - until relatively recently the coffee I typically consumed was free sludge at work. Russians like Thais and other Asians are big tea Drinkers, we have a special electric pitcher which heats water rather quickly - I think somebody has been hinting one of these would be handy for home use in the states. Language Lesson: The Russian word for Tea is CHAI.


This Confuses Me

As you are likely aware I am obsessed with numbers and one of the oddities, that I think actually bothers me is that Eggs here come in cartons of 10. It seems ridiculous. They have always come by the dozen all my life. Even in Thailand they come by the dozen.

Two other things about Russian Eggs 1) In the supermarket they are not stored in refridgeration units. I have also seen this in Thailand, which is significantly more troubling as temperatures there soar into the 90s even at Christmastime. 2) The Eggs - as well as most other perishables are stamped with a packaging date rather than an expiration date. Of course, Billie Jo and I have no idea of what the plant -> shelf -> Salmonella timeline for Eggs, milk or cheese may be. The Eggs are packed in a couple different box types - the cheaper of which always have he earliest "born on" date. This is one place where I upgrade.

Egg Carton

Notice the date on the top right. Typically the 6 character Russian Date is printed in DD.MM.YY format - that's Day Month Year for all you non-programmers out there. So this carton of eggs was packed or shipped or something on the first of November 2010.

Also, The only eggs available here are the brown variety. There is one advantage to brown over white eggs - it is easier to see the shells when you need to pick them out of a cup. They also seem a bit sturdier and require a bit more impact to crack.

Washing Machine with Fabric Softener and Dish Soap

Um, I thought some folks in our more juvenile audience may get a kick out of the name of the Russian Dish soap.

It has occurred to me that "Fairy" is underused term to attack ones masculinity - I once heard a rather clean tongued acquaintance of mine use the term within an emotional outburst directed at a hockey player for taking a dive. I believe the player was Alexander Ovechkin - Stinkin Fairy.

Hope your enjoying all this talk about eggs and food, It doesn't end here - Tomorrow I am thinking of hitting the Russian Supermarket - Note our grocery store was decorated for Christmas on the first of November.

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