Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What I Miss

People ask all the time what I miss from the U.S. Our friends and family, of course. "What else?" is the inevitable next question. Nothing, really. (JT interjects, "TiVo!!") I mean, our lives are so rich in other ways (J: "Football!!") that there's not really time to miss anything ("TEEEEEVVVOOOOO!!").
While we were in Strasbourg this week, I realized that there is something I miss: warm water. That is, turning on a faucet, making some adjustments, and having the water coming out of a single tap at a perfect 98 degrees.

Ahhh, the bold look of Kohler.

Instead, I have this:

The nightly facewash involves darting my hands back and forth quickly between the two taps. If I can't be bothered to do that, I have the choice of freezing cold or scalding hot (I'm not sure, but I think our hot water may be freshly boiled). Even doing the dishes in the kitchen has hazards. Yes, there's actually one tap (but two knobs) for that one. But check this out:

(Ignore the crud around the faucet; it's hard water residue. So, crud, I suppose.) (Also, yes, that is a moldy water damage spot on the ceiling, an ongoing point of argument with the property managers. The spot resulted from the fact that the 2nd floor bathtub overflow, rather than flowing back down into the drain, actually literally overflows down the side of the tub, 'round to the other side of the bathroom, and down through the floor/ceiling. I say they should fix the tub; they say they'll paint over the spot.)

Anyway, back to the kitchen faucet. As you can see, it has two sides -- one for the hot water, and one for the cold water. They're decently mixed by about 4 inches below the faucet, but any higher and you get two distinct streams of water.

So forgive me if I splash around in your sink for a little longer than normally acceptable when I visit. It's the little things I miss.

What we don't miss:

Grape jam.

I know, I know. We told all of you about how Europe doesn't do grape jam. They import everything else -- Starbucks, McDonalds, Old El Paso, Budweiser, even Skippy in laughably tiny jars -- but no grape jam. The thing is, dear wonderful, fabulous friends and family that you are, oh how we love you so, you ALL SEND GRAPE JAM.

So, at least for now, please save your pennies on shipping -- and your jam. We've got a healthy stash. (JT: Psst, that's only a 4-month supply. Spring visitors: bring jam.)

1 comment:

John Kelly said...

I have the same sort of plumbing in my Oxford house. I've mastered shaving in a basin of water mixed to the perfect temperature, but washing my hands in the kitchen sink (because the downstairs loo doesn't have a sink) means choosing between scalding hot and freezing cold. The hot is amazing, a lawsuit waiting to happen. And we have the same tub-overflow issue, though we were warned about it. "Don't let your tub overflow," the rental agent said. Oh, okay! Thanks!