Friday, September 5, 2008

Boxes, Brownies and Bargains

Moving Day

We are almost out of boxes now on the 4th day since the big move. I am down to mostly the boxes filled with stuff that we don't have a place for or wish we didn't bring...I have been excited with some of the 'good find' boxes - those boxes with items that you wish you had on day one or nice surprises of things you forgot that you brought...or the 'Oh, I've been looking for that...'kind of box. Yeah, but now I think I'm all out of the fun boxes, now it's just stuff - lots of stuff. The movers did unpack whatever we asked them, but there came a point when every surface was piled high with things - especially in the kitchen. I reached a point where I just had to say, "Open the box, but don't unpack...because really, do they need to unpack my underwear? Thanks, but I'll take care of that box. The movers were incredibly efficient. They were here at 9AM, and gone by 2:30PM, including a lunch break. All the furniture was unwrapped, in place, and tons of boxes unpacked! If they saw me dragging a box or trying to rearrange some small furniture piece they quickly took over the job and wouldn't let me lift a finger. Amazing.

A good find...

We were happy to find the box with the 4 boxes of Brownie mix from home. Connor and I decided to bake some before Kate and Nick got home from school. Normally, I would spray the pan with Pam - but that stuff costs 2500 Yen a can ~move the decimal two places and you get the general dollar amount~$25! So butter was actually cheaper in this case. I did find a different kind of butter at the market for about half the price, but it was in Japanese and the label also said one per customer - I would have bought them out. I'll let you know later what it tasted like - but I digress. Back to the attempt at baking brownies. I was happy to have my standard measuring cup, but had to work a bit more when it came to the gas oven. My choices were 1-8. Now, if I had to guess I'd pick 4, but I think that ended up to be about 450 I got out the apt. manual of appliances, a daily read, and studied the chart. The chart equated each number to something in Celsius, so then I had to google the conversion to Fahrenheit from there. Finally, I figured that I was going to bake these at #1! They actually turned out okay, a little crunchy around the edges, but the middle was chewy and delicious.

Cheap eats

So, I obviously can't get over the prices for food - 1200 Yen for cantaloupe. Somehow I feel better if I buy a quarter of one because it seems less expensive - I realize it's not. I saw a jug of maple syrup tonight for 4500 Yen! But, there are these wonderful bakeries everywhere, two of them close to the apt. I picked up a sandwich and then grabbed my diet Coke or Coke Zero from one of the million vending machines in the city and ended up with a total bill of 510 Yen. Now that's my kinda bargain. I think sometimes it is actually cheaper to eat out than in.

To go or not to go...

Another hot and sticky day today. We realized at the bus stop that Kate forgot her swimming stuff. They swim for PE each week for 1 1/2 hours. Nick gets to do it twice! It's fantastic. The pool is right next to the playground. If I were in Mpls, no problem, grab her stuff and run it over. Not so easy here. I really debated on whether or not to take it to her. But it was so hot and she would just have to sit there wishing she could be swimming. So, I decided to taxi it there due to time - 1000 Yen -and then subway it back 290 Yen, and my first time alone on this route. The subway system is so manageable and English friendly, but it still took 45 minutes to get from school to my door. I think I will learn the bike route next week. It's cheaper and faster. I just have to get up the nerve to ride in this city.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe how complicated cooking is and the whole metric conversion thing. Is there a neighbor "in the know" that can come up with a cheat sheet for you- I'd be in tears trying to figure it out. Hang in there

Brigitte said...

I am more afraid of using the gas stove/oven than burning or undercooking the food. There are a number of charts online that I will just have to print out for my cheat sheet - they all seem to differ slightly though - so that's the tricky part - 10 degrees off might make or break those brownies!
Glad to have everyone back in school?????

ssmurray said...

It's so crazy to think that everything you do is so hard or takes so many extra steps to figure it out. It's got to be exhausting. Won't it be great when you go back and read these? You'll be whipping right through everything. 1000 yen for a soda? No problem! You'll be measuring fluently in metric. Hell, you'll probably be programming your toilet to scrub itself. What an amazing experience.