Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ooooo it's electric

Someday, perhaps, I may get used to the electrical outlets here in Denmark. I hope I do, for no other reason than to save my sanity.

Let me explain. I've told you before about the toaster oven - the one I used to successfully charcoal two pieces of bread - well, apparently I'm equally talented when it comes to not crisping the bread at all.

I don't know if it's due to the 220V current running through the walls, or just an energy saving measure, but with every electrical outlet comes a switch. This is endlessly frustrating as the switch never seems to be in the 'on' position, even though you KNOW you left it that way. I believe, however, that I have figured out why it's never 'on'. Here is a picture of one such outlet in our home:

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The big switch on the top is for the lights, and the big switch immediately below that controls the outlet. Apparently when I'm moving through the house, doing the reach-around to flip lights on, or off, I tend to also accidentally flip the switch directly below it. I didn't grow up in a 2-switch world; I grew up in an old house that had just one innocent little light switch as you entered a room. So, the absent minded swing the hand around the doorway, flick the switch, always worked. If you didn't hit the first time, you just did a little wall grope until you connected with said switch and voila, the lights were on - or off.

But the wall grope here can result in all sorts of other things being switched on or off, so, apparently, I must now learn to look before flicking.

What does any of this have to do with a toaster oven? Well, the oven has one of those little timers that works whether or not the power is actually on. So, in went the frozen rolls, temperature selected, timer set so as not to burn anything, and 13 minutes later upon hearing the wonderful ding indicating that my breakfast rolls were now hot and yummy, into the kitchen I went. Hmm, no hot and yummy here - still frozen. Because yes, while the timer did it's job and the 'ding' happened, the oven had no power and I had no breakfast, and the whole process starts again.

I guess the moral of this story is: When in foreign lands, be careful what you grope!

p.s. If you've dropped in from Strange Shores, welcome! If you haven't, head on over there to hear exciting tales from around the globe.


  1. I do it with the coffee pot. Turn on coffee, stand around waiting for it to perk. Hmmm. It's taking a while. Well, I'll go get the mail. La la la, still no coffee. Bang on the machine a bit. Finally notice the light is not on. Push buttons. Discover the power switch is turned off. GAH!

    Of course, this is all hampered by the lack of coffee in my system. If I only had HAD a cup already I would figure it out right away.

  2. I never realised how different Denmark from US (for example) until you (or Kelli or other American expats) talked about electricity, metric system and all.

    I guess I'm lucky cos we use the same system in my country as in DK, including electricity and metric system and the whole thing

  3. the writer is right...
    we are definitely at a disadvantage coming from America...since over there we thought "the whole world MUST do things like we do them"!!!! LOL
    I feel your pain...........

  4. Oh gawd, yes ...

    We have matchboxes taped over the switches to
    a) the freezer, and
    b) the PC.

    Iirc, the positions are also switched between the US and DK - down is "on" in
    DK and "off" in the US.

    Somewhere there is also a list of things which are illegal in the USA and compulsory in (parts of) Europe. Listing alcohol content on beer is the only one I can remember.

  5. Hahha...oh I found those to be so irritating until I finally remembered to turn them ON when I wanted to use an appliance! :-)

  6. Thank goodness this house doesn't have those annoying switches! But I know exactly what you mean!!

  7. I intensely dislike the electric light switches and plugs here, they are so ugly and jutty outy.

  8. I know this OOT but I saw the news about some military officers got killed in traffic accident in Karup, and that's near your place isn't it?

  9. I love it when I charge my phone overnight... I mean, when I plug my phone into an outlet with no power. :) We have tape all over the place on these things!!


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