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Flashback Friday: What is dual voltage, again?

Friday, August 30, 2013

If you're new to Flashback Fridays, there are some things you should probably know:

  • I found out that the cool new thing is "Throwback Thursday" AFTER I started writing these posts. I haven't changed it because I like consistency and it's a lot of work and I'm just not very hip. 
  • I also thought of "Misadventures Monday" recently, but haven't changed it for the same reason. I really like alliteration... maybe a little too much. (I'm thinking about jumping on the Wordless Wednesday train just because it sounds cool. I am such a nerd.)
  • I don't even know if blogs are cool anymore, but I really needed some sort of creative outlet so here I am and I'm having a great time! Thanks for stopping in & please come back soon!
  • I like to laugh at myself and it will totally not hurt my feelings if you laugh at me, too.
  • A couple of years ago I moved to Germany and made a lot of mistakes while adjusting and I post them here for s's & g's. 

From my journal of misadventures: 

"Learning about Electricity. Some of you probably know that science was probably my WORST subject in school and are sitting there thinking, "Wow, how did she become a nurse??" Others of you don't know that about me, don't really care and are just wondering where I'm going with this.

Apparently there is a difference between watts and voltage and I guess neither have anything to do with the shape of the plug. To say I'm unclear on the details would be a gross understatement. We have these transformer boxes that we can plug American electronics into that somehow make it ok to turn things on and probably the house won't burn down. We also have these round converter plug things that we can plug American electronics into and SOMETIMES it's ok to turn things on and MAYBE the house won't burn down. It has to do with the label on either the back of the electronic in question or on it's wire. If I can plug it into the round one, it should say 220V somewhere on it. If it doesn't say that I have to find a box and move it to where I need it and that should be ok. Confused yet?? I've been living with this for WEEKS and I still don't get it.

Bottom line is this: I've burned up an iPod speaker, 2 curling irons, 1 clothes iron, a hair straightener, a blow dryer (that sparked- a LOT), and possibly my Kirby vacuum.  It made a terrible smell and I haven't had the guts to turn it back on... or to tell Mike. I'm really lucky he doesn't read this."

Fast forward to today and I could still write what I know about electricity on a postage stamp. I just don't try any more. Now I can hear you thinking, "What do you mean you don't try? How do you live without electricity?" Well, here's how I work around it and some random stuff I've learned along the way:

  • The TV gets it's own big transformer box thingy... not to be too technical or anything. Ahem. I never move it because we use it regularly. I'm not sure where the DVD player is plugged in. Mike did it and I just don't touch it. I unplug the box thingy from the wall when we aren't using it because someone told me that it pulls electricity as long as it's plugged in, even if it isn't being used, and electricity is pretty expensive around here.

  • You can plug any kind of lamp into the wall with just a plug converter as long as you change the bulb to a 220v bulb. This is very helpful because German lamps can be very expensive. It's also really unfortunate because I didn't know this before moving to Germany and I left all of our lamps in storage.

  • Things that charge via USB (iPod, Nook Reader, etc) have a plug we got from Saturn (that's a store kind of like Best Buy) to use with them.

  • Laptops have a plug converter, too. Mike said this is ok and my laptop still works so I assume he's right. I have my eye on a new computer (all the better to edit pictures on, my dear) but I'm too scared to buy one before we go back stateside lest I catch it on fire. Hey, it happens.

  • I have a small transformer thingy in my bathroom for my CHI straightener and my Remington curling wand because the Euro versions just don't work with my hair. Honestly, this one rarely gets used because it rains a lot here and even a CHI can't work that kind of magic on my hair.

  • I have two hair dryers that are 220v because I kept catching the others on fire.

  • All of my kitchen appliances are 220v because I kept catching things on fire.

Fortunately, we have a great network of online sales and swaps around here so I've purchased a lot of those appliances used and I'll pass them on when I leave... assuming I don't burn them up as well. <-- That's a pretty big assumption.

I'm still really confused about it all, but I think Mike finally got our house set up to function for me. I don't do much with the vacuum cleaner because it's super heavy and it needs a super heavy transformer. Mike brings it upstairs (and occasionally vacuums, too!) when I need it. We don't have much carpet, though, so it really isn't a problem.

My biggest problem at the moment is the Magic Jack. Mom gave us one when she came to visit but I can't figure out how to use it with the house phone. I know it's supposed to be the easiest thing in the world to use but I can't make it work.

So what's the moral of this story? 
Some things never change. 
Sometimes things are just going to be difficult and I'm just going to have to live with it. 
Sometimes I'm going to catch things on fire.

And then I'm going to chuckle because that's going to make me think of Beavis & Butthead, 

"Fire! Fire! huh huh huh Fire is cool!"

So I didn't post any pictures with this, but I'm curious, would you like to see what I mean by my uber-technical (see? I can speak German!) "transformer box thingy" and "converter plug thing-a-ma-bob" or is that just common knowledge for everyone except me? Did I miss that memo? If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, let me know! I'll be happy to edit this post with pics if anyone is curious.

4 Responses to “Flashback Friday: What is dual voltage, again?”

  1. Regarding the Magic Jack - it uses an American style RJ11 plug and your house phone is most likely using a German TAE connector. What you need is this:

    Just a guess.

    1. Dude! That's awesome! Thank you! I have no idea if that will work, but I'm ordering one.

  2. new to your blog and already loving it :)
    stationed in germany as well and looking forward to read your posts.
    greetings tina.

    1. Thank you! I'm on my way to visit your blog now! (: