Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Money & Mom

Mmmm - I promised a pic or two of pastries sometime. This was today's breakfast from Migros - one of our local 'supermarkets.' I still can't spell the name of this pastry -esp. as they change it from time to time (I think from High German to Swiss German). But it is a yummy thing filled with plum jammy stuff - and don't make faces at the plum filling - it is sweet and yummy. Trust me! The pastry will also start our discourse on money. How I was stunned when last week I went to pay for my Kirsche Waehe (a cherry tort) and it was 3.20 chf. Since we moved here they were always 3.00 chf and the bakery lady said yes, the prices have gone up. So has milk, butter, etc...

And unless you never watch any kind of news whatsoever, you must be aware of the fact the US $ has fallen in comparison with foreign currencies - it is a 'weak' dollar. Unless you are traveling in other countries it may not really sink in unless you are watching your retirement portfolio's etc... Bart is paid in USD and we transfer $$ into our 'Swiss bank account' as we need it for bills, etc... And always looking to do it when the exchange rate is favorable. It has not been favorable for a while.

So - a little math for today. When we moved here, 1.00 chf was approx. $0.78. So if I paid 100 chf for groceries I knew it was costing me about $78.00. But now, 1 chf is about $0.89/0.90 which is a good 10%+ difference. Add to that, the increasing prices in Europe. The cherry tort's I love used to be approx. $2.34 and are now $2.85 - a 22% increase. Doesn't mean I will quit eating my tort's - just that I think more carefully about what I need.

Bart just returned home from KPMG's annual meeting and said all the European partners had long lists of things they were shopping for to take home. Including him - I can't wait for the box to come this week! And it's not that we don't get some equalization here but it makes you think really hard about the extra's.

You are all running to get your plane tickets and fly here right now, aren't you! Not a good way for me to advertise that I would love to have some visitors!!!!! But just a reality of life.

Speaking of realities - My Mom's coming! Gma Elaine will be here in 2 days so look what I am doing!

Defrosting the freezer! Which I mentioned about 6 months ago I needed to do. What a mess it is. And I hope the Magnum bars aren't melting in the fridge - should probably put them outside in the snow! Now - this freezer is LARGE by European standards. My sister-in-law in Germany has the typical one drawer freezer at the bottom of her fridge. Her fridge is smaller than mine - see below. I would guess my fridge is about 12 - 14 cu. And you wonder why we have to go shopping more often. Most expat's we know all buy a separate freezer so they can store ice cream and frozen pizza's. Maybe a reason why most European's don't make ice for drinks either - there is no room.

Below you can pick out our litres of milk - not sold in gallons. On the right, next to the lemon juice is a tube - yes, an aluminum tube - of mayonaisse. Depending on what we're having, I do break out the 5 chf tiny, camping size jar of Hellmann's.

So I started out with defrosting because my Mom is coming. I have this habit and I KNOW others do - especially when we don't live near our parents - that certain things must be done before they arrive. Like they really care when they haven't seen you in months about the state of your freezer. Or how many have finally painted that bedroom because so and so is coming?

But I know that if Mom cannot get that darn freezer drawer to shut because of layers of frozen fuzz, she will suggest that maybe we should defrost the freezer. And she's right. And if I was at her house, I would say the same thing. But when you live with it everyday, you kind of ignore it and say "I'll get to it." So I am always motivated before a visitor comes to "get to it." I'm not picking on you Mom - you're just the visitor for whom I'm defrosting my freezer - you'll thank me when you go to shut the drawer with the Magnum bars in it (you know you want one).

So Please - ignore the poor exchange rate, visit us and let's see what I get done next!

The last bit for today - more baked goods. It's Thanksgiving and we are going to celebrate it Thursday night. On Thanksgiving day no less! Because it's not a holiday here, many expat Americans opt for Fri. or Sat. due to time and husbands availability from work. But Fri. & Sat. are booked so we are eating on Thurs. But, :( , no turkey this year - can't find any. But I know where to get some tasty rotisserie chicken.

As is stuffing and you are looking at it:

The loaf on the right is for tonight's dinner but the others need to be cubed and dried out. I have to admit I am/was a Stovetop girl. But there is no Stovetop here nor are there dry bread crumbs/cubes to be had. If you want them, you make it yourself. I am a fan of healthy but quick cooking. Cooking is not quick anymore. A friend and I were talking about how much cheese we shred here. I would love a large bag of Colby/Jack shredded cheese - from HyVee - on sale for $3. Those were the days.

That said - I wouldn't trade these days either. Happy Thanksgiving Week!!!!!!! And safe travels to all!


Mom E said...

We are so silly...I do the same thing when my Mom comes to visit.. Relax....I'm coming to drink coffee, eat tarts and play with the girls!

Josh & Sarah said...

O.k., so I am laughing right now because I have the exact same problem! My freezer is well past the "6 months ago it needed to be defrosted" state. EVERY time my mom comes, she brings something that has to go in there and I say, "Yeah...it really needs to be defrosted" and then she makes some comment back about how you are supposed to do it regularly. lol. Oh dear.

So now I am feeling guilty because your freezer is defrosted and mine is not. :) Maybe I'll go empty it out, take a picture, and get it defrosted. I fear that it will take hours and hours and hours. Do I have that much time left until we need to leave for my brother's for dinner? Hmmm...