Monday was the day to tackle all those bits and bobs that had made it on our To-Do list. It was a long list, but most of it was just people and companies that needed to know our new address. Almost all of these were routine, quick calls or online entries; a few were pleasant surprises - our insurances (health and home) are actually a couple of bucks cheaper by living here instead of Sydney.
There was one item on the to-do list, though, that required getting a trades person in.
I should preface this by noting that Tasmania is fiercely conscious of the environment. I noted pretty quickly that most people prefer to let their clothes dry on the line using wind and sun, rather than in a dryer using electricity and creating carbon emissions. However, having spent her late teen years growing up in a town that has actually banned clothes lines, LK is adamant that it's tumble dry or nothing.
I had already surprised myself by setting up the washing machine, but we needed to get a plumber/gas-fitter in to modify our clothes dryer from natural gas that we had in Sydney to the LPG that we are using here. It took three calls as the first two plumbers said they were flat out and wouldn't be able to stop by for four or five weeks.
My third call went better, and the plumber said he'd be over in the afternoon. This did make me wonder how good he was when some guys are booked full for weeks ahead and he has spare time right now. No matter, the thought of having to go to a laundromat was far worse than whatever mistakes he might make, I thought. And besides, I had just called and moved the home-and-contents insurance to cover this house.
As it turned out, he was a really nice guy and seemed to know what he was doing. This became especially obvious when he got behind the dryer and stared for a few seconds before saying, "This isn't a gas dryer. It's electric. What made you think it was gas?"
There are moments in your life where you cannot really think of an answer that won't make you look dumber than you already are, and this was one of them. So, with my brain racing to find any sort of reply that would make me look less stupid, I came up with the only answer I could: "I have no idea. I'll have to ask my wife."
I called out to LK who joined us. "LK," I said, "this dryer is electric. What made you think it was gas?"
Of course, all I was doing was passing the hot potato to her rather than answering it myself. And, as you would expect, she knew precisely how to answer it. She thought for just a second or two and then smiled sweetly as she said, "I guess because I'm dumb."
All three of us had a good laugh.
The plumber did look at our barbecue, which really did need to be converted from natural gas to LPG, so he got a little bit of work from us and didn't seem to mind that the main reason for his trip had been a waste of time. More than that, I was pretty sure he would be dining out on this story about the hapless Yanks through more than a few rounds of beer at the local.
And later that night, LK said something that she's been saying with ever greater frequency lately, "It may have been embarrassing, but at least you got something for your blog."