One of the things we've had to adjust to living in Europe is the difference in electricity. Having traveled here many times before, we thought we were ready for this. In previous years we've vacationed here, so we were used to bringing converters for our laptops and other electrical appliances that traveled with us.
When we packed our suitcases for the move over to Venice, we made sure we had the converters with us. Upon arrival, we soon discovered we needed more of them. We looked around locally for converters similar to the ones we had, but found none. We ended up ordering them online from the same company we used before. Unfortunately, they don't ship to Europe, so our solution was to have a friend receive them for us, then ship them over. That worked- until we sent the big household goods shipment over from Baltimore to Venice.
When we sold our belongings, we sold most of the electrical stuff as well, knowing that they just wouldn't work over here. I wasn't happy giving up my Kitchen Aid mixer, or leaving behind several of my favorite lamps, but it just wasn't feasible. We did, however, decide to bring over a few things which would require the use of electric converters. We thought we were covered, we had enough of those.
Then the household goods arrived. After the movers left, Mike and I tackled the job of putting our sleep number bed together. This monster had made it's way safely over on the boat, and we were so excited to have it with us again. We had it all constructed (no small feat as it's like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces to fit together properly). We plugged the airpump into the electric converter, then plugged that into the wall outlet. POP. That was not a good sound. Yup, we had fried the pump motor. Upon further examination it turns out that the converter box we had used already had a problem, but we had forgotten to throw the dead thing away. Well, wouldn't you know that's what we would do!!! With this motor defunct, there was no way the sleep number bed could be blown up- it requires air in it's chambers.
The bed day was a very funny day. We had made arrangements with our landlord to remove the bed in our bedroom for us, to make room for the sleep number bed arrival. That morning, Mike and I took the existing bed apart, with plans to take it downstairs for the landlord later in the day, after we constructed our bed. So, with the sleep number bed non functional, the only option we had for sleeping that nite was to deconstruct the sleep number bed, and reconstruct the landlord's bed. Once again, we packed all the parts of the sleep number bed up into boxes, and set the other bed back up. I almost hated to inform the landlord that we did not get the bed downstairs for him, as he was so intent on that all being done according to his specific instructions. So here we have our sleep number bed, completely non-functional.
We decided we'd just order a new airpump, and construct the bed when it arrived. No problem. Well, slight problems. Where to store the sleep number bed while we wait for a new pump to arrive was now an issue. There are few enough places to store anything here as it is, and we'd just shipped over boxes of stuff that were going to take up the few spots to stow things we did have. Hmmm. We ended up putting the box spring part up on it's side against a wall in one of the spare bedrooms, and the boxes of other parts got jammed in a closet. This couldn't work as permanent storage, but since we figured we only had to wait until the new pump arrived, we could tolerate this arrangement.
The airpump has been ordered. Wouldn't you know it the company will not ship to Europe. So, again, we have our backup system of shipping to Mike's secretary in the US,and she will send it on to us here. That little electrical disaster was a pricey one- the new airpump costs about $ 500, not counting shipping or VAT.
In the meantime, Mike navigated the Italian internet websites (we're starting to get pretty good at this), and found some more powerful converters. Those were ordered, received, and tested. We're now awaiting the arrival of the replacement pump.
Oh, I don't want to end this blog without this one last little detail. A few days after the bed fiasco, Mike wanted to watch one of our US movies on DVD. I had sent over our DVD player in one of the boxes in our shipment, along with our favorite DVDs. Yup, he fried the DVD player too. Upon further inspection of the insides of the DVD player, he determined he had blown a fuse, but it looks almost impossible to replace without a soldering iron. That's way too complex here, we'll pass on that home repair. Now we'll be on the lookout for a DVD player that has multi-region capabilities.
Maybe Electric Fiascos would have been a better title for this blog. Oh well, you get the idea.