Going Mad By All Measurements

One of the things I had to get used to after my recent move, was the different measurements. Suddenly, my kitchen skills were reduced to almost nothing when grams and liters were replaced by magical things like ‘oz’ and ‘lbs’, both hard to pronounce words, when you don’t know they’re abbreviations (while reading this post, I’d appreciate it if you pronounce them as words, it will really enhance your experience). Then there’s the crazy notion of ‘floz’, and the evolution from floz to lbs. For instance, I bought a couscous (or something like that). The package contained 14 oz, but the instructions were written, I kid you not, for pints. I knew that 16oz was a lbs, but how did a pint fit in there? And by the time I found out, was I supposed to do the 7/8 math for everything from the top of my head? What’s 7/8 of a teaspoon?

It's 3 1/4 teaspoons (12/4, if you will) and 1/2 a 1/4 teaspoon. Not confusing at all.

It’s 3 1/4 teaspoons (12/4, if you will) and 1/2 a 1/4 teaspoon. Not confusing at all.

Temperatures are somewhat easier, mostly because Missouri doesn’t do complicated temperatures. It’s hot or cold, here. Like I’m the expert. For those who plan to do a trip from the metric system area to the Midwest, here’s a cheat sheet:

0F = Too cold. You shouldn’t be here. Nowhere near 0C
32F = Actual freezing temperature. Don’t ask, nobody knows why they start with 32.
40F = Cold
50F = Definitely wear a coat
60F = Nice out, unless it’s summer and you’re used to higher temperatures
70F = Technically hot, but this is the Midwest. You pray for 70’s here.
80F = Hot
90F = Real hot
100F = It really gets a 100 degrees. And it’s nasty too, with all the humidity.
* Disclaimer: as long as you stay inside, just like the locals, every temperature will feel like 70, because AC.

Real complications arose the other Saturday, when I wanted to drill something. Basic drill sets, as the one I have, range anywhere from 1mm to 10mm, with a few .5s in there. Not in the land of fancy measurements. O no, my brand new drill set has its own range, and it reads to me like the periodic table. Bear with me, as I walk you through my different choices: 1/16, 1/8, 9/64, 5/64, 5/32, 11/64, 3/32, 3/16, 7/64, 7/32, 15/64, 1/4. The size I needed was not even in the box. I don’t think there’s a cheat sheet for this. It’s just a matter of admitting defeat and not looking back. Maybe drill a hole or two out of frustration. Not that that would happen to me, of course.

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6 thoughts on “Going Mad By All Measurements

  1. About 40 or so years ago, maybe less, Canada adopted the metric system. We are still fighting it. Except for Europeans who have immigrated here, we still talk in terms of pounds and inches. Our temperature is reported in Celsius degrees and I never know exactly what it is in Fahrenheit.

    So we are both confused. 😀

    • With so many degrees, I don’t think it’s necessary to know Fahrenheits exactly (although I couldn’t tell the difference between 16C en 17C either). I remember switching to the euro in 2002, and there are still some people who haven’t adjusted (“10 euros? It used to be just 15 guilders!”).

    • I used Google. It doesn’t help:
      “The short answer is that the Dutch-German-Polish physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736) chose to make the zero point of his scale the stable temperature of brine: a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride at a 1:1:1 ratio. The second point, at 32 degrees, was a mixture of ice and water without the ammonium chloride at a 1:1 ratio. So, now you know.”

      That still makes no sense to me. Arbitrary, I tell you.

  2. I have a friend I correspond with who lives in England. We have a really hard time talking about the weather bcause neither of us understnds what the temperature is in the other country. 16C? What does that mean? And then I mention it is 110F here and she has no idea that means hellishly hot.

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