29 April 2014

Don't Choose Number 5!!

It was our first full day in our new flat. We’d moved in the day before, and although I had some laundry that needed to be done, by the time we went and bought bedding, pillows, towels, and groceries, I just didn’t feel like doing it. We made our bed and unpacked a little, saving the rest for the next day. After we got everything unpacked, there was a little bit more laundry--stuff I’d packed without having time to wash. It was about 3:15 when I started the first load. Turns out that the under-the-counter front loader is very small, so I figured I could do one load and then another one. I stood there looking at the front of the machine and tried to decide how best to proceed.

The previous tenants had left laundry detergent, so I got that in the machine along with the clothes. I chose 20 degrees because I wanted to be environmentally friendly and that was the lowest temperature available to me--things went beyond hot, warm, or cold and I could choose a temperature anywhere between 20 and 90 degrees. Next to that dial is one that has numbers ranging from 400-1200. I had no idea what on earth that was for, so I decided to leave it on the 1200, where the last user had set it. Then it was time to ponder my options 1-15 plus extras, having to do with types of clothing--cotton, synthetic, wool, shirts, among others! I chose #5--cotton 20--because it matched my desire to have the temperature at 20 and I did have mostly cotton stuff in there, I supposed. I should hasten to say here that while a manual of some kind would have been helpful, I had not been able to find one, so I was winging it.

I turned the knobs and pressed the appropriate buttons and the machine started. This was a good first step. It seemed odd that I could not choose a number of minutes for the wash cycle, but I figured it’d be done when it was done. I was eager for this moment of completion to arrive, because I was completely exhausted and wanted nothing more than to be finished for the day so I could have a lovely couple of cups of coffee and maybe crochet while listening to a podcast or something.

After half an hour, I began to get concerned. Was the machine broken or had the electronic timers failed in some way? There seemed to be no progress in the process. Some water had been pumped into the machine and then it started rotating. Clockwise a few times. Stop. Click. Counter-clockwise a few times. Stop. Click. Clockwise a few times. Stop. Click. You get the idea. This went on for the first half hour and the next half hour. I thought if I had to listen to that click and reverse one more time, my mind was going to snap. It was driving me crazy! Rotate, Stop. Click. Rotate. Stop. Click. Rotate. When would this end? There were several more cycles to go--rinse, spin, pump-out--before we got to the blessed “end.” The light for the wash cycle was still lit after an hour and I sat here trying to hold the pieces of my mind together as we watched and listened to, “Rotate. Stop. Click. Rotate.” We started to ponder what we would do with a load of wet clothes in a broken front loading washing machine.

I could stand it no longer and I jumped up in search of some kind of book to help me. Finally, with great relief, on the top shelf of a corner cabinet in the back, I felt a plastic bag. I pulled it out, saw various bits of hardware and tools, and an instruction manual. I began to read.

Bill had fled to the bathroom and when he came out, I informed him that the machine was not stuck, nor was it broken. The cycle I’d selected--#5--takes 170 minutes to complete. Yup, that’s right--almost 3 hours to do a tiny little load of clothes. We still had about an hour and a half of, “Rotate. Stop. Click. Rotate.” left to listen to, but at least we knew that it would end. We ate supper. I told Bill, “Well, this explains the fact that there are settings for fastwash 60 and fastwash 30, plus a separate time saver button (this, I learned, only cuts the time in half).

Needless to say, by the time the first load was done, I had had enough and I put off the rest until the next day, when the fastwash setting--number 11--was my setting of choice. The dial that goes from 400-1200 appears to have something to do with how fast the thing spins. From the book, which I now keep on a shelf within easy reach, it seems that I can just keep it where it is and that seems like the best idea.

I will never choose #5 again.

I did laundry just this morning. I was looking at the dryer for some reason and saw that it suggested 95-120 minutes for a load of cotton clothing. Between the wash and the dry, it would take 5 hours to do a tiny load of wash!!! I hang stuff on the rack in the extra room with the window open. Since today is sunny (so far) and breezy, most of the load went out onto the clothesline and is already dry.


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