February 12, 2008

A Housewife's Suffering

Although we've been traveling and on-the-go constantly, housewifery has not ceased to be part of the job description. We couldn't afford to eat all our meals out, so we pack lunches and picnic, cook at home and live a fairly routine domestic life in between sight-seeing excursions.

All this is fine. Making a peanut butter and honey sandwich here is no different from making one in the states. I can throw carrots in a bag and go here just as well as at home.

When I have to start dealing with European housekeeping machinery, it all gets much more difficult though. Europeans like labeling their machines with strange little symbols which generally mean nothing to me, or the opposite of what they really mean. No words are used, because that would cut down on the number of countries one could sell a product in.

For the first several days we were here, I mostly washed dishes by hand. Occasionally I would push some of the random buttons on the dishwasher and once in a while it would start up. If I really needed to make it work, I would call in the specialist -- my 15 month old -- who has an uncanny ability to work machinery.

The machine that has really given me fits though, is the washer/dryer combination machine. It really does wash and then dry the clothes all in one neat little package. It sounds incredibly cool. No changing the clothes from one machine to another half-way through, and it all fits in such a small little space.

To get it to dry the clothes, the machine has to be set at a 1/2 load, and they mean it. Any more than a 1/2 load and everything will be damp to soaking when it comes out. It takes about 2 hours to work through a regular wash cycle and another 2 hours to dry the 1/2 load of clothing. I throw a load in every morning when I wake up and another in as soon as we come home from our excursions and there is always more to do.

I try to convince my children to rewear clothes, but that would mostly mean convincing them that food and mud are not meant to be worn as fashion accessories.

Here are my children sitting happily in front of it, wearing clothes I will later have to wash.

Although I can't figure out anywhere else in the place that would fit a real washer and dryer and I am thankful every day that I have a washer and dryer in the flat, I hate that machine. If such things ever come to the US, stay far away. Do not be lured in by promises of ease, leisure and more cabinet space.


2 suggestions- 1- run the clothes on an extra spin cycle (if you can) and then drape them on radiators throughout the place. 2- do number 1 (ha ha) and then drape them on a drying rack, if you can get hold of one. That was the only way I could catch up on laundry when our dryer was (a) smaller than our washer and (b) took 2, sometimes 3 cycles to get things dry.

Is there an "eco" cycle (or something similar)? That one usually only takes 30-40 minutes and makes things *almost* manageable. GOOD LUCK!!!

Posted by: Cheryl at February 13, 2008 01:22 PM

I do drape things on radiators. Otherwise a load would never be done. I haven't found a cycle that cleans quickly, but I suppose I can try some other ones.

Posted by: Jordana at February 13, 2008 01:33 PM

We were also tortured by one of these machines during our stay with a friend in London. Very little fits in, it takes forever, and it's confusing. Oh, and if the machine gets "out of order" your clothes are trapped - the machines doesn't open mid-cycle. After a day or so stuck like that, it will release, but you are out of luck in the meantime.

Oh well.

Posted by: Jennifer at February 27, 2008 09:30 PM