Friday, 18 April 2008

Leanne versus the Laundry

It's been over a week since I left home, and naturally I have accumulated laundry. What better a way to spend a Friday night in Banbury, than to deal with that accumulation?

Part of my justification for renting the particular flat I am in, was based on the fact that my flat has a built-in washer. At least, that is what I thought....upon further investigation, the washer is a washer-dryer combo.

The idea of a washer-dryer combo machine is a somewhat foreign concept to me. I can admit - I like having seperate machines for my washing and drying. The silver contraption sitting in my kitchen (in North America, a dish washer would be sitting in the same location) has been a challenge for me. For the past 5 days I have stared, gawked, and sworn at it (why I would swear at it is beyond me - but somehow, swearing makes me feel better). I have sat in front of it, read the instruction manual (this is the first time I have seen an instruction manual included in an apartment rental), and still not had the courage to deal with actually opening the door.

I had thought about avoiding my washer-dryer altogether. Let's face it - I'm renting a flat on the British Pound - all I could picture was the washer exploding, leaking, or somehow lighting on fire. Of course, who would be responsible to repair the damage? How much can I actually afford to repair? Put simply - if I were to damage something in this flat, I would be forced to flee the country before my landlord found out.

The other issue I have had is with utility costs - I can't even imagine what it costs to do a load of laundry here. In a country that is one step away from taxing air, I am fairly certain that the cost of running appliances is incredibly high.

So...I stopped by the laundramat that is located a short distance from where I am residing. I figured - "hey, let's avoid the potential for disaster!". Uh huh. Sure. As it turns out, one load of wash costs a whopping 5 pounds! Next, add the cost of drying..."oh buggar (I'm becoming British), just when I thought something might be affordable in this country."

So it's Friday night, and I really have nothing better to do - except maybe my lesson planning, which I swear I will get to - tomorrow. Outside on the street, I can hear the Friday night course of drunken antics - if this were home, I might be a willing participant. But I still have a hamper full of laundry, and a machine that is a beautiful accent to my kitchen. I decide that the safest method to learning the washer-dryer is to run a test load. Of course I'm not going to just willingly sacrifice my clothes to this technological wonder - I will sacrifice my towels instead...I don't actually need to shower tomorrow. I consult with my friends -Hoegardaan (spelled wrong, I realize) and Boddingtons. After achieving a pleasant state of melancholy and partial sobriety, I return to the instruction manual for my washer-dryer.

"Explitive is this complicated." I stare at the manual for a bit...I flip some knobs on the washer. Nothing happens.

Did I mention that this machine comes equipped with 13 presets? Various dryer cycle options? Custom dryer settings? Specialized temperature settings? Delay options (up to 9 hours!)? And a bunch more stuff I cannot even comprehend? Seriously - I have more options for my washing than I have for my career. What am I supposed to do with this much selection? I can't handle choice, and I certainly don't make decisions.

After spending more time pondering my washer-dryer, I naturally reconsulted with Boddingtons. Now, less than sober, I go to my neighbour's door in the hopes of finding out how to operate my washer-dryer. Luckily she is not home. Back to my apartment I stagger (notice that we are in realtime, here?)

Tentatively, I press some buttons, slam the door a few times, and lo and behold - the washer pops on. Then I pray (have you noticed that I have rediscovered religion since I have been here?). Holding my breath, I wait for water and suds to come pouring out...

2 hours later, I have steaming hot, clean towels....who knew? Ok. So that was Standardized Test 1....hmmm....still partially sober (or is it partially two-sheets-to-the-wind?) I decide to run Standardized Test 2...socks and underwear. And that is where I am right now - waiting to learn the results of ST2. If ST2 is a pass, I will jeopardize my jeans...gradually I may work up to my professional clothes.

Oh yes, and at least I have the utility bills to look foward to :)

Update to ST2: I shrunk my socks - they are cotton, and I am fairly confused.

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