Ambulatory Washing Machines – My Friday Special

How was my week?  I was so happy, a friend told me she thought last week’s Friday Special was hilarious AND realistic.  She shared that her husband also had a tendency to bark out questions either first thing in the morning, or as soon as he gets home along the lines of “did you do…”

She regularly explains to him that there are certain ways of doing things in a household which might not always seem visible or clear.  Especially to those who leave the household early in the day and re-enter the household later at night.  They don’t see the processes in action.  Three steps forward, seven backwards, three sideways, 2 temper tantrums, two steps forward…tea time, pill time, try to get to sleep time… I do have to confess that I was the same as him until very recently when I stopped leaving the house at the crack of dawn to return at night, expecting all to be perfect within.

As you can see the washing machine continued to be the focus of some of my attention.  On Monday, while I was trying to work, the internet was down even though there was NO rain.  I understand when it is raining, but I don’t when it isn’t.  Would you believe it, I foolishly didn’t mention it to my husband that it hadn’t been working all week.  I just assumed that it wasn’t working in his office either. WRONG.  It was working in his office, just not at home.

So yesterday for example, I took TT all the way to school.  Remember the deal making we do.  Got back, hubs had gone to tennis – Hurrah.  I did 45 minutes of Rodney Yee yoga, which is not for the faint hearted.  I love him though. I then started doing my mediation as it helps me focus and not wander off, literally and psychologically.

I do 20 minutes, but 10 minutes in, I heard hub’s car.  I leapt up, which is not the way you are supposed to end your meditation but we can’t live our lives like a story book can we?  I jumped into the shower, as last week he commented that he hadn’t seen me dressed for a few days.  I realised it was true.   How can that be?  Well you know about me in the mornings and how I dress for the police.  When I get home, as I am usually doing yoga or going to the gym, I have my shower after that, mid morning and after hubs has left for work.  I am back in my pyjamas, or casual light night wear by the time he returns at night.  Voila – he thinks I never wash or get dressed.  I DO.  So clean and sweet smelling, I prepared to work.  Dressed except for my pyjama bottoms.  So dressed for the house in other words.  NO INTERNET, so I had to get dressed for outside and leave the house, and go and pay for three peppermint teas while I used free internet in a cafe round the corner.  I wasn’t happy, I really wasn’t.

Coming back to the darling washing machine. Of course I still love it.  It is however special, like all the white goods in my house.  When I finally got it working this week, I turned it on and then left the laundry.  About 15 minutes later there was a terrible crashing sound, I ran back and to my horror the machine had TRAVELLED about half a metre while it was spinning, and had catapulted itself sideways into the concrete sink frame.  I held onto it tightly to try and stop it from doing it again.  It had a life of its own.  Meanwhile reinforcements came and there were then two of us to try to control it while it finished its spin cycle.

When it had completed its epic virgin spin I reviewed the damage.  Large chunks of concrete on the floor.  Huge scratches along the side of the washing machine.  Fortunately the metal was not pierced through.

I reset the spin cycle from 1000 to 500.  The 1000 was clearly just there for show.  I then wedged a bag of mosquito nets on one side and 2 big blankets on the other. I didn’t have time to spend all day with it.  I didn’t love it that much.  It morphed back into “just an ordinary washing machine” from a “psycho, nutter, aliens are invading my washing machine” for the rest of the morning.

UNTIL, of course, someone else FIDDLE-ARSED with the settings and it went back to 1000 – by osmosis or telepathy I suspect.  Maybe it just liked two humans lying on top of it shrieking hysterically “left a bit, back here, right, bugger, help, fuck it’s a nutcase…”

It reminded me of the washing machines and dryers of my youth.  I grew up on a tiny island called Curacao (a Dutch Protectorate).  It is in the Caribbean and it was and hopefully still is, absolutely gorgeous.  My father was the Shell refinery manager in the days before privatisation of the oil industry in Venezuela.  The oil came from there and was manufactured in Curacao.

I used to think that all children;

Lived on small islands

Went to the beach every Saturday and Sunday

Lived in compounds where everyone knew everyone else

Went to school in a portakabin with a teacher from Scotland

The first washing machine I remember in our house was also in a separate laundry room out the back of the compound.  It was bigger than me and was a massive top loader.  I have only seen one as big once since then and it still seemed massive.  It had been imported from the states, where even in the 1960s, their white goods were uber-sized.

I just remember that my little sister used to be scared of it, and that we used to get into trouble if we wiped our hands on the clothes on the line when we couldn’t be bothered to go inside. I only did that once, as I had to go to my room, when I was discovered and that was the worst punishment for a little island girl who was always outside.

After 10 years in Curacao, we moved to Holland for 4 years.  It was the most intense culture shock I have ever experienced. We got there in November. Not great planning on the part of Mr Shell or my parents… for a family  who had spent nearly 12 years in sunny climes.  Not that you “did” culture shock in those days.  You just had to suck up the fact that it was COLD, there were thousands and millions of people and you had to get THREE TRAMS to school.  My poor mother got terrible depression, and us kids just had to get on with it.  Suddenly there was no more going home for lunch for us or for my father.  There was a beach, called Schevenginen – but it was cold and grey for a lot of the time.  Still worthy of weekly visits, just in case the sun shone and great chips – skinny ones called frites served with mayonnaise.

I don’t remember the washing machine in Dutch house. I do however remember the one we had in a flat in Scotland, which we had in my mother’s home town.  We had to sell the flat shortly after we moved to Holland as it was too expensive.  While we had it I loved it, probably as it was 100 yards from the sea.

We had got an old second hand washing machine, which was a twin tub. My mother would wheel it out once a week, open the lid of the washing drum, put one end of a cable in the sink and the other in the drum and start washing.    When the clothes or laundry had been washed they then had to be transferred to the spinner, It would make an extraordinary noise and was also a “traveller”. The whole flat would shake.   We all kept clear of it and the kitchen on “wash day”.

For the next 10 years or so, washing machines followed shortly by a dryer no less, became more manageable and were no longer noisy and frisky.

They didn’t iron though and my mother used to stand in the living room and iron while we all watched telly together in the evenings.  Then one night, I remember it quite clearly, she slammed the iron down and said I will not iron again and she didn’t.  She sat down in an armchair and there she stayed every evening after that.  We were clean but crumpled or rather I was.  My older sister did her own ironing, but I think my lazy tendencies were already formed at the age of 12 and I used to only iron the bits of my school shirt which showed above my jumper.  My mother did her own ironing and my little sister’s as she was only 5 when my mother went on strike.

My father has therefore done his own ironing for years and is an absolute dab hand at it.  He ironed my wedding dress for me 5 years ago, to make sure I wouldn’t burn it. He has also taught my TT to iron.  She sees it as a great treat to do the ironing with grandpa.  Long may that last.  Dad decides what of mine or TT’s needs to be ironed when we go on holiday and hey presto it gets done.

I continued with my clean but crumpled fashion statements, through university where I used the fabulous, industrial washing machines and dryers but never the irons.  I then started working overseas Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, Namibia where everything was hand washed and ironed by my various ladies who did, while I was at work.

Tanzania is the first place I have worked overseas where there was a washing machine in my house.  However when we moved house on the same street here two years ago, the washing machine had to stay where it belonged and we decided that the generator had to come before a washing machine.

Clothes CAN be hand washed, but electricity CANNOT be produced at home – yet.  Being peri-menopausal, I have been almost beside myself with the long hot seasons and didn’t think I would get through another one with regular 18 hour power cuts.

Gosh, that was a really long winded recount of this week and I haven’t finished yet.  I have tried to be more disciplined this week with my sleep or lack thereof and the commensurate impact it has on my days.  In other words, after last week’s sleep debacles, I didn’t let myself sit down from 6.30am onwards until I had done my yoga to wake myself up properly. I was even worried to meditate as that is a usually a great nodding off opportunity.  However for 4 days in a row, I have managed to stay awake by making myself sit slightly uncomfortably while I do it in order to not drop off.  That failed this morning when despite my regime, I still managed to doze off briefly.  My head nodded lower and lower and then snapped back – ouch.

If any of you have other solutions to my mediation dilemma, I would love to know.

I am still unclear when peri-menopausal insomnia gets better.  I am reducing all the unnecessary tablets I use – now the HRT seems to be working.  So that means the anti anxiety tablets, but I am doing it slowly as the side effects or withdrawal are rather “vicious” to quote the menopause specialist lady.  However as PROGESTERONE is nature’s valium, and I didn’t take kindly to the artificial progesterone, I will have to wait till June when I see the guinea-pigologist again.  As my sister says, I haven’t slept for years, so what is another month or so?    Good point.

I’ve done a lot of webinars this week.  All great stuff on technology and how to do different tasks with different applications so that I can go viral. When I started writing last October, I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, on the technology front.  I am just now starting to understand that you can’t go from beginner to advanced in two weeks of not using social media and other platforms.  (Got the lingo).  I remember making a diary note to learn all the 6 different new social media packages in one day. It was so unrealistic.   It has taken me months just to negotiate my word press site, facebook and AWeber and I am still faltering.

At the moment I am joining as many webinars as I can from AWeber, the email distribution supplier.  I find it really complicated and absolutely nothing seems natural to any of it, but I am sticking with it and am even slightly enjoying it.  I have only called AWeber a bastard once this week when I couldn’t attach an image. That is certainly progress.  The company is in the US so I need to calculate the time difference and then set my alarm in case I am asleep – planned or otherwise.  I woke myself up at 10pm on Monday night, only to then find out I had mis-calculated by two hours and had missed the whole event.   I didn’t get back to sleep until 3am…  Oh well see the good.  I now have another little darling application which calculates the time difference for me saved on my favourites…


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