A couple of months ago, our washing machine started "playing up," as my grandmother would say.
(That's British English for "behaving badly.")
No, that's not my old machine. It's this person's old machine. But I thought I'd pull a Rachel and post a funny picture, especially because my machine's problem wasn't really picture worthy. It was just staying like this:
And we had to wait for the water to drain out and then manually change the machine to the next stage of the wash cycle and then wait again. One load of laundry took the whole day.
(This guy who took the picture gave some tips, but they were of no use to us.)
So we called a guy. After only 4 phone call exchanges and 2 reschedulings, the technicians came.
I was teaching when they finally showed up, so they told Alexandre our machine would cost 500 reais to fix, and they couldn't even guarantee that it would go back to normal because it had some other little problems that could possibly need fixing soon after. So Alexandre told them, "thanks but no thanks," except probably in a much more polite way because it's physically impossible for him to be rude to people.
Unfortunately, we had no better solution. Simple new machines cost at least 1,000 reais, and we didn't want to spend that money, either. Also, Brazil lacks the cultural gem that is The Laundromat.
So "we" (read: I) just kept washing clothes slowly, re-washing things that sat for too long, waiting days for things to dry because they hadn't gone through the spin cycle without any water, washing things by hand, washing heavy things at the in-laws' house, and basically hoping our machine would like, magically fix itself.
Then, thanks to the wonders of the Internets, I got wind of a fellow American in town who was planning to move back to the US. She was selling off a relatively new washer-dryer combo (a 2-in-one machine) for less than the price of a new, simple washing machine!
I showed Alexandre. He liked the idea. We got the details about the machine from the woman. The specs looked good on the product's website. It would just BARELY fit in our little laundry room, but it would be doable.
It was a go! We were getting a new machine AND a dryer!! A DRYER, people.
So today, Alexandre and a family friend with a truck went to pick up the machine. I didn't even get to meet the other American family because I couldn't fit in the car, but that's OK. I was much more interested in their machine than I was in them! :X
Alexandre's parents said they wanted our old machine and would try to find someone to fix it for cheaper, or would donate it to someone who would rather have a broken machine than no machine, or they would save it for a rainy day. (Hmm... I wonder where Alexandre gets his pack-rat nature from! Just kidding. I don't.) So Alexandre and truck friend took out the old machine and brought in the new one! It was great. I didn't have to do anything laborious. I only had to clean the laundry room floor. Ah, gender roles.
I proceeded to spend the afternoon watching the clothes tumble around in our beautiful new washer.
When the wash cycle finished, the machine played a happily little congratulatory song! What a pleasant surprise. It matched my sentiments exactly.
I then turned on the dryer feature. It took 2 hours, even on the "light" setting. The time issue and the electricity bill mean that we'll only be using the dryer for very heavy things and in winter, but it's such a relief to have the option and to know I won't have moldy towels anymore.
When the drying cycle finished, the machine played another happy song! Here, I've made a video for you:
I excitedly opened the machine door. The smell of warm fabric softener wafted over me. I pulled out the pile of hot clothes and almost cried. I'd totally forgotten what a wonderful, comforting feeling a load of warm and dry laundry can give you! The English expression "folding the clothes" came back to me, because that's what I had to do. I seriously just sat on the couch hugging the warm clothes and smiling by myself for like 2 minutes like a big dork. It was glorious.
I knew the dryer would be fun, but I didn't realize how sweetly soothing and familiar it would be, how much it would remind me of home. Such a simple thing, those dryer-dried clothes. But they're really going to change my experience here.
Anytime I'm feeling homesick, I can do a load of laundry instead of, ya know, making 5,000 calories worth of brownies or something.