Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Overcoming the obstacles...

Today, I had to declare war on my washing/drying machine.  Despite the wonderful cheat sheets of German/French/English translations for appliances that are so kindly provided by the American Women's Club of Luxembourg, we still have not managed to figure out this damn thing.  I understand that many Europeans do not have dryers, let alone invest in the fancy, large dryers we are so accustomed to in the states, but even the German to English translations of the settings for these machines can be baffling.  While my oven sports some interesting hieroglyphics, the washing/drying machine has a laundry list (pun intended) of German words at each setting.  The only problem is that the manual is about 30 pages long, so it takes a bit of time to filter through the book and find what you need to translate so that you have instructions that apply to the various settings.  I also have a family that can create mountains of laundry over a weekend, so I have had to put this machine to the test no less than 3-5 times per day since we have been here. (I am still working through our laundry from our trip to Paris.)

So, you can't imagine my frustration when I went to pull out the load of kids laundry I had put in earlier this morning, only to find that all of the clothes were sopping wet.  And I mean, sopping!  I figured I must have exceeded my 2.5 kg limit on clothes, so I wrung out the access water on some of the clothes, hung those, and decided to try and dry the remaining pieces.  Now, fortunately, the dryer settings are not as complicated as your average American dryer.  There are really only two settings (dry and wrinkle release) and a time setting.  So, I set the time for an hour, ran a few errands (including a trip to the store to purchase an oscillating fan to help dry the clothes that were hanging, damp, on the enormous drying rack in our laundry room), and came home to what I was hoping to be a machine full of at least mostly dry clothes that I could hang on the said drying rack.  Instead, I came home to find that the machine door would not open.  Now, based on what I could translate of the German manual (without spending the next 5 or so hours typing or scanning in pages and feeding them through Google Translate), I did determine that the door will lock if it senses that the machine is still full of water.  So, I drained the water from the vent below the door (my machine in TX had a similar vent), and ran the dryer once again.  Still, the door would not open.  I made 4 or 5 more attempts at this before my husband arrived home from a late day at work, wondering if I had managed to break the machine. (I swear, I didn't break it!  I may have thought about it a time or two, but I didn't!)  After several more attempts of draining water, running different cycles, etc., he finally resorted to taking a clothes hanger to it and managed to free my captive laundry.  Needless to say, we have determined that the door latch is broken (again, I swear I didn't do it!)  So, with a little ingenuity, we now have the red-neck version of a washing machine - the door is now sporting a lovely white twist tie that can now be used to release the latch. *sigh* Once we move into our permanent residence, I will no doubt be purchasing machines that have manuals in English!

So, in celebration of my freed laundry, I decided to break out the new Senseo coffee machine we recently purchased and try out the new hot chocolate filters I purchased yesterday.  I popped the little filter bag into the the tray, tried to close the lid, and ALMOST broke the latch used to secure the filter into the machine.  The husband grabbed the bag of filters from me, only to point out that this particular flavor I had just purchased requires a special filter tray in order to use them in our machine.  I went to the  French Senseo website (and Google Translate) to verify that indeed, a special violet "dosette" (filter tray) is needed in order to brew the hot chocolate. *sigh*  Well, at least I didn't break the machine...

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