Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

My mysterious washing machine

It's been a week since our housekeeper left, so I'm getting re-acquainted with our washing machine. All at once I'm reminded of what a mystery that thing was when we first moved in. And I was lucky to have had experience with Euro washers before, in Russia, Syria, and Jordan! Over the last three years, I've helped a few neighbors figure the thing out (we all have the same one) since it a) is counterintuitive; and b) only comes with instructions in Italian.

Imagine you've moved into a new house, and you go check out the washer, and it looks like this:

Take a closer look at the main instrument panels and see if you think you could figure it out, at the risk of ruining your clothing or flooding the laundry room if you make a mistake:

The key to figuring out this washing machine ends up being that the 0 - 180 labels on that central dial do not refer to water temperature. Instead, they refer to minutes of drying time, if you choose the dryer setting. Which one is the dryer setting, you ask? Well, #17, asciugatura, of course!

Since I never use the dryer setting on our washer (it is horribly time-inefficient, as you can probably tell by the fact that it includes a 3-hour timed setting. It would also be ridiculous to use the dryer setting when you live in a climate like this one, especially considering that it absolutely bakes the clothes. They come out damp and steamy, eww), I never turn this dial.

Instead, I focus on the list of available wash cycles on the far left, numbered 1-19. After three years, I've figured out most of them. You've got your cotton cycles at different temperatures, your synthetics cycles at different temperatures, and the same for wool (thank you, yes, well I did take Spanish in seventh grade!). Cycle 13 is the cold cycle for delicates, and 15-19 are for other cold washes or drying or spinning or rinsing only.

You'll notice I skipped cycle 14. That's because I didn't notice it until the other day. A friend of mine mentioned that she had a quick wash cycle on her Euro washer, which was intriguing to me because you guys, a regular cycle on this thing takes at least two hours, sometimes more like three. Pretty much, I can manage one load of laundry a day and that's it.

But I'm pretty sure cycle 14 is a quick wash - rapido, right?? I tried it out and it takes about 40 minutes instead of 2+ hours, so yeah, that was a great discovery.

Those two buttons to the right of the start button - I have no idea what they do. I think one might be a setting for a small load, and maybe one is for...I don't know. I just leave them alone and so far, everything has turned out fine.

I realize this was a long post about a washing machine, but sometimes people in the US don't believe me when I tell them my washer takes 3 hours to run a cycle, or that I effectively don't have a dryer, or that this thing is seriously tiny. It's all true, folks. And as a result, laundry is almost always on the back of my mind, since if I haven't started a load that day, I need to; if I haven't hung it out, I need to; if I haven't taken it in by nightfall, I need to; etc. It never goes away. But at least I know how to work the machine.

Ice cream and social studies

No-sew baby wrap success!