Houston, we have laundry!
It is a momentous day, indeed! I'm happy to report to you that, as of today, Saturday, October 9, AD2004, I have laundry facilities! Working through various little trials and tribulations, I've finally achieved nirvana (or, laundry-ness, as the case may be).
- August 21: began moving into apartment.
- September 6 (or was it 13? Whatever): obtained "ownership" of a washing machine, from a missionary couple who were moving. Around the same time, I discovered that the apartment building has a community dryer -- just plug it into my personal outlet, so as to bill the electricity correctly, and voila! Also discovered that the electric outlet was locked.
- October 4: finally got the washer moved from the nearby town (Feuerbach) to my apartment.
- October 8: attempted to get the thing hooked up... to no immediate avail.
- October 9: we have ignition!
Ah, but that's not the whole story. Oh no no no. The final hurdle was... hurdliferous.
- Yesterday I looked in the last couple nooks & crannies of the apartment, just to verify that I did not, in fact, have any key to the electric outlet. No key. I also tried to run a bit of water out of the spiggot (since it hadn't been used in many years). No water.
- So, I went to the landlord's representative, a guy who for some unknown reason is in the "Buro" (office) on the first floor. Happily he speaks English pretty well. Unhappily, he is pretty ignorant. Oh... yes, I know that may sound harsh... but here's what he said. Regarding the water, he said, after testing it to see that when you turn it on, it doesn't emit any water, "It will start working if you attach a hose to it." [I'm not joking; he said that.] Oi. But, at least he did say that he would look for a key and -- and here's the important part -- and he gave me permission to break the stupid lock over the outlet.
- Today, then, I broke open the electric outlet's little locked door. It went quite well, really. Because it broke off the internal corner of the lock, one can't even tell (visually) that it is broken!
- I also set about to find the master control valve that (I assumed) had been shut off for my washing machine spiggot. Alas, I found only a master valve for ALL the washing machines. This left rather a mystery as to why mine did not work, but all the others did. By chance, however, I noticed that the handle was a bit wobbly. In investigating that, I found that I could turn it a little bit further now. Then, working it back and forth, I was able to turn it much, much further open. At what turned out to be the *real* full open position, a couple drops of water started to come out. So, I let that go for a while. It seemed to be slowly slowly increasing the rate of drips. After several minutes, I tried turning it back off. Well, in that process, it started coming out for real! Wheeeee!!!! Such transport of joy!
- I then attached the washer's hose and set about to start the first load of laundry.
- The only hitch was that the connection between the hose and the spiggot leaked a bit. So, while the laundry was going, I went out to the local fix-it shop to buy some teflon tape for the threads. Alas, they had none. Nor did the other little fix-it shop. They both recommended that I go to the plumber's shop. But I already knew (having checked yesterday in a vain effort to arrange for the dishwasher plumbing changes) that the plumber is not open on Saturdays. So, back home I headed. Upon arrival, I found that my helpful neighbor (the son of the landlord) had noticed my washer's leak (because my bucket failed to catch it properly :-(, and had decided to fix it for me. His approach was to wrench the poor plastic hose attachment on really really really tightly to the spiggot. This of course did not help. So he turned off the water. Happily, I came back before the washer seems to have needed any more water. The neighbor than became truly helpful, and reappeared with (a) a wrench to unscrew the really tight hose and (b) a little container full of O rings (i.e., "washers"). Most of them were the wrong size and hard as cement -- but one of them actually fit. With it's addition, the leak stopped. (No teflon tape needed after all. Silly me.)
So when I return home, I now expect to find my first home-done batch of laundry, awaiting me in the dryer.
Life is good, once again.