If you have been following this blog since we arrived in Brazil, you have read about my laundry struggles, as I washed our clothes by hand for the three months we stayed at my mother-in-law's house. When we arrived here in Camboriú three weeks ago, I was so excited to find out they had a washing machine here! The only trouble was that I could not find it in the back room where they had indicated it was. Where could they be hiding the washing machine??
When I asked, my enthusiasm was more than slightly dampened. Below is a picture of the "washing machine", which in function probably bears no resemblance to anything you have ever called a washing machine before! Here is the process to clean clothes using this machine:
1. Open barrel.
2. Put plug in the hole at the bottom.
3. Insert dirty clothes and laundry soap.
3. Get a hose and start filling the barrel. The only available hose was barely a trickle, so it took *forever* to actually fill the thing up. And you had to stand there and hold it or it would keep falling out.
4. When the machine is full of water, turn the knob on the front and it will start to agitate. You can choose from 5-15 minutes, depending on the filth level of the clothes.
5. When the machine stops agitating, come back and open the barrel. It will now be full of agitated clothes and dirty, yet soapy, water.
6. Pull the clothes out one at a time and try to squeeze out the dirty, soapy water as you do. Place these clothes in the wash tank to the left of the machine.
7. Once you have removed all the clothes from the machine, reach down into the bottom of the barrel and pull the plug to let the water out. Make sure the machine is standing over a hole in the ground!
8. After the water has drained, rinse out the machine, put the plug back in, put the clothes back in, and start filling the machine for the second time with the hose that is barely a trickle.
9. Once the barrel is full, set the machine to agitate again. This time, five minutes should be enough.
10. When the machine stops agitating, open the barrel and remove the clothes again, squeezing out the not-quite-so-dirty-and-soapy water as you go, and place the clothes in the wash tank again.
11. When the clothes are all out of the machine, reach to the bottom of the barrel again and pull the plug to let the water out.
12. Now you get to do the final rinse of the clothes in the wash tank to remove the remainder of the dirty, soapy water.
13. Once this is completed, squeeze out the clothes, but you don't need to wring them out thoroughly; there is a machine for that!
14. Now place the clothes in the machine pictured below, a spinner machine. Only about 1/3 of the clothes that fit in the washing barrel will fit in here, so you will have to do it in shifts. Once the centrifugal machine is as full as it gets, close the lid. There is no on/off switch, so you just plug it in to turn it on. Careful - there is a short in the cord that might shock you! (Guess how I found out?!)
15. Once you plug the machine in, it will start to spin. As it spins, water will come out the spicket you can see in the picture below. Make sure it is close to a hole in the floor!
16. Stand there and watch the machine. When the water coming out the spicket slows to a trickle, you can unplug it. Watch that short!
NOTE: If the machine goes crazy dancing all over the place, something is off balance and you have to take all the clothes out, and put them back in, in a more "balanced" way in order for it to spin properly.
17. Once the machine slows to a stop, you can remove the clothes, and now they are all ready to hang out to dry!!
18. Repeat with the rest of the clothes in the wash tank until all the load has been run through the spinner.
All of this was doubly complicated because we live on the third floor and the machines are on the first floor. So in the 5-10 minute increments that I could leave the machine, it was not worth it to go all the way upstairs just to come back down again. (Not only is is upstairs, but on the opposite end of this large building.) So, me and the four kids pretty much had to sit there and watch the machine work. Last week it took me about six hours to get our laundry done.
Also, since it is on the first floor, I have to go right through the meeting room to get to it. Several times, I couldn't go through in order to not interupt a meeting, and once I was back in the laundry room and didn't know a meeting was going on, until I opened the door and started through with wet laudry piled up on both of my shoulders. Embarrassing!
Since we also were sharing this machine with the other family that lives downstairs, many times when I tried to do laundry, the machine was occupied. This became a problem, because we didn't bring many clothes with us here from Santos due to limited luggage capacity on the bus here, so we ran out of clotheing items a couple of different times..... not cool.
Soooooooooo ......... I say all of that is not to complain, but so that you can just IMAGINE my JOY when my husband found a used washing machine for rather cheap that does EVERYTHING and not only that, but then rigged a way to put it up here on the THIRD floor!!!!!!!!!!! The title that I chose for this post is the only way I can describe how I feel right now!!!!!!! THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rejoice with me! I don't think I have EVER been SO excited about doing laundry!!!!!