Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And so it's come to this.

I'd like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent woman (typos notwithstanding). 
I did good in high school.  I could remember anything long enough to pass a test.
I managed to graduate college (university) with honors while working full-time.  

But, I have been done in by British appliances.  
Seriously.  How hard can it be?  It's just a few buttons and dials, right?
Some simple words.  On.  Off.  Hi.  Low.  

Well, apparently I now need to take an on-line course to figure out how to use anything in my kitchen.

This is in my freezer.
Lambs, chickens, cows and reindeer.  Cupcakes, a puppy and some fruit.  Huh?
And not only do I have this one lovely dial.   But, I have four of them.  One on each drawer.  

What I need to know is how to defrost the damn thing. 
It's built into the cabinets so never really seals when closed so always needs a defrost.
At least it's a pretty good size.  

And then there's the "microwelle" which is apparently a microwave and an oven.
Inside is a metal tray and two metal racks.  Metal.  In a microwave. 

My first attempt to use it resulted in sparks and pops.
Since then I've been brave enough to try popcorn three time.  
Results?  1.  Burnt.  2.  Ten kernels popped.  
3.  Success.  Most kernels popped and only slightly burnt.  

There is also a regular oven. 
Obviously, it's in Celsius rather than Fahrenheit.  Nothin' a little Google action can't solve. 

But, what the hell does this mean?

Lines, squiggles and a plane propeller.  Not a single short, basic word in sight.  

And check out the buttons for the dishwasher...

Can someone please tell me what this means?

(Before you suggest it, yes, we do have the manuals for all of these appliances.
However, I'd much rather bitch blog about it then actually educate myself.)

And lastly,
(cue the ominous music)
my arch nemesis,
(Dum! Dum! Duuum!)
the Washer/Dryer Combo!
(screams and wails from the chorus)

Or as I like to call it...

The Shake and Bake.  

So, what you do is you put 5 articles of clothing into the little pot.
Because that is all it will hold which means you do laundry a lot.
It then shakes those clothes around for about an hour and a half.

Then the Nuclear Cycle kicks in.
For the next two hours, all of your dainties, jeans and jumpers
are exposed to temperatures so high that it actually
changes the molecular structure of the fiber content. 

And more of the hieroglyphics.

I've managed to go 46 years avoiding an iron.
I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually done it.
There is even a special section at the back of my closet
for clothes I wore one time and will never wear again
because they weren't permanent press.

And yet, I now find myself a woman with an... 
(deep breath)
I can't even bring myself to type it...
a woman with an...


That's right.  Monday is Ironing Day.

Talk amongst yourselves.  I need a moment.  

 No fluff and tumble here, my dear friends.
Clothes are wadded up, wrinkles are baked in.
Even the most wrinkle resistant fiber in the world comes out
looking like the skin on my neck a Shar Pei.

I am now a woman who irons sheets and dishtowels.
What the hell?

Let's just hope we figure out how to use this thing before the temperature drops any further. 


P.S. Sorry for the rant.  I promise to post a Favo(u)rite Post soon!  But, I do feel better.  I'd also like to apologize to my mom for using a few bad words (like "iron").  It really couldn't be avoided.  


    Seriously, ^ that's what I'm doing right now, because RIGHT?? Appliances here are so confusing (for an American, at least!). First I had to figure out an AGA, then a gas-mark oven, plus the washer/dryer, and the radiators? Don't even get me started. I finally told my landlord he needed to give me a crash course, and he sent the plumber over- I stood there in the door saying "uhhh... the bathrooms are fine; I don't understand the radiator". Turns out there's hot water in them?? And I *still* can't call RADIATORS "forced heat". Having to be within 6 inches of something to feel anything is not "forced heat"!!
    I love this post. LOVE.
    Oh, and our dryer was a condenser dryer, so I had to dump the water out of it (???), and as a fire-prevention, it didn't fully dry stuff, so everything had to be hung on drying racks or on the AGA to finish drying. I've never had to plan my laundry at least a day in advance.

  2. Oh my word! You poor thing! Does it help at all if I found this post one of the funniest I've ever read? I can't believe there is a reindeer on your freezer! What are all of those signs?! Apparently hieroglyphics aren't just for the ancient Egyptians but also for modern day London.

    You have every right to vent. Wow! Good luck figuring it all out! And if you accidentally burn the apartment down while trying to reheat last night's dinner, it is totally understandable! :)

  3. What a very funny post. Sorry we didn't get to chat at the tea yesterday - wasn't it fun?

    Louise x

  4. On your freezer dials, I would imagine that you put the cut out on the dial to 2-6 months and the "prongs" on the dial show you what you can keep in the freezer for that length of time, same goes for the 4-8 and 6-12 months. The squiggly lines on your oven are 1 heater/grill or 2 heaters/grill and the propeller is a fan, the solid lines are the whole oven...........But even better, it's all here:

  5. This is why I love your posts - they are often the ones I meant to write. I think that nuclear symbol on your microwave is a bit scary. And, not to be rude, but we know the technology is there for a good washer & dryer, so why hasn't it made it over here? I wonder how families with 4 kids get through the laundry, if the do :)

  6. P.S. We have the same dishwasher - use the 3rd one from the left :)

  7. Hehe! This was so funny. I was smiling all the way through - especially now I've met you and can hear your lovely accent through your words!!


  8. Aaaaargh... I am so feeling your pain. If I wasn't weeping with shared agony and frustration, I would be laughing my pants off. Love your style of writing.

    Now... deep breath... the real problem is the washer-dryer combo. British washing machines, and dryers, separately are great. Slow... but great. It's the washer-dryer combo which is a disaster. I have no idea why it has to dry at the temperature of the earth's core. I phoned customer services and asked how you do a dry that was suitable for synthetics, and they beat horribly around the bush, but basically said you can't. What is the f... deep breath... deep breath... What is the point of THAT?

  9. Actually, the microwave-oven combo is quite good, once you get used to it. Worth reading the instruction book (tedious, sorry).

  10. I've been staring at it for a while and I still can't figure out the puppy on your freezer!! You are funny Selena!! We have a washing machine that I still can't figure out and we don't have an instruction manual for it. I've resorted to the quick wash as anything else takes nearly 2 hrs to run it's cycle.

    I'm sorry I can't help you out with anything especially the dishwasher as we don't even have one so I'm no good there.

    I just had an idea, is the puppy a pig?? It took me long enough to figure it out.

    Good luck with your "ironing day" :+P

  11. Really funny post, although as a Brit who moved to America, I've had similar problems in reverse.
    I can confirm your oven propeller is the fan (supposedly, will cook things a bit quicker and you may find info in recipes to reduce the temp/time a bit).
    As for metal in the microwave, my parents have one like that (they love it, but they're seniors!!). It's **essential** you take the metal parts out before using it in microwave mode. If you're doing sausages (in oven mode), then leave them in.
    Great to meet you... will be back!

  12. Hello! Just found you via Laura :D

    If it's any consolation I'm a Brit and I'm mostly confused by this stuff too!

    The washer/dryer thing though, I think it's because traditionally we dry the washing outside, the dryer is kind of a tacked on after thought. And our houses are mostly tiny and without any kind of basement so those big American machines just wouldn't fit. Which is our loss, except when doing without is this funny :D

  13. I am so glad to find your blog! I got such a great laugh out of your descriptions and pictures. Since my husband and I just returned from a trip to Scotland, I can understand a little better what you're dealing with. I can't imagine buying food for a family and storing it in what we would call a cooler here in the American South! But, we had a wonderful time in a very lovely country.

    1. So glad you stopped by! I would love to hear more about your trip to Scotland. I can't wait to get there. It is top of my list!!

      Have a terrific weekend!!

  14. Oh my gosh! You are absolutely bang on! You've totally, completely hit the nail on the head! I experienced EVERYTHING you've mentioned about the difficulty of using appliances in the UK. The one that brought back the BIGGEST memories was the sheets that really, truly DID HAVE TO BE ironed to be useable after coming out of the teeny tiny washer/dryer. What's that about? I'd never ironed a sheet before in my life! SIgh. I love reading about all your experiences. You totally take me back to the year I lived and worked in the UK. Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of reliving the "good old days!"

    1. Kate, Thanks so much for reading and commenting!! It felt good to have a little rant. But you know how wonderful it is living here (in spite of having to iron the sheets.)

      I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!


  15. The puppy is a lamb. The reindeer is venison. That's my best guess, anyway. And the oval with two levers at about 10 o'clock on the dial is a chicken?

  16. LOL. I come back to the UK every year and my mother still has to give me detailed instructions on how to work her washing machine. It has so many cycle options it goes past the alphabet and into double a - g!!!
    I think you'd better do what every other Brit does - get one of those drying racks that hangs off the radiators. You'll still have to iron but they'll dry very quickly AND the damp clothes will add humidity to the air!

  17. This post had me laughing out loud! I can relate! It seems I am constantly doing a tiny load of laundry.

  18. Thanks for the laugh. I enjoyed it.

    On a side note, when I was last in England, the stoves had "Gas Mark" numbers on them... needless to say - I ate out quite a bit.

  19. Seriously, you had me laughing out loud! 'A puppy!' Too good! I do feel your pain though. We have gas marks on our oven, and after I Googled those conversions one too many times, I finally printed out a really convenient conversion chart that I've taped inside one of our cupboards. I can email it to you if you'd like.

    As for the washer/dryer situation, we have separate with our condenser tumble dryer in our garage - let's just say the neighbors have seen me in not the most flattering of outfits as I drudged down there with the wash. But, I have to say that our tumble dryer is comparable to what we have in the States. I only iron Richard's work shirts, but like you, still way more ironing than I ever did in the U.S. Thank you for the laugh and I feel your pain with some of this!

  20. Oh, how very funny, because, oh, how very true! You hooked me fully at "plane propeller". HAHA! I found you through the beautiful Monique's blog. I guess I am "technically" an expat (husband is military, although I did ask after finding you why he couldn't be an Englishman because I'm jealous as hell, but to be honest I wish he was a Scotsman, and he retorted with "why couldn't you be an Englishwoman??"), and dear husband was laughing over my shoulder at this post as well. We'll be heading back across the pond soon, but we wish we could stay forever and ever and ever. I won't miss the hieroglyphics, though. And I've just figured out how to use my oven properly - it only took me 2 1/2 years! Hopefully you've mastered it all by now? Great blog - thanks for the laugh.

  21. hahahaha....i love this post Selena! Probably too much because I am in the same boat. I could take a class with you about how to use any appliances here.

  22. I saw this retweeted and had to read it. YES YES YES. Except all of our stuff is in Dutch. I have lamented about our crazy stove and washing machine- but thankfully- our freezer is simple. I still can't cook worth a damn on the stove- but oh well. At least we have clean clothes.

  23. Haha this post is FANTASTIC! I feel the same way living in South Korea. :( What DO all those symbols mean? Sigh. I'm just not smart enough. Thanks for sharing this in our 'Friday Funnies!' I really enjoyed the read.

  24. Haha! I recognize those symbols! I've figured most of the oven symbols out. The first house I said in while I was here had the symbols AND they had the meaning pop up in digital writing when you clicked on a symbol. Only problem - the writing was in Italian. I was SO confused!

  25. So glad you can relate. I used to think I was a reasonably intelligent woman. I dream about tumble dryers on a regular basis. xoxo

  26. Thanks, Amanda! Thrilled you stopped by. It's the small everyday things that are the hardest to deal with in a new country. And I'm in England! You wouldn't think I would have this much trouble. BTW, love your selfie tips. I'm going to try them out next week. xoxo

  27. I finally figured out the gentle cycle, so all of my dainties are no longer falling apart. But I still haven't used the stove. Crazy! xoxo

  28. Thanks, Bonnie Rose. I think we should start a support group. After the loss of several sweaters, I'm quite traumatized. xoxo

  29. Oooh! I can't wait to see pictures!

  30. This is hilarious and overwhelming all at once! It's like trying to decipher an Egyptian script! Thanks for sharing on Friday Funnies :)

  31. Thanks so much for commenting, Alesha. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who struggles with it. I have to defrost the freezer today. So not looking forward to that! xoxo

  32. Oh Selena, I'm crying with laughter over here - it took me a good 6 months to translate mine as well! I still don't know how to set my washing machine to start in a few hours rather than straight away!

  33. :D I still haven't figured it all out. And now we only have a washer so there are always wet clothes hanging about. I have dreams of full-size washer & dryers. 


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