The Tale of the Combo Washing Machine

Sometime May 2012:

After tonight’s episode, I can rule out “Washing Machine Repair” as a suitable career change.

The other evening my washing machine started making an unsightly noise (I am not sure how a noise can be unsightly but I like the word). I spent the evening fretting about what the noise could be, what it meant and how I would overcome the problem.

This isn’t just any washing machine, no it’s a combination machine with a nifty dryer on top. Now you might think “No big deal”, but it turns out it is a big deal and a big hassle.

After getting the “combo” machine mostly out of it’s closet, I carefully squeezed through the door frame and the machine and unplugged the electrical and shut off the water. I felt a little bit like Mighty Mouse, squeezing into a space that I had no business squeezing into.

It was all fine and dandy to unplug the electrical and shut off the water, but what about disconnecting the hoses?

For whatever reason, I have accumulated a fair sized tool box of things. Screw drivers, hammer, a few tape measures (you can never have enough, this runs in the family having multiple’s of multiple’s for no other reason than to have multiple’s) a ratchet and socket set (this was a gift from a friend, seriously, I guess it looked like I needed a set) but unfortunately no set of vise-grips.

I don’t know about you, but many times I’ve needed vise grips and it is a wonder that I do not yet own one, let alone multiples. Maybe a friend will see my need and gift me one, two, three..ten!

Being on a bit of a budget that I am, I used another “call a friend” for use of vise-grips.

With vise-grips in hand, I removed not 4 but 15, yes 15 screws that were holding one metal plate onto the back of the machine.  I sat there wondering what type of quality assurance this “combo” washing machine was subjected to in order to warrant 15 screws.

With the back plate off, I had imagined I would spot the problem immediately.  Why all the snickering!!

When it wasn’t glaringly obvious, I You Tubed “How To Fix Washing Machine” videos.  After much sweating and stressing about all the possible causes, I determined it was beyond my scope of expertise.  I screwed the plate back on the machine, reconnected the hoses, plugged the machine back in and pushed it back into the closet.

The weird noises persisted but I decided until it stopped working completely, I’d continue using the machine.

NOTE: The machine continued to work 6 more years (it may well still be working).  After waiting 8 years to be gifted with vise-grips 🤣, I bought my first pair this past winter.

The Floorman

I am not sure if I promised to tell the second story from my floor searching adventure, but I’ve decided it is time to write it out.

After receiving solid husband finding advice, I stumbled upon my future husband?!

The first problem is he is definitely not German. Why do I know this? He has dark skin, he looks Arabic, and he is working at a hardwood flooring store. I don’t know, it just seems Germans would likely be more of the manufacturer than the sales person. Doesn’t successful selling include some emotional connection between seller and buyer?

It started out very similar to my conversation with Antonio the Italian.

“How can I help you today?”

“Well, I am looking for either laminate or engineered hardwood for my condo project. I am looking specifically for Walnut or Acacia wood/finish. Do you have anything like that here?”

He said yes and directed me to the back corner of the store. This should have been my sign.

He showed me what he had available, pointed out his “best-seller”.

“I’ve put this in many condo’s all over Toronto. It looks really good. You live in Toronto?”

“Not exactly, I live just on the border of Toronto.” And I told him the general area.

“Oh that’s great, that’s close to downtown Toronto, you can easily get into town and it’s nice for hanging out. Like I’ve said, I’ve sold a lot of this flooring to condo owners in Toronto.”

Why was this man so obsessed with Toronto? I hardly EVER go downtown Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really cool spots in Toronto, but it isn’t the center of the Universe. Munich is – doesn’t he know this!?!

He pulled the four plank wide sample from off the wall and laid it on the floor. We stood there staring at it. He started getting restless at my continuous concentration that was directed squarely at the sample on the floor.

“What can I help you with?”

“Well, I am torn. This laminate is a good price but it just seems really shiny and unlike clothes, boyfriends and couches, once I install my floor if I don’t like it I can’t return it. I am stuck with it unless I sell my place. I am just not sure.”

“Let me get you a sample from the back you can take it home and think about it.”
“Sure that sounds like a solid plan.”

Before he procured me a sample we were interrupted by an older gentleman. He opened up the front door, peered into the store and asked, “Do you have a cigarette lighter?”

The salesman looked at me. I scrunched up my face and wondered to myself, do you think I have a lighter?! After a few awkward seconds the salesman reluctantly reached into his pocket and produced a red lighter and handed it to the old fellow.

“You can keep it.”

“Oh no, I just need to light my cigarette.”

Keeping the door opened a crack with his upper body the old man turned his face and cigarette towards the street and lit up. Success and with his left hand he gave back the useful and most convenient lighter and left as quickly as he arrived.

“That was odd. He could have just kept the lighter.” Said the salesman, pretending he wasn’t a smoker.

He forgot about getting me a sample, pulled out his phone and started punching away. I wasn’t sure what he we doing so I kept staring at the sample laying on the floor.

After a few moments, the salesman lifted his head and declared, “With installation, flooring, under pad, and baseboard I can get your floor down for $2,000.”

Hmmmmm, I think to myself. That sounds like a good deal but that means this floor is likely not even a mediocre laminate. It is most likely a terrible laminate. Not to be deterred I ask, “Is that painted baseboards and how wide would the baseboards be?”

“They wouldn’t be painted and 4 inches wide,” he paused and said, “I could throw in 5 inch baseboards.”

“5 inch baseboard,” I gasped, “How wide is 5 inches!!!” I asked incredulously.

It wasn’t lost on him. He smirked, did his best not to laugh out loud and walked over to the wall and said, “I’ll show you 5 inches….”

And I was pretty sure he just might.

Now you may think this is the end of the story but it’s really only the beginning. There may not really ever be a worthy ending, but there certainly is a hilarious middle.

Another post for another day.

For now I must go pick up my 4 1/2 inch wide German engineered plank flooring from the other man I actually purchased from. As for promised 5 inch baseboards, I am holding out for 6, 7, 8.

Earning Panama

Earning Panama

IMG-20121130-00914Before we get to Panama and all its hot weather, sporadic rain and friendly spanish speaking Latino’s, its important to note the weeks leading up to this particular vacation to get the full effect.

You see, I agreed to this vacation BEFORE I knew I had a job that was going to support my basic needs of paying a mortgage, food and a car payment. After landing a job, I took a moment to have a sigh of relief. The downside is I still couldn’t bring myself to feel upbeat about my upcoming vacation. Aren’t vacation’s for people stressed out from their corporate jobs? A place to rejuvenate?

I’d been living the limin’ life for a year and this getaway felt exactly like the splurge it was and seemed like such a waste in my state of stress-free well being.

All that was to change 3 weeks leading up to beautiful Panama.

It started with a broken baby toe, progressed into a duel I lost with a 70lb animal and ended with the big bang of a condo flood 2 inches deep.

The toe and tooth are worthy stories, both were avoidable separate accidents, both are still causing me pain 3 weeks later. The condo flood is what will scar and scare me forever out of any semblance of a peaceful sleep!

I was preparing for my trip. There was work to be accomplished, packing to be done, pampering to be had. I was doing well, going to bed early, waking up early and one by one striking the “to-do’s” off my list until that morning at 3am when I was rudely awakened.

“Property Management! Property Management!”

My slumber was being pierced by an unknown male voice and it wasn’t coming from my dream.

I rolled over, rubbed my eyes and in my groggy state of partial awareness, struggling with my sheets I yelled back as loud and angry I could make my little 3am voice sound, “WHO Is IN MY CONDO!”

“It’s me, Steve, your property management.” He yelled back.

I grabbed my phone, it was 3am and I yelled back, “what the hell are you doing in my condo, bastard!”. And I looked around for that giant flashlight, my only hope, my only weapon!

“You’ve had a flood!!”

“I’ve had a WHAT!?!!”. I shouted back incredulously.

“A FLOOD!” Came his reply.

I rolled out of bed and took a step towards my bedroom door, the carpet was wet. I stepped off the carpet, reached for my door knob and stepped into what felt like the edge of the Atlantic ocean.

I opened my bedroom door, pried opened my eyes and saw the flood extending from my restroom, to my living room, my dining room to the kitchen to the front door.

The giant who is my property manager splashed by me, heading towards my bathroom. All the while he was chattering about the flood, “It looks like your toilet tank cracked, your neighbour noticed water coming through her vent.”

I groaned. I knew this neighbour. The one who is no fun at all. My property manager turned off the water to my toilet and suggested I clean up Lake Ontario that had unseemingly seeped into my condo.

He left.

I locked my door and in a dazed wandered through the flood only to fall flat on my back in my little private lake. As I laid there looking up at the ceiling and feeling the water soaking my hair, my shirt and my pants, I wondered if perhaps this may still be just a dream. I willed myself to stand up, brushed whatever water I could off myself and I went to work cleaning up the mess.

After two hours of soaking up water in towels, wringing them out into a bucket and dumping the bucket into my tub, I had successfully sent Lake Ontario back to where it belonged.

Now what to do? It was 5am and I needed to use the restroom. I quickly changed, dug up my insurance information, slid into my Mini and zoomed off to the nearest 24 hour donut shop I could find. For the record, the best time to use public restrooms is around the 5/6am mark! Trust me, I tried out a couple that early morning 🙂

So here I am in Panama 3 days post-flood. Enjoying every minute of sun, sand and drop of rain. Knowing that everyday is bringing me closer to my new condo reality – cement flooring “throughout” and my neighbour who is threatening to sue me!

My Parking Garage Neighbour

I live in a rather reclusive building. When I first moved in over three years ago I hardly knew I had neighbours at all. I rode up and down the elevator, walked up and down the hallways and didn’t meet a soul.

It was after seven months of living in my condo that I met someone.

My parking garage neighbour.

At the time he was driving a 2002 Silver Volvo S60. Seriously, I know this is ridiculous of me, but cars really are my thing. I noticed there were always loads of things in his backseat all covered in blankets and I got to wondering what possibly could be lurking under the blankets.

Perhaps it was all this wondering that got my introduction but I believe it was more likely all the random cars he saw parked beside his that had him calculating exactly when I would be home so he could confront me.

And confront me he did.

I don’t recall how the conversation started but I do recall being grilled on what I did for work and the conversation ended with him asking for my help on his next car. As a side, I did attempt to help him however he ended up buying something completely off his original list – I am not offended just sad he choose a weaker competitor, but alas he couldn’t be helped 🙂

Since that day we met, every few weeks we make it an unplanned point of meeting in the elevator, the garage, the parking lot and once in a while, the local grocery store.

He is what you would envision as a true sales guy. Rushing around with his goods packed into his vehicle, a fast talker with the ability of getting a clear and comprehensive full month of verbal catch-up done in literally 2 minutes. It puts alot of pressure on me to par down on my verbal updates to him, you know, give him the basic facts and let him fill in the rest!

I know when I’ve gone over my 2 minute limit because he starts shifting from foot to foot and fiddling with his hands. I almost want to keep the conversation going just to see if he would implode/explode if I added more filler to my stories :).

Today I didn’t quite get the memo and left my unit 30 seconds later than I should have. When I arrived in the basement to get into my car, he was already in his, car running, ready to go.

This meant our 4 minute conversation (2 for him, 2 for me) would have to be much shorter.

As I walked up to the driver side of my vehicle (He likes driving into his spot, I prefer backing into mine, so our driver doors are friends), he waited for me to walk around the back of his vehicle and rolled down his window to say,

“I really like your new car, when did you get it?”

“I picked it up Wednesday, it has turned out to be way more fun than I initially thought it would be! A friend helped me with a good deal on a well equipped car otherwise I don’t know what I would have done!”

“Well I love it, it suits your personality,” and then squinting slightly and scrunching lower into the seat of his SUV as though he was experiencing some major abdominal pain, he ended, “it’s sexy, sporty just like you!” and as he grimaced some more he completed a full hand finger wave, rolled up the window and off he went….

Our 1 minute was up. I stood there and laughed.

My Sexy, Hot, Romantic…

We have established I have an affinity for meeting interesting people and having … conversations.

Trust me, I do not seek it out.

Today’s conversation was actually handed to me, like a baton in a race. I wasn’t in some obscure place, no I was being part of regular society.

I am not sure how the conversation started before I was pushed into it, I just know I was being asked my opinion on colours.

“Do you think beige or green. I mean green is much friendlier.”

“Yes, I’d have to agree.”

“See I am not sure. I have this beige fabric with green vines. Its like green like leaf green.”

“Uh-huh, do you think all the shades of green would match.”

She turned sharply towards me, “God made green, it all matches.”.

Point taken – what a dumb question!! I should have known better.

“Well in that case, I concur you should definitely go with green”

We weren’t done however.

“It’s for my balcony,” and off she went describing her balcony. Her hand cut faux-grass. The cooking section. The eating section and the apres eating section.

“Sounds lovely.”

“Oh it is, its romantic. All my friends tell me that.”.

She pulls out her flip phone and searches through her camera’s photos. She finds the balcony and shows it to me.

“See, isn’t it gorgeous.”

“Oh yes, it looks fabulous,” all the while I can’t see a thing on the thumb print of a screen with the sun blaring down on us. Why oh why was I prolonging this conversation!

“Well you know what is really romantic.”. She pauses. “My living room. Its HOT. Its SEXY.” She is obviously out doing herself.

I want to jump in and help her with more descriptive words like Steamy, Erotic, Erogenous, Suggestive.

Instead I lean in close and flippantly insinuate to her that her romantic, HOT, SEXY room was surely seeing some action and not going to waste.

She chuckles and …

After a moment to catch my breath, I successfully remove my foot from my mouth and bid her adieu.