I have beaten the Washing Machine of Doom!

Well, sort of beaten. More snuck past and luckily it was yawning, or something, so it didn't notice and so I triumphed! (That analogy is lacking quite a lot, I know. This is the level of incoherence my washing machine has driven me to.)

It started so well. I came back from the beach, and decided that, in keeping with my new domestic role, I'd do some laundry. I've done millions of laundry loads, this can't be too complicated. Once I'd found the laundry powder and fabric softener (the worst part about moving into an already occupied flat is finding where everything lives...), just dump that in, pick the temperature you want, and Bob's your uncle!

You'd think.

The first complication is that my washing machine speaks Italian. I, bar a few useful words like caffè and grazie, do not. Still, even with this linguistic gulf between us, I figured "30°C rapido" was easy enough to understand, and so turned the dial appropriately. There's three buttons on my washing machine - process of elimination (and Google) suggest that "Avvio" is the one to make the machine go.

And, on pressing it, lights happen and the machine starts up. Water sloshes in, all is going fabulously. I open Twitter and stop paying attention to the domesticity around me, bathing in a warm glow of success.

Some minutes later, it dawns on me that there's an odd silence. The machine is not actively washing. Even "rapido" can't be *this* quick, I think. There are lights flashing.

Lights flashing are never good, have you noticed? No rhythmic reassuring blinking ever happens, it's always "PANIC NOW SOMETHING'S BROKEN" type flashing.

My washing machine flashes the start button (which is also the pause button - do washing machines commonly have pause buttons? It's not like it's a DVD player...) and the "washing in progress" light. A blatant lie, at this point. Washing is very much not in progress.

I try tentatively prodding the start button. Maybe this would make it work again. No. OK. I try turning the dial back to 0 - all the lights go off. The door still won't open. I run the whole cycle again, thinking it was maybe just a fluke, but sure enough, the lights start flashing and the washing stops at the same point.

I call my parents. They laugh. I call my husband. "That's never happened to me before."

Bereft of other options, and devoid of hope, I turn the machine back to 0 and wait. Eventually, the door locky thing clicks, and I can open the door. For once, luck was with me and water didn't gush out all over the nice clean floor. But the clothes were soaking and not yet hang-up-able.

There are symbols at the end of my washing-machine-cycle-dial. One is a shower-head, one is a spiral, and one is a bucket with a hole in the bottom. I decide that if the cycle of 30°C rapido hasn't ever managed to finish, my clothes probably need showering (which I assume means rinsing) and set the dial accordingly. Nervously, I watch its every spin and slosh. Eventually it starts spinning on its own, and draining follows. Success is mine, at last!

Sadly, my swimming costume was in the washing machine, so going back to the beach to recover from the stress now looks unlikely. Wearing a cold wet swimming costume must be one of the worst feelings ever. I may take myself for a restorative coffee in the sunshine...

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