“Would it help if you took your bra off?”
There are times in your life when hindsight affords you the opportunity to look back and realise you should have done something differently.
Like how last Saturday when we bought our new washing machine and the Comet employee asked if we’d like to pay £15 to have it installed, we quite clearly should fallen at his feet in gratitude and said “Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!”
Instead, we’d exchanged that look that only couples who have been together for as long as we have can, a silent communication of:
Me: £15? I could buy a new handbag with that.
Mr: I am man. Ug. Have tools. Ug ug. Can install machine with eyes closed. Comet employee must think I am a fool. *beats chest with fists*
Me: Are you sure? DIY is not your forte… remember the bedroom blind disaster? Where the second you held it up to the window to check it would fit, you dropped it, broke the blind and the vase beneath it?
Mr: Woman. If your shoes and hairdryer and other assorted crap hadn’t been in the way so I tripped over them while installing said blind, that would not have happened. This is a simple two pipe installation. How hard can it be?
Me: Point taken.
Turning back to the Comet employee: “I think we’ll manage.”
The problems began with the unpacking.
Mr TwentyNine had just successfully un-installed the old machine – waste pipe in a bucket to stop the kitchen flooding with water and everything – and he had now passed me the honour of being the one to unwrap the new machine. So off comes the outer plastic wrapping, and then the cardboard and polystyrene lid, and the layer of clear film wrapped around the top edges to stop them getting scuffed. Off comes the polystyrene side pillars, and the various bits of sticky tape holding things in place. And then I am presented with a problem. There’s a clear, sticky film covering the whole of the back and side of the machine which I am pretty sure is meant to stay there. It’s applied meticulously around all the little nooks and crannys and pipes and it’s even going underneath some screws . Yes, in places it’s a bit loose but I’m pretty sure it’s there to stay.
“That needs to come off”, says Mr TwentyNine.
“What? No it doesn’t!”
And so we embarked upon a twenty minute debate about whether or not to take off the bloody film, while we peeled bits off, stuck bits back on, called various parents and friends to ask for their advice, and threatened to choke each other with the cold pipe.
Eventually it came off, purely because it was now in too much of a ripped up state to stay on there.
Although the base of the packaging was still intact, Mr TwentyNine now decided it was a good time to take out the packaging bolts (the ones that they put in place to stop the drum moving around while in transit). This went relatively smoothly, we slid it across the floor towards where it was going to sit under the worktop, and I thought it might be plain sailing from here on in.
It soon became apparent that you have to be a) a bodybuilder, and b) a genius to get the machine off the base packaging. The polystyrene came a good 3 inches up the sides of the machine all the way around, and when we tilted the machine we realised there were two huge pointy bits that went up under the machine too, so lifting it a bit and then sliding it off wasn’t an option. I should take a moment to point out that while Mr TwentyNine is over 6 foot tall and quite strong, I am a 5′ 4″ weakling and therefore in this situation I was as useful as a chocolate kettle.
After half an hour of watching Mr TwentyNine lifting, tilting, turning and sliding the machine while I helpfully shrieked “Mind the door!”… “Mind the cupboard handles!”… “Mind my foot!!”; me attacking the polystyrene with first a pair of scissors and then my biggest baddest meat knife; both of us threatening each other with divorce, violence and ultimately death… I declared “Fuck it – let’s just lift. 1, 2, 3…” and with only a few jarred vertebrae and torn ligaments, we lifted the bugger off the polystyrene and onto the floor.
Again, there was a brief respite in the mayhem while the cold water pipe was attached, and Mr TwentyNine patting himself on the back at remembering to put the u-shaped plastic holder on the waste hose, the importance of which had been stressed to us by the Comet employee (who had clearly come across our type before, and hadn’t let us leave without issuing a full set of instructions and “Don’t forget, if you do x, y and z you WILL flood the kitchen, break your new machine and ultimately implode the universe” type warnings).
The next problem came in the form of getting the waste hose into the waste pipe. Our washing machine space in our relatively tiny kitchen is set in a corner, with a cupboard to a right angle on one side and the end panel of the worktop on the other side, thus rendering it impossible to do anything behind it once the machine is in place. Unfortunately, the waste hose on the back of our new machine was considerably shorter than the old one, and if we left enough space for us to get in behind the machine to guide the hose, the hose then wasn’t long enough to reach the waste pipe. Still with me?
After fruitless attempts to get the hose in place by sticking our arms down behind the machine and flailing the hose around in vague hope that it might helpfully drop itself into the waste pipe, it was decided that I, being the smallest one by approximately one foot and five stone, would have to squeeze in behind the machine, under the worktop and put it in place.
Getting in wasn’t a huge problem. I reversed myself in, hit my head on the worktop a couple of times, but after that it was relatively easy to put the hose in place thus ensuring our kitchen would not be flooded with dirty washing water. Go me.
Getting out was another matter.
First there was my head, which had seemingly inexplicably grown to watermelon proportions since I had crawled underneath, and now just would not fit through the gap between the machine and the worktop. With Mr TwentyNine shuffling the machine forward, while I left one arm behind clutching the waste hose making sure it didn’t pull back out of the pipe, I finally managed to squeeze my sweaty face out.
Then I realised I must have also had breast enlargement surgery while I was down there.
Me: I’m stuck, I seriously can’t get out of here.
Mr: What’s the problem? You got your head out ok!
Me: Yes. But now I can’t get my left tit past the cold pipe.
Mr: *thinks a moment*… Would it help if you took your bra off?
I eventually squeezed out (bra intact, thank you very much) and Mr TwentyNine found some kind of superhuman strength to shove the machine back under the worktop.
It didn’t fit.
I kid you not, after all that the bloody machine needs about a centimetre more space for it to even fit in.
Swallowing some serious pride, I placed an SOS call to my little sister, who is handily dating a builder. He is coming around tonight to move the end of the worktop for us. And then I can FINALLY get my washing done while the sun’s still shining!
On the plus side I did at least get to plug it in and turn it on, and I have to say – as far as washing machines can be – it’s a pretty one. Plus it makes more little blips and bleeps than my iPhone, which is obviously almost as important as how it washes!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
There are certain times in life where only a McDonald’s will do.
Last night was one of them.