A rehash of my shameful laundry fail

5/08/2010 11:20:00 pm

I'm not a huge fan of re-posting old stuff, but I was talking to someone about the intricacies of laundry the other day (to machine wash? to wash in a bag? that was not meant to go in the machine. coloured or white? will that towel be ok in there...? etc) and this story still makes my chins wobble as I giggle. Or something to that effect anyway.

I think that I first arrived in Sweden on a Monday. That seems about right to me. By the end of that week, laundry was starting to become an issue, as was the fact that I can't walk on icy surfaces or speak Swedish, but those were problems for another time (mostly).

That Saturday, my friend Ron called and said that he'd heard there was a big huge amazing supermarket not far from our housing, we should totally go and explore and buy us some groceries. That there was also a supermarket at the bottom of the hill, about 30 seconds away, is immaterial. We wanted to go to the big huge amazing one.

I will also point out that I learned that day that wearing a hoodie with a t-shirt underneath is not enough to keep warm when the windchill is -5, even when you are wearing mittens. Yes, lesson learned.

I had two goals for the trip.
  1. To buy mustard. 
  2. To obtain laundry powder.

Honest to god, that place was huge. Even the trolleys were bigger than normal, and they had little maps on them so you could navigate! Later, my friends learned that they could get so many free samples on Thursdays in the deli section alone that they didn't need to cook or otherwise eat that day. At all. No really, it was huge.

I think I paced for about 5km muttering with increasing loudness things like, "Where is the DAMN mustard?" "what is effing MUSTARD even CALLED in Swedish?!" etc. For the record, swedes don't like loud irate muttering, so a man eventually stopped looking at me in alarm for long enough to point me in the right direction.

It's called senap, FYI.

Anyway, the laundry powder. Oh, the laundry powder.

Last week on my trip to ICA Maxi with Ron I purposely bought washing detergent in liquid form because I knew I wouldn't have a chance to get to the machines to do it any time soon and wanted to do it in my bathroom sink. As I was doing said sink-washing it did sort of cross my mind that there didn't seem to be many bubbles from the detergent, but I carried on anyway. After washing them though, I had a sort of..gut feeling..shall we say, that I may perhaps have done my laundry with fabric softener. Well, this was confirmed last night by one of the Swedish boys in my corridor, though to be fair to myself, my clothes were indeed very soft and seemed clean enough. Ahem.

And I would also point out that they also smelled very nice.

And then..
On Thursday night, Meredith and I decided that our need to do laundry was getting urgent (she has a bad sense of smell and knows that when something starts to smell funky, it must REALLY be funky) and made a date to meet up, cook some eggs, and then go down to the laundry in number 3. The only problem for me though, was that I didn't have any laundry powder, only fabric softener. Never mind, Meredith had bought some and I could use hers.

PROBLEM: we had schlepped everything down there and put it in the machines (after waiting 10 minutes for a free one), but just as I went to pour the powder in, I noticed that in the ingredients were bleaching agents. Yes, apparently, in Sweden there is separate powder for whites and colours. And so, dejected, we turned around and headed back to the house.

MORAL: vitt vätt= white wash, kulor vätt= colours.

I can't believe we thought a 10 minute washing machine wait was a bad deal. Lesson learned on that one too...

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