Of course I knew when I came to the NL that everything would be in Dutch, I found this out when I was here in October 2014. At that time, we were working on obtaining a green card for Ilka so she could come to the US and fulfill her dream of living in the US at some point in her life. So when I visited I never thought I would be living here at least not now. That all changed in March of 2015 when Ilka took a job with the fashion company Scotch & Soda. She realized her first week this was not going to be a short-term job to keep the bills paid until she moved to the US. After working for Scotch & Soda for about a month, she was offered the position of Team Lead for the IT helpdesk. She accepted and when she came to visit me in the US in April (Derby Week) 2015 we then discussed me coming to the NL to live while she moved forward with her career at Scotch & Soda.
So on December 3rd I arrived with 3 very full suitcases of clothes and personal items I would need to live here. We decided after the “gentle” care my suitcases got (broken zippers, missing zipper pulls & a broken off wheel not to mention the nice note from the TSA in one of my bags) that it might be best if my clothes got washed before I refolded them and put them in the wardrobe Ilka bought for me. Ilka took two days off to help me shake off the jet lag and to get settled into the NL.
So on Monday morning, after she left for work, I was going to continue washing and drying our laundry. Over the weekend she taught me what the controls for the coffeemaker were and I looked over her shoulder when she started the laundry Sunday evening. So I took the laundry out of the washer (from Sunday night) and put it in the dryer and pushed the button. Dryer started, no problem. So now to the washer. Put in the clothes, opened the drawer where the laundry detergent & softener go, no problem. Push the button, nothing. Hmm push it again, still nothing. OK I’ll talk to Ilka online (I didn’t have a SIM for my phone yet) so I’ll chat with her on Messenger later today. So I go upstairs to get another cup of coffee. I press the button for a double cup and get an error message and no coffee. So a quick check of Google translate tells me it is out of water! No problem, I remove the watertank, fill it, and voila! Coffee, ambrosia of the gods. I’m happy. So after an hour or two, I notice the dryer has stopped, so I empty the dryer, fold our clothes and decide to try the washer again. Again push the button nothing. When Ilka calls, she can’t figure it out, so we will fix it tonight. That afternoon our friend Willemien calls me on Messenger and tells me she is coming by to have a cup of tea. Calling a friend and announcing you are coming for a cup of coffee or tea is a very Dutch thing to do. What I didn’t know was Ilka had called and asked her to come over and figure out why the washer isn’t working. Willemien comes over, she gets a cup of tea and we chat. Finally she asks me how the laundry is going. I admitted that I cannot get the washer to work. So we go into the laundry room I push the button and she says, “Bill, you have to turn on the washer first!” So she moves the knob from off (uit) to a 40 C (104 F) wash cycle, perfect for most loads, including the load of dark clothes currently in there. I pushed the button and it works! I learned an important lesson that day…Google translate is on my computer & my tablet….use them. Her dryer is a small one, so instead of having an exhaust the dryer puts the water into a holding tank, which needs to be emptied after a few washings, which is no issue as the bathroom is straight across the hall. I did think after several drying cycles I wondered where the lint went as the water was clear and clean. After a week of drying I finally asked Ilka about it. I totally missed the dryer vent is on the door of the dryer, she had been going behind me cleaning it, wondering why I always cleaned my dryer vent in the US after every drying, but had not done it yet in NL….
Over the next few days, I learned every error code the coffee maker has, no coffee beans, clean the waste cup out, even that it is time for the filter to be cleaned (I need to figure out how to do that yet). I’ve posted some photos of the washer, dryer & coffee maker so you can see. The washer photos and dryer photos are left to right on the machines so you can see the writing The coffee maker photos are in the order you see them the bottom row is error messages.