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Give us a hand...
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Ever since I moved out, my parents have been ready and eager to help me out with things. And truth be told, there are times when I need it. I'm not handy with tools, and I'm not experienced in the way of... Anything, really. In return I take care of their laptop from time to time, so I guess it sort of works out. Nevertheless, there are things that I would like to be able to do on my own. Now that Beedoo! is here with me, that feeling has only gained in strenth; surely we can take care of things ourselves. We can't be dependant all our lives!

At this point of the story I need to explain something. The condo that I bought has limited space; this is normal in The Netherlands, where space is at a premium. As a consequence there is but a small room in the back of the kitchen for heavy appliences. Two of these are the water heater, used for the central heating system and, well, hot water, and the other is a special ventilation system that recycles heat. Both are affixed to the wall of this small space, using up a good chunk of the room, but at least leaving floor space available. The two other main appliences are the washer and the dryer, the dryer stacked on top of the washer. It all narrowly fits.

In fact, it is so narrow that while the contractor offered us all an extra outlet (for more money) for washer and dryer, when the whole thing was done everyone discovered that if you put both in there, maintenance of the ventilation system is impossible. We couldn't open the little door to the filters with the dryer in the way, and people had to come round to move the ventilation system a bit just so we could fit all the appliances in there, no doubt burning up all the money they made on selling the extra outlet in the first place. Now, all is fine, except for once every year.

Once every year, or roughly that, a contracted man comes around to service the water heater and the ventilation system, and for that he needs space. We are required to remove all obstacles around the two devices. Now take a look at the picture that Beedoo! drew: the dryer, deftly squashing our beloved little dragon (and, presumably, everyone she ate), is essentially in a little alcove: a wall to one side, the ventilation system on the other. It is a big, heavy machine, and it needs to be lifted off. No one is stong enough for that feat. No one in the world has the incredible strenth required to grab this thing with arms stretched forward, lift it up and move it back, waiting for someone to unplug it before he can put it down! No one, except for my dad, that is.

My dad is a retired bricklayer, and his strength comes from his job. From childhood into adulthood I have always been in awe of his strength, and the fact that I can't even, ever, come close, is a point of personal disappointment for me. He can actually lift the thing off, and put it back on! Problem is, we wanted to be self-sufficient. We wanted to do it ourselves.

It all started with a joke by a collegue, who suggested that we just needed a second washer in front of the first one, and we could move the dryer on that. I remembered that we still had a small table that could be assembled and disassembled, that we got for the indoors picknick. See that little table in the foreground of the picture? That's the one. A plan was hatched: we would assemble the table, put its legs on folded towels to make it slide well, put another towel on the table, and scoot the dryer onto the table. We would then slide it out the little space table and all.

It sounded great, in theory.



... Actually, it worked out pretty well. We took a lot of time both taking it off and putting it back on, planning, discussing, and being very careful not to be crushed by the heavy device. As with our adventure replacing the fridge light we also took care not to snap at each other or otherwise murder one another, and we did a fine job at that, I think.

So, overall... Succes! Who needs anybody? We sure don't!

(The 'after' image comes from the game Fallout 3, by Bethesba, and I didn't ask them if itwas okay or not to use it. Good game, though.)

This dragon is leisurely lying around The whole setup in the laundry room is a travesty. Whoever designed this setup for the ventilation and water heater is probably one of those people who's never had to use it himself (much like whoever designed a US-EU voltage adapter I bought before I moved in here... they clearly knew there were supposed to be two prongs that went into a socket... but they obviously never even looked at a European wall socket... they're not flat on the wall like American plus; they're set back IN.) I will give them that this is a tiny space to put things in, and sometimes you just have to make do... but the system was also installed in an inconvenient place: right in the middle of the wall. Handy for the one time per year the maintenance people are checking it, irritatingly in the way for the people who have to use the laundry room for other things year-round. As it is, they put it up off the floor, so at least we don't have to worry about moving both the washer AND dryer, and it's not taking up room on the floor, but in order to use that floor space, you have to bend down and crouch-walk under it to reach things at the back corner of the room.... Then you have to back out again and hope you're clear of the sharp corner of the apparatus before you stand up, or you'll crack your head on it. I've given myself gashes seveal times on the damned thing. Admittedly, I don't know about these things... but could it really have killed them to put it in in a more accessible way, so that people could actually USE their laundry room?? Or put it at a height where you don't whack your head on it to use the room under it? No, instead there has to be three feet or more of insulated pipe above it. What a load of crap.

The dryer, believe it or not, is not that heavy. After all, you're looking at a little bit of sheet metal and a spinning barrel with some equipment to make it go... but it's hollow. It is unfortunately bulky, and therefore requires two people to move no matter what... even if one is just watching where the other is going. It also has few good handholds, unless you intend to put it down on your fingers. At some point, though I decided this was just ridiculous and opened the dryer to lift it with an arm inside... MUCH easier! The hardest part was trying to get it set back on the four little rubber foot-pads that keep it from sitting directly on the washer (and damaging it with its movements...) After all, they're not supposed to move... so getting them to scoot into place is already a chore, but then add in the factor of trying to reach the length of the dryer and blindly wedge one into place. Arno got clever again and used a spatula to push the little foot into place while I tipped the dryer forward. At one point, though, one of the feet got away from us. We spent a lot of time wedging ourselves under the ventilation system with a flashlight, pressing our faces to the wall to try to see where the thing had fallen, only to declare that it had fallen into the same black hole that all the left socks get sucked into. Giving it up for lost, I started to clean up by folding the towel on the table, and it fell out of the folds onto the floor! We still have no idea how it made it that far away... it doesn't seem physically possible.

The whole ordeal went down BETTER than the episode with the fridge light; tensions were not as high, no one was injured, and no broken glass was to be found. :)

Whoops, I'd meant to color Kayenta in...

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