But then there was commitment. I actually cried when Tom and I went out to buy a washing machine for the townhouse that was our first home together. The refrigerator had been no problem, because they're necessary at all stages of life, but a WASHING MACHINE ... well, that meant we were real adults. The next step would be putting stuff in my toilet to make the water blue and keep it clean!
I made my peace with it, and for a while all was well. We went back to renting apartments that included washer-dryer units, so I didn't have to think too much about laundry or adulting. Until Aloe House.
It turns out that washing machines don't much like island life. They rust in the salty air, get cistern sludge or well sand in their lines and sometimes decide that moving their parts that need to move is just too exhausting.
We are currently trying to work through a relationship with our fourth washer, and she's proving to be rather high-maintenance. We sent Amana down from the U.S. because A) even with shipping and customs, it was less expensive than buying one on North Caicos, and B) on the website, it seemed that she wasn't a fussy, flamboyant thing ... just a few dials and one button.
If I had ever done any online dating, I would have known: Websites are deceiving. Amana has electronic sensors to adjust the water level, insists on having the hot water knob on even for a cold wash, and throws a fit if you try to toss in an errant sock after she starts her cycle. Interrupt her, and you have to give her some time before starting all over. And woe if you try too hard ... you may have to give her a full day to cool down, and then candy and flowers are expected. (Okay, the gifts are an exaggeration.)
I share all these intimate details because they bring me back to my recurring advice about island living: Keep it simple. Fancy-schmancy appliances with bells, whistles and lots of moving parts are more likely to give you grief than something basic that does only one job. Consider your own fix-it skills when making any purchase. Think about cleaning and maintenance, and the fact that you'll be doing more of both, in every aspect of life. Choose floss over the Water-Pik, a charcoal grill over gas, wind-down over power windows.
If you think you can do without some luxuries from your American, Canadian or British life, go for it! That's how we feel about a dryer, ice maker, dishwasher and air conditioning. Others disagree, and that's okay. Just set your priorities. Having a working printer is important to me, so I have put up with frequent replacements and packing my baggage with ink cartridges. I'm sure some people think that's crazy, but my version of the simple life includes a printer instead of, say, track lighting.
Still, there are clothes to wash. So to follow my own advice, I guess if I can't working things out with Amana I should start looking at one of those little foot-powered washers or a suggestion from Provo friend Beryl Nelson: a new, clean toilet plunger and a five-gallon bucket.