A Valentine’s Affair with LG

LG is the new love in my life. Don’t worry, my husband WG doesn’t have any REAL competition – but LG has helped me get my groove back as I settle into my new life in Germany! Almost a decade ago when WG & I first moved to Paris we were lucky enough to have made friends with an American-Canadian couple who had lived in France for ages. They helped us acclimate to living abroad; to-live-in-europe/” target=”_blank”>teaching us how to do things as a “local” would, giving advice on the ins and outs of Paris life. It is clearly because of their help that we acclimated to life abroad as well as we did.

They were thoroughly integrated, spoke French fluently, had almost exclusively French friends and lived in the Paris suburbs sending their children to the local French school. While I like to think that we brought a little “taste of home” to their life, they, in turn, pastored our church, introduced us to their French friends and foreign foods, drove us places as we didn’t have a car and they even went with us shopping for appliances when we moved out of temporary housing and into our home in Paris

When you move into a Parisian apartment the former tenants truly have taken “everything but the kitchen sink”. Gone are the kitchen counters, the stove, the refrigerator and more. Light bulbs, if they were lucky enough to have been left behind, hang barren from wires about the abode. Being only 27 years old at the time, WG & I had only been married a few years. We were in the “starter stage” of our life together and had not yet purchased our first home. Which is to say, we had also never gone shopping for “serious adult purchases” such as washing machines, refrigerators and the lot. Needless to say, living in a foreign country and on a limited “recently out of university” budget, we were at a loss wondering what to buy and how to go about doing it.

Our American/Canadian couple friends came to the rescue. We loaded up in their car, drove across Paris to the biggest Darty in town and with fists full of francs we set about buying an apartment’s worth of appliances. We picked out a TV, a wonderful bright red refrigerator that screamed Europe for I’d never seen anything like it in America, a dishwasher, a stove & microwave and finally a washing machine. I wanted to buy a washer AND dryer – but it would have to be a stackable unit as the space in our over-priced apartment was too small for the luxury of a side by side unit. Then the salesman led me to the washer/dryer combos and he had me at Bonjour – space saving AND dual purpose. I loved it. But my dear friends, seeing the lust in my eyes, advised….

“You say you want to acclimate…. if you’re going to acclimate, you have to shed your American ways. You don’t need a clothes dryer – All our French friends use drying racks and it works perfectly fine. In fact, it’s really better for the clothes extending the life on all your Parisian frocks. And besides, have you received your first electric bill yet? A dryer sucks down energy and it will send your electric bill through the roof! Trust me on this. To live like a Parisian, You don’t need to buy a dryer.”

Dejected, saddened, I turned away from the washer/dryer combo and trudged back to the washing machine sans dryers, choosing a single washing machine – and life like a local. But if I was going to live like a local I was going to do so with the highest spin cycle possible! “The trick to line drying,” my friend advised, “is you have to get the highest spin to wring the clothes as dry as possible before hanging them.” And for years now, I’ve “lived like a local”.

Years passed. I acclimated to life in Europe. I learned French. I moved to Holland. I tried to learn Dutch. I lost touch with those dear friends who were such an integral part of our first year abroad. WG was promoted more than a few times at work and the life we led as a young married couple just out of university, overjoyed to be “scraping by in Europe”, was a thing of the past. We still loved Europe but we had quit scraping by. At some point, we started living like adults. We got a company car, a bigger paycheck, I started my company and today, living in Germany, we consider ourselves downright blessed during these times of recession.

But for the last decade I’ve washed my clothes in this “little washing machine that could”. At some point, I realized that I was the ONLY one of my expat friends who didn’t have a dryer. I then started surveying my French, Belgian, Dutch, German and other European friends and realized that most of them have dryers too.

“What? They were locals and they had dryers? C’est pas possible!”

With more surveying I discovered that it was mostly my younger European friends in their 20s and early 30’s who were dryer-less and I realized now that I was 35 I could be “acclimated to European life” AND have a dryer too. Drying clothes in a machine became my hidden fantasy. But I’m pragmatic, and with a washing machine that worked I could not justify purchasing a new one. Nor did I have space in my laundry room for a side by side washer AND dryer, so I found myself in a quandary, praying that my washing machine would die.

About 3 weeks ago, just as I moved to Berlin, it happened – our little washer that could, couldn’t. My Parisian washing machine died a peaceful death. I saluted “au revoir” as the men from Berlin’s Media Markt wheeled it out of my apartment and into t
he elevator
. Nearly a decade ago, this washer had been carried up 5 flights into my Parisian apartment by a determined (and well-tipped) delivery man. Now, that unit which had served me well was gone and in its place Media Markt had delivered my beautiful new LG washer-dryer (energy efficient) combo unit! It fluffs, it purrs and makes our whole apartment smell like laundry.

In the evening, in the dim glow of candlelight (for the chandeliers still haven’t been hung) my husband WG comes home at night and nuzzles my neck saying seductively, “You smell like laundry.” In the past, I wouldn’t have taken this as an aphrodisiac, but I know, coming from WG, these whispered words speak volumes of love.

When the LG was delivered, WG plunked a red bow on the unit, claiming it was my Valentines present… the fact that the washer/dryer unit was accompanied by a gorgeous pair of earrings saved him from being forever ridiculed by my friends who would have taunted him with, “You can’t buy your wife an appliance for Valentine’s Day!” But in fact, this year, WG could have gotten away with it. For I love my LG, and did I mention I love my WG too?

Here’s wishing all my Diva Readers a belated Happy Valentine’s Day. In my book, Valentine’s Day is every day, at least from now on, on the days when I do laundry anyway!

Yours Truly,

A Desperate Housewife Who is Starting To Feel Like A Diva Again!

Photo Credit: Man in Spin Cycle photo is Copyright © 2008 Dominick Reed. For more witty photos by Dominick visit his blog I Drink Lead Paint

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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

  • Victorian Cobweb –
    I must confess, I agree with you! A present that is something wanted (regardless of what it is) means my husband is listening! Hmmm… speaking of which, WG usually reads these posts… is now the time to mention I’d like a dvd player to go with the tv in front of the treadmill?

    Anon/Tina –
    Here’s wishing you the best of luck in convincing your hubby you need a washer/dryer combo! You’ll have to keep us posted in the continual saga!!!

    You are so right — it really is the smallest things that you feel as if you own the world!!! Clean clothes really make all the difference in my attitude!!!

    My friend, thanks so much for your words of affirmation! I’ll email you a pic of the earrings… they are a sensational pair of crystal hoops!

    Sarah Sofia,
    You intrigue me so much with your wonderful and colorful stories! I do hope you’re writing a book – a travelogue of your life experiences!!!

    La Mom,
    That Ad is the reason I chose to go to Darty!!!! My husband and I use to mutter “Contrat de Confiance” as one of our first phrases in French!

    And lastly,

    Indeed I did work in advertising in both Boston and Cleveland – but as an account exec not a copy writer (but I did do some of my own copy as I’ve always had the gift of gab). I miss those days of brainstorming for Dunkin Donuts (It’s time to make the donuts…) and searching desperately for another way to sell glasses for Cole Vision/Pearl Vision/Target Optical.

    Happy Belated Valentines Day to you all!
    The Antiques Diva

  • La Diva,
    Did you feel like a piece of you died along with the Darty appliance? Long live the “Contrat de Confiance!”
    Remember those little 10 second TV commercials about 10 years ago with the Darty truck driving across the screen and writing the Darty logo while someones spoke about the Contrat? That’s one of my first memories of Paris!

  • Dear Toma, I totally understand the importance of that post!

    Imagine now, having moved to Scandinavia with two kids into a house which you are renovating and then the washer being “frozen in”!

    One week, years ago, we ran out of oil, just as a bad snow storm had sat in and no delivery truck could get to us for a whole week! I eventually opened the fridge to get some heat…! and that definitely taught us a lessen as to how important it is to always have a plan-B or in this case: several sources of heat!

    I left a more serious comment on your post below…
    Try to get on a boat-ride down the Havel or Wannsee, if you can. This was one of the things in Berlin I used to enjoy most.
    love, sarah sofia

  • Oh how I love LG as well. For me it is my dishwasher and my microwave.

    I am so happy that you have a dryer! Strange how the littlest things can make you feel like you own the world. For me, that would be a garage door opener.

    Happy Belated Valentines Day to you too.

  • You are a funny girl Toma. When you were surveying friends you didn’t survey me. I am a washer-only girl myself. Of course, now I’m using this blog as fuel for the fire asking my husband for my own “Love Affair with LG” for our anniversary. I sincerely hope la vie Berlinaise is going swell now that you have clean clothes to wear. Do you have curtains hung in the laundry room to go with that washer dryer combo?