The only picture I could find that has the old washing machine in it.
Ammi had a really old washing machine that used to sit in the small open-air veranda in front of the house. It had two compartments, the first to wash the clothes, and the second to spin them around to wring out most of the water so they could be line-dried. It wasn't very good at getting clothes clean anymore, the spinning part had recently begun to malfunction, and it was really old and a pain in the butt to use, so M wanted to replace it with a new one that would do everything in one with minimal work for Ammi, my mother-in-law.
Installing the new washing machine would prove to be interesting. The new washing machine was to be indoors rather than outside, since it was so nice and new and all. But the only place where there was room to put a washing machine was in the kitchen. The kitchen is often damp and wet, and M didn't want the new machine to be exposed to that so he decided it should be installed on a raised platform with a wall between it and the rest of the kitchen. And we were going to build the wall ourselves. (It was actually a lot of fun, and I got to help out.)
Laying the stones for the washing machine's foundation.
The Helpful Wife Life
What was even more interesting about the whole thing was buying the washing machine. Shopping for it had been quite the experience. M and I had taken his youngest brother with us, and we'd all dressed in our poorest-looking clothes so we'd get a better deal (It totally works, trust me.) I wore a full-covering burka. If M had walked in with an obvious foreigner, we'd have been looted, and we're talking about an expensive home appliance, so double the price would have been a real blow to the wallet. So it was best if I blended in - or out, I guess - as much as possible.
M and his brother, trying to look like they can't afford a washing machine. (With said machine)
First, we went to various stores to get a feel for a price, and then we started really shopping. M has this whole shopping thing he's perfected. His whole demeanor changes and even his accent. I don't know exactly how he does it, but I know he tries to act uneducated and poor so that the shopkeeper will give him a reasonable price. Eventually, of course, because the first offer in the bargaining negotiations is always unreasonable, no matter what you look or sound like.
In this situation, though, I guess M's act had worked too well and the shopkeeper had decided that M really was an idiot. The conversation was going too quickly for me to catch it at the time, but M and his brother later told me that the shopkeeper was trying to sell them a "especial" washing machine. So special, in fact, that you didn't ever need to use laundry detergent. He pointed to a thing inside the washing machine and told M that it was a laser that cleaned clothes without detergent.
It was, in fact, a lint trap.
M didn't break character, though, and even used that to his advantage. When the price offers got so low that the shopkeeper suggested M just buy a cheaper washing machine, M insisted that he wanted the one with the "state of the art technology." Apparently once you know about laser-cleaned clothes, you can't go back. Eventually, M got the guy down to whatever price he was willing to pay, and we walked out of the shop the proud owners of a no-detergent (maybe magic?) washing machine.
M, pointing to the lint trap.
After all that excitement, I thought we were done. But no! The MOST amazing part was yet to come - the delivery. The store did not arrange delivery and instead, M was expected to go outside and find his own delivery guy. There were all these guys waiting around outside for the job too. Apparently there are guys who own or drive mini-trucks just for the purpose of sitting outside appliance and furniture shops and getting this kind of work. So M found a guy, haggled over the price of the delivery, and then we left to go home and await our washing machine.
Delivery truck arrives outside of M's family home.
He arrived not long after we did. I had gone to change my clothes and I wasn't really interested in the show after all the day's excitement. But my brother-in-law came to find me and told me to come quick - bring the camera. (Everyone knows I like to take a lot of pictures.) So I did, and I found the delivery guy bringing the washing machine in off of his truck, by himself, on his back.
Everyone stands back to marvel at the new washing machine - and the wall I (we) built!