In the interest of keeping it real, I will admit that my husband and I had a fight on our honeymoon in Paris. Maybe that's understandable. Being in a foreign country, people using unfamiliar languages and currency, delays, lost luggage, your smartphone not getting internet...all that adds up being stressed out and taking out your frustrations on the nearest person.
So what did we fight about? Laundry!
One of the big selling points about the particular flat we rented was the fact that it came with a clothes washer. What a great idea! We would only have to bring half as many clothes! More room in our suitcases for souvenirs! We are surely the smartest travelers ever.
One evening it became clear that we needed to do some laundry. All of our clothes were dirty. Well, not all of them. My short pants and my sundresses were sparkling clean. My one sweater, the one I'd worn every single day, was, of course, dry clean only. The owner of the apartment had left a binder full of useful information - phone numbers for the pizza delivery from Speedy Rabbit, that kind of thing. There were also manuals for the various appliances, including the washer.
I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but neither Josh nor I really speak French. We got better. By the end of the trip, I could hold a whole conversation in French, as long as that conversation was me ordering food and paying with a credit card. The citizens of Paris speak fantastic English. Every single person, from the art dealer at the flea market to the singer at the bar, spoke English well enough for me to have actual conversation with them. It was humbling.
However, the manual for the washer was not in English. I took a look at it and decided I could just wear dirty clothes. Josh was more persistent. In his reading, he discovered that the washer was also a dryer.
That's what he said, anyway. He pointed out the word in the manual to me, but it's not like I know the French word for "dryer." That word could've meant "flagellater" for all I knew. Plus, who ever heard of a washer/dryer? It doesn't even make sense. He insisted, explaining that the machine would use hot water to steam the clothes dry (what?). So after we had washed our clothes, he pushed the dry button. Or what he said was "dry," I only know food words in this language.
The little machine made some whirring noises, I made some doubtful noises, and fifteen minutes later it made the ding! noise that means it's finished. We opened it up and found very hot, very wet clothes. Josh said it needed more time, I said there is no such thing as a washer/dryer. He said fine, what do you suggest, and I said get the hangers.
That was the fight. I don't blame you if you missed it. I missed it myself. I won, I guess? Josh gives in pretty easy sometimes, preferring to just let me have my way and then resent me about it. We are working on it.
We hung up our clothes all over that little flat. Conveniently, there were some lights hanging from wires running across the room. After we ran out of hangers, we hung things from doorknobs and drawer pulls and anything else that would hold a wet sock. Then I took pictures of Josh standing next to his drying underwear in France - so romantic!
It wasn't a great plan. Some of the clothes did not get dry fast enough, and they got that telltale mildew smell. That was when I found out that we'd had a fight, and that there was lingering resentment: when the clothes still weren't dry, and it was my fault for not listening to my husband who knows how to read French appliance manuals.
A couple days later, we needed to do more laundry. But our time in Paris was coming to an end, and we did not have enough time to dry our clothes using the hanging method, not that it really worked. So I just said whatever, we'll do it your way, let's see this washer dry. Josh set the machine to dry, and he programmed it to run for something like two hours just to make sure they were good and dry. Then we went to bed.
I woke up a bit later and could not get back to sleep. Do you ever hear a sound that probably was going on all along, but once you notice it, you can't not hear it? It was like that. First there was a sloshy noise, which was accompanied by renewed skepticism that a machine can both wash and dry. Then there would be some churning and humming. And then there would be a pause, just long enough for me to start to think that the time was up and the machine was done, before it started up again with the sloshing. In my half-awake delirium, I became convinced that the machine was melting our clothes, that we would reach in tomorrow and pull out one big clump of mixed socks and underwear and pants.
Finally, it stopped. I slept.
The next morning, we opened the washer/dryer to find clothes that were dry. They weren't even melted! But they did have a strange sort of burnt smell. So we smelled a little burnt ourselves. Add that to the slight mildew stench and the body funk from the dry-clean-only sweaters. It sorta worked, because each odor prevented the others from becoming overbearing. We smelled off in some way, but not in a way anyone could pin down, unless maybe they'd recently had a fight about laundry, too.