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Some Dates Are Never Forgotten

When it comes time to make those big plunges into the unknown we are bound to make lasting memories.

We Make the Dates

As I sit here today with a glass of red wine in one hand and my other hovering over the keyboard, posed to pounce like a leopard I can only think of a few things to write about. Let’s choose one of them at random and hope that the wine doesn’t make me too sappy.

There are some dates in life that you just have to remember. For instance, few of us can forget our birthdays, sure we might start forgetting how “old” we are by a few years, but as a whole you will instinctively tell somebody when they ask for it. Then there are the dates that we make for ourselves. At other times they are the ones that just happen to be placed at random, how many of you can recall the date when you finished school, got your degree, or started another one of those new challenged that life as a whole throws your way? But there are others, the special ones that we know are coming, that we choose to set ourselves, these are the ones that become the memorable moments in our lives.

What is a life if not the memories we make? Without them we would have a life that moves along at a base line.

Life’s Special Moments

Savor life’s special moments, the ones we will always remember

The easiest way would just be to tell them, maybe by sending a notification in the mail, you know the old fashioned way. Well, that is exactly what we are doing for my sister’s wedding (and I am filling in for here maid of honor that cannot make it to the rehearsal, though I don’t get the title, nor the fame that comes with being the MoH). The wedding has been sort of on hold for over two years now. But they have decided that this it is the time. After agreeing to help, it was time to pick up the different pieces that had been laying about since it was stop and go in the preparation side of things.

I like the personal touch that it brings with it. I know a lot of couples have been opting for the more digital route, ie. just asking people via WhatsApp if they want to come or not, but that feels somehow fake to me. I mean, sure it is a directer means to an end, but at the same time, it sort of feels cheap and you fall a little bit out of the moment. This is a wedding after all and you want things to be “perfect”. At least perfect within reason. I don’t expect everything to go as planned, things never do, but they can still be perfect.

That is the great thing about planning, you prepare for a situation, then regardless of how it turns out you did you best to make it work. Weddings are like that, I don’t think that any wedding has ever gone off just the way it was planned to. That variation gives you a little surprise, and often makes things better in the end. But since it was planned it will go smoother, no matter what happens. I think that is what makes life fun. Those little surprises along the way. Do I make a grocery list? Sure, but I don’t always get everything that I wanted, and sometimes, just sometimes a few other odds and ends appear magically in the shopping cart.

You could describe the preparations for a wedding in much the same way.

Not everyone who gets a Save the Date card sent to them for our wedding will come. That’s life. Still, this leaves some, my sister’s fiancee included with the question, why. It is hard to explain this to a penny pincher, but thankfully my parent’s are paying for the whole thing so he doesn’t have much say.

Why We Savor the Date?

So why spend money on these cards when you are already going to be sending out invitations for the wedding? My sister’s fiancee sort of asked. Well, there is an easy explanation, for one you can send out the prior anytime, and the latter only really gets sent shortly before the wedding leaving a shorter amount of time for your guests to react and you to plan. That being said, it is also a chance to touch base with some of your potential guests and get a feel for what the guest list really looks like.

For one, not everybody that you send the cards out to will actually come. When DH and I got married we had it go like this, about 10% of the people we reminded to save our wedding date actually touched base with me and let us know in advance that they couldn’t come. This was to be expected because we choose a date when a lot of people are away on vacation and it was clear that they had made plans way in advance. There was an up side to this, we didn’t need to send them invitations with an RSVP, it saved us money and made things slightly easier. Oddly, some of those who did say that they would make it ended up being no shows so I guess you have to plan for that as well. My BiL told me that since we were getting married in shoulder season people would be booking last minute travel options since it was all around cheaper to travel and they might not have had the plans laid out when they agreed to come. Wedding at like that, they are like life, they are full of little surprises.

On a side note, I hadn’t heard the term shoulder season used as an expression before then, and as it turns out, shoulder season really is a thing.

Traveling during shoulder season, the time between the high season and off-season, means moderate expenses and manageable weather.
Thanks Investopedia.

Thankfully her wedding will be in the spring so she won’t be competing with that, but I am sure something else will impede some from coming. Our guest list is pretty long though, her husband has a really big family with a lot of aunts, uncles, siblings (most have children already) and mine is biggish – not huge – but for lack of a better word biggish. That means we will be hosting over two hundred guests. My parents are willing to save on a couple of invitations with numbers like that. When we got married DH and I covered the cost of the wedding ourselves, since we were both established. And before you point out that we wouldn’t be so conscious if we were to have our parents pay, we are both super frugal and wouldn’t want anyone else to have to pay for the extravagance that a lot of people seem to opt for for their weddings.

That’s it from New Berry for today!

On Cleaning the Washing Machines Correctly

Recently, when I emptied or filled the washing machine, I noticed a foul musty smell. Call it wishful thinking if you will, but I tried to rationalize it away. First I pushed it on to the loads of wash waiting in front of the machine. However, when these were washed and cleared, the smell still lingered and I had to become suspicious that it was coming from the machine itself. As a first measure, I cleaned the filter screen, but there wasn't much in it there and as I learned today, that might not be the cause at all.

My half-knowledge about care gleaned from my childhood and the Internet reminded me that frequently washing on cold leads to deposits, which in turn cause odors, as does frequent use of liquid detergents. We like liquid detergent better since it somehow leaves the clothes softer. Still, it does not work as well, which can be seen in test after test it is probably based, among other things, on the fact that bacteria is not killed and the rest, well you can figure that out.

Since we had bought some new towels from the Ikea and we wanted to having the colors run (we suspected that they might run) we washed them with some disinfectant laundry detergent. I assumed that any smell would disappear.

After washing, I opened the washer to get a penetrating smell of the disinfectant, paired with the disgusting stale smell.

Okay, the experiment failed.

The next solution was to revisit the manufacturer's website which said that low temperatures could lead to strange odors and it was recommended to let them send out a specialist (machine cleaner). I refrained from calling one out.

I came up with the idea to look for a manufacturer-independent cleaner for washing machines in the local drugstore. I found one, bought it and threw it into the machine when I got home. During the cleaning process, a strong citrus scent developed throughout the house and if you got too close to the washing machine, you noticed an acidic lemony taste in the mouth. The whole thing was suspicious but I felt like I had accomplished something.

Convinced that everything was fine I once again opened the machine only to be hit by a strong perfume smell backed up with the already well-known stink.

After the series of failed tries I ended up calling the manufacturer of the machine, and for good measure the dealer where we bought it.

And so I now share; for the interested reader, my accumulated knowledge of washing machine cleaning.

The deposits in the machine consist of fat, detergent residues and lime. Fats, dirt and lime require different solvents. Sounds logical and fits my residual knowledge from chemistry lessons. For this reason, the machine cleaner I used could not work, because the cause of the smell is not the fat deposits. Rather in the lime deposits.

Disinfectant only makes sense in very few cases. The frequent use of disinfectants only leads to allergies. Apart from the fact that it is pointless in this case, see above, regarding the source of smell. Most bacterial/viruses etc. die at higher temps and the use of disinfectants is therefore unnecessary, only thanks to the overpowering perfume do you get the feeling of cleaner machine. And furthermore, normal household cleaners kill almost everything, so their use in most cases is senseless.

So, back to the actual subject, how do I get the stench effectively removed.

First, let the machine wash empty at the highest possible temperature. The addition of a cleaner is not strictly necessary, because there are still enough remnants of detergent in the depths of the machine. This can be seen that foam formations occur when it is absolutely idle. I have been able to observe this myself so I know that it is true. With this method one removes the greasy dirt that is stored on the lime.

In the next step, you take a washing machine de-caulker that can be applied at normal temperature, according to the expert. This then dissolves the lime layer, which is probably the main cause of odor formation. You can't take every de-caulker because it depends on the dosage and that should be right for your machine, otherwise, it won't work. Too low a dosage does not dissolve enough, a too high reacts with the aluminum in the machine, I forgot what the exact component is called but will and cause the drum to turn black inside.

Don't take any de-caulker either, I de-caulker in the second drugstore I looked at that is explicitly made for washing machines. The one that I selected instructed you to wash at the maximum temperature when using it.

In the last step, the machine is left to run empty at a high temperature, so that the grease/dirt layer under the lime layer is now removed. I was told that the detergent remains would now be out; it should not produce foam this time, which I can also confirm. The smell was also gone after this step to my relief.

A final comment, one should try to carry out the three steps in order and not squeeze a load of clothing in-between. Otherwise you will add new detergent to the mix which will need to be removed. Deposits will be formed, and if there are deposits of detergent on the lime again, this cannot be removed by picking up where you left off. To avoid this I did everything one evening and finished with the last step in the morning. But if you don't wash, you are welcome to allow yourself a day in between.

I hope I have been able to help someone with the case of the smelly washer.

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