trappings of the great white box

The more time we spend in our new apartment (aka the great white box), the more we learn about this place both formally and informally.

This week a representative from Miele came over to teach us how to use our appliances.  Why in the world did I have someone come over to teach us how to use our appliances???  Well, first, it was free.  Second, before using the washing machine I really did have to read all 84 pages of the damn manual online to figure out what the heck to do.  As there were five other equally long manuals for our other appliances, yeah, I figured making a phone call and having someone who knows what he or she is doing come over and show me what to do would save me time in the long run….. it has.

As a lover of German automobiles, I know that the products of German engineering are complex, overly built, and can have more features than you will ever know.  This holds true for appliances as well.

Miele washer and dryer (combined) next to our rather petit but holds a lot dishwasher

Our lovely front loading washing machine is not only a washer, but it is a dryer as well.  When I went looking at apartments, about half of the places had such combi machines, and I have been reading about their existence for years.  Still, I will be honest with you, the thing scares the crap out of me.  The washing function is awesome.  I love that I can control the water temperature, the rpms at which it spins, and the additional functions and settings for types of fabric and types of stains are endless.  It is the dryer aspect of this machine that scares me.  I have only used the drying function twice and both times the machine put off so much heat that I could have cooked dinner on the kitchen counter above the machine.  Plus both times, after the drying cycle was complete, the items I removed were still damp.  I love and respecte Miele appliances, they are exceptionally well engineered and work really well, but I just don’t think combi machines live up to the hype.

We have one other combi appliance in the house – the microwave/grill. Huh? (I guess I really don’t count the fridge/freezer as a combi applicance as such combinations are standard and make sense.)  I was seriously confused when our relator showed me this cooking-box.  Also, he billed it as a microwave, oven, and grill, which it is not, so there goes me solving the whole desserts suck in Singapore conundrum with a box of Betty Crocker.

Personally, I was raised with the understanding that metal things DO NOT go in the microwave – that whole arcing thing which we were all told to be afraid of in the 80s.  Well, this microwave/grill comes with its own metal standing grill!!!!  It also has a setting that allows me to microwave and grill at the same time with a special non-stick metal pan.  How I have not blown up the damn place I don’t know.

More appliances of the great white box. Built-in fridge and freezer on the left. Cooking “hob” in the middle with hood above. Crazy microwave/grill on the right, lower.

The special pan is what lead to my biggest lesson of the week.  Before using the pan you are suppose to clean/proof it by putting it in the microwave/grill, fill it with water and vinegar, and turn it to grill/microwave 450 watts for five minutes.  Sure, no problem.  Getting it out.  Yeah, that is the problem.  I let the pan, which is about 14″ in diameter, cool before attempting to remove it, but I knew, that there was no way I was going to get it out of there without having it slosh and spill a bit of water.  So I prepared by putting down some towels.  But here are two things I did not know: the great white box is mostly marble – all of our floors and our whole bathroom (the bathroom was obvious, but the floors were not) – and vinegar stains marble.

For most of the week I could not figure out why there seemed to be water spots on our kitchen floor that would not go away despite my many attempts at cleaning them.  Unaware that our floors were marble, because honestly, they don’t look it, I wondered if the water had been too hot when it splashed and that maybe I had melted some wax polishing, substrate, or whatnot.  When building maintenance came over to fix some other minor issues – the bathroom faucet and one of the outlets in the bedroom – I asked the customer care representative about the floor.  This was when I learned about the marble and the ill effects of vinegar on marble.

I am glad that I found out everything from her when I did because there is a good chance I would have accidentally done pretty horrible things to the great white box.  Given my eco-friendly preferences and frugal ways, I was trying not to buy commercial household cleaners and use mostly vinegar, water, and baking soda for cleaning.  Once I learned how bad vinegar is for our place, I quickly picked up some eco-friendly and marble friendly, commercially available cleaners.  I am going to need to read up on how to clean marble better in the coming weeks.

Still, I was pretty irked by the issue with the kitchen floor.  By following the directions to properly use one of our built-in items, I managed to do damage to one of other other built-in items — this seems like poor planning to me.  Granted I realize that the person who selected the raw materials for the high-rise was probably not the person who selected the appliances.  And I also realize that the person who selected the appliances may not have known about the whole proofing of the special pan with vinegar and water, but still, I can’t imagine that I am the only person in this building who sloshed water/vinegar onto the floor and ended up with mysterious water spots that would not go away.  I am hopeful that the customer care person will take care of the floor at no charge to us.  While at present I may be a bit irked about the floor situation, I am really quite pleased to have learned about the issue early on so that I can change up or cleaning products and also make sure that we keep Partner’s sweaty bike clothes from dripping on the floor, for those would certainly do some damage.





About OneGoneTwo

bioethicist, cultural studies, literature, and visual cultural scholar, writer, and lover of design
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1 Response to trappings of the great white box

  1. Pingback: progress, the bedroom: we aren’t in college any more | onegonetwo

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