Our original lease is nearly up so I had to discuss with the realtor about extending for another year and a couple of things we needed him to fix. One of those was the washer.
It’s been on the fritz for a while now, and finally my ayi was running a load for us (normally I do the washing and she irons) and called me in to tell me that it was “Bu Hao” and “very old” and that I should ask the landlord for a new one.
Our landlord has always been great and timely about taking care of the things we need. We’re very fortunate. First thing Saturday morning, we had his “friend” (we always deal with the landlord’s friend, never actually met the landlord) at the house to look at the old washer and see if it needed repairing or replacing.
At this point, I got Ayi on the phone to explain to him what was wrong. (It doesn’t always do the thing where it sounds like a freight train coming off the tracks and stops in the middle of a load, and I sure didn’t know how to explain that in Chinese.) She went on and on with him on the phone and he just kept saying “Bu xing. Bu neng.” (It’s not possible. I can’t.) He never really agreed with her, but as soon as he hung up, he told me he was going to buy a new one. Never even looked at the current washer. (You go, ayi!)
Now I’ll mention here that I was spending this Saturday preparing for a baby shower that I was hosting at our place Sunday morning (as well as packing for a trip to Beijing that I was leaving for on Sunday afternoon). I didn’t really think it would be a big deal since I didn’t need the washer to do those things.
At about 5 pm, I got a knock on the door. When I opened it, it was a Chinese guy bent halfway over with a washer tied to his back. Surprised, I let him come on in, impressed at how quickly we had a new washer.
I ushered him to the kitchen where I was beginning to bake some cupcakes and showed him the old washer since I was assuming he was going to replace it.
At this point, I was even more surprised when he unloaded the washer in the middle of the kitchen floor, took off the cardboard box and waved his hand like he was Vanna White showing me the new washer.
I just nodded to say “Oh yes, that’s a very nice new washer.” Not really sure what he wanted from me. He smiled and nodded back.
Then turned and walked right out of my house. Leaving the new washer, old washer and box right where it stood.
And me, standing with my mouth open in the kitchen trying to figure out how I’m supposed to cook for and entertain the 12 people who would be at my house in just 12 hours around this huge new washer in the middle of the floor.
I know I really shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore, but sometimes I still can’t help it.
And I think the landlord’s friend was just as surprised when he stopped by at 11 the next morning to drop off the receipt and was greeted by a house full of loud foreign women.