Friday, September 2, 2022

Talking to the Washing Machine ~ Really?

 It takes some getting used to, this coming back to the United States after an extended period away.  This trip is proving that once again. Things change while you are away - some for the good and others, well. . .

. . . just this morning I was trying to wrap my head around talking to the washing machine by using a mobile app.  

Our plane to Seattle at London Heathrow

I'd just been reading an article about household appliances in the monthly magazine of a 'big box' chain store and happened upon the concept of 'adaptive intelligence, as it relates to appliances, which I learned is a form of artificial intelligence, commonly referred to as 'AI'.  I also learned that WI-FI has become a feature of washing machines!  

The WI-FI and related technology, according to David Wilson, senior commercial director of clothes care at GE Appliances, is making laundry easier. It is the example he gave to illustrate that point that still - hours later - has me trying to wrap my head around it:

Don't spill red wine then you don't need to remove it

'For example, he says, you can direct the machine, via the manufacturer's app, to remove wine stains from jeans. The app will send the info to GE, get information on how to optimize the washer to take the stains out and direct that info to the machines, which will automatically adjust to the right temperature, spin cycle, etc. for that particular load.'

Who needs a mobile app when you have cats?

Really?  I use a product called, 'Shout' in Greece to get the stain out. I pick up the bottle and spray before washing. Don't need to talk to anyone. I also hang clothes on an outdoor clothesline at the Stone House on the Hill as I don't have a dryer, so the only talking I do there is to my cats who like to vie for my attention. Believe it or not, I find that way of doing laundry a selling point of living in rural Greece. 

Ch-ch-changes. . . and other new things

The combination of appliances and adaptive intelligence might be an extreme example of the many new things and changes we've noted since returning to the land of our roots. But changes are real and taking place everywhere we turn.  Why even Jello has discontinued its Tapioca pudding mix for lack of sales!!

Heading to Seattle

As regular readers know, we are American expats living a good deal of each year in the rural Greek Peloponnese. This is our annual sojourn back to our roots in Central Washington State, tucked up in the Pacific Northwest corner of the United States.  

Washington State, far left upper corner

When I last wrote, I had been fretting somewhat about our upcoming trip. It was prompted by all the recent press that painted a picture of widespread chaos and lost checked luggage happening at European airports this summer. My frets were unfounded as we flew from a subdued Kalamata airport in Greece to a manageable London Heathrow. Our flights arrived and left on time and checked bags seemed to appear sooner than usual at both London Heathrow where we transited and Seattle, our final destination. It was one of the more pleasant changes we've encountered!

International arrivals hall is enormous at SeaTac

A rather knock-your-socks-off change was the International Arrivals terminal at SeaTac Airport. What used to be a confined, claustrophobic area of customs kiosks and baggage carousels has been replaced by a modern, beautifully decorated stadium-sized facility where returning residents and foreign visitors are welcomed to the United States. 

'Where ARE we?' we joked, as it sure wasn't the Seattle arrival we knew from the past. It is a long walk and those with mobility issues should consider a wheelchair. To get from the plane to baggage and customs, as we walked the length of that new space-age looking walkway pictured below.

International arrivals at SeaTac

We always return with a 'to do' list that includes tasks to be completed in our old Kirkland suburb where we lived for 30 years as well as things to accomplish in our current world on the other side of the state. We spent our brief time in Kirkland with a friend and former neighbor, just footsteps from our former home. Our old 'hood is so familiar that we could 'do it' with our eyes closed. . .or so we thought, but change has happened there as well.  When we went to 'our bank', the place we've gone to for more than three decades, we found the doors locked and the bank branch closed. . .with our very full safe deposit box still inside.

A fine howdy-doo! (Old American phrase)

The branch had closed during COVID we were told. We followed the directions on the sign posted on the door (pictured above). The official at another branch told us that we could have access on Wednesday. Problem was, it was Monday, we were leaving Tuesday.  It took some effort, but officials opened the closed branch for us Monday afternoon. We had 15 minutes, they told us. We didn't need that much time. When asked if this would be a visit or closing out the box - The Scout made it clear we were relocating to a bank that was, well,. .  open.  Really?

Manson area - Lake Chelan

We planted our American roots back in eastern Washington State for much the same reason we were drawn to our area of Greece: rural setting, fewer people, less traffic, less everything.  With each trip back here, though, we find that small-town changing. Housing developments are sprouting as fast as weeds on land that once housed apple orchards.  

Apple orchard turned subdivision coming this way

One development being considered by the Chelan City Council - called Apple Blossom Center - would allow 30 acres within the planned development boundary of nearly 200 acres to be built up at a gross density of 24 units per acre, resulting in a maximum of 720 multifamily dwelling units. Really? I can understand why full-time residents have voiced concerns. A development that size will change the community.  

The Lookout - a resort community continues to grow

We are two weeks into our return visit, and I am certain that more changes are in store for us.  That class reunion of mine that brought us back this time, takes place next week. Friends of mine, some who played together as children, will gather in my hometown to celebrate our high school graduation 51 years ago. And I can hardly wait to see the changes in both the people and the place! Really!!

“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” -Nikos Kazantzakis

Thanks for being with us today! Hope you come back again and bring a friend with you!  Safe travels to you and yours~


  1. my goodness, I certainly wouldn't want a washing machine like that!. I am sure all this technology is just making us more lazy. Must be difficult to go back to the US in some ways leaving the life of Greece behind though fabulous to renew relationships back home. Our small city is getting bigger and bigger here. I am wishing it wasn't so, and I yearn for a smaller town where life is not so hectic. Stay safe, and enjoy your return to the US.

  2. Well, that washing machine is a new one on me! Yes, it's alarming at how much changes so fast! Even being in Florida just four months a year almost always means changes of some sort when we arrive back home - new construction, new neighbors, new restaurants, and many "what happened to ???" moments. Sometimes, we see an empty lot and can't even remember what used to be there months before. Enjoy your time in the US! Have a great time at the reunion!


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