Dirty Laundry

So I figured when I got here there would be some issues or hurdles I would have to over come during the adjustment to my new life here. I figured maybe I would get lost on the tube or even walking the streets, maybe I would be cold. Well I have taken a few journeys and none have I got lost on and the cold has not really bothered me as of yet. In fact it is about the same weather I left in California.No it was the washing machine. A simple device which any good housewife should have mastered by now. I went to do some laundry because Alex has not done any since he has gotten here and I brought over dirty clothes in my rush out the door a few days ago. I found the laundry facility and thought thank god.. they look like american washers, not the ones I have seen out here before which are small. They even have really nice big dryers which to even have a dryer is a novelty! This, I thought, should be easy. So I load up my huge backpacking back pack, grabbed the soap and walked downstairs. I loaded up the machines and put my soap in. It had three containers and I accidently got soap in all three... no big deal I thought. Then I put my 2 pounds in each machine, because I was doing 2 loads. There were no directions but these were my selections: 30, 60, 60 with a circle around it, a circle, and 90 with a circle around it. Tempurature? Time? Who knows, but I didn't want a light wash so I selected the hefty sounding 90. The machines then showed 42 minutes on the clock and I left happily thinking I will be done with this by 1130 as I started at 10. I go up stairs... mind you it is five flights and the elevator is out of service, and head back in 35 minutes. Hmm... that is funny, the machines now say no time at all but are still running. So I wait and wait.... and one of them makes a buzzing sound and then the time pops back up saying 35 minutes and five minutes later, it still says 35 minutes. Well okay then. I guessed maybe I chose a 90 minute cycle? Back up stairs back down about a half hour later. No time indicated still in the wash cycles. So I wait and wait... The machine on the right dings again and starts rinsing but the time pops up AGAIN and says 25 now. The other machine was still washing. I thought for a moment maybe it was my soap, so I cleaned that out of the machines with my fingers hoping it would help. I don't know if it did but then I was left with nasty crusty powder all over my hands with no place to wash them, unless I went upstairs. I am used to doing nasty things and I saw a bucket outside that had some dirt and rain water in it so I washed up and then sat there as my hands froze realizing the whole thing back to cleaning out the soap was a bad idea. I waited a bit and the machines had not changed but the 25 min machine actually had counted down so I felt hopeful. I go back upstairs. Then down. FINALLY. The machine on the right stopped! In to the dryer they go. But the other machine... heh. It is in the whole 35 minutes with no counting down phase. I would just take the clothes out but they are still slightly soapy and with my luck the door will actually open and flood the laundry room. At least if the dryer wants to dry for a few hours I can stop it. So here I am now, one load drying, one load lost in laundry land washing itself over and over again. I don't know how long it will take for the laundry to dry so I will go back down in 40 minutes. I started at 10 and it is now 1:30. I suspect I will be here for another couple hours... doing laundry. Oh and if anyone understands the selections for washing??? Please tell me because apparently 90 means infinity. UPDATE: I finished at 4pm because the dryers both needed two cycles to dry which is not that bad. But upon removing the clothes, the first load which washed for 1.5 hours, turned all the white clothes only slighty darker. However, the load that washed for over 3 hours turned everything a gray/lightblue color. They all died evenly so I now have previously tan, gray pants and all of alex's bright whites are gray too. Like REALLY gray. And one of his sweaters is smaller than me. It isn't my fault though I swear and at least they all were dyed evenly so we can still wear them :) BTW, our apartment is exactly 256sqf. I am a nerd who packed my measuring tape.