Do you ever have a moment of, “How did I get myself into this?” Well that describes my entire Saturday.
It started a few weeks ago when I noticed that our washing machine wasn’t draining all of the water out and the clothes were dripping wet after the cycle ran. So after each wash, I would have to run an extra rinse and spin cycle. OK, no big deal. That only doubles my laundry time, which is pretty lengthy already. THEN, the dryer started to get fussy, I assume it was wanting some extra attention since the washer was being so demanding, and it stopped drying as well as it used to. The clothes would come out damp. So I started hanging half of the wet clothes on the line outside and the other half stayed in the dryer. I do actually enjoy the simplicity of hanging clothes on the line, but I didn’t see it as being a long term solution. I’m no Ma Ingalls.
In defense of my machines, they are both over 12 years old and in washer/dryer years that’s like 115. They have been troopers about the extreme workload that is expected of them in our home. So maybe they were just dying of old age and exhaustion. But last Friday, the washer bid us its final farewell. We knew from the banging noise and burning smell coming from our utility room that it was over.
I called a repairman and he came to call time of death. “No point in trying to fix it,” he said, “the _____ is completely busted and the ______ needs replacing which would mean pulling out the ______ and ______. It just ain’t worth it.” (I don’t speak repairman so this is a loose interpretation)
He told me the dryer wasn’t far behind, so may as well replace them both.
I texted James and let him know that our Friday night date just went from dinner and a movie to walking around Lowes trying to find good deals on laundry sets. And by good deal I mean not a good deal because these machines are so expensive now that I think the two of them cost more than my first car. He wasn’t happy about it, but after 29 years of marriage he was smart enough to know that he would be less happy living with a wife who had to drive 10 miles to the Laundromat every day with 6 loads of dirty boys’ clothes in her car.
We took our time, looking at each machine and Googling reviews and trying to gulp down how much money we were about to spend. We found a dryer in the clearance section that we decided to buy because it was significantly reduced in price, then chose the matching washer that they had in stock and we could take it home to install first thing in the morning. Great. Ring it up. Oh sure, our next 2 sons won’t be able to go to college, but they will have clean clothes.
The next morning was install time, aka tear the house apart and make messes that will take weeks to clean up. Because the new washer is a top load and the old ones were front load on pedestals, I had to tear out the shelf that spanned the top of my machines and remove another shelf across from them. That meant finding new places to store all of the things that we kept in the shelves and drawers we were removing and not replacing. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I tend to find things I didn’t even know I have when I empty cabinets which left me with a plethora of odd and ends that are still sitting in my kitchen while I try to find new homes for them. It’s everything from a specialty light bulb to party napkins. I’m at a loss.
The kids pitched in and we got the room emptied and cleaned after a couple of hours, although the kitchen looked like a utility room bomb had gone off. James jumped in at that point to install the new machines, which involved 2 trips to the hardware store and at least an hour of digging around in our garage looking for spare dryer parts we could rig because the “great deal” we got turned out to be missing some essential pieces. I only cried twice, which is a good day in our world.
After a few more hours, they were both scooted into place and ready to try. I loaded exactly 6# into the washer, according to the manual and turned it on for its inaugural run. Beautiful. It swished and cleaned the clothes like any good youngster. I felt kinda sorry for it, all innocent and showing off without knowing what it was about to get itself into. We run our machines pretty much all day every day.
I piddled around during its cycle to keep my eye out for leaks, excessive shaking or any protests from the machine, which was great because it gave me 45 minutes to put away some of the junk that we had piled in the kitchen. It did great, no problems. When it was done, I reached in to pull the laundry out and made a startling discovery….. in order for me to get the clothes in the bottom of the machine I have to stand on my tiptoes, lay my stomach across the front of the machine and tip myself all the way into the drum with my head and some of my upper body inside of the washer. My feet actually have to lift off of the ground.
Flashes of falling in, screaming for help and my family not hearing me for hours only to walk into the utility room one afternoon and find me head down in the washer with my legs kicking wildly went through my mind. This. Is. Not. Good.
And the dryer is not much better. The opening is so low to the ground and the drum is so deep that I practically have to get on my knees and, again, get inside of it to reach the clothes in the back.
Here’s the good news: Our clothes are clean (and the utility room is spotless).
Here’s the bad news: I think I am going to return the washer and dryer and get another set of front loaders with pedestals.
I just can’t see myself doing this when I’m 60. I could break a hip. Or die a sad and unnecessary death.
When I informed James that I thought I was going to return them, he looked at me, stumped. I am sure it sent a panic through him of having to go through this whole experience next weekend. All he said to me was, “But, but, they are here now and usable. Plus it will cost so much more!”
Yes dear, but you will be saving on the chiropractor bills from the back issues I would have from loading and unloading these machines over and over. Not to mention the cost of taking me out to dinner every night because I am too exhausted from trying to wedge myself out of the washer three to five times a day.
He managed to convince me to try them for another week and then decide. You’re my friends, so I am telling you now…. if I disappear in the next 7 days, call someone and tell them to check the washing machine.