Recently, I had to have our washing machine fixed. Not the first time. The repairman told me I do too much laundry.
Too much laundry? It’s a washing machine. It’s supposed to wash and spin. Its reason for being. To wash dirty clothes so I don’t have to wash them by hand. I’m considering investing an old fashioned washboard.
The first time this machine began to ail, the repairman warned me that these machines aren’t made the way they used to be – that is, to do loads and loads of laundry, which is the reason I bought it six years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child. So I expected to get what I was sold, a “heavy duty” huge-capacity washing machine, that would churn and spin for years to come without ailing (I never buy the extended warrantees…)
The second time I had the machine fixed, we must have invested close to what we paid for it, as the motor or something or other had actually burned out. The machine had to work too hard to pump the water up the pipes.
So on top of the repair cost, we had to invest $1000 to reroute the water DOWN, into a sink with a pump that was stronger than the machine to pump the water back UP the pipes; as well as less durable, today’s machines are not made powerful enough to pump water up pipes higher than four feet – which is what our machine had to do, and what the VERY old machine was able to accomplish ten years ago, when we first moved in; I bet the life of that machine was a good twenty years. Don’t think you can even measure a washing machine’s life in dog years. Maybe closer to a rat’s or a Betta fish's.
The third time I had the repairman come, the timer was broken and had to be replaced. Fine. Seemed simple enough. At least total cost less than $200.
Exactly, only, one week later, I went down to the basement to find that the machine had stopped mid cycle and the clothes were just sitting in water. So I tried to set it to re-spin, went about my business back upstairs – only to come back down later, to a flooded basement.
By resetting the machine, it had actually refilled with water, on top of the old water, so that it overflowed. I've developed a mental block and cannot even remember what the issue finally was, only what it cost: close to $400. Mr. Repairman and I deliberated back and forth, whether it wouldn’t be better to just buy a new one. Nice enough guy.
Psychologically, I couldn’t just give up on the machine after all the money we had now invested in the damn thing, and took my husband’s attitude about his old Saturn car, that I would “run it into the ground.” Mr. Repairman agreed, there was still “life” in the machine – that is, if I don’t load the machines (as fully as the salesman told me I could); don’t do too many jeans or towels at once; don’t do so many LOADS – he seemed shocked that I admitted to doing at least one load a day. (Either he’s not married, doesn’t have children, or has no clue about the laundry his own wife has to do…)
So now I don’t do laundry every day. Sometimes not even every OTHER day. I used to throw all my boys’ clothes in the hamper as soon as they came off, especially when they were smaller and every shirt inevitably was covered in encrusted food. Now I let the boys wear their jeans a good three times before they go in the basket, shirts as often, if I can get by without too many blatant stains. I wear my own clothes even longer, as long as they don’t stink.
Towels still get washed.
It’s my husband who fills the machine: this is a man who cannot wear a pair of pants twice. I can understand the shirts, as well, men sweat more profusely perhaps. But the pants? He says he spills on them at lunch time, and I think about suggesting napkins. . . . Hopefully he’s not reading this, because he will know then that sometimes I dish out those pants from the hamper, and hang them back up. I mean, he even throws wool SWEATERS in the hamper; I wash sweaters once a season before storing them away in the cedar trunk.
In any case, we’re all a lot dirtier, but for good economical reason, to prolong the life of a machine I refuse to call old; at best, it is middle-aged and should get at least six more years of life, as far as I’m concerned.
Oh, here was Mr. Repairman’s final suggestion: next time, don’t buy a machine with so many dials – the more options a machine has, for knits, delicate, semi-delicate, handwashables etc., the more chance you have of problems. Truthfully, I don’t use any of those precise settings. I didn’t even consider that I would. I bought the machine because it was just that, so-called, heavy duty. Huge-capacity. Sure.
Maybe I’ll forget dials and washers all together. There are plenty of those washboards being sold on line. You might see me out back with a big wash bin next time, instead of buying a new machine. Certainly, instead of calling the repairman again.