Life Outside the Pages

Battling the Washing Machine!

What could go wrong when using a brand new washer and dryer for the first time? Read on!

Life is about more than books – sometimes it’s about new appliances and doing righteous battle!

Here’s a story about that. I haven’t bothered to change the names, because I’m the criminal and the name was mine! (Criminally ignorant, that is.) So there is nobody innocent to protect!

For the past 18 months, my home has been a construction zone as an underused, former TV room was turned into a half-bath/laundry room.

I could bore you with tales of hard-to-get plumbers and handymen, fluctuating funding, etc. But I’ll fast forward to this past month, when the whole project seemed to be nearing completion.

My toilet was installed in time for Thanksgiving. With family in town, this, alone, was very exciting! The sink went in the next week due to the fact that I didn’t realize it didn’t come with a faucet. Oops.

Then there was another delay when the faucet I ordered came with a broken drain, and water seeped across my floor.

Finally, the stackable washer and dryer that has been sitting in the room for more than a year, blocking the view out my back window, was installed and proclaimed ready to use!

I have this odd aversion to using new appliances. Seriously, I usually place a new appliance on my kitchen counter and eye it with suspicion for weeks or months before trying it out. I have no excuse.

But with the old washer and dryer disconnected in the basement I had no choice but to try out the new set a mere week after it was proclaimed ready to go – crazy fast for me.

My basket of dirty laundry sat on the floor next to the unit, and I opened the lid of the machine with great optimism; only to be greeted by the sight of a foot-thick wedge of Styrofoam blocking my way.

Hmm, I guess my guy didn’t look inside before calling it done. Or maybe he was just smart enough to think, “Nah”, and quietly close it before driving away. Who could blame him?

I could not budge it, and resolved myself to having to saw it out of there. But with what? Rejecting manly tools that I didn’t think I could fit into the space, I went to work with my serrated bread knife. It took about 15 minutes of hard labor, but finally I had the thing out.

Inside the drum were the water hoses my guy couldn’t find – cleverly hidden indeed! I felt like I do when I’m washing out the Thanksgiving turkey and dig out the baggie of innards from the chest cavity.

I’m telling you, this new appliance thing it NOT for the faint of heart!

After a hot-chocolate break, I returned with the shop vac and sucked out all the little Styrofoam pellets. Then it was time to load in the clothes and laundry soap and figure out the dials and buttons.

Smugly I thought, yeah. I’ve got this.

Finally the machine was running! And then it was thumping. And squealing. And jumping and running into the wall behind it, gouging the new drywall and paint! The dog was barking and my daughter was calling for help.

I turned it off. I scratched my head. I looked down. What was that red caution sticker down low on the machine near the wall? I squatted down for a look – “Remove packing rod before use!!!”

Oh-oh. I jockeyed the machine around a bit so I could remove the sticker over a piece of protruding metal I hadn’t noticed before, and then pulled the metal out – and out – and out! It was a couple feet long!

Offering up a prayer that in my ignorance I hadn’t destroyed my brand new washing machine, I tried again. It ran nice and smooth, with no imitation of a bucking bronc fighting off a cougar.

Thank you, God!

Now if I can just get my lights installed, hang up the towel bars and toilet paper holder, and maybe some curtains so I don’t have to use my wonderful new room in the dark, I’ll be ready to call the job done! (Well, after I patch the drywall and repaint, that is!)