Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Out With the Tide

John and I were watching TV the other night when I heard an unusual grinding, metal-on-metal sound. Hm. Interesting soundtrack to this movie, I thought. What made it even more interesting was the fact that the grinding noise continued into the commercial break.


The sound was actually coming from my trusty old washing machine. Well, once trusty, actually. Certainly not anymore. On investigation, John discovered that the washer had a major breakdown and guessed that the repair bill could easily be half the price of a new machine.

We've also been nursing the clothes dryer along for at least two years now. One by one, the specialized drying cycles have quit working, until all that remains is the ability to blast clothing dry on high heat. But it was easy to avoid thinking about buying a new washer/dryer set because we thought that the good old washing machine was still going strong. I actually was becoming pretty adept at draping damp clothing at various places thru out the house to air-dry. But after the grinding and clanking started, it seemed inevitable - we would have to fork out some serious $$ for a new set.

I haven't paid close attention to laundry equipment for the past fourteen years. Oh, sure, I have seen the he label on detergents and idly wondered what that meant. And noticed that front-loading sets seemed to be everywhere.

Good grief. When did a washing machine go from a dump the clothes and detergent in and turn the thing on appliance to a computerized read the instruction manual for an hour before the first load LED screen with more push buttons than a cash register gadget?

I am so glad that John went with me to pick our new set out. Being a techie, he actually seemed to enjoy chatting with salespeople about RPMs (who knew that a washing machine is rated by revolutions per minute? Isn't that how car engines are rated?) load capacities, water usage per load, and energy consumption rates. He had his Consumer Reports recommendations in hand and the exact dimensions of the space available in the laundry room. All of which I'm sure are important things to consider. And the challenge of getting the best possible price in the tri-state area left John rubbing his hands in glee. But honestly, after hoofing it through the showrooms of several big-box stores and listening to all the sales pitches, I was a goner. By the time we had made our decision, I was a sweaty brain-dead zombie. To be truthful, I can't even remember what manufacturer made the set we bought. After about an hour of shopping, everything became just a blur of white enameled metal and blah blah blah blah blah.

I do remember sitting in a customer waiting area and taking advantage of free cookies and coffee. Somewhere.


The lucky salesman that actually made the sale was a bit perplexed by my inattentive demeanor.  "Don't you know want to know how to operate this thing?" he asked. "After all, you're the one that's going to be doing the laundry, right?"

Oh, brother. Somewhere in the recesses of my foggy brain, I realized that this guy was annoying, but at least partly right. I summoned up the last bit of my energy and listlessly pushed a button. "What does this thing do?"

"Well now. That little gadget there just cost you about sixty bucks!" he chortled.

C'mere Mr. Annoying salesperson. I'll show you a sixty buck smack upside the head.....

John quickly intercepted my response, which without a doubt would have been seriously cranky. "It's OK. I think we understand the important stuff. And gotta love those instruction manuals, right?" He hustled me out of the showroom and into the car.

I'll be kind of sad to see the old set go out the door. Those machines have been rumbling along in the background of our lives for fourteen years.


annie said...

Our Maytag is 23 years old, and we've also been nursing this thing for the past 2 years..our dryer is faring better than the washer. Have you seen the price of appliances these days?!!! Our stove and fridge are close in age to our washer / dryer.......we're putting off the evil (kaching) moment, but you can't escape time.

Julia Oleinik said...

Oh, man, the prices.......unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the new ones! Hopefully they will turn out to be super-cool. That salesman was not wise to say that, I would've been tempted to depart and buy it elsewhere. (Of course, that takes time and energy, which...yeah. Bleh.)

I hope ours doesn't die for a while. Washing cloth diapers in an HE washer is, I am told, a whole 'nother source of fun compared to doing it in a standard one.

sue said...

I got a new he washer from sears when my old one (25 years old) turned into an oil spitting bronco
bucking (one of the back legs fell off) banging machine. I use the one cycle all the time with the lightly soiled option. It works well. My mom's friend says to leave the door open when not in use so that it doesn't smell bad and to Never use too much detergent.

A couple of months later we had to replace our 16 year old dishwasher. Way too many choices of cycles on that one too. But it doesn't sound like a 747 so I am very happy.

Now we have to replace our air conditioner which ia 16 years old also. It gets installed on Monday.
Poor hubby is in shock with how the cash is flying out of the chequing account. My best friend and her hubby are being transfered to poland next month for his job. Maybe I can buy their fridge and stove. She just bought them before finding out about the move and can't take them with her. Then I'd be good for another 16 years or so.

Sue "a new shoggie"

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Sue - welcome to our Sjoggie club!!