The Story of the Washing Machine

A Tale of Hope, Disappointment, Despair and Redemption

Where would we be without clean laundry?  So many people consider the tasks of running a household to be mundane, unimportant, unworthy of special recognition.  Cooking, cleaning and laundry are not on par with saving lives or establishing diplomatic ties with foreign nations.  I’m sure there are many who think their Really Important Job of making sure all the numbers in Column A sum total to all the numbers in Column B is of greater value than that of the lowly housewife simply because they get paid a whole lot of money for it.

But would you want to have your hair shampooed at a salon by someone wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row?  Or sit in a tiny, cramped, windowless office with someone whose underwear wasn’t fresh?

Getting the laundry done isn’t heroic, until it isn’t done, and then it becomes The Most Important Thing in the Whole World.

Last Wednesday, some man came and turned off my washing machine.  I’ve never moved a front loader before, but I guess there are special things that need to be done.  The truck came and took my washer away on Thursday.  On Friday, I stared at the growing pile of dirty clothes, and had a brief panic attack.

But I quickly calmed down.  I had hope.  I had told my lawn guy and his cousin, my neighbor, that I needed a washer that day.  They had seemed to think they could get me one.  And if not, there was always Craigslist.  They showed up at my house that afternoon to cut the grass, and I asked them.  Yes, they had one in mind.  Yes, they would get it tomorrow, Saturday, and bring it over.  Life seemed so easy.

But they didn’t come.  And they didn’t come on Sunday, either.  I knew they wouldn’t want to bother me on a Sunday or Father’s Day out of respect for my piety and our family time.  I’ve seen them both working on Sundays, so it’s not their own duty to rest that motivates them – but they think I’m up there with the saints, spending my Sunday in peaceful prayer. 

Meanwhile, my laundry pile was quickly moving into the Necessary Servile Work category.

I checked Craigslist.  There were tons of washers listed.  There was my husband, just sitting there, relaxing on Father’s Day, doing nothing much, which was totally fine, except I knew he wouldn’t be able to help much this week with any washer moving.  But I did nothing for fear that I’d end up with two washers come Monday.

Monday morning I had several appointments scheduled, and when I returned around noon, I had a voicemail from my neighbor: the friend’s second cousin’s dog sitter’s washing machine was not $100, but closer to $200, so they didn’t get it for me, being double what I said I wanted to pay.

Alas.  I was disappointed, to put it mildly.

So, I kicked the kids off my computer, turned to Craigslist, and started calling, texting and emailing.  Gone!  Gone!  Gone! 

Then one man: “Well, somebody said they wanted it, but I don’t have the cash in hand yet…”  He was tempting me to buy it out from under them.  I hesitated with this moral dilemma…would I want someone to do that to me?  Of course not.  “What time did you give them until?” I asked.  “Five P.M.” he said.  I told him to call me at 5:01 if they didn’t show, and hung up the phone.  I’m sure he got a call 10 minutes later from someone who was willing to buy it out from under both of us.

Jenny had a swimming lesson at 5:30.  At the pool, I ran into an acquaintance.  “Know anybody selling a washer?” I asked.  She told me about some local yard sale online posting site and promised me she’d check it and let me know if she found anything. 

The first thing I did when I got home was check Craigslist.  Posted at 5:44 pm was a washer and dryer for $100, and the guy would deliver them too!  I called the number, but the guy said he had just sold them.  It was 6:14 pm. 

Forget hotcakes.  Used washers sell on Craigslist like used washers on Craigslist.

I was pretty low that night, despairing that I would ever find a washer.  I resolved to take two loads to the laundromat first thing in the morning to restock our duffle-bags-turned-dresser-drawers and push off the emergency for another day or two.  I also resolved to spend the day glued to the computer refreshing the screen for the latest Craigslist postings.

And so I did.  And nobody posted a washer. 

Brand new Viking gas range for $2500.  Ice cream maker for $10.  Refrigerator, air conditioner. 

No washing machines.

By late morning, I started racking my brain for other options.  I finally decided to call the rent-to-own thieves and see what they could do.  They could deliver a washer the next day, the man told me.  Price for one month: $70.  I decided this wasn’t bad for one month, even though I wouldn’t be able to recoup any costs by re-selling the machine.  If I needed it for two months, the price would be insane.  The man put me on the delivery schedule, but said I needed to come in and sign the contract.  The store is more than 30 minutes from my house, so I decided to take a nap first, lest I spend that drive dangerously bobbing my head.

Good decision.

An hour later, the phone rang.  It was the lady I spoke to at the pool.  A couple was moving…they had a washer and a dryer that they needed to get rid of…they planned to drop them off at Goodwill that day…I could have them for free.

Apparently, they don’t know how quickly washers sell on Craigslist.

I spoke to the owners and then called my neighbor, the one who had so disappointed me the day before.  He has a pickup truck and said he could get them later that afternoon.  The man who owned the appliances could help with the loading.  The unloading would have to wait until Bill came home that night.

When I went to take Jenny to her swim lesson that afternoon, a pickup truck with my “new” washer and dryer was backing into my driveway.  Navigating the vehicle was another neighbor whom I admiringly call (behind his back) the “one-legged snake killer” because of the time my friend had a snake in her garage and she went running down the street looking for help and the only person she could find was this octogenarian who shortly after this episode had his leg amputated due to circulatory issues.  That’s a Real Man, folks: one who will respond to a damsel in distress to slay the serpent while balancing on his one good leg.

“Mr. Van,” I said, because that’s what everybody calls him and I assume it’s his first name, “are you going to carry that washer into my house?”

“Not me,” he laughed.  My newly redeemed neighbor was in the passenger seat.  “We’re waiting for Dennis,” he explained, “and then we’re going to just put them in your garage.”  As I opened the garage door, Dennis showed up.  I didn’t know his name, but he’s another neighbor – probably about 75 years old.  Oh, heavens, I thought, and went in the house to get Fritz.  I had to get going, and I wasn’t sure how helpful a 14 yo would be.  But at least he knows how to call 9-1-1 if somebody has a stroke.

That night, Bill, with some assistance from Fritz, managed to get the washer into the house.  I just watched, because in my condition, it would be completely foolish to lift such a heavy load, so, of course, I just watched while my husband grunted and strained.  The dryer remains in the garage for now.  I have my rack, so it is less urgent.  I certainly wasn’t going to have him carry two heavy appliances in the house on the same night.

The washer works just fine, and is one I have owned before – I think the last one I owned, actually.

Come July 10th or 11th, you will find it for sale on Craigslist.

4 thoughts on “The Story of the Washing Machine

  1. What a roller coaster ride! Glad you've got that all worked out. PUT THOSE FEET UP now!!!!

  2. …and they all lived happily ever after. 😉

  3. Hooray. Glad it all worked out.

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