Our old washing machine, almost ten years old and the cheapest we could afford at time of purchase, was starting to act up. Or rather, it was stopping, which required no acting whatsoever.
I would open the lid, thinking the load I’d started over an hour earlier was done, only to find the clothes still soaking in water. I closed the lid; it did not restart. I kicked and pounded it, loudly uttering the standard chant of four-letter, one-syllable words. Another lift and drop of the lid, another good fist-pounding, another proclamation of eternal condemnation, and the washer would grudgingly resume its cycle.
Changing cycles did not solve the problem, and soon I worried that one day the machine would simply die in the middle of a soak. I told Mr. Lucky we needed to do something before that happened and we’d have to find a Laundromat and start dedicating our lives to hoarding quarters.
I don’t even know where the nearest Laundromat is. I’ve heard they’re not the way they used to be, all hot and noisy and full of screaming kids and suspiciously shady characters; that nowadays some are just like Chuck E. Cheese. But with my luck, the nearest one is still the old-fashioned kind “where a laundress can be a laundress.”
’Twas not I, but Mr. Lucky who decided it would be cheaper to buy a new washer than to have the old one repaired. I coveted the front-loading type, if only because it didn’t have that annoying, aptly-named agitator. At least once a month we have to buy a new waterproof mattress pad for Baby Bear’s bed, because they get chewed up by the agitator. When loading the old washer, I had to put larger pieces in the bottom, saving smaller items for the top, lest they get trapped beneath the agitator, or in the case of bras, twisted around it. In fact, there’s nothing that agitates me more than trying to pull a single bra out of the washing machine, only to find one of the straps is tightly wound around the rest of the load.
Since Mr. Lucky also wanted a front-loader, we got one. I would have liked a matching dryer, too—not just on general principle, but because most of the time I have to run the old one through two cycles just to get the clothes dry. (And I do too clean out the lint trap every time.)
But I love my new washer, though it’s taken some getting used to. For one thing, unlike its predecessor, it makes almost no noise, so I find myself going into the laundry room every few minutes to reassure myself it’s still running. I don’t think it would soothe a colicky baby!
And in an odd twist, since the new washer was set up, the dryer has started working more efficiently again. I haven’t had to run double-cycles to get loads completely dry. Apparently there’d been a kink in the giant silver hose behind it all this time, and it became unkinked when Mr. Lucky shifted everything around to install the new washer.
That could have been a serious fire hazard.
I did have one reservation about a front-loading model: It’s—well—front-loading. Meaning a certain Bear might sneak into the laundry room during the rinse cycle, open the door, and presto! Indoor flash flood!
But a very smart washing machine designer/engineer, who obviously has small children and deserves a Nobel Prize, equipped it with a child safety lock!
Now why can’t they do that with refrigerators? Or even ovens?