Unintimidated by a Domestic Crisis and Moonlighting Repairmen
Sometimes we learn things we never wanted to know (which is different from not needing to know). When my trusty old washing machine (a mere 15 years young) decided not to spin out a tub full of water, I was taught two of those lessons. I kept thinking that until that day, I had never had a washing machine give me a hard time. My last one was 23 years old and still performing like a champ when we moved out of the house it was in.
About 25 years of my married life was spent with a traveling salesman. His first territory was New York State and Canada. He would be gone usually from early Monday morning till dinnertime on Fridays, except for the times he had to leave on Sunday for a Monday morning meeting. After a couple of years like that, the world became his territory when he was made Export Sales Manager. I mention this to indicate that with three children in a rural home, I’m still not easily intimidated by domestic crises. Another time it might be fun to list those that didn’t defeat me.
A careful perusal of the machine’s owner’s manual soon showed me I was licked. I began the search for service. The manual had several 800 phone numbers, now long out of service, and, of course the dealer’s information. That dealer no longer exists in the appliance business. The helpful people at the local Ace Hardware (who had bought the dealership where the washing machine came from) were able to give me the names of a couple of moonlighting repairmen. Did I mention that this was the Friday before Veteran’s Day?
I called the first name on the list and left a message. By Saturday afternoon, having heard nothing, I resorted to a new dealership for several brands of home appliances and electronics. I was assured that I would receive a call first thing on Monday. I thought about the washing machine filled with water and two bathroom rugs, and decided I’d better figure out some way to make the thing movable. If anyone did come to fix it, they’d probably have to get behind it.
The next order of business seemed to be to get those rugs out of there, rinsed or not. That was when the second challenge revealed itself. Those rubber-backed rugs had been washed before without a problem. I heaved tons of wet, raveling mats over the edge of the washer into a large plastic waste basket. Feeling I should have one of those Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales to help, I dragged the thing out to the deck, managed to tip it and pour out the sodden mass so it could drip through the spaces in the flooring. Maybe then I’d be able to throw them away in their own garbage bag.
As I looked at the mess, I saw the water was full of grey bits of some kind of ugly flotsam, torn shreds of blue nylon yarn, as well as grunge and soap. Imagine a glorious autumn day, still some golden leaves on the trees, Carolina blue sky, and a gross mass of baby blue, hairy carcass desecrating the planks of my deck, now speckled with some extra unidentifiable detritus. I felt a decided chill, so I went back inside to face the laundry room.
My husband had bought a siphon, the better to clean out a little pool in our front yard. Sure enough, there it was, on a shelf in the garage, still unopened. I got a bucket, read the instructions on the package, and got started. That’s the operative word, “started.”
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