Sunday, April 7, 2013

Past Deadline: A Billion Loads Later

Here’s the latest Past Deadline, published in The Perth Courier on March 21/13. Trust me…there will be more on this particular saga!
A billion loads later….
Back in January I wrote a column about how Ye Olde Clothes Washing Machine was making a strange noise. The column morphed into something about how playing loud music is a solution to some noisy problems, not unlike covering your ears with your hands, rocking back and forth and saying “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” over and over until the annoying thing/person gives up and wanders off.
That may be a good strategy when you’re two, but it doesn’t always work for grown-ups dealing with major appliances. Denial can be a marvelous thing –for a little while.
Interestingly (or not), the ultimate demise of the washing machine does not seem to be related to a funny noise. In fact, it happened very quietly in the night.
One morning I came downstairs and, in those quiet moments of being the first one up, I heard a drip.
And then I heard a drip drip drip.
That’s seldom a good sound in a house.
So, I followed my ears to the washing machine, and discovered the tub had about three inches of water in it.
Long story short, the part that was wonky isn’t made anymore. Sure, we could probably find the part somewhere, but did we really want to replace an old dead part with one of the same vintage?
There was also speculation it could have been a grit issue. I know it’s hard to believe there could be grit in my pristine house, said she who just last week talked about turning her kitchen into a sandy beach.
We were told we could probably limp along with the old machine (circa early 1990s), as long as we were prepared to hover nearby whenever it was being used so that we could spring into action and shut off the water in the event the wonky valve got stuck open and flooding ensued.
So we pulled the machine out from the wall a little in order to easily access the shut-off taps and carried on for a while. It wasn’t too hard to hover since the machine is in the kitchen and I tend to spend half my life there.
The dripping slowed, but never stopped entirely, which (surprisingly!) seemed to rule out grit. Just to make things interesting, the shut-off taps at the back started dripping every time they got turned on or off. There was a lot of drippage.
As much as I wanted to turn up the music to drown out the drippage, I figured ignoring it in this case could lead to a lot of unnecessary drama.
Yes, it was time to say goodbye to Ye Olde Clothes Washing Machine.
Silver lining: I got a column idea out of it.
Other silver lining: We found a few lost things behind the washing machine, such as the little toy wooden mallet Boychild lost when he was two, a couple of cat toys, a hair clip and a brown marker cap that Girlchild claims she had been looking for recently.
Naturally we also found quite a lot of debris that we would have preferred to ignore for a little longer. (The washer was heavy – it didn’t get hauled out very often.)
Again with the denial! One thing I have learned as I get older, denial eventually catches up with you.
RIP, Ye Olde Clothes Washing Machine! I can’t even begin to count the number of loads you have washed, especially considering a family of four had you in service before us.
I only hope the replacement, made in this plasticized era, will be as faithful. After all, as much as I appreciate column ideas….

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