Alas, my washing machine of 16 years has finally died. It was a rather interesting adventure amongst all the other stuff that was going on last weekend. I was sitting quietly watching TV, because when I’m on call, that’s about all I get to do. I can’t go hiking and I damn sure can’t leave town and do something fun. So I’m washing the backlog of clothing that builds up during the week and there’s a big CLUNK, like the time my power screwdriver fell off the shelf and landed on the washer. So I go check, and the screwdriver box is still on the shelf but the washer is twisted about 20 degrees off square with the wall, like someone went in there and grabbed it and tried to steal it.
What the Duck?
So I straighten it and at the same time start to notice this strange clicking sound coming from the machine, that I never noticed before. Then the washer starts the spin cycle and the clicking gets worse, sounding much like a steam locomotive chugging down the tracks.
The only comparable sound was when my refrigerator quit several years back. There was a big clunk one night and in the morning all the food was spoiled. So, knowing that clunks and clicks aren’t normal, I did what any American guy with a tool box would do, I proceeded to take the washer apart, because maybe I could find out what is wrong!
Never mind the fact that I’ve never taken a washer apart in my life, and according to my wife I don’t even wash clothes the right way (synthetics in one load, everything else in another load), I’m going to fix this thing! So, I turn off the water, unplug the bastard, and grab my hand truck with the one flat tire, and drag the bitch out of the laundry room into the middle of the kitchen.
Then I proceed to swear for an hour while getting the motor out, getting grease on my new shirt, and dumping cruddy just-washed-clothes water all over me. Finally I remove the suspect part: the transmission assembly. But, it’s factory sealed. Theres no way into it. And I’m not even sure if this is it. There aren’t many other moving parts, though, and everything else looks like I suspect it would. No broken pieces sticking out, no sheared off parts, no bolts missing.
So, not finding anything wrong, I put the thing back together, dump some water in it, and try to run it, to see if maybe, through some mechanical miracle, I have successfully repaired it. You laugh, but it has happened before… I fixed a few things not knowing how or what I did.
It doesn’t start. All it does it make a scary buzzing sound. Uh Oh. So I tell the wife “I can’t fix it, put on your clothes, we’re going to Sears”
“But you hate Sears, you said you would never go back there!”
Oh yeah – I did. I was looking at lawnmowers and they had no prices on the ones outside. So I asked “hey why are there no prices outside?” to which the guy replies: “The main office doesn’t let us put prices on those outside, because those are the cheaper ones. You have to come inside and ask.”
So I left and went to Lowes. We go to Sears anyway, and the same thing happens. The guy tells us “The prices on the washers aren’t the real ones. There’s a sale going on, so tell me what you want and I’ll look up the discounted price.”
No, asshole. You don’t look up the discounted price. You PUT the PRICE on the WASHER. It’s not a secret, you shouldn’t have to look it up. It should be THERE so I can SEE it! So we find one that we want. Before I go any farther – I must remind you that this happened on a Sunday. The worst day for this to happen, because first of all, there are a lot of places closed on Sunday, and in my backwards-ass 1950s county nothing can open until 1:30pm anyway, so you have to waste half the day before you can go to a store, and there’s no deliveries on Sunday.
So, I find a washer I like and ask when it can be at my house. The guy says, “Well if I order it today, it will be here by Wednesday, so Thursday at the latest.”
Thursday? I could go buy a CAR and have it at my house today. They don’t keep washers in stock? I also failed to mention that my kid is leaving for a school trip Wednesday morning. Thursday it out of the question. So, I do what I should have done before. I go to Lowes.
We walk into lowes and look around. Without doing any research, without comparing prices, without any knowledge whatsoever, we just walk into the washer section. The lady asked us if she could help us.
“Do you keep washers in stock?” I ask.
“yes, some of them.”
“Are these the correct prices?” I ask.
So we point out two that we like. Top loading, high efficiency (no agitator thing in the middle, just a plain empty tub). She scans them and says she has the one on the left.
“I’ll take it, when can you deliver it?”
“Tuesday” She replies. Good enough for me. She grabbed some hoses and I told her I didn’t need them. She tells me they won’t hook it up without new hoses, to which I replied, “I replaced my old hoses with the stainless steel braided ones, and I don’t need them to hook it up.”
It turns out that the price on the washer wasn’t the right price. It was even cheaper because I said I would hook it up myself. I told her all I wanted the guys to do was take away my old one, and drop the new one in the kitchen.
When they finally brought it, they wanted to hook it up. I told them I hadn’t paid for it, and they said, “That’s fine, we’ll do it anyway.” Which I expected was delivery guy speak for, “The longer it takes us here, the less time we have to work at the store”. I told them again that I would do it, and they left in a huff. Besides, I had all the crap in the laundry room to move out first, sweep the floor, etc. I wound up having to take my folding shelf off the wall first before the washer would even go in the room.
Of course, like most other things in my house, I quickly discovered the water valves were mislabeled. Hot was cold and cold was hot, but I plugged the damn washer in and got it running. So, I was happy about it.
The new one is much different than the old one. For one, there is no water setting. It weighs the clothes of something, spins them around a few times, and adds water according to what it calculates is right. It also locks the lid when you start the cycle, so you can’t say, “Oh shit I forgot these socks” and chuck them in. The whole time you are programming the thing by pushing the selection buttons, it dings like Super Mario is collecting coins, and when it’s over is plays some little beeping melody, something like Bach or Brahms… for about a minute.
But, it works, and that’s what’s important.