Are you a washer or a dryer? Have I lost my mind in asking such a question? Possibly, but I find lessons in the strangest locations. My second half of life has opened new opportunities to acquire skills I rarely needed in the first half like doing laundry in a manner acceptable to my wife, an expert in that arena. I argued against her “ways of laundry” at the start, but through the liberal use of humor, a strong desire to keep my customer happy, and a free-flowing conversation with myself on laundry day I have assimilated. The experience has generated an idea for another book on relationships, and I’m gaining familiarity with those two machinery beasts, the washer and the dryer.
Have you looked at all the buttons and settings on those monstrosities? My earlier adventures in laundry concerned the inner workings of the boxes—changing timers, replacing belts and so on. I never paid too much attention to the options. Gadzooks! The washer even has a built in faucet where one may wash one’s hands after cleaning up spilled fabric softener. The control knob’s hair trigger moves at a touch, though, and I achieved full-panic state when I turned too far and the lights came on in a strange new set of cycles with water blasting into the tub. I acted on impulse, as any trained engineer would, and yanked the plug. Reset happened successfully, all clear from general quarters.
I have noted striking personality differences between the two machines.
The dryer seems quiet and kind. Its melodious tone alerts me to the approaching end of the cycle. The tone is aptly named Chime on the control panel, and in four gentle assertions the dryer whispers, “Excuse me, Dear. I think this load is almost dry if you’re not too busy. I thought you might want to hang the permanent press stuff before the wrinkles set in.” If I am unable to respond the machine patiently turns for five additional minutes then shuts down without further fanfare.
The washer’s alert function is labeled Signal and might better be called Air Horn. It is loud the way the horn on a Mack truck is loud. That ear-splitting croak reaches every corner of the house. The washer—abruptly, intrusively, and with no politeness whatsoever—finishes the spin cycle after the rinse and detonates, “BWAAAMP, BWAAAMP, BWAAAMP”. The washer demands attention and right now!
I discovered the washer has another alarm. I heard a new sound one laundry day and investigated. The misbehaving machine, ping-ponging between the dryer and the wall, played its own percussion solo of Wipe Out with a “WHOMP, CLANG, SMACK.” I had assumed this to be a stationary object and did not remember ordering the power steering option. How does one diffuse such a volatile catastrophe? Recall the earlier issue with the easy-to-turn-too-far control knob. The power plug remains a workable solution to most any malfunction.
But the electrical plug hung behind the vicious beast! As I summoned my courage, stretched toward and grasped the cord to interrupt the juice, the washer ceased motion and emitted an obnoxious blast louder than the “BWAAAMP, BWAAAMP, BWAAAMP” alarm. That development scared the bran muffin right out of me! Great! Now I have more clothes to wash.
Once my heart returned to a semi-normal rhythm I called the help line (Shawn’s cell) to describe the issue and ask for assistance. Who knew there was an out-of-balance alarm? I guess if one fills his tummy with water and sloshes in circles long enough lost balance is one expected outcome. There are others. Trust me.
The washer exhibits further rudeness on occasion by ejecting the water in the tub onto the floor rather than down the drain tube provided for such purposes. Maytag, once the dependability people, released this model with a simple but serious design flaw. The drain hose on the pump vibrates to freedom (the first occurrence one week after the warranty expired!) and any water in the works then flows straight to the wood floor in the dining room. I improved the connection and added the protection of an external water alert alarm to summon me should the washer wet the floor. Lowes did not have diapers large enough to swaddle the beast, and Shawn vetoed the hole-saw-drain-in-the-floor solution.
Dryer malfunctions have much less impact on the rest of the house. Usually the considerate dryer simply refuses to start or runs without actually drying anything. I have yet to mop up after a “dryer down” event.
Now, back to my opening question, “Are you a washer or a dryer?” Do others find pleasure in your presence? Is your contribution made quietly without fanfare? Or must you sound the trumpet to focus everyone’s attention on your actions?
Wow. I have a lot to learn in laundry.