Saturday, February 5

Washing Machine Dilemma

I need a new washing machine...or do I?

Well with the current economy and the pinch of pennies, not to mention the notice we got from our water company about the essential rationing of water to families, we have been starting to hunt for a new washer and dryer. A thrilling prospective for any woman who spends a good percentage of her life sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry.
However, I have not been quite as excited as I thought I would be. Hubby has been asking me if I'd like to get a new set for a few weeks now and I usually shrug and point out that ours really do work just fine. There is nothing wrong with hand-me-downs from the stone age. Well, I'm sure he thought that going to see them at the stores would put a little skip in my step, so off we went.
We took a whole day and devoted it (yes, with the kids...and a full ziplock of usually forbidden jelly beans) to looking, comparing and learning about these fancy new contraptions that wash our clothes. I must admit, I was dazzled when I saw the long gleaming rows of laundering devices. They come in so many colors now and with so many options, it really is no different than shopping for a new car. They have candy apple red, smooth meadow moss, sea splash blue, gunmetal gray, ravishing platinum, midnight black and of course your normal run-of-the-mill ($100 cheaper) white. 

The options are endless: darks, whites, lights, jeans, satin, your grandma's silk, handwash, delicate wash, bedding, pet bedding, steam, sanitize, baby clothes, extra soiled clothes, kids clothes, and a couple more that I cannot recall. They have a lost and found for items left in pockets; they have quite a few sizes, from 3.5 (totally small and way behind the times, don't even waste your time on this piece of crap we were told) all the way up to 5.0. The only true way to know what size works for you is to count how many regular size bath towels and/or average size jeans you may ever want or need to wash and have those numbers ready. They shoot 'em at you pretty quick! I personally have yet to feel the urge to wash all of mine and my neighbor's and my neighbor's neighbor's towels in one load, but the point was made that it is always wise to be ready.
Oh, they also come with somewhere around six different water temps (who woulda' thought- whatever happened to hot and cold?) and of course the obvious first choice (right after you decide between candy apple red and sea splash blue) is front or top loading. Apparently we were told that front loading is so the thing right now due to ergonomic reasons and they have a couple extra options like the stands they rest on that double as storage drawers (sometimes on sale for an easy $189 each)!
Right about now my mind was whirling while he was speeding through the automatic dispenser and how the washer and dryers both know if you screwed up and put too much soap or the load is done or maybe never even needed to be done in the first place and I was beginning to think that these contraptions may put women out of a job. Then he mentioned another fascinating feature that really grabbed my attention. Hush mode. He said that these machines would be whisper quiet, even if you have an upstairs laundry room (I do) next to your kids' rooms (again, I do). Hubby looked at me as if the man just told us we won a free set and said "Isn't that great??!!" I thought about our set.
The dryer starts up similar to a 1963 deisel truck...with a worn out starter.

 It has a buzzer to let me know when the load is almost dry and then again when it is all the way done. The buzzer hits decibals my toddler can't even match and it doesn't have to off option. It literally jolts me from my chair and God forbid I may have been napping at the way Jose'. It runs loud and steady for the full 90 minutes it takes to dry the measly five towels it can manage at one time. My washer takes a good ten to twelve minutes to fill for a small load, and when it starts running it shakes violently and shrieks like a rusty wagon on a gravel road filled with empty tin cans. It is so loud, you really cannot carry on a conversation upstairs and downstairs you have a better chance, but you are still likely to miss parts of it here and there. Also, if you go downstairs and look up at the beams that are right below the laundry room, I swear you can see them shaking right along with it. They are terrible, really they are. And I think they are so far from being energy efficient that while everyone else gets rebates for energy star models, we actually seem to get charged extra for having energy loser models. True story.

So I asked the sales man a question that I tried to push aside and ignore, but just couldn't. Do they have any that don't have hush mode, or can you turn hush mode off? He and Hubby both looked at me incredulously and stuttered while trying to grasp understanding.
And now, here is a mommy confession. I hate my machines, but I love them at the same time. They are the perfect tool to use when I put the kids for bed and it is one of those nights. One of those nights when the baby won't stay asleep and just wants to be rocked for hours on end. Once of those nights when he just cries and whines no matter how much I am rubbing his back or swaying back and forth with him in my arms. One of those nights where the second I set him down he cries and then wakes up one of the others and then I just spend my entire night running from room to room to room. One of those nights when I just can't do it! So I make sure everyone if fed and safe and tired, tuck them in their beds with kisses and a story and then I put a load of laundry in. My stone age, terrible, awful, energy loser, horrible loud appliances drown out the crying and whining for those dreadful minutes it takes for them to fall asleep and I can go downstairs or go to bed and pretend my heart isn't breaking and I'm not overcome with guilt for letting the baby cry for a few minutes-- because I can barely hear him!
So there it is, I said it! Awful I know, but I just need to do it once in a while.
Which leads me back to my dilemma, I know I need a new washing machine, but do I just yet?

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