Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Laundry Room Blues

     It's Sunday afternoon at the old homestead.  At the moment, the entire downstairs looks like a twister touched down inside a small appliance repair shop.  Our state-of-the-art washing machine--the one that promised everything from stain fighting to high speed to quiet operation to germ killing--has a blown bearing.  I know this because My Personal Chef has watched hours of how-to-fix-the-washing-machine videos and taken the whole thing apart and gone to two different hardware stores for expert advice and parts.  The pretty boys on the videos and the older guys in the plaid, flannel shirts at the stores all agree.  The bearing's gone. 
     It can be fixed.  Only thing is, even if my extraordinarily competent husband does it himself, it will be exorbitantly expensive.  This is the second major failure of this washing machine in the past year.  Last spring the big rubber gasket had to be replaced.  It cost hundreds of dollars, took weeks  for the part to come in, and then a technician had to come in to install it, because apparently it required some sort of magic tool made especially for this manufacturer's products.
     We haven't had the machine more than two years.  Although, it turns out that the washer was a model made about 6 years ago that apparently sat around in in a shipping crate in some port for a while.  At any rate, the manufacturer has discontinued the model, making the parts ridiculously pricey to get.  It really isn't cost-effective to repair the machine.  That bothers us.
     Call us old fashioned, but we take care of our things.  We teach our children to take care of their things.  (Just don't look at their bedrooms for any signs of our teaching taking root.)  We work hard at not being wasteful.  We take pride in learning the skills to repair things.   Okay my Personal Chef prides himself in knowing how to fix things, and I take pride in bragging about hitching my wagon to him. 
     Effective stewardship of our resources--our finances, our material goods, and our time--matters to us.  At one time, it was a widespread value, shared by most of our culture.  Today, though, we are encouraged to continuously replace our cheap things, rather than maintaining them.  Go ahead and try to name one thing that you own today that you purchased new that you don't expect to replace in the near future.  Unless you inherited it from your ancestors or found it at an antique sale or commissioned Amish artisans to create it for you, it's probably built with self-destruction and replacement in mind.  Clothing, furniture, electronics, tools, household goods...  all cheap.  All designed to be replaced with next season's colors, features, or styles.
     It bums me out. I don't WANT to shop for a new washing machine.  On the other hand, now that the laundry room is torn apart, maybe I can get that Man-o-Mine to replace the floor and put in a shower stall?  Now where did I put those color swatches?


  1. Ha! We're the same, try and fix things. Buy old sometimes and repair and do up. Okay, okay ... Hubby fixes things. I think the 'throw away' society is terrible. We use Freecycle also, can't believe the things that folk chuck out. I sit now, at my solid oak desk ... that some daft and wealthy woman just 'didn't want' any more!

  2. Picking up, doing and sorting out laundry (most of them the hubs and Baba left everywhere except in the basket) turns me into a banshee. And when things break down at home, it makes me rage.

    Okay, things aren't as expensive as when we were growing up. But they should really last longer than two years no?