Friday, January 04, 2008

A new washing machine

My washer dropped dead last week, fortunately after all the visitors had gone, but before I had washed their soiled sheets. Naturally, I bought another. It doesn't pay to have a repairman come to the house, not that they would come this week, of course. If past experience is any guide, they would set up an appointment on the 21st, keep me waiting all day, declare the washer beyond repair, and charge me $79.95 for the consultation.

When the dishwasher went, I had hopes of fixing it and called a repairman. Several days later, the repairman came, pulled the dishwasher out of its niche, and declared it not worth fixing, $79.95 please. He then kindly pushed it back into its spot under the counter. For the food disposer, rinse and repeat.

So when the washer went, I skipped the intermediate step and ordered a new one, which was not as easy as it sounds. Costco had one I liked, but they do not deliver. They deliver if you order online, but do not install, and as for getting rid of your old machine, you're on your own. Sears had one in stock, if I wanted to go and get it. I didn't.

Mother would have been appalled at the casual way I treated this old appliance. This was not her way. She once had a perfectly good washer, except it didn't work. But she had confidence that it could be repaired. After all, it had worked for five years, hadn't it? Mr Snyder, one of her clients who happened to be an appliance repairman, told her it needed an expensive new part, a transmission maybe. She told him to go ahead and put one in. He said he would have to order it from the manufacturer as they were not making that model any more. She told him to go ahead and do it. He said it might take weeks. That was okay with her.

My brother, who was living at home at the time, wanted to do his laundry, so he ordered a new washer without her knowledge. When it arrived, she refused delivery. This went on for a while, with dirty clothes piling up on the basement floor, until the manufacturer informed all concerned that they could not supply the part. The new part, if it could be obtained, would cost $100, plus labor. A new washer at the time sold for about $200.

Mother, who had grown up dirt poor, abhorred waste. She wasn't stingy; she was actually very generous. But her cars were of the same vintage as the washer, held together (by a client who was an auto mechanic) with spit and baling wire. I remember getting into one of her cars and putting my foot down all the way to the road surface. The bottom had rotted out of the car. But it was a perfectly good car. It ran. Buy a new car? Oysgevarfene gelt!

Mother really hated to get rid of anything. She had an enclosed sun room which she converted into a downstairs bedroom and bath (she had a client who was a contractor) when my grandmother grew ill and came to live with her. After bubbe died, it became a repository for everything that needed a bit of work but might come in handy one day. Three-legged chairs, a sofa that was losing its stuffing, a crib without slats, a vase with a crack in it, all these and more found a home there. Dead potted plants were added to the mix. A few old magazines. A shoebox full of papers someone should really sort someday. We called this room the Batcave. It got so crowded we couldn't get in to use the bathroom.

1 comment:

dick stanley said...

I sympathize with all hoarders of broken things, or almost-but-not-quite broken things. But I tried to be loyal to an old washer one time and it repaid me by flooding its alcove. One shouldn't be sentimental about an appliance that has a cinder block as a base.