I broke my mother’s (obviously) expensive washing machine.
In the past I’ve written about what a wonderful opportunity it is for me to get to spend this time with her, as adult. And for this time, I am grateful. That’s why I feel especially bad when I do something wrong. Well, it wasn’t really wrong, per se. Whatever I did, I did not do on purpose. But she was visiting one of my sisters the other day and I broke my mom’s washing machine. And it’s got to be a very expensive machine!
My mother comes from the “I lived through the Depression” generation. She saves everything from the little green twist ties from the produce section to rubber bands to small zip-lock bags. Of course, there’s always a supply of those items, and more, in her purse. There are packets of sugar, salt & pepper and four pens that don’t write.
“Mom, do you have any double-A batteries?”
“I have some in the bottom drawer of my dresser, but wait.” She reaches into her purse. “Here’s two right here… Oh. Do you want a piece of Werthers?
“No thanks, Mom…”
“Here. Take it…”
I often want to make a joke about her having a microwave oven in her purse or a headlight from a ‘47 Oldsmobile under her bed, but I am afraid she might and my mind would boggle. Of course there are graduation photos of each child from each school and fading black and white pictures of relatives and events from long ago.
As I said, I am extremely grateful for this time that I get to spend with her. At this writing, she’s 87-years-old and still going strong. And, again, that’s why I feel really badly about breaking her new washing machine.
Being from that “Great Depression” era, she had her last washing machine for 20… maybe even 30 years or more! This past year she finally decided to buy a new one. My brother helped her select it. My mom would prefer one with the least amount of buttons possible. On/Off. Cold/Warm/Hot. Gentle/Regular. That would be about right. With my brother’s help, she’s got one that lights up and weighs the load of laundry and calculates the time of the wash and sings a song when it’s done. I’ve even looked for a soft-serve ice cream dispenser but I haven’t located it.
My mother turns it on—after first turning on the hot and cold taps. She once heard of someone’s hose(s) leaking and she always turns off the spigots—spins the pretty light up dial one click to the left for “regular” and then manually selects her temperature. Three-hundred dollars worth of fancy knobs and lights remain untouched.
I do the same thing. I don’t need all of that stuff. I’m a guy. I turn on the washer and select Cotton and Cold and then I go away. Two hours later, all of my clothes are dried and folded or hanging on hangars. They’re waiting on the steps for me to take up to my room. That’s how I know it is an expensive machine and why I feel bad that I have (possibly) broken it. I could never afford a machine like this but my mother has always spent the extra money for one. We had one with a similar function all the while I was growing up.
And now, the minute she leaves to visit one of my sisters, I break the machine! But I swear I didn’t do it on purpose! I did everything exactly that same way I always do it. I gathered up my empty hangers and brought them and my laundry basket down to the washer. I dumped my clothes inside and tossed in a soap packet. I selected cotton, cold water and regular and hit start. I left my hangars on top and went to my computer to write. A few hours later I checked the stairway landing and my clothes weren’t there. I went to the washer and my clothes were still inside. They were all smashed to the inside of that machine.
How odd, I thought. But, not really being familiar with this type of washer, I went back to my computer and wrote for a few more hours. Eventually I went back downstairs to grab something to eat and I noticed that my clothes were still not hanging and/or folded and awaiting me on the landing. I went back out to the washer and discovered the clothes were still half-clinging to the inside of the washer. I threw in another soap packet and double-checked all of the settings. I started it again. It seemed to be working correctly.
Two hours later, still nothing. Again my clothes were still smashed against the inside of the machine. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. I opened and slammed the lid a few times in case the sensor was having intermittent problems. I started it again and left it to produce the same results.
By the time evening came, I’d forgotten about my laundry. It’s not something to which I give much thought anyway. I mean, you toss in your dirty clothes and a few hours later all of them are clean, folded and waiting on the landing to be brought up. But in the morning I remembered to check and the clothes were still inside the washing machine.
It’s been a few days and I’m running out of socks and underwear. I want to call a repairman so my mother doesn’t get upset that I broke the machine, but it’s a new machine! It can’t be broken! I must be doing something wrong or forgetting one button… or something!
She’s due home tomorrow and I think I’ll just tell her about it and she can tell me which setting I have incorrectly selected. I’m just not good with technology…