Sunday, July 29, 2012

Like A Hamster On A Wheel

Like A Hamster On A Wheel
By Allison Adams 07-22-12 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 07-22-12

My washing machine is on the fritz.

It’s no surprise, really. 

It’s performed perfectly for over 22 years, washing clothes for a family of 5 without needing anything but electricity, some H2O, and a little soap. 

When my last baby bird flew off to college last fall, my washing machine sat idle for days in between little loads of laundry generated by the 2 of us.

It must have assumed it was semi-retired.

It must have been daydreaming of La Boca Del Vista condo living in sunny Florida when I awakened it rudely earlier this summer, after my baby bird flew back to the nest with what appeared to be all of his dirty laundry – from his entire spring semester – along with a couple dozen dirty duds belonging to his dorm mates.

For several long days after my son arrived home, I tortured my poor washing machine.  Apparently.

In those long days I fed my washing machine one load after another.

And another.

And another.

No wonder it doesn’t know when to stop the washing.

You see, that’s the problem: it doesn’t know when to stop the washing.

Now when I put in a load, if I’m not paying close attention (never), my washing machine moves from one cycle into another, and then starts the process all over again.

And again, if I’m not (never, ever) paying attention.

And again.

Like a hamster on a wheel.

One day (always), when I happened to be particularly distracted with important business (on Pinterest), my wacked-out washing machine took my poor load of whites through 3 series of cycles before I remembered what the heck was going on in the laundry room and stopped the madness.

I tried sweet-talking it:

“Don’t fail me, friend!  You are the wind beneath my wings!”

I tried a tough-love pep talk:

“Now, look – are you gonna let a couple of decades of dishtowels and a semester’s worth of socks and sweatshirts get you down?  Buck up and get back in the game!”

I inconvenienced our family and let our laundry pile up for a week in order to give my washing machine a little vacay.

Can you please wash my golf shorts today?”

“No can do.  Our washing machine is on sabbatical.”

“It’s in the laundry room.”

“It’s needs some quiet time.”

“It’s a washing machine.”

“It’s been under a lot of stress lately.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Turn your shorts inside out.  Your golf buddies won’t notice.”

“I think you need a little therapy.”

My husband was right – I called in a specialist.

Dr. Reviere arrived the next day and listened intently as I described my washing machine’s sorry symptoms.

He quickly delivered a diagnosis:  my washing machine had a bad ticker. 

Bless its heart.

As it turns out, when a ticker goes bad on an old machine, the motor almost always follows suit.

Dr. Reviere suggested that, in the interest of economics and common sense, I learn to live with my antique appliance and its defective device.

After all, it still washes the clothes.  (Does it ever.)

So now I just set a separate ticker – er, timer – when I put a load in the washer so I know exactly when to run into the laundry room and manually manipulate the dial to the “Off” position after the spin cycle.

Sometimes I put my arms around it and shout out a little encouragement:

“Keep goin’, baby!  Don’t worry!  I got your back!”

Yeah, I know. 

I need a little therapy.

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