The low growling noise coming from the washer last weekend was odd enough to bring Toby running from the kitchen. He cocked his head one way, then the other. He backed up, sat, and stared. I was aware of the new noise, but ignoring it. However, I decided if it was getting the dog's attention, I might need to check things out.
I lifted the lid. The agitator was wiggling. Not agitating but wiggling. The water rippled a bit, but the clothes barely moved. I thought maybe the agitator just needed a boost, but instead of getting into gear when I twisted, it spun loosely in my hand. Uh oh.
Seventeen years ago next month, a beautiful new washer and dryer set was delivered to our new home before we even moved in. I took a day off work to wait for the truck, and spent most of it sitting in my new back yard reveling in the abundance and ownership of five acres, a cute two story cottage, and the sound of the river. Home.
The washer and dryer made my life easier for all those years, kept our clothes clean, and never once complained. In almost no time at all though, they went from shiny and new, to reliable and worn, to touchy and old.
Clothes didn't spin as dry. The dryer sometimes needed two full cycles to do its job; it sometimes nearly fried the clothes and still left them wet. It seemed like things weren't getting as clean, but it was hard to tell. The handle of the lint trap broke. A scratch mysteriously appeared on top of the dryer. And then the agitator stopped.
After some serious discussion we decided the best thing to do was to get a new set. Walt did his regular thorough job of researching, went shopping with my blessings, and made arrangements for our new washer and dryer to be delivered on Saturday.
I said goodbye to my old set on Saturday morning before anyone else was up. Told them how grateful I was for their help, and how sorry I was to see them go. It often takes me a while to warm up to new things bought to replace worn out things. I get attached. It never seems quite right to just replace appliances (or cars or furniture) when they get tired. Even when the time for new is clearly now, it's hard for me to release old.
So when my brother and I got back from our walk on Saturday, and the new set was already installed, I anticipated needing a day or two, if not weeks, to warm up to them.
This time it was love at first sight.
Where the old set was boxy and angular and utilitarian looking, this set is round and soft and feminine. The fronts protrude in beautiful baby bellies of glass. The multitudes of buttons sing soft songs to communicate various needs. Where the old set sloshed and rattled and growled, this set purrs and whirrs and gurgles.
Clothes come out cleaner, smell better, dry softer. I don't have to think at all until one of the machines gently reminds me it needs my help. I'm pretty sure if I asked nicely, the dryer might even try to fold my clothes.
And although we went from a top loader (which I've spent my whole laundry life using) to a front loader (for energy efficiency), the learning curve was short. This new set is kind and shows me exactly what to do, and how long it will need to do the job I've given it. It makes me feels smart and savvy and green. It even whispers if I'm offended by a loud voice.
I feel a bit disloyal, letting go so quickly of my attachment to the set that served me so well for so long. I might even miss the familiarity and comfort of its steady presence. But mostly I'm grateful, happy, and looking for clothes to wash to see what the new set will surprise me with next.
photo from Flickr