We got this washer sometime when Frack was a small infant and the old machine that came with the house died on us. There was no bringing it back to life. And as an infant's capacity for generating loads of laundry is nothing short of legendary, this was a state of affairs that could not be allowed to continue.
We had to break down and buy a new washing machine.
I was so excited to get a new front-loading, high efficiency washer. It would save us money on our utility bills. It could do larger loads of laundry. It didn't have that weird stick agitator thing in the middle that would sometimes catch hold of and then stretch out a sleeve or neck-hole of a favourite shirt (usually mine). It had a neat feature that allowed us to delay the start of the cycle so you could put a load in the night before and not have to worry about mildew getting a chance to set in. I loved my new toy!
I don't know how old our old machine was. It looked very much like the one I used as a teenager in my parents' house so it was probably at least twenty years old. My point is that it had many years of service under its fanbelt before it died.
Our fancy, brand spanking new machine lasted about two years and then got brain damage. Because all these fancy new washing machines have to have computer brains in order to know whether you want it to wash the clothes now or if you would like them to be washed 2 or 4 or 6 hours later. So at first, in my mind it must be the stupid cheap computer they installed in our lovely new machine that was ruining everything. Stupid computers! If this was an old-fashioned thingy with a mangle attached for squeezing out the excess water it would have lasted forever, no doubt!
But my husband figured out how to bypass the computer system by manually hotwiring the machine (not really, but this comes closest to describing it). At first this was great because he was the only one who knew how to do it and so he had to do all the laundry. But then things got bad because he totally sucked at keeping up with the volume of laundry that a family of four, one of whom was a toddler, generates. So I had to make him teach me how to do it.
And I did fine with this method for about three months and then the machine up and died and this time we couldn't blame its brain.
I swore a lot. This is ridiculous! What the hell kind of brand new washing machine dies after only two years of use? Is this the evil manufacturer's way of driving up consumption? Now everybody just has to buy a new washer every two years? Screw you capitalist pigs!
My husband is Hank Hill in the way he takes pride in his ability to fix anything and he can't stand to stoop to the level of having to call the repair guy. He got down to the business of systematically dismantling the entire machine to its most fundamental parts and found that the reason why it stopped working was because it had granola bar wrappers, legos and Kinder surprise parts jamming up the works.
This is why we can't have nice things.
Once my husband cleaned out the machine, he put it all back together and it was working fine.
So, I tried to prevent this from happening again. I gave the kids a stern talking to. I now have to personally unwrap their granola bars and put them in the garbage so they don't end up in pockets. At first I even tried checking their pockets when I did the laundry, only when I did my hand emerged with some kind of sticky pink goo that could have been Chapstick or gum or candy. Judging from the sticky, fruit-scented, waterproof residue it left I imagine it was an unholy combination of all three. This only reaffirmed my reasons for refusing to do this in the past. It didn't seem necessary anyway because even though we never got back that cool time-delay feature, it washed our clothes just as well as before.
Until last month.
This time there were no granola bar wrappers. This time it was the usual small toy bits...and several pounds of sand.