After 20+ years of service our trusty washing machine finally bit the dust. She passed quietly one evening as she neared the end of her spin cycle. The duct tape and bailing wire finally gave up and she just shorted out.
Before her motor was cool we were twisting knobs and flipping lids at Sears looking for her replacement. I was hatching a plan to euthanize the dryer so I could take home a matched set when I saw the prices. They were so much less expensive 20 years ago!
They were also a lot smaller. Three pair of jeans and a sock was about all I could load into my washer. And if the jeans weren't evenly distributed (once for the wash, and again for the rinse) she'd thump and rock and agitate herself across the floor all the way to the basement steps. If I wanted to add fabric softener, well, I just had better remember to do that myself.
Not so these new washers. They're humongous. After three weeks I've almost have enough for my second load. And I picked out the smallest washer they had: EXTRA LARGE. No kidding. The smallest one you can buy at Sears is an EXTRA LARGE. What moron dreamed that up?
I think these new bigger washers are dangerous. Extending my arms all the way I have a wingspan of almost 6 feet. You'd think I could lean over and touch the bottom of the washer. Na-uh. It's so big I have to pick out the last sock with a bent coathanger. That's probably why they made the agitator thing in the middle so wide. It's the only thing keeping me from falling in head first. I'm serious. My arms are like sticks and I can't seem to grab onto the stuff at the bottom without banging my arm three times on the way up. I'm bruised from fingertip to armpit.
Then there are the knobs. Why all of a sudden do washing machines have to have the same controls as a 747? You need a pilot's license to operate one. On some of those higher priced models there are 14 selections for water temperature alone. Then there's water level, swishing speed, extra rinse options, and timed cycle settings. They even have compartments for bleach and fabric softeners.
One machine had a liquid detergent dispenser on the inside of the lid. Fill that baby up to the top with Tide and you'd need a crow bar to open the lid. And if it accidentally closed on you while you're rummaging around at the bottom retrieving your clothes you could be trapped for days, butt up in the air, legs flailing. That would keep ME from doing laundry ever again!
While washers have come a long way, so have the delivery techniques. The last major appliance we had delivered came three days late and was guided down the stairs on a huge dolly with straps, buckles, and two burley deliverymen who smelled bad. As it glided down the last four steps on it's own power (without the dolly) they tried to tell me that was part of the plan. Oh yeah.
Our new washer was delivered by two normal looking kids. They each slung a strap under the old washer and over their shoulder and walked it up and out to the curb. The new one came in the same way.
They didn't drive over the cat or bump the walls and they were excruciatingly polite. Neither of them gagged when 20 years of lint was revealed during the washer swap and they made sure the washer worked before they left. I got a reminder call before they came and a follow up call after they left. It was too easy.
As pleasant as that was, my washer has taken some getting used to. True, it does do a nice job on the clothes, it hasn't eaten any socks yet, it doesn't hardly tangle fabric when I pre-wash, and the warning bell telling me I left my thimble in the pocket of my blue jeans is a nice touch. I'm washing half as often because it's so huge, but it's taking just as long because I have to read all the directions each time. In an attempt to simplify things I've begun re-labeling the control panel so that it's more quilter friendly.