Friday, 27 April 2012

A Mighty Return

Yesterday, being the *good* housewife I am, I noticed Pete's 'dress-down' jeans were still in the laundry basket and quickly gathered up a load of laundry.  Before I started the wash I texted Pete to let him know the jeans were going in the dryer to be ready for tomorrow. 

No problem, he replied.  If they aren't ready, I'll just wear something else.

This is where I should have left it.  He had something else to wear, no need to rush things and get the dryer going.  Especially after this...

The noise actually stopped shortly after I sent this out.  I forgot about it and moved on.

The washer stopped, everything seemed normal, no need to think anything was wrong.  Although now I think about it, when I rearranged the clothes before the dry cycle they were a bit heavier and more wet than usual. 

Then, things started to go a bit wonky.

Disregard the time stamp at the top.

See, I went down to check on the dryer and there were suds.  Lots and lots of suds.  Needless to say, there are not suppose to be suds.

Pete couldn't handle anymore bad info, so I took to the interwebs. 

And then things got worse. 
I started pressing buttons with the hope of figuring out the Mystery of the Drying Suds. 
I turned it off.  Waited.  Turned it back on. 


So now I had a washer full of clothes and water and suds.  And because it is a front-loader, there is no way to get the clothes out until the water disappears.  Which it wasn't.

This is around the time I started to freak out a little. 

I know. It's just a washer, it's no big deal. It can all be fixed.

It's a testament to how stressed we both are that this turned into a drama.  A really big drama.

I cried.  I kicked the washer a few times in the hope that it might literally kick-start. 


I tried shaking it.  But it is a washer full of water and sodden clothes.  It wasn't budging. 
My twitter friends offered advice, from the usual, 'unplug it' to the more fanciful, 'sing to it and stroke it gently.' 
I offered it chocolate.  Really good, 70% Dark Chocolate.  But the washer remained uncommunicative and cold. 

I mean I was willing to work with it here.  I would give it whatever it wanted.  Anti-limescale tablets.  Gentler, more expensive, washing powder.  Two days off a week.  Whatever it wanted. 


Still nothing.

I started to get desperate and began collecting tools to disconnect the water hoses and poke around inside the washer.  I stopped myself just as I was unscrewing the first connection. 

This was probably not the best plan of action. My attempts at home repairs, more often than not, just make the problem worse. 

So I gave in and informed Pete of the situation.

You'll notice that after I gave in and admitted to Pete it was broken.  He didn't respond. 

30 minutes later he tells me he's on the way home.  But no mention of the washer drama.

This is where it all turned around.  I decided this was going to be a shit situation any way we sliced it.  So why not try and turn it into an adventure.  A story of our joint triumph over the washer. 

I threw some beer in the fridge and waited. 

We tackled the washer together and came out the other side. 

There was a lot of water.  A lot of sodden towels and buckets, tupperware and mugs of dirty water.  A fair amount of swearing (but not as much as I expected).

And a collar stiffener. 

That was the culprit.  Those little arrow looking tabs that go into shirt collars to keep them from curling.  That innocent little piece of white, pliable (yet indestructible) plastic.  How it got jammed into the water pump I will never know.  I vaguely remember a shirt loosing one months ago.  Like last year. 

That's how the story ended.  A collar stiffener jammed in the water pump. 

We put it all back together.  Had another beer.  And ordered pizza. 

Here's the surprise twist.  The rest of the night was really nice.  I mean, we didn't do anything terribly exciting.  We watched some TV and got ready for bed.  But we truely enjoyed each other's company. 

Our nights of late have been a bit sullen and quiet.  None of our usual silly banter or joking. Just sitting side by side quietly watching repeats on TV while eating a boring meal.  The joy of being at home together is squashed a bit by the realities of grown-up life lately and it's been getting us down. 

Our triumph over the washer was just what we needed to give us a little boost.  We fixed something.  We didn't have to wait on anything or anybody.  We fixed something that had gone wrong.

In some intangible way it reminded us that we are a solid team and we can totally do this grown-up thing.  


  1. Hahaha, oh my. That's rough going.

  2. Aw, the end of this was lovely. Now you really need to stroke your machine gently while singing to it.

  3. The internet is amazingly surprising.

    I found my way over here following the search for declutter, clutter free, uncluttering.

    Now I see these wonderful tweets that went out.

    Yes, : our washer is barely hanging on...going on 15 years aold and starting to act as desperate as an older woman with too much rouge and too little clothes (always a bad sign, I've read)

    A pleasure to meet you. I like your style of writing very much, and going to follow you on twitter now.

    Happy to meet a like minded soul: reluctant housewifery, with the realization that I am the one that has to do it.

  4. Figuring out the front-load washer in our new apartment in Cape Town has been one of the MOST FRUSTRATING things about this entire transcontinental move. It just doesn't work like the ones we're used to back home, the writing on the dials is partially worn off, and so we're never quite sure if we've set it improperly or if there is a rogue collar stiffener mucking up the works or if this is just how this washer works.

    It's also been a real challenge to find the space and time to hang dry our clothes, even after finding a communal machine dryer in our complex (there is only one, it only takes new R5 coins, so its occupation or our lack of coins stops us from using it all the time).

    And I too want to tweet in frustration about these things all the time and suppress myself because I don't want to seem THAT BORING. God bless you!