appliances breaking down: not a train wreck, but a bump in the tracks

washing machineI had to buy a new washing machine yesterday. Our fifteen-year-old Maytag finally gave out. It had been running on one setting for years and was quite a trooper. I washed every day or nearly every day for about ten of those years. Now I’m down to two or three times a week, but my eldest brings her laundry over on Sunday nights too and the washer runs for hours at a time then.

Buying appliances these days isn’t as simple as picking a color and a size. There are many options. For washers, for one, there are not only agitator machines but those with impellers (don’t ask me what they are; all I know is they don’t have a white spinny thing sticking up in the center). There are those that load on top and those that load from the front. There are those that run on 600 revolutions per minute to those that speed away at 1,200-1,400 rpms! There are clear glass lids and solid ones. Baskets are plastic or stainless steel. Cubic feet vary as well, which has always been the case, but they can get to over 5 cubic feet for top loaders now. That’s huge! Colors are another consideration. Pick from traditional white or go fancy with red, green, silver, slate, and so on. Do you have a front loader? You may want to consider a pedestal. Many washers are now HE, or high efficiency, requiring a special detergent (though many brands offer it) that uses less soap and saves money in the long run and energy. The choices abound.

I sort of knew I wanted a big stainless-steel basin and I came to believe the traditional agitator cleans better than the impeller washers.  I also knew I wanted a top loader. My machines are in the garage, which is not a pretty sight, so I don’t need beautiful front-loading machines in such a drab setting. Also, the washer wouldn’t match the old-fashioned dryer and I’d have a hard time bending down to retrieve the laundry since my Camry is parked inches from the machines. Plus, I’ve a friend with new front loaders who after just a few months has had a couple repairs done on them.

So I settled on a Maytag, now owned by Whirlpool. I love the clever Maytag commercials, with the repairman sitting in for the appliances. Although I wasn’t swayed by this creative push by Maytag, it didn’t hurt.

The appliance arrives tomorrow. I have my electrician here today, replacing the old, cracked wall outlet that the washer and the dryer will plug into, fearing the installers would claim the broken and not-up-to-code electrical outlet could void the appliance warranty. While I have the electrician here, I am having him replace a few other outlets and putting in a couple outdoor lights in place of our raggedy, mismatched set on the patio. That’s something I could do myself, but because the lights are exposed to the elements, I didn’t want to chance leaving a gap for water to get in. So I’m making his visit worth it for both of us.

Soon he will be gone and, after the delivery tomorrow, I will have a brand-spanking-new washing machine where the old one sat. I will be happy when all is back to normal. Being without a washer drives home the uneasy feeling of all not being right with the world. I don’t like disruption (who does, really?), and I hate when things go wrong, even things that are fairly easy to fix by buying something else. I am happy that the machine crapped out when Lowe’s was having an amazing sale, though. (I paid $479 yesterday for a machine that today is selling for $649 and lists for $799 on the Maytag website.) Sometimes life offers disruption, but the solution can bring better things.

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