Using new washer and dryer makes life complicated


Two weeks ago, I sadly said goodbye to my washer and dryer. It’s not that I have a special relationship with these two appliances. It’s what they represent. Life was simple. Life was uncomplicated. Choices were few and the results were always the same: clean and un-pressed.

My choices were normal, light and heavy. The only complication was caused by hot, warm and cold. Seldom did extra rinse ever become part of my life and I learned to appreciate every penny, nickel, dime and quarter that attempted to reside in the bottom of the washing drum but soon discovered its way to the change jar.

I’ve come a long way from using my mother’s wringer washer which came complete with the warped yardstick which was used to swipe the bottom of the washer and put the towels through the wringer. In those days, high energy only meant that you were tall and fluff dry was what you did after you took the towels off of the clothesline to avoid that stiff itchy feeling that came with the use of every towel. My mother used lye soap, wooden clothespins and a washboard for the heavy duty cycle.

The dryer consisted of a clothesline that was carefully placed on the side of the house so that every Monday all of the kids on my school bus could see which underwear I had worn the week before.

For the past several years, I have had a washer and dryer with personality. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they protested and quit. Several times, they helped me have a clean laundry room floor by overflowing and then there was the time that they decided that my towels needed an extra soaking and refused to drain.

Both the washer and dryer marched to a different beat whenever tennis shoes were given a spin and would dance across the floor to let me know that all of my wash managed to gather on one side of the drum. As they both got older, hot wasn’t always hot (I can personally identify with that!) and warm was actually more cold than anything else. The washer never mastered the technique of dispensing bleach at the right time which provided me an opportunity to be ahead of fashion regarding the latest trend of bleached jeans.

Then there’s the fabric softener. Someone forgot to tell the washer that somehow, some way it’s supposed to get the water softener in the water and not clog up the dispenser.

A year ago, the washer decided to let out a sharp, piercing cry whenever it would stop spinning. We learned that the repair would be far too costly and we were advised to let nature take its course. For the past year, we have listened to our washer struggle with every creak, bump, and groan until it finally bit the dust. My dryer protested and stopped drying two days later. I’ve heard that swans mate for life and often die from a broken heart when their mate dies but I didn’t know that a washer and dryer did the same thing!

All of this prompted a trip to Lowe’s to purchase a washer and dryer that did just that…..washed and dried! I found that due to my limited experience with new modern appliances, I was way out of line. The salesperson asked if I wanted a top or front loading. Then do I want high energy or standard, a stainless or porcelain drum, stacking, center agitator or no agitator? This caused my brain to back-fire. All I want them to do is wash and dry!

The real problem is the new group of choices. I had wanted a repeat of my last washer and dryer with settings such as high, medium and low. I can understand those, but now there’s rapid wash and power wash. Then there’s drain and spin. Aren’t washing machines supposed to drain and spin with every load? Now I have to tell it to do what it’s supposed to do.

The lid now locks. Why? I don’t know! Is there someone in my house that can’t be trusted with my dirty laundry? There is also a cycle that is called “sanitize with oxi.” What if I don’t want to use oxi and isn’t sanitizing the job of a washing machine and dryer in the first place. When did that become an option?

It seems that I have to tell the washer and dryer to do what they are supposed to already know to do. We didn’t purchase a washing machine and dryer. We purchased two teenagers with attitudes!

The cycle I question the most is the clean washer. Why do you have to clean something that you use to clean something?

However, the cycle that I wish I would have had years ago is wrinkle control. As a senior citizen, I use various lotions to control my wrinkles: but now, when I already have several wrinkles in place, I discover that I can control them with my washer and dryer.

I do regret that I didn’t get my dryer sooner. It has a cycle for wrinkle prevention.


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Pat Van Dyke