Our washing machine broke this week. Then a day later, we noticed our dishwasher had packed up too.
“WHY are all our white goods BREAKING?!!” I bellowed up to Joel as I proceeded to wash, rinse and hand dry every item in our jam-packed dishwasher. (Old-school). The washing-up I can handle. You can sort of do little bits here and there, avoiding any overwhelming build-ups. In the evenings I put podcasts on and it almost feels like me-time.
Laundry is another story. What I cannot handle, is the absence of a functioning washing machine in my home. I actually miss it. I feel off-kilter without the once, sometimes twice daily distant beeping of a finished-cycle. Doing the laundry is like the punctuation to my day. Without it, I’m just stuck mid-sentence. I’ve lost my flow.
There is a rhythm to the process. It’s mainly a monotonous one, but there’s also a small satisfaction to getting through a load. Sometimes I get actual enjoyment out of it. A brief, momentary high. When I’m on top of the laundry, I’m in control. A laundry bin at full-capacity is overwhelming. It means I am behind.
Even before this week, I would occasionally think to myself how grateful I am (was) not to have to painstakingly wash our garments by hand. Growing up in the Philippines, my mum spent her Saturdays at the local springs doing just this.
“How old were you?!” I am trying not to sound shocked, this was just how they did things, after all, no washing machines.
“Maybe 12 till around 15 or 16..” she said. She’d wash all her family’s clothing. That’s her parents, her five siblings and hers.
“Wet clothes are really heavy, was it not really heavy walking back?!” I asked.
“Yeh it was quite, I’d put it all on my head. There were lots of other people washing clothes too, I’d get talking to people..” she says, smiling. Despite taking hours each weekend, she describes the routine fondly, as if she really didn’t mind at all. I almost feel silly at my panicked response to the malfunctioning machinery.
Determined to keep costs to a minimum, I decided calling an engineer was the absolute last resort. I could take care of it. Following the Bosch how-to video instructions to a T, I located the service flap, drained all the dirty water through the hose and cleaned out the pump. I was quite pleased with myself. It was going so well, until I turned it back on and a switch in our fuse box tripped, refusing to get back into place. With no electricity, I’d gone from being unable to wash my clothes to being unable to make tea, turn a light on, or heat soup. I was cold, hungry and sat in the dark by this point. How were things getting progressively worse?
A few tricky hours later, an electrician came and worked some sort of wizard magic in my home. (Thus preventing me from tearing all of my hair out in one sitting and serving sandwiches for dinner.) It transpired there was a problem with the electricity socket next to the machine, unrelated to the machine’s spinning issue.
Having moved past breaking-point, (this came the day I lugged what felt like 12 tonnes of wet clothing from the laundrette into the car) I am now more than ready to call an engineer.
Should really have done this on day one. But then where’s the fun in that?