Friday, April 25, 2008

The Dirt on Appliances

Without question, I may have some questionable habits when it comes to furniture and appliances. I don't like furniture stores, or those ridiculous never-pay-until-you-wear-dentures-and-diapers schemes. I don't like the idea of being the original owner of something new, and knowing that I am soley to blame for every scratch and stain that it wears. And I don't like spending large sums of money. Now, I have no trouble spending money. Its just that I would rather spend $200 two hundred times- one dollar at a time. That way I can deceive myself into thinking that I am thrifty and enjoy a simplistic, earthy lifestyle.

When mt husband and I first got married, we lived in a portion of an old house that came without washer and dryer. I employed the laundromat down the Italian strip, enjoyed watching interesting people doing the same, and smelling the pizza joint right next door. But more often than not, I went and mooched off my sister's generosity. I'd show up at her house with a tonne of laundry, use her soap, washing machine, and dryer, and drink her diet coke. Gee, I was a real treat back in the day.

Then we moved to another city, back to University, back to apartment living, and had a baby five years prematurely. Sure, there was a coin-op laundry room down the hall, but we needed that money for other stuff. Like macaroni. So, I got my dad to find me one of those small spinner washers from the thrift shop and I did my own laundry right in the kitchen. That worked great, except for the times when I forgot and left the water running and the tenant in the bedroom beneath our aparment got rained on. It was just fine. Except for those couple of times. That I won't mention.

After a couple of years, we moved up in the world. We moved to a house that came with appliances. And a washline. I couldn't have been happier. (well, I could have, but I didn't know it at the time.) That washing machine worked fine for a while, but the fateful day came when we had to go without macaroni or clean underwear for a while because I had to call the repair guy. He swaggered down the stairs with his giant toolbelt and mullet, then swaggered back up the stairs to slap us with a bill for $50.00 to let us know that "she's toast". I remember it like it was yesterday.

That's when my next door neighbor introduced me to a local auction mart.
It was at the auction mart that I got a washing machine for $7.00. Or maybe it was $25.00. That all escapes me now. I knew better than to involve the husband in this, as he was under a lot of pressure with studying full time, and working at night, and feeding us all, and keeping us alive and all. And actually he was kinda scarey, so I really wanted to do the washing machine thing without him.

That's when its handy to have a neighbor like mine, and be a regular church attender. My neighbor had a big old van, and a lot of determination, so she and I managed to get the machine from the auction, into her van, and over to my house. We even managed to get it out of the van without killing ourselves entirely, but the idea of getting it down a narrow set of stairs into a musty basement frightened us. If we got crushed, who would tend the children or cook the macaroni? So, I called the church. They were good people, and couldn't say no. I made sure that they came when the husband was at work, and those saintly people smiled the entire time they moved that 46,000 lb piece of work down those four inch wide basement stairs. (I should have increased my donations. I should have.)

Well, for seven or twenty-five dollars, that machine worked just fine. It did smell like a dairy barn, and it leaked all the time, but then again, you never saw how ugly the basement was in that place. The cow washer actually brought up the value of that basement. And we had clean undies again.

But then the husband got in his head to fix up that deep damp hole called a basement. And the leaking dairy barn washing machine had to go.

That's when he got in his head that buying broken old appliances was a bad idea, and that since we'd be living there in that house for at least another five years, we should do one of those never-pay-until-you-can schemes. It was his idea, not mine.

What he couldn't have known, was that we would be moving about six months later. Moving into an area with a higher cost of living. A higher mortgage. And that bill that we still had to get around to paying.

Sure, those appliances worked just fine- they washed and dried stuff. But they provoked me endlessly. The dryer had the most annoying buzzer that went on for about thirty-four minutes, unendingly insistent. And loud. Every time that buzzer sounded, I was annoyed all over again that my brilliant $7 to $25 appliance plan had been aborted for this imperfect arrangement. And then, the transmission on the washer went kaput. ON A NEW MACHINE!! which just cemented my theory that new stuff is garbage and that manufacturing techniques of our day and age are designed simply to break so that we go out and buy more stuff and keep the factory workers employed, and the dumps overflowing. If I'm going to spend money fixing a machine, I'd rather spend it on a machine that cost me very little, than on a machine that cost me a whole bunch, and just keeps on costing me. And I'd rather have the dairy barn one, because its funnier.

So, what's your point, you ask? Well, for the past two days, there has been an alarming puddle of water forming beneath that crazy washing machine. Which means I should probably find myself a toolbelt wearing, mullet-toting fixer guy to swagger in and ask for a pile or two of cash to tell me that its a piece of garbage. or that the transmission is no good. or that he'd like fifty dollars please, for the privelege of walking into my home.

Anybody know of a good auction, and a helpful church? That operates while husbands with bright ideas are at work?


Brian the Mennonite said...

I can hear you from here, ya know.....Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! I was fearful 'the repair guy' was my father-in-law since he lived only one street over from you at that time. But he wouldn't have charged you $50 - maybe $20, until he realized you were a church-going lady, and then it would've been free. Oh, and the mullet. That was so not him. Anyway, I feel your pain about appliances. It's not been a good month here in that area.

Anonymous said...

I too had a laundry mishap lately. Two feather pillows exploded in my dryer, plugged the moisture sensor, and my dryer ran from 7 in the morning to 7 at night while I was driving around Manitoba. Poof, what a mess! Your favorite sister recommended a local, mullet free, church goer, who saved my dryer and wallet. Goes by the name of Ron. Melissa

gloria said...

oooh! i think i know ron. nice guy! i would hire him.

you can always come use MY soap and drink MY diet coke though if you prefer... i will even let you bring the brats. :)

Anonymous said...

i so hear you! my washer is only 4 years old and the spin cycle almost never works the first time. nope, i have to manually turn the dial back and make it spin all over again. Maybe my Grandma's old wringer/washer would have been worth saving...
But I still can't keep from turning a little green when I see my neighbour's oversize front loading top of the line matching machines sitting really pretty just waiting to be used.

Roo said...

i hear ya. new stuff IS garbage. my "newish" one is already rusting through!! and they promised me that it would last until all my children were grown!