I’ve had a bit of a scary stretch at home over the last few days. All was well in my world on Sunday afternoon, and I was spending it as I often do spring Sundays, relaxing after a day’s work around the house, doing the weekly laundry, and questioning the wisdom of a number of decisions made in my late teens. And then …
Well, not complete silence as in “I’m in a really weird science fiction book and time has stopped progressing and birds are suspended mid-flight and nary a sound exists,” but silence as in that pathetic dialogue sequence used in about every 3rd M*A*S*H episode:
(shelling sounds in background)The “shelling,” in my case, was emanating from the washing machine, and more specifically, the spin cycle, during which the metal sides flap violently back and forth, making far more noise than any wartime battle, the entire machine begins to meander about the laundry room like the players in the classic electric football game, and, when the imbalance in the drum is such that the vibration matches the resonate frequency of the house itself, floorboards begin to loose themselves from their binds to the subflooring, and indeed, the entire structure threatens to separate from its foundation.
Hawkeye (after about a second without an explosion): Listen!
Nurse: I don’t hear anything …
Hawkeye: That’s just it! The shelling stopped!
As I’ve had this particular washing machine for nearly a score, and considering my steadfast insistence on laundering clothing at least a few times a year, I’ve become quite familiar with the various details of its processes, so when the spin cycle ended prematurely on Sunday, I spun abruptly and remarked to the dog “Alas, Indy, my concern is great, for though my knowledge of the details of this unexpected cessation is limited, I cannot foresee any outcome other than one overwhelmingly negative.” She bit me in an empathetic show of understanding, and we set off to investigate.
After draining the vat of the water that remained (a three step process, involving 1) using a bowl to scoop out about five gallons, 2) realizing that lowering the drain hose to below the height of the vat would cause it to drain naturally, and 3) lowering the drain hose to below the height of the vat so that it drained naturally), it was a fairly straightforward matter to determine that the little sensor thingy that tells the little guy inside the machine that the lid is closed had broken off. (“Straightforward” in this case means “that was the only possible cause remaining after checking everything else, even though a moment’s consideration would have pointed to that in the first place”.)
The point of all of this (and really, Dead Acorn, 450+ words of irrelevant nonsense to get to the point?) is that upon reassembly of the machine (after bypassing the switch and duct-taping the leads together, ‘cause DUH), I took a few extra minutes to actually make sure that the steel sides were properly attached to the frame – all “Tabs A” were in “Slots B”, missing screws were replaced, and while perhaps not in showroom condition, the ole beast seemed a bit more solid than before.
Well, I popped up some popcorn for the test load, pulled the chaise lounge into the laundry room, and, after setting the dials for warm water and a small load, started up a regular cycle and waited with nearly-unbearable anticipation as the wash and rinse cycles completed.
Oh please oh please oh please oh please …
And it happened! The tub began to spin, slowly at first, then more rapidly, flinging water outwardly, forcing it from the fabrics, faster, faster, ever faster … and all in stunning silence.
No earth-shaking vibrations. No deafening din. Nothing but a quiet spin and the subtle slurping of water through the waste hose. The steel panels comprising the sides, being firmly and properly attached, no longer bellowed like the sound effects crew creating thunder at a high school play. The washer seemed content to stay in its place, performing its task with a heretofore unknown calm.
The posts on this blog do not often have morals (much like their author! Ha! Thank you! Thank you!), and when they do, more often than not, it’s something akin to “don’t drink Ouzo when you’re working with electricity.” But it occurred to me later that I had lived with something quite unpleasant for quite some time, when all along, a few minutes of dedicated attention could have provided a solution and changed my life for the better. Just the slightest bit of effort on my part could have had such a positive impact on how things could have been, and yet I showed sloth and indifference …
Ok, not really – my actual thoughts were more along the lines of “well, shit, I hope my significant other doesn’t figure out how easy and pleasant it is to rid your life of things that annoy you, ‘cause I’ll be gone afore I can swat a fly!”
Baby steps toward life lessons, I guess.