I used to drive an old 1990 Toyota Corolla. I named her Jola. She burned so much oil that her white hood was bordered in black soot and each time I took her in for an oil change, I held my breath and crossed my fingers that whatever part Mac said she needed could be found at the local scrap yard. I was driving a ticking time bomb and finally my mother (the most practical and frugal person I know) told me that Jola was just a money pit and I couldn't go on with such transportational uncertainty. I had to cut her loose.
This past Saturday, our washing machine bit the dust. And we had to make a similar decision.... to cut her loose.
You see, our washing machine came to us with our first house (the one we live in now) about five years ago. We inherited her. Our first front-loader. And at first we were in love with the promises of high-efficiency that came with her. But one golf tee later, and the rubber boot that seals the door had a puncture and we were shelling out a few hundred to have it replaced. Our enthrallment wavered.
One paper clip or pen later (but who's pointing fingers really?) and we were trying to avoid another complete boot-replacement. So Mark tried to patch the boot a few times with rubber cement and some type of opoxy. Stuff would get stuck to the seal. Grunge would grow in the crevices. The thing smelled down-right musty. Gross-ness.
Then we noticed the locking mechanism had a piece broken off of it. The washing machine hardly ever noticed. She ran like normal (except for the slow leak out of the paper clip puncture) until one day she tried to lock herself up and then couldn't. I heard her repeatedly making the I'm-locking-my-door-now sound from the basement and she just kind of got stuck in a rut and couldn't get past that one simple step.
Mark figured out if she got zoned-out like this, we could unplug her and leave her for a few minutes and then she'd be good as gold.
Then she started to shut off a minute before the end of her wash cycle and just put herself on pause. Mark instructed me to unplug her in these situations too.
Then last Saturday, she couldn't lock herself up. And no amount of unplugging and re-plugging could make her do my wash. Then Mark came home and plugged her back in and she didn't even open her eyes. We all took a deep, sad, but unsurprised breath of resignation.
Mark went to Home Depot and perused the washers. He took pictures and came home to discuss the options with me. He took a good look at the reviews on Consumer Reports. We decided on a washer we liked.
My husband loaded up the soapy, wet clothes from the dead washer and took them to a laundromat to finish up them up. He returned home to put them in the dryer then headed out to purchase a new washing machine.
We felt we'd made a good call. We could hardly afford to keep replacing parts on a washing machine that was putting us through laundry limbo. The unknown was making us crazy.
My husband returned home to say the new washer would be delivered on Thursday.
Ten minutes later, he was standing in the basement staring with astonishment into the laundry room.
"... of course!... NOW it RUNS!!!"