My Laundry Love

For years, I never had a washing machine. From the time I left home for college, I spent hours in laundramats, fussing with the quarters and jockeying for dryer time.

person looking searching clean

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Marriage brought me to a Victorian house in Iowa, equipped with a Maytag washer and dryer. I was in love. But the town was predominantly Dutch, and the Dutch don’t waste money and power on dryers. I caved under social pressure and pegged out the wash. That proved to be a dicey proposition, because rain blows into central Iowa quickly. I’d have just left the flapping clothesline when the sky would open and I’d be back out in the yard, tossing wet laundry into the basket.

white textile

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We moved from Iowa to the New York farm. The washer came with us. I don’t know what happened to the dryer. Perhaps it is rusting away in the barn. The problem at the old farmhouse was the well. It was shallow and the water supply couldn’t handle my beloved Maytag washer’s demands.

At first, my sister-in-law generously let me do the diapers at her house. That soon got to be an imposition. When my son started preschool, I’d take the laundry to the laundramat near his school. With two kids and a house, I grumbled at having to return to my college laundry life.

As a newly single mom, I got the washing machine in the divorce agreement. It sat in the tiny kitchen of the apartment where my kids and I landed. Trusty as ever, the washer washed, but I did have to peg out the clothes on the back porch. After that apartment, we moved to a complex with a laundry room. I don’t remember where the washer stayed while we lived there. I do remember the panic over weekend laundry days, when I’d rush to the laundry room at first light in order to beat the other residents to the machines.

I bought a house. The washer came with us. I bought a dryer to be her lawful wedded machine. The main complaint at the house was the effort and danger of carrying baskets of laundry from the top floor to the washer in the basement. Every time I lugged a heavy basket of clothes, I thought of the nurse at my school who fell down the steps while carrying a laundry basket, and broke her collarbone. When, after at least thirty-five years, we had to put the Maytag down, it was a sad day. The new machine simply wasn’t as good.

Not long after, we downsized and sold the house with all appliances.  I bought a stacked washer/dryer from the previous residents of our new apartment. The glory of this arrangement is that the laundry center is on the same floor as the bedrooms. Hallelujah! I love the ease of it. I love my washer/dryer. I love how the scent of clean laundry fills the upstairs. I even love that the washer’s agitation cycle sounds like a dog about to throw up.

It’s a wonderful thing to have a washer and dryer. I am blessed and I know it.


The Saga of the Noisy Recliner Chair


My husband has arthritic knees. The right knee was the first to become painful. He got a series of Euflexa shots, which seemed to help. Then a couple of weeks ago, the left knee started hurting. Confined to the apartment because of COVID-19, he was sitting for long periods on the couch with his feet propped up on the cobbler’s bench that serves as our coffee table. Having his legs in that position put pressure on his knees and offered no support.

I had a brilliant idea: get him a recliner so he can be more comfortable.

This I did, buying a granite gray leather chair with a swivel base that fit in with the living room décor. It arrived earlier than expected, on a rainy day. The truck driver left the box in the entryway outside our door.

The chair came in two pieces. The back weighed about thirty pounds, but the base weighed one hundred pounds, give or take. We looked at each other. How to get this up the stairs?

I carried the smaller piece by myself. The big, heavy base was an awkward shape with some potentially sharp parts underneath. We decided to roll it up the staircase.

We wrapped the chair in its plastic and trundled the thing upward, a few steps at a time, like two dung beetles moving their prize. Of course, this did my husband’s knees no good.

Once upstairs, we easily fit the back into place, but there was a problem. The chair squeaked. Not a little mousy squeak, but an ear-ringing shriek. Every time my husband shifted his weight, the chair screeched.

We turned it over and squirted WD 40 on all possible junctures. No change.

I looked up the manufacturer online and emailed for help. The reply came quickly: The recliner has a 12-month warranty. Contact the vendor.

Well, the vendor was Amazon, so I didn’t think I’d get much help from that quarter. But I searched the site until I was able to send a request. Someone with a strong accent called me back. All he could do was repeat: “Do you want a refund or a replacement?”

My next effort was to call a furniture store that sells similar recliners. “Did you buy the chair from our store? If so, we’ll send out a tech to assist you.” No, I didn’t qualify.

Before I gave up and called a handyman friend, I examined the chair more carefully. First I noticed that the front was crooked on the base. Something underneath was off kilter. We turned the chair over and I studied the workings, pushing the base in and out to make it squeak.

Two wooden crescent-shaped rockers were not in the same place on each side. The edge of one rocker rested on a metal support bar. The other side’s rocker was totally off the bar. AHA! This was the source of the squeaking.

We used two hefty screwdrivers to pry the rockers upward and reset them on the bars.

My husband sat in the chair.


Days later, we’re still congratulating ourselves.