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Let’s Keep This Little Secret

Shhhh. Please don’t tell them. It’s a secret.

You know as well as I what happens when you start thinking of a replacement. Perfectly dependable day after day, the minute it suspects, it goes haywire.

My home was built in 1996. (How strange it feels now to write a date that doesn’t begin with a two.) Appliances were installed in that fall. The fridge/freezer had to be replaced. And a housesitter did what I was told was impossible: broke my countertop cooking surface, so that’s new. Well, far newer than 1996. And I do have a nasty habit of burning up microwaves. (Well, only one . . . and a half.)

Truth: I’ve been thinking of replacing my washer and dryer for quite a while. A long while. It wore on me through last summer’s months because I suspected that day was coming, and better to do it in decent weather instead of being stuck in the middle of a blizzard when even the most determined delivery trucks are going to say no.

It’s nice enough in the basement to dry anything I wash. But come on, folks, hand-washing a heavy (and that’s when it’s dry) queen-sized flannel sheet? And then carrying it, dripping, all the way though the house (I didn’t design it for this) and down the basement stairs? Probably not. Then again, getting to the local laundromat when my new machine can’t get to me seems highly improbable as well.

I’m stingy enough, you see, to not want to “splurge” on something I don’t need. I am also pretty much aware of what I need that shopping would be basically a waste of time. Yup, it’s that basic. Wash (hot, medium, cold) and rinse. They won’t let me rinse in hot water anymore. And a timer. I always set the washer for “long,” figuring as long as the clothes are in there doing their things, they might as well get a good long bath. My current dryer does have a cold/gentle cycle but, honestly, I just want it to dry.

My washer and dryer are still dependable. I’ve written on dryer lint, as I’ve planned for ages, while the one still lives with me, for I hope the newer appliances have far better lint screens. Too much of mine escapes into the exhaust hose.

I doubt if Maytag can be bettered. Then again, this was 1996 so who knows if they’re still in business. Do the Chinese make them all now? With the tariffs, I suppose the prices have jumped since I last looked.

As I began to say, my two are still dependable but obviously aging. The dryer has a high-pitched screech which is very loud (but goes away quickly). The washer shimmies and has to be pushed back in position every morning. That’s all right but what isn’t is its tendency to drop the lid. It got my head once. I had gotten bruises on my right arm until I finally remembered that too, which leaves unloading to be done with only one hand. It’s hardly a bother, just so I don’t forget.

I did go to the store one time (it had to be two years ago, if not more) and listened attentively to what the salesman had to tell me. Although the floor was packed with various appliances, the salesman seemed convinced only one would do for me. The set seemed quite costly so I said thank you very politely and departed. If my purchase is to help the economy, perhaps I should wait another year.

Well here I’ve been musing as if the choice were mine. I recall thinking I had a wide choice when I had to quickly replace my fridge/freezer. I leisurely inspected every model lined up along the wall. Dream on! My builders didn’t consider any size but what I originally selected which limited my later choice drastically. I really wanted one with a bottom freezer drawer. Fine, if I didn’t want to ever open it for there’s a handy island in the way. My options dropped to one.

And the washer and dryer, when that time comes, the new will have to be exactly the same sizes as what I got the first time. I have a funny feeling that might turn out to be another problem.

So let’s keep it a secret for now.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. Her Reason for Being was published in 2008 with Love in Three Acts following in 2014. Both novels are now available at Lakewood’s Off the Beaten Path bookstore. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at Susancrossett.com.

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