Friday, January 30, 2009

An Old Friend Resurrected And Catastrophe Averted?

I went out to the garage this afternoon and brought the bread box in.

It's been sitting out there, shuffled from stack of boxes to stack of boxes, since it was unloaded from wherever it was packed.

I decided that having the bread box  on the counter was less offensive to my eyes than the growing stack of wheat products that has been gathering there.

There is more visible counter space at least and it does look a little tidier.

The pile of bread was not the catastrophe, though.

It would seem that my children have an affinity for giving our washing machines near death experiences.

Johanna* was the first; "Put the powder in, then start the water until there's a bit in the bottom, then stop it and fill the washer with your clothes. Don't fill it higher than here." I said.

"Put the powder in, then start the water, then fill the washer with your clothes." is what she heard.

Several hours later, while we were sitting down to eat- at least an hour after I first thought I could smell something burning, (and after an initial sniff through the house made me think it was just something on the stove while I was cooking supper) I got up from the table with mounting concern.

Throwing open the basement door, I was greeted by the unmistakable scent of Eau d'Burnt Rubber, and the ominous sight of a layer of smoky wisps floating about a foot off the basement floor.

When she was loading the washer, (which was filling with water faster than she could put her clothes in) she observed that although she added more and more clothes, it never got full "up to here"... (which made sense when we explained that the clothes were soaking up water and sinking to the bottom of the drum)

The poor washer got stuck on the spin cycle, trying valiantly to move around and around as fast as ever it should to get the water out. Being triple loaded, though, it just couldn't do it; the wet clothes were too heavy and the belt was rubbed clear through.

A new belt fixed it, thankfully, and it went on to work another day.

Exit Johanna, enter Micah*.

He's home for his third sick day. He's going to go have a shower, but realizes he needs to do some laundry first so he has something clean to put on.

Good opportunity for  a lesson in life skills, I think, and send him to the laundry room with his hamper.

"Put in this much powder," I instruct, (as we have very soft water so you don't need too much) "and then put your clothes in. Start with the socks, underwear and light shirts, and if there's room you can just put it all together in one load."

A few minutes later he came back to the kitchen to show me that there was "this much room" left in the washer, and he made a measurement with his hands.

Now, this is what I've been kicking myself for: I took his word for it, never dreaming that he was measuring from the inside of the drum to the top of the actual washer- the lid. I didn't go look, and what appeared to be 5 or 6 inches of room to him,  was actually only none.

His load was 1 and a half times too full- maybe twice as full as it should have been, and although the washer was able to finish the cycle, the clothes didn't get spun very well.

Eau d'Burnt Rubber was permeating the house, and the poor thing had stopped spinning and agitating, but there was no smoke.

Randall did an initial examination, extracted one chewed up white sock, and got it spinning again.

I divided one small load of our things into two even smaller loads and they've both been washed and spun out alright.

Maybe I'll be able to get Randall's things ready to be packed for Monday morning after all.

There are no more children lurking in the wings, right? Lesson learned? We're done with this particular form of heart stoppage?


*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


  1. Maybe you should make a limit on items like the till at the grocery store?! Limit of 12 items in the washer, or something like that.
    That way they will get their clothes clean themselves and you will still have a laundry facility in house! :)

  2. So misleading...I didn't burn it out the first time I used the washing machine. Those instructions were given about 2 or 3 years before the incident.

    So there.