Warning. This post is not for the faint of heart. If you or your family have suffered the indignities that can only be inflicted by modern appliances - modern being loosely defined as those having motherboards or any other fragile computer circuitry made in a country far, far away - you might be too emotionally fragile to read what follows. Also, if you are prone to appliance flu hypochondria please stop reading and just scroll to the bottom of this post to see the nice bird pictures.
Here goes. About a week and a half before Christmas our washing machine broke. It wasn't like this was a huge surprise. The realtor told me when we moved in that the washer wasn't great and we would probably want to replace it sooner rather than later. To be honest, I wasn't even sorry that it broke. I hated the thing. The only thing I was sorry about was the fact it had broken right before Christmas.
My dislike of the washer was twofold. First of all, it was an itty-bitty apartment sized machine. I realize that this would be the norm for most Europeans, and that I sound the tiniest bit whiny and spoiled by complaining about the fact it was so little. But you need to understand the washing machine we had in Kamloops was so big you could have thrown three teenagers in and had some room left over. I suddenly felt like I was washing clothes in something better suited to a dollhouse. The second annoying bit about the washer was it only gave you one option for water temperature - warm. I think my grandma's old wringer washing machine had more options than that!
The space for the washer and dryer was wide enough to move up a size, which I happily did. The appliance Delivery Guys showed up as promised on the Monday right before Christmas, and I was so happy it was all going to work out. That thought lasted about thirty seconds, which is the time it took Delivery Guy #1 to walk in the house, look at the place in the closet that holds the machines, and ask if we were sure they would fit.
I assured him they would, but said there was a yardstick right there by the machines and did he want to measure. He eyeballed the space and said that he thought they would make it. I felt a sense of relief wash over me. That lasted about thirty seconds, which brought me up to the point Delivery Guy #2 came to the back door, stuck his head in, and shouted to Delivery Guy #1 "It's a no go!"
You see, he had just taken the new dryer out of the cardboard box and the dryer was severely damaged. The left front corner looked like someone had taken a sledge hammer to it. We had just set a new Hammond appliance breakdown record. This poor machine hadn't even made it inside before it had problems.
Now remember, it was two days before Christmas. I was having ten people here over the span of several days. One of those was a dirty laundry generating baby. In other words, I was desperate. I asked if the machine still worked if we could keep it until a new one could be sent out to replace it. I think Delivery Guy #2 could see the semi-crazed look in my eyes, so he phoned the store and got the okay to leave the machine. I breathed a sigh of relief. That lasted about twenty minutes, which was how long it took them to remove the old machines, stack the new ones, and wheel them into the closet where they were going to live happily ever after. Or, more accurately, try to wheel them into the closet.
The problem was, while we had carefully measured the area the machines were going into, we hadn't taken into account the slope of the ceiling behind the stairs, and in order to get into their designated space they had to be able to move past that slope. Words were spoken. Not good words. Words like "tight", "something's scraping", and "impossible". Now the dryer wasn't the only thing that was damaged. A good chunk of drywall had been ground out of the wall. The machines sat partway back, wedged between the sloped ceiling and far wall so tight it was now impossible to reach in and turn the closet light switch off. The Delivery Guys declared they would not push them all the way back, because if they did they would never get them out again. We were told we needed to cut out a piece of the drywall first, then they would come back and exchange the dryer.
I breathed a sigh of relief. Kellen is an expert at repairing drywall. He would be able to cut out the piece so the machines had room to be pushed back into their designated spot. That relief lasted until Kellen arrived on Christmas Eve, took one look at the wedged machines and said sure, he could cut out the drywall, but only if the machines were moved first. This is the point in the story when I stopped breathing sighs of relief. The machines and I were at a stalemate.
There is a bit of good news in the midst of all this. Even though the washer and dryer weren't where they belonged, they were hooked up properly and they actually worked! Better yet, the washing machine seemed so big to me after dealing with the apartment sized one that I felt like I could make a cup of tea and go sit in it if I needed a quiet spot over the holidays. So we carried on, had clean clothes, and I basically Scarlett O'Harad the whole thing. "I can't think about that right now. I'll think about that tomorrow."
This is already way too long, so I'll spare you the part of the story that became my Rhett Butler "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" moment. This past Saturday I phoned the appliance store, said that what we have isn't going to work, and could we exchange these machines for an apartment sized washer and dryer. It took a bit of doing, but they have agreed to make the switch. It really helped that they already had to come out because of the damaged dryer. We have to pay a restocking fee of 10% on the washer since we used it, but that's okay. If I had to drive back and forth to the laundromat and spend money there to do my laundry it would have added up to about the same amount.
So next Monday the Delivery Guys will come out and try to dislodge the appliances that are currently residing her, and replace them with brand new itty-bitty appliances. I'm getting a European brand in hopes that it might be designed better than our old ones. At least the washer has temperature control choices, so that's good. But here's the thing that is the hardest to take. These itty-bitty machines actually cost more money than the full sized ones. No matter how I look at it I can't avoid the rather ugly fact that I am paying more and getting less.
On a more positive note, the birds seem to be enjoying our feeders, which hang from a pole on our back deck.
I especially like our new suet feeder. The part that extends down is for woodpeckers to balance against while they eat. I'm hoping to get a picture of one before the winter is over with.
I love how low tech bird feeders are. The day they start putting motherboards into bird feeders is the day the birds around here go on a diet.