Wednesday, February 22, 2012

farewell to an era

Last night as I snuggled with my honey, I noticed his pillow was a little too infused with his natural essence. So this morning I tossed it all in the washer for a quick refresher. I went back upstairs to post pictures of margaritas to my facebook page (had no idea that today is National Margarita Day - thank god for the Huffington Post!) UM I mean work, and noticed a very unusual sound coming from the laundry nook downstairs.

Lo and behold, when I went down to investigate, I discovered that the tub was doing nothing but making a terrible clicking noise. Soapy water just sitting there soaking my stinky pillowcases. (Please tell me you all don't change your sheets every other day. Really, only people with maids get their sheets changed that often right?) That's right - my 14-year-old washer may have seen its last load.

Which leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. First, of course, I immediately went on the Sears website to drool - again - over the high-capacity, high-efficiency, front-loading, deep red washer and dryer that I've had my eye on for years. If I explained the color scheme in my family room/laundry nook/guest bath you'd understand why this could be more than just an appliance purchase. It could be a real interior design statement.

Then, being the sappy, sentimental person that I am, I started thinking about the life this washer has led and what all it's seen in the last 14 years. Purchased by my very generous mother-in-law when she came to visit shortly after our first child was born, it joined our family when we lived on Mansfield Avenue in a trendy 4-plex just off of Wilshire and LaBrea in Los Angeles. A neighborhood Larry and I often joke we would have appreciated far more if we'd had a) no children, and b) more money. A lot more money. But we were practically newlyweds, and dirt poor. But man - that was a cool apartment, and I miss it to this day. It was full of mismatched hand-me-down furniture, and it saw the birth of our first child.

Shortly after the birth of #1, we decided we really did need to find us an actual house in a neighborhood that had less trendy bistros and more children. So we packed up the gorgeous apartment, along with our trusty washer, and moved over the hill to Encino to a tiny - and I mean tiny, 800 square foot - home.  There we gave birth to baby #2, and lived with our two boys for about 5 years. When our middle son was about 3, we started to grow weary of Southern California and longed to live closer to family at home in Arizona.

So then the washer followed us to a rental home in Phoenix and saw the birth of baby #3. When she was three months old, we sucked it up and finally bought our first home in Gilbert, where we live now, and where the washer has likely found its final resting place.

That washer has seen every stitch of baby clothes from all three of my children. It washed the burp rags covered in spitup. It washed my boys' muddy jeans from when they played - constantly - in the dirt. It washed their sheets after they had accidents; it cleaned their blankies when they got sick on them in the middle of the night. It scrubs my girl's ballet tights so they gleam like new. It has brought dull stinky stuffed animals back to life, and hung in there for all-day washer marathons when I was working full time and we had to do all  10 loads of laundry back-to-back on the weekends. It has touched and cared for so many of the things that have been so important to our family over the last 14 years.

So you understand now why I am not sure I can call a repairman out to try and revive this washer that has served us so loyally and stuck with us through so much. I want to save it from being torn apart only to be put on life support for its final days. Doesn't it deserve to go out with dignity and grace?

Or do I just really, really want that new red washer and dryer?

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