'I am hopelessly lost': Wally loses the washing machine battle

News-DemocratMay 27, 2013 

No matter how much I cajoled, threatened and prayed for my washing machine, it decided to die last week.

I didn't really think I would miss it until I got a new one.

The new machine is eco-friendly, which actually means user-unfriendly. It's not the top of the line model but it is high enough to have new technology which means I am hopelessly lost trying to use it.

The user guide unfolds into a large poster, English on one side, and French on the other, in case I need to brush up my high school French, which I never took.

Luckily I don't live in the state of California otherwise I would have to be warned that the washer contains one or more chemicals known to that fair state to cause cancer or to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Already I was scared to turn the thing on.

But I did anyway and it started beeping at me. Then it booped, clicked and paused and lights started flashing. It looked like the computer on the old "Star Trek" television series.

And I hadn't even put in any laundry.

That's when I decided -- for once in my life -- to read the user guide first.

After I had worked my way through numerous warnings about fire and electrical shock, the guide advised me to sort and prepare my laundry.

I sort of asked my laundry if it was prepared but it didn't answer so I shoved it into the washer, being careful not to cover the center of the washplate once I figured out what that was.

I had a whole bunch of options to consider but I settled for the default settings and turned the thing on. It promised me it was busy "deep cleaning." The guide assured me that the clicks and the starts and stops the washer kept doing were perfectly normal.

I also pushed "extra rinse" because I didn't have the correct detergent.

Apparently the washer makers are in league with the detergent companies so you no longer can buy cheap soap. It has to be "high efficiency" or else the washer will choke and die or will develop an undesirable odor.

I thought I bought this thing to clean for me, but the guide promises me that if I don't clean it frequently I have wasted my money.

This, naturally, involves buying a cleaning product to run through the machine, as well as cleaning every other visible part.

I guess that is why they advise me not to install my machine outdoors.

Also, it says that when a hot water system has not been used for two weeks or more, hydrogen gas can develop which might explode.

I think maybe I might just follow another suggestion and when I remove the machine from service, be sure to remove the lid.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 618-239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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