One thing that I didn’t mention in my last posting was that, in addition to everything else:
MY WASHING MACHINE HAD BROKEN DOWN!!!
Certain Man had purchased my wonderful (not!) Neptune Washer back in July,1999. (There is quite a story about that purchase, too, but this isn’t it!) When this machine is working, there is nothing I like better. But very often, it breaks down. I keep a warranty agreement on it, so I have gotten literally thousands of dollars of repairs on it over the years. I keep telling them that they would come out ahead to just give me a new machine, but they keep thinking they can fix it — and so far, at least, they have!
The day after Christmas, I was washing a mammoth amount of dirty clothes. And just before my last five (towels and jeans and such) loads, the stupid machine stopped running the spin cycle. I prayed. I jiggled. I gave it a rest and tried again (probably about 15 times, actually) but all to no avail. So early Wednesday morning, I called up my trusty Maytag Center to schedule service. They said that there was no way the local company could even call me before, like, 3 working days.
“We’ll be into the weekend by then!” I protested.
“Yes, ma’am, you might be, but there isn’t anything we can do. That’s the earliest.”
“But it’s New Year’s Day on Monday. Are you telling me that no one can do anything before then?”
“It doesn’t look like it Ma’am. We will do the best we can, but we need to fax this to the company and they will need to get in touch with you to schedule.”
“What is my authorization number for this claim?’ I asked. They gave it to me.
“I don’t understand how you can put this off so long,” I complained. “I pay good money for the maintenance agreements, and it seems like you are waiting longer and longer to respond when I need you.”
The service scheduler was very nice. “I understand, Miss, but you have to understand that your warranty agreement does not guarantee TIMELY service, but rather that you won’t have to pay out of pocket for the repairs. Just like your car insurance. Nothing says that they will HURRY, but that they will fix it for free, or whatever. You have to wait your turn, just like everyone else.” (I didn’t want to wait my turn. I had weekend guests coming, Youngest Son to get ready to go back to college, and the never ending special needs laundry from my ladies. But — it was clear they were not to be hurried.)
So, I got off the phone and called my trusty local service department who would be getting the fax and the authorization whenever the main office sent them out. And I explained the situation and asked them to please schedule my service call with my favorite service guy and as soon as possible. (My favorite service guy, Ray, owns a washer exactly like mine and he robs parts from his to fix mine when the need arises. I did not tell them this, because I didn’t want them to stop him from doing it, but I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted Ray.)
“Well, the earliest we can send someone is Tuesday, January 2nd. And it cannot be Ray first thing in the morning. Can you take someone else, or will you take Ray in the afternoon?”
“I’ll take the afternoon if I can have Ray.” And so, they set it up. And we limped along. Eldest Daughter washed some of the waiting baskets for me and brought them back for drying and folding. And some of the things, I put into the washer, and let it do its usual cycles (minus the spinning) and then went about wringing things out by hand, trying to keep things from getting too stinky. I almost developed Carpal tunnel in the process, too. Even when Certain Man lent his strong hands, those big old bath towels were hard to wring out.
“Maybe we should invest in an old wringer washing machine for times such as this,” I say to Certain Man one evening when we had both just about wrung ourselves out wringing!
“I’d sooner say, ‘let’s find a cheap one in the State News for a back-up,’ ” says Certain Man. “A wringer washer would be fine for towels and such, but they are really hard on buttons. If it didn’t cost so much, I’d be tempted to just go buy a new washer and then Phooey! on this one!”
“Well, if we can just hold on, they’ll get this one fixed again and we will be set and it won’t cost anything, either!” Now before any of you start saying “laundromat” let me just tell you — I’ve been there, done that — in other situations, and sometimes it works okay, but this particular week, it just was not an option.
Tuesday Morning: The phone rang and it was my local service company.
“We just want to tell you that we will be at your house sometime this afternoon to look at your washer.” Something didn’t sound quite right.
“And is it going to be Ray?”
“Um, unfortunately, not. But we have good technicians and they WILL find the problem.”
“Is this technician from your Lewes store or your Dover location?”
Well, he’s . . . from . . . our Lewes location.”
“I really wanted Ray! You’ve sent people from your Lewes store before and they’ve come in here and said that there was nothing wrong with my machine. And I KNEW there was! Then Ray would come in and find it in a little bit of no time, get it fixed and be done with it. Please, can’t I have Ray?”
“Mrs. Yutzy, we’re sorry, but Ray is out with a serious back problem. We don’t know when he will be back. The tech we are sending is good, though. You’ll be happy with him.”
So, I obligingly agreed, and on Tuesday afternoon, they sent a very nice tech, indeed, and he shortly determined that I needed something called a “Machine Control Board.” And of course he didn’t have it, but hopefully, one of the other stores would, and he could procure it yet today and would try to be back here tomorrow (Wednesday morning, first thing).
About then, Youngest Daughter came in from school with a wash basket full of green jerseys. “Mom, it is my week to wash all the jerseys for the basket ball game.”
“Rachel! How could you?”
“Well, Mom, I HAD to. I was supposed to wash them last week, but someone else took them, so I HAD to take them this week.”
“But Rachel! My washer is broke!”
“Oops! I forgot!”
“When do you need them to be done?”
“By Friday. But you can’t dry them in the dryer. It will ruin them. You hafta’ wash them and let them drip dry or hang dry or whatever!”
“Well, girlie, let’s just hope they get that washer fixed in time. Hopefully tomorrow!”
So Wednesday came. And nobody came or called. So, along about 10:00, I called them. There was no one who could talk to me about the specifics, but the lady I talked to was certain that the part hadn’t come in and that it would be at least THURSDAY before they could procure it and put in on.
And then I did something that I am not particularly proud of. You know that passage that tells us not to threaten people? Well I did just that. I said in my sweetest-almost-snooty-but-still-pretty-much-“Christian”) voice, “You know, I have just about had it with trying to get this washing machine fixed. I am tempted to run in to Sears and get myself a new washer from them and be done with it. I have had company, my one lady has been having seizures and there are some other thing going on that prevent me from getting out to get it done, and I am almost in despair about this mountain of laundry.”
I guess that once again, God knew exactly who would be the right person to put on the other end of the line. Her voice was quiet and full of emotion. “Please don’t do that. I promise you that we will do all we can to help you. We want to see this through. Believe me, I know how it is.” Her voice broke just slightly then and she said, “I really can feel for you. When my husband was sick with cancer, it seemed like everything that could break, did break at the most inopportune times. I know it is tough. As soon as this lady gets off the phone with another customer, she will call you and let you know what to expect. And again, I am so sorry.”
Well, what could I do except to say (very meekly), “Thank you. I’ll be waiting to hear from her.”
About ten minutes later, the phone rang and it was the Service Scheduling Manager. She told me that the part they needed had to be shipped in, that they expected to get it yet that afternoon and that they would put me on for first thing Thursday morning. PROMISED. And so I calculated the clean clothes I had left, and decided that we would make it through.
Thursday dawned, beautiful and clear. I had high hopes of seeing my repair man by soon after eight, but when nine thirty rolled around with no sign of him, I began to worry. So, I called again.
“Did my part not come in, or did I get bumped from my “first thing in the morning spot,” or just what is going on?”
The gal at the other end said, “Hold on one minute. Let me see what’s happening.” She came back on and said, “He should be there any minute!” Well, the “any minute” turned into another half hour, but he finally showed up and put the new part on and – – – –IT DIDN’T WORK!!!
I felt my heart go down to my toes, and I went about my kitchen in small and unproductive circles. “It still won’t spin. What will I do? I have to get some laundry done. What am a gonna’ do??? Why couldn’t they have sent Ray? He would have had it fixed by now, I am sure!” I was vaguely aware of the service tech tearing into the top of my washing machine with a wrench and some diagnostic equipment. I came into the laundry room on another errand, and wonder of wonders, the drum was spinning. “It’s SPINNING!!!” I announced (Like he didn’t know!)
“Yep, it is!” he agreed with a smile. “:I needed the part, but then I needed to get inside here and reset some things, so now you should be good to go!” He put everything back together, packed up his tools and left. And I went straight to that washer and put in my first load of laundry. The wash basket full of green Jerseys for the basketball team. I washed them on a short wash and then hung them out on the wash line to dry.
It was such a pretty day, that I did some looking around at my flower beds, and I discovered this:
(On the 4th day of January, no less!)
Our daffodils are coming up!
And my trailing Vinca vine is growing, too! It has been incredibly warm in Delaware. It would have been a fine time for my dryer to go out — but things just don’t work that way, do they? Tonight, all the laundry is finally washed, dried and (except for the towels, which are Middle Daughter’s responsibility) folded, and mostly put away. If you don’t believe that feels good after eight days without a washing machine, well, you just don’t understand the situation!
And that is the news from Shady Acres, where we have but two more days until Youngest Son returns to College. Where the messages from Eldest Son are heart warming even while we miss him so, and the rest of us are keeping the home fires (er, the home washing machines) going!