Sunday, October 26, 2008

Domestic disasters

I think I've mentioned several times that we got a very old, heavily used washing machine when we got married. We were happy to have any washing machine for free, as long as it worked.

Well, it worked faithfully for a few months, then we started having troubles.
It stopped sucking in the detergent.
It stopped wringing.
I noticed it causes tears in some of our clothes.
And the most fatal blow of all, it stopped letting the water in.

After some futile attempts to fix it, we bought a new washing machine, thinking it's a wise investment in the light of us expecting a baby in a couple of months. We patiently waited for it to be delivered a week... two weeks... three weeks... and still no washing machine in sight. We called, to find out whether there's some kind of misunderstanding.
Turns out, we were told apologetically, that the place where we live is too remote (imagine that, in a small country like Israel). Therefore, they are "waiting for a chance when one of their delivery men travels in our direction". Which might happen next week, or next month, or... next year? Well, I sure hope it doesn't come to that! Picking it up ourselves is out of the question, because a) it's too far, and b) it won't fit in our car.
Did we give our address when we made the purchase? Of course. Did we ask whether delivery would be a problem? Yes. Were we told there would be no problem at all? Yes, we were promised our washing machine will be here in two weeks.
Now we can rightfully fume as long as we want. We can even cancel the purchase. However, no one can promise us it won't happen again if we buy from someplace else.
Anyway, while my husband calls back and forth several times a day, laundry has become an unexpected challenge here. Basically, I have two options: gather all our dirty laundry and use Mom's washing machine; or do it by hand. So far it has been a combination of the two.
This makes me fully appreciate what a wonderfully convenient thing a washing machine is, and how unfairly we take it for granted these days. Just a couple of generations ago, everything was washed by hand, and it took a lot of work - especially in large families. Now, when we complain about "endless mountains of laundry", we forget to be thankful for the fact that practically all we need to do is sort our laundry by color and toss it into the washing machine! Sure, there's still drying, folding and ironing, and some heavy stains now and then that need to be pre-treated. Still, it's so much easier for us than for our grandmothers or great-grandmothers.
We can survive doing laundry by hand. However, I still hope we'll have a working washing machine here before the baby arrives.
image courtesy of


Jessica said...

I agree that we do not see what conveniences we have and how blessed we are! Love your blog and wish you and your husband the best with your baby on the way!

By the way, you're tagged!

Miss Amy Smarty said...

Oh I sure hope you get it soon! How terrible of them not to call and let you know about not delivering it...does anyone have a truck you could borrow to get it yourselves?

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being thought slightly nuts: RV travelers have long known that a lidded bucket, warm water and soap (standing upright as the vehicle moves) makes for a dandy washing machine. At the end of the days commute you tip out the wash water, rinse and hang. Not ideal but the agitation does clean the wash. A friend of mine uses a NEW toilet plunger to agitate the wash once it has "travelled". Ok, not ideal but a solution. Hope it causes a smile, at least.

Samara said...

What a frustration. Would it be possible to hire someone to deliver it? Perhaps the store from which you purchased the machine would give you some money back if you made your own arrangements for delivery.

Michelle said...

Oh I'm so sorry - that really sucks! Is there a friend or family member or a neighbor with a truck that you could just give gas money to and go with them to pick it up?

Anonymous said...

If not you may want to rethink using cloth diapers! :-)

Mrs. Anna T said...

They are, in fact, so far away from us that driving there would mean an entire day off work for my husband. So we're still thinking whether it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget a washing machine is insanely heavy (unlike a drier). Besides getting hold of a large vehicle, you need a strong guy to move it; two guys actually, unless you get hold of the special buggy they use to cart these machines.

Isn't delivery guaranteed within x number of business days? Maybe if you threaten to take them to small claims court you'll get better service.

H and S said...

I talked at length with my grandmother (92) about washing. As a girl and a young wife, she washed by hand every Monday, as did everybody. It was all very normal and not considered a big drama. Even nappies were left all week for the Monday wash (I keep checking this detail with other elderly women and they all confirm this).

Not only did they wash by hand, but they also took great care to starch and iron almost everything. Teatowels, table clothes, underwear.

They were GREAT at spot-cleaning - which shames me, as when something gets a spot, I throw it in the basket ready for the next day's wash. Instead I could just scrub the little spot, hang it, and it would be dry very shortly.

Another big difference, she says, is that back then it was normal for children's and women's everyday clothes to have some marks and spills on them. These days, we are embarrassed to wear something even slightly dirty, so at the first spill or stain, we change our child's outfit and chuck it all in the machine.

Times have changed!

It will be character-building, doing hand-washing! Good luck!


Sarah K said...

I work in a small museum and one of the sessions I occasionally teach to school children is how washing was done in the days before machines. We collect water from the outside tap, and I explain that the half full buckets they struggle to carry would have been full, we grate the soap, we use the washing dolly and the posser (they love this, but can't understand that it would have to be done for much longer than the few seconds they try for), and then I explain that it would have to be done all over again to rinse the clothes.

Lots of kids have no comprehension of life without modern conveniences, but hopefully they can appreciate how lucky we mostly are. I really hope that you manage to receive your washing machine soon, and definitely before January!

Mrs. Anna T said...


Good point - my husband doesn't have a very strong back, and I can't exactly be of much help to him in lifting heavy stuff...

Yes, delivery was guaranteed within two weeks. That's why we are offered to have our money back and cancel the deal. But, we don't need the money back, we need our washing machine.


My grandmother (who is 92 as well) tells very similar stories about washing. They were 7 siblings, 5 of them boys - you can imagine the amount of washing and mending that had to be done! :-)

I sometimes do spot-cleaning - if something just came out of the laundry and I accidentally landed a stain on it, I'll treat the stain instead of sending the item back to laundry again. It saves time, energy, as well as wear and tear on the clothes.

Oh, and I can wear something with a stain or two for yard work or cleaning. But when clothes become sweaty, off to laundry they go.

Ways of Zion said...

oh dear me! my heart goes out to you...I simply cannot imagine!

eli said...

Oh Anna!

When I read this post, especially the part "complaining about endless mountains of laundry" I couldn't help but smile inwardly. This was exactly what I was complaining about to my dh the other day, saying " do you know how much clothes I have to sort?!!! to be washed and what a decade it takes to do so?" then straight away smiling, which caused my husband to laugh and ask me why I was smiling? I was exactly thinking about the same thing! How in the past people had to do all this by hand and how I would have absolutely died if I lived in the past (-: and how thankful I should be to the inventor of the lovely washing machine!!

Very nice post.

KTHunter said...

I love the picture of the laundry drying on the beach. It's a very cozy picture.

Karen said...

From what I heard from my husband's grandmother, things were a lot different back in her mother's day. She had 12 children and no washing machine, and the babies wore cloth diapers...but they also wore a lot less clothes. Generally their clothes were not considered "dirty" unless they actually were coated in mud. nice clothes were worn only on sunday, school clothes were taken off and folded at the end of the school day. They only bathed once a week as well. They certainly didn't smell quite as good as we do lol...but they were used to it. Just thought you might find that interesting.

Karen said...

It would perhaps be more efficient to have a washing "day". I usually do one small load every other day or so. But if I put my other chores aside and just took one day a week for the wash, it might be easier. I'll have to think about changing my chore schedule *yet again*!!

MarkyMark said...


In some places here in the USA, we have what's called "Troubleshooter". The 'troubleshooter' can work for a newspaper or radio station, and they resolve disputes like this. They'll either use their media forum to embarrass the business into doing the right thing, or they'll talk to the Better Business Bureau or the relevant government agency. Do you have something like that in Israel? If so, could you contact them? Is there a consumer advocate you could call?

I know just how HANDY a washer is! I have one, and it's made my life easier.

I have a laundromat across the street (I live in a downtown area), but I'm on a busy intersection. Crossing the street can be dangerous; that's no joke! Even if you cross the street when traffic is light, it's no fun if it's cold and/or rainy out; tonight, it's both! Tonight, I am SO GLAD I don't have to cross the street...

Even if traffic and weather weren't an issue, saving money is. The laundromat charges a LOT for doing laundry. The dryers aren't expensive, but the washers are. Since I've had my washer, I've saved over a thousand dollars.

I got an old washer from my grandmother. When her home was renovated, she asked me if I wanted the washer, and I said sure. It's saved me a ton of money. I have no dryer though. During winter, my gas heat makes it DRY AS A BONE in here. When I hang my clothes up, they dry overnight, plus add moisture to the air. In the summer months, I have to stay a couple of days ahead, because clothes don't dry as fast.

Other than that, I'd say SHAME ON THE FOLKS WHO SOLD YOU THE WASHER!! They PROMISED you that they'd deliver the washer to you, and they need to make good on their promise to you. I hope you get your washer soon. As a single guy, I'd be hard pressed to live without it; I can only imagine what it would mean to your new family. Good luck with this...


Anonymous said...

Hi! I am very sorry to hear of you mechanical troubles. Once upon a time I had to do laundry by hand and it was not fun. I also wanted to say that your site is cute mashallah. Keep on-a-chug'n your hands might end up super strong from all the hard work, might come in handy?
MuslimOkieintheWest...I hope you don't mind that we have some diffrences, because i don't. :)