The Cool House: Just another one of those things

Friday, June 02, 2006

Just another one of those things

Nothing much positive to report houseways (or housewise). The washing machine, a large toploading Whirlpool from 1984, started making an odd whistling sound and depositing about half a cup of water on the laundry room floor. The water wasn't a big deal except that I do the laundry in bare feet or socks so I was getting a little damp every day, but hey, there's a floor drain so no big deal. But the whistling was getting on my nerves and the knocking that periodically accompanied it made me think the bearings were going.
Now, I have zero knowledge of the workings of top-loader washing machines other than they do a great job of swirling the clothes around in dirty water and a pretty poor job of actually cleaning clothes, but I know that I associate that sound with bad news in a front-loader so I figure it's much the same. And given its advanced age I didn't hold out any hope that parts would still be available or it would be worth paying a service engineer to come out and tell me the inevitable. We were planning to replace the appliances when we redid the kitchen so it seemed sensible that we go out and buy a new front-loader and have done with it.
Huh. As other housebloggers have noted there is no such thing as an easy replacement appliance shopping trip. Our road to hell, however, started out promising only good things. A personal invitation to attend a "previous customers only sale" arrived serendipitously from the local appliance store where we bought the elephant in the kitchen. All we had to do was turn up between 5-9 pm, chose a washer, hand over the Visa card and we would get a working, cleaning, more environmentally friendly machine, and a rebate from the local power company. I was so psyched.
On the appointed day we showed up, picked out a Bosch and were just about to fork over shedloads of money when the sales guy uttered that wretched sentence: Are you sure you have the space?
This is where you see the difference between an optimist (my husband) and a realist (me). An optimist yells: We have a huge laundry room, the appliances we have now are monsters, of course it will fit. The realist says: Why are you asking me this? Have other people had problems fitting it in their homes? How big is it anyway? Of course you have all guessed the ending to this sorry story. The space needs to be 56" deep to accommodate the open door. I don't think we have 56".
Although Steve was willing to take a chance rather than have to come back to the store we left empty handed. (He was also willing to consider a bump into the garage if we bought them and they didn't fit, until I did the projected cost of construction versus the inconvenience of going home, taking measurements and returning to the store - not so much an optimist more an irritating cloud cuckoo land dweller!)
Anyway, in order to accurately assess the space I spent the next day disassembling some plastic shelving added by the previous owner and doing a major clean up in there. Then I measured. We have 58" depth. But do I really want it to be that tight? And we would have to swap the position of the washer and dryer because all the machines except one have the washer on the left. That would mean maybe moving the dryer vent, and extra hoses. Even more inconvenience.
Now, guess which machine has the washer door on the right side? Correct mes amis, the most expensive one. And guess where we would have to go to look at one? Yes, Expo hell. A store where they never have what you want, have no idea how to get you what you want, hell, probably don't know what you are talking about, certainly don't know what they are talking about. But that's where the nearest Miele washers were so we made the trip.
Oh god, it was a true Sabena moment (Such A Bad Experience, Never Again). The salesman first tried to tell me that the doors on FL washers could be swapped. So I took him to one, opened it and said "show me how". Then he said they could be swapped on top-loaders 'cos he used to do that for his last job. Great info. Then he couldn't find the Miele catalogue and started whistling for it and blaming other salespeople for moving it. We'd been there only fifteen minutes and I was beginning to freak out. We did eventually look at the Miele washer, which was not a sexy design, and cost $2000. If I'm gonna pay two grand for anything I want it to be HOT and to do a lot more than just get my clothes clean. And it would take a minimum of three weeks to be delivered. For $2000, I'd want it yesterday. Once again home empty handed, but at least the Visa card is still intact.
Two days of extensive research on the web and I've decided that all washing machines suck, that a little water on the floor hurts no one and learnt that Bosch are coming out with a new model in July. Procrastination is today's favourite word, and at least I have a neater, cleaner laundry room to show for my efforts.

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