Home improvement

Washed up

My wife and I have been together for more than 20 years. So suffice to say, I can determine with fairly good accuracy what situation awaits when I hear my name called from another room at a louder than usual level.

For example, there is, “MICHAEL!” in a high, fast, curt tone. That means there is a roach crawling across the floor.

Or, “MI-CHAELLLL…” in a sing-songy sweet delivery, which means she has found the missing wallet I have been trying to find for our hours, having located it exactly where she had suggested I look hours earlier.

And then there is, “MICHAEL!!!!” in a quick, urgent yelp, which clearly says, “Pause ‘Dr. Strange’ and get in here right now because the laundry room is flooded.”

Yep, heard that last one the other night.

As I leapt from the chair, I told our daughter to pause the movie. Even the teenager who was really into the movie knew that pausing the movie was the a-plus move based on mom’s tone.

Sure enough, I entered the laundry room and water was everywhere.

“That’s not good,” I said, making the single boldest statement ever.

Safe bet it was the washing machine, as it’s the only thing in that room that routinely hangs around with gallons of water. We began putting towels all over the floor, and pulled the washing machine out to clean up as much as we could. Fun fact: Do you know what is behind and under your washing machine? A nightmarish collection of yuck that probably makes beneath your fridge look like an operating room. Also, several pairs of underwear.

Once we cleaned the entire area we decided to start the washing machine and see if we could pinpoint the problem.

We started the wash and the water started flowing into the unit. “We may have to wait for the whole cycle to run,” I told my wife, “so we can determine where along the cycle…”

And then water came pouring out from underneath the washing machine.

Never mind. It’s this part of the cycle. I turned the washer off and we cleaned up our newest flood. Wondering if perhaps I could fix this problem myself, I watched three YouTube videos on how to remove the cover from a washing machine. After realizing I was unable to even figure out how to get the cover off and look at where the problem may be, I confidently said, “Yep, time to buy a new one.”

OK, I am sure I could have called a repairman or someone with a hint of mechanical skills. But the bottom line is this washing machine is older than my oldest child, and has slowly been breaking down over the years. Even if I could fix this problem, I would just be delaying the inevitable.

So we set out washer shopping. I say “we” because that makes me feel like I played a part in this. I did not, as I would have walked into the store, seen a washer, and said, “I’ll take it.” My wife, however, actually does research on these things and finds out which units are, you know, good.

Eventually we (she) found some potential models. She humored me by taking me to the store and showing me the two finalists. She asked which I preferred. I said, “That one. It’s cheaper.” She informed me there was more to it than that. I told her that’s why she is in charge of important things in our house, and I am in charge of killing roaches. Skill sets.

So our new unit should be delivered in a few days, and hopefully this one will serve us for many faithful years. And if it does have some issues, especially after its warranty has expired, I will just YouTube some ways to fix it. And then buy a new one.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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