Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Really Mundane Matter

There are literary bloggers, mommy bloggers, artistic bloggers — you name it, there’s a type. So far, I’ve encountered predominantly female bloggers and the subject matter in this post is addressed to them. Why? Well, call me sexist, but I suspect it’s primarily the females of this world who do laundry.

If you’re like me, laundry is a mindless never-ending chore. There’s really no skill involved — anyone can separate the whites from the darks and figure out a small, medium or large load. I toss in a load, trust the washing machine will do its thing and leave.

I’m no longer quite as trusting. I may not be cognizant as to the workings of a washing machine but I now know there’s a little valve with a tiny pin located at the back of the damned thing. This little valve with its very important pin controls the flow of water into the machine. And if you happen to live in a neighborhood where the water is not pristine (I suspect that’s most of us) you’d better watch out. This lousy water causes a calcification of the valve & pin. “And then what happens?” you ask in breathless anticipation. The friggin’ pin no longer works and the flow of water continues its mighty flow into the machine and does not stop.

And you have flood. A big one. In our particular case, a flood causing water above the ankles and a ruined laundry room floor (including stuff on that laundry room floor). Days later we finally clued in that the water had also seeped through to the basement family room. The musty smell was the tip-off. It had also snuck up the walls between these rooms.

Of course, I cried. When confronted with crappy disasters like that, I create my own flood — of tears. We rented those “suck up the water machines” (twice) but eventually had to call in the pros. Mildew had already begun to form beneath the family room carpet — a big health hazard. I’ve also had to call a repairman to fix the laundry room floor. This has become quite the unanticipated expense. It’s right up there with spending big bucks to have your roof repaired — a lot of money for a home improvement that no one actually notices.

Yeah, this post is boring but then, so is laundry. A flood, however, is not boring. And there is something you can do to prevent such a disaster from occurring. If you suspect that your laundry cycles are taking longer and longer to complete, it’s probably because that damned pin is not working properly. No one wants to stick around and watch the length of a wash cycle (boring beyond belief) but you might want to make a mental note as to time started and time stopped for a week or so. Or, you could have the valve checked for calcification. And apparently there’s also some thing-a-ma-jig you can attach to your washing machine that’s supposed to “catch” a never-ending flow when it happens. I’m getting one when the laundry room floor is fixed.

The odds are in your favour that this will not happen to you. (The odds are even better if you move frequently and leave your washer behind.) I think my washing machine is about ten years old. And while it has been “fixed” I no longer trust it. I’m also wondering what my dryer has in store for me.

Forewarned is forearmed.

And if you happen to have any disaster prevention stories to share, I’d appreciate the head’s up.

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