COLUMNISTS

Out with the old, in with the new...well, almost

Susan Manzke
The old washing machine is ready to be carted off to be recycled.

For two years, I’ve struggled to keep my washer working. First to go was one of the water hose switches. I only had hot water coming into the washer tub. Since it was very hot, I had to add buckets of cold water.

Swapping the cold hose for the hot was Bob’s idea. But since it rinsed with cold water (now the hot) I had to turn back the controller to the beginning when it came time to rinse. This wasn’t difficult. I just had to remember if I had rinsed it or not. At least it worked.

Eventually, other control knobs wouldn’t work. To get any water to come in, I had to flick the knob back and forth. If I was lucky, water would start with a dribble. More flicking and eventually I had water.

Sometimes, I couldn’t get it to turn on at all. At moments like that, I hit the control panel with my hand and slammed the lid—there was some kind of safety switch there.

I finally had it with this machine. My son Russell researched to find the best affordable washer that would work for me. It didn’t take me long to think over his suggestion and I put in my order. The new washer would arrive in five short days. It would be installed and the old machine would be carted off to be recycled.

The laundry room here is also my catch-all room. It took quite a bit of work to get things picked up so the old washer could get out and the new one could be installed. Good thing I had a few days to work my way through most of my junk.

This shiny new washing machine sits in Susan's laundry room.

Finally, it was washer arrival day.

A two-man crew set to work getting the old machine out of its corner. While they were taking it to the truck, I quickly swept up the dust from beneath and behind it—I don’t remember the last time it had been moved.

When it came time to install the new washer, the delivery man said he couldn’t do it. My connections were too old. He would get in trouble if he even tried because if it leaked it would be his fault. At that point, he wanted to see where the shutoff for the water was. When I took him to the basement, he disconnected the hoses. I thought he figured a way to do the installation, but no. He detached the hoses and left them hanging, after that he left.

Okay, I can do this. Putting in a washer can’t be so difficult. Everything was there. Right? No. A hose connector had gone out with the old machine.

I went to Diedricks Hardware in Seymour. I explained what happened, showed him the hose hookup hanging on the display, and asked if they had the connector. We walked to the back of the store, took one off a hook. While I was paying for it, the clerk and a customer told me to get some white plumber's tape to wind around the fitting so it wouldn’t leak—he then gave me a roll.

The two men explained about the tape and then the customer helped even more. He wound it around both ends of the connector.

Back at home, I had to reattach the hoses to the hot and cold pipes in the basement. That was the hardest part for me.

I attached one (after putting on some plumber’s tape). Carefully, I turned on the water, just a touch. Upstairs, I heard squirting. Quickly I turned it off and ran upstairs. I needed to tighten the connection harder.

After her triumph with installing the new hose connections, Susan loads the machine with the first load of laundry.

It took a lot of muscle power to tighten the hose ends, but at last, I had it.

Back in the basement, I had to disconnect the hoses. The hot and cold were mixed up. This time when I went to turn it on I got a shower.

Water gushed out, spraying me and running down my arms. I struggled to turn it off again. Sopping wet, I tightened with all my strength. Then, with great caution, I turned on the cold water. No shower. And then I turned on the hot. Not even a drip, even upstairs.

To make sure everything was working, I loaded the washer with dirty clothes and switched on the new washer.

Success! If I had waited one day, I would have had help, but I wanted to do this myself and I did.

Susan Manzke, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.