The Washing Machine

I knew it was coming. After seven years of marriage, it was bound to happen. It was only a question of which one would go first.

But when I heard the strange banging, I knew. I grabbed my cell phone and pressed speed dial 2, turning it on speaker phone while it was still ringing.

“Can you hear that noise?” I asked my husband when he answered. “I don’t think my washing machine is supposed to sound like that.”

I was washing a heavy load of jeans and hoped it was just a random occurrence. But when my husband checked the washing machine at lunch, the drum was just sort of floating in there. He called the repair man and described the symptoms: “Go shopping” was the professional opinion. And a quick Google search revealed that we weren’t the only one with a Frigidaire washing machine whose drum had given up the ghost.

I mourned its loss, even though there was no love lost between us. Yes, it had served us well for seven years and three children. It was a stacked unit but it had that nice little shelf that held the detergent and the dryer balls and even the clothespin basket sometimes. And I had pictures of each of my children staring into its exciting depths (because we all know there is nothing more interesting than a washing machine with a door that lets you watch that amazing sudsy process).

However, it always grossed me out to retrieve socks stuck in the flange. Why it needed to be big enough to be a sock receptacle in the first place, I wasn’t sure. But there they would lodge. Right in that flange that always looked dirty, even when I had just wiped it clean.

And there was the way it pocketed the bleach and saved it for three loads later when I was washing my brand new brown slacks. Not a fan.

I only used the dryer when I couldn’t use my beloved clothesline. The dryer had this special feature that collected the lint and then spread it all over the floor when you opened the dryer door. They could charge extra for that.

My husband had heroically taken the entire thing apart and disconnected the wires that made it buzz each time it was done. That saved many a nap. If it weren’t for that, I may have never been caught up on laundry. As it was, despite the freedom to do laundry during naptime, I rarely see the bottom of the laundry basket.

No, I wouldn’t miss that particular washing machine. Even if I would miss the money it would take to replace it.

We borrowed an inherited washing machine that sounded like it, too, was dying. My husband did his research and discovered that if money and space were no object, he’d be the owner of a Speed Queen in an instant. But since money doesn’t grow on trees (or in washing machines), and since we had the tiniest of spaces to fit both a washing machine and a dryer in our only bathroom, our choices were narrower.

I had fond memories of appliance shopping together as a newly engaged couple. I recalled with especial delight the deal we got because we were dealing with a privately owned store that sold scratch and dent units and gave us a discount because we got our fridge from them too.

The price of appliances has gone up considerably in the last seven years. Just in case you wondered. We scoured the scratch and dent options but nothing fit our spot. And we didn’t find anyone willing to cut us any deals. The guys at the locally owned appliance store did not exactly earn our respect. They weren’t quite sure why we wanted an Electrolux. Maybe they were miffed because my husband had brought his own tape measure. Of course, they could clearly see that my husband knew what he wanted and that none of their sales tactics would work on us.

We wash Carhartts with big buttons so we wanted a stainless steel drum. We have kids so we didn’t want those rinky dink soap drawers that are already hard to open. We didn’t need 101 fancy settings. But we did want to be able to turn off the loud, annoying buzz, buzz that said our clothes were clean. And oh yes, we wanted a flange that wouldn’t catch socks every single load. With a door that was easy to open but wouldn’t collect water to drip on the floor. As for the dryer? Our preference was one that caught lint in such a way that it wouldn’t spew the entire collection over the bathroom the moment the dryer was opened. All that in a stackable set that would fit in a very tight space. (There’s nothing worse than trying to walk into the bathroom in the middle of the night and running into the washing machine and dryer instead. We were going for a set that wasn’t half the depth of our bathroom.)

Did I mention the Electrolux washing machines had a lifetime warranty on the part that broke on our Frigidaire? We were sold. We just wanted a deal.

I had just about resigned myself to using the dying loaner machine until it completely bit the dust, when we stopped at Lowe’s for something else on our list. We wandered through the appliance section aimlessly on our way to the checkout. And there we saw a newer model of the machines we’d been looking at, on sale for a much better price. And the Lowe’s salesman? He was nice. He was helpful. He bent over backwards to find us a dryer to match. And arranged for free delivery of them both. The only thing he didn’t do was come out to help my husband install them. But considering that it was already a Very Tight Space, that’s just as well.

I think we’ll start with Lowe’s next time. I just hope next time isn’t any too soon. That fridge door is sagging awfully low. At least it isn’t making any funny noises. Yet.

(Written for the Five Minute Friday prompt “Laundry”
in much more than 5 minutes, but much less time than it takes to wash a load of laundry.
Check out all the posts from last year’s Laundry Week.)

she

She’s there behind me, every time I look in the mirror. Comparing her reflection to mine. She shakes her head, that one with the perfect complexion. That size 0 waist mocks me.

I hear her disapproving voice inside my head every time I try to pull on a pair of jeans. The ones that won’t quite button. The ones that don’t cover my bulges.

She laughs as I dig through my dresser drawers, looking for something, anything that will make me feel pretty today. She taunts me from my closet where I pull clothes from hangers and pull them over my head only to toss them on my bed in despair.

I know she lies. But her voice is so loud.

 

She’s there outside my bedroom door, waiting. I walk out with trepidation. Hoping she won’t notice my red-rimmed eyes.

“Momma, you look so beautiful!” she exclaims with delight.

She follows me back to the bathroom mirror. I would so much rather be alone, but she hangs about. Begging for a bit of makeup on her little cheeks.

“Mommy, will you do that to my hair, too?” She pats my dress. She thinks it is lovely.

I know she loves me. But love is blind.

 

And at the end of the day, which voice is loudest? Which one echoes in my ears as I fall asleep? And which one greets me with my first glance in the mirror?

The voice I listen to. 

Five Minute Friday Prompt: “She”

mercy triumphs

I am Javert. I see everything black and white. Justice, all must be fair.

Yet, I am Eponine. Dirty and rotten. Ever failing. So desperately in need of mercy.

Then there are my little Cosettes looking up at me. Innocent in so many ways yet already in need of grace.

And I feel the struggle of Jean Valjean. As my words and actions define for these little ones both justice and mercy.

I must show them their sin so that they will understand grace. Yet if I am to be shown mercy, mercy must always triumph.

Five-Minute Friday Prompt: Mercy

red hair

“Where did you get that red hair?”

My brother and I heard the question over and over growing up, since we sported identical shades of dark red hair–mine curly, his anything but.

“From both sides of the family,” we’d explain. We had three great grandpas with red hair, only one of whom we ever knew. Great Grandpa Roberts didn’t have any hair left by the time we were sitting at his feet, listening to stories while he cracked walnuts and smoked a pipe. But in his younger days, he’d been known as “Red Roberts”.

“When red headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.”
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

My brother called our hair “the color of a year-old penny”. It was always more copper red than carrot red. And now, age has darkened it to that “handsome auburn” Anne Shirley coveted. So much so that not everyone even thinks of me as a redhead anymore.

“There is so much more to being a redhead than the color of one’s hair.”
-G. Adam Stanislav

I never minded being a redhead, but I think it was my beloved Anne of Green Gables that taught me to love it. I read the series by L. M. Montgomery when I was seven years old, and couldn’t have been prouder to be wearing the freckles and carrot-colored hair of the heroine. Even if it meant guilt by association with a quick temper.

“Please just call me red-headed and forgive me.”
-Anne to Gilbert in Anne’s House of Dreams

We’re in the minority, we redheads are. And the brunt of almost as many jokes as blondes.

“I would always hesitate to recommend as a life’s companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.”
-Jeeves in Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

But despite warnings from wits like Wodehouse, literature and the silver screen have continued to write redheads into many a happily ever after. Sean Thornton loved Mary Kate Danaher in “The Quiet Man” (with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara). The Swamp Angel loved Freckles. Charlie Brown was always in love with the mysterious “little red-haired girl”. And Gilbert loved Carrots, his Anne-Girl.

“When a fellow has a home and a dear, little, red-haired wife in it what more need he ask of life?”
-Gilbert in Anne’s House of Dreams

So we hold our red heads a little higher, as the red thread continues to wind through generations of our own real life love stories. Sometimes that redhead gene skips a generation or two, but considering the number of redheaded grandchildren and great grandchildren my great grandpa “Red” had, we’re not extinct yet.

Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt: “red

Worship

Sunday morning worship time isn’t always very conducive to worship when you’re a mom.

I breathe a big sigh of relief if we even make it there on time and in one piece. And then I try to sing the right words at the right time while balancing a child in one arm and a song book in the other. I turn from breaking up a fight between to children to whispering to another, “put down your book and stand up and sing”.

We’re told not to give up the meeting together. Because the fellowship that happens there is priceless, even if the worship time leaves me with hardly any time for worship at all.

But neither am I to neglect worshiping our God. Because if I do, the rocks will cry out in our place.

Worship time isn’t limited to before and after prayer time on Sunday mornings.

Worship is breaking into song as I drive 70 miles per hour on the highway. Worship is pausing to pray before mealtimes. Worship is finding just a moment to be still amid the busyness. Worship is a whispered prayer while doing dishes. Worship is doing every little thing to the glory of God, with a smile on my face and praise on my lips.

And that leaves me with plenty of time and opportunity to worship, if only I will make the choice.

Worship is what leaves me longing for more. More of my Jesus. More time to worship Him.

 

Five Minute Friday Prompt (a week late): “Worship