When Good Appliances Go Bad

First There Was the Fridge...

I noticed that there was ice and frost building up in my fridge again. I've already defrosted it manually once to try to get it to keep going and now I'm going to have to do it again. I wrote a post about it here.

And Then There's The Washing Machine

I've kept my poor old washing machine going for years. It had become a "manual automatic." When the automatic dial stopped working, I turned it by hand, watching the time, allowing for each cycle to "finish" before moving the dial to the next cycle.

When it started to leak where the hoses go into the machine, I unhooked them from the back and began filling the washer manually. I'd stick the hoses into the washer, turn the water on and keep my ears open for a click that signalled the washer was filled. Then, I'd turn off the water, pull the hoses out and drop the ends into a bucket to catch stray drips.
It's been a nuisance, but when you can't afford new, you keep the old going as long as you can. My old washing machine had reached the ripe old age of 17 years.

But yesterday, in the middle of washing a load of laundry, the old washing machine finally gave out. I was in another part of the house when I heard a loud noise from the laundry room;  I thought maybe something had fallen off a shelf, but when I came closer, I could hear a metallic banging and clanging and I knew the washer had washed it's last.
I turned it off, pulled out the wet laundry, and finished washing the clothes by hand in the bathroom.
I turned the washer on just long enough for the pump to drain the water out.  

And I thought, "Now what?"


I finished the laundry and the other chores I had planned for the morning and then put on some coffee. The day had been eventful and I was tired - I needed a caffeine fix.

After a little while, I went to pour myself a cup and there was no coffee in the pot. I thought I'd forgotten to turn the coffeemaker on, or maybe I'd unplugged it when I cleaned the counter....
The coffemaker wasn't working. I checked the outlet to make sure it was okay; it was fine. I flicked the on//off switch several times to try to get it to go. Nope. Nothing. Nada.

I stood there stunned. And then I laughed at the absurdity of it - what are the odds my washing machine and my coffeemaker would both quit working on the same day?!?

And So...

I turned my coffeemaker into a manual - and this morning I made coffee by pouring hot water through coffee grounds. The first cup was warm. My second cup (and third) I had to re-heat in the microwave.

As for the laundry - Now I'll be doing some of the laundry by hand and the rest I'll be taking to the laundry mat.

And I'm hoping that defrosting my frost-free fridge will make it keep going just a while longer....

But The Poor Aren't Poor

I don't have money to replace my appliances. I might be able to afford a new coffeemaker - I once bought one for $10 at a dollar store and it lasted for a couple of years - but a washing machine or a fridge is a huge expense.

My Hubby, a heavy equipment operator, has lost two jobs during this economic downturn; now he is working again, but like many others in construction-related jobs, if it rains, he doesn't work. It's been raining a lot recently.
As for me, I am rapidly heading toward the age that people are starting to call "unemployable."

I've heard some news people in the past few weeks talking about how the poor people in the U.S. aren't really poor because they have things like refrigerators, TVs, and flush toilets. But I have to wonder how many other people in this country have had to turn their washing machine into an "automatic manual," or are having to defrost their frost- free fridge to try to keep it going a while longer? Maybe the poor in this country aren't poor compared to those in other countries, but in this country, when good appliances go bad, and there is no money to fix or replace them - then what?

And I'm wondering if my twenty-year-old TV will outlast the recession....

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