Through the spin cycle and wringer to get a new washing machine

"See that?" I asked, pointing at a TV ad for major appliances. "If we ever have to get a new washer and dryer, that's the color I want!"

They were deep blue, and I heard a choir of angels singing.


"Don't jinx our machines," cautioned Doug, knocking on wood.

Within a month the washer was making banging noises and shaking so violently during spin cycles that it sent the empty laundry basket flying with enough force to dent drywall. Once, it flew past the cat, barely missing her. (She's fine. She just twitches a lot now.)

The repair estimate — nearly all of it for parts — came to $1,308. Plus $129 for the house call. The washer cost half that much when we bought it, four years ago.

"We should have gotten the extended warranty," I said. "Yeah, thanks for the tip."

One option — replace one boring white washer with another, and get somebody to suck the world's biggest lint ball (or a dead weasel) out of the dryer vent, to help it last longer.

But Doug likes to spoil me. Like that Christmas he got me a broom with an ergonomic handle.

"You're too good to me," I told him, adding that, someday, I'll be so spoiled I'll collapse on top of a pile of clean laundry, a sock without a mate still clutched in my cold, dead fingers.

Because I had my heart set on blue, "Blue you shall have!" declared Doug.


There he goes, I thought, spoiling me again.

After two days of searching, Doug broke the news: deep blue had been discontinued by all manufacturers — except the one Consumer Reports rated, "You're Better Off With a Washboard and a Laundry Tub."

But then, at another store, he found a great brand in blue!

Wait, no, they don't have it.

They can get it, though! No, they can't.

They found a set in the warehouse! Never mind, it was just a big rat.


The commercial showing the blue washer and dryer was still running, so I had hope. (Of course, I also believe the goldfish I had in elementary school is still alive, living on a farm where it can run and play.)

Doug and I went to another store, with no luck. But, the salesman informed us, one high-rated manufacturer makes the machines in a shade he loosely described as "blue."

They may call it blue; but I know "blue" when I see it.

By now white was no longer an option; so I gave in and said yes to "blue."

Doug drove to a home-improvement store two hours away and returned wearing a big smile.

"Success!" he announced. "They'll be here tomorrow between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m."

I high-fived him, exclaiming, "You da man!"

The phone rang at 6:45 this morning. "We can't deliver today because the store doesn't have them," said a voice with a southern drawl. "But we can get them and deliver next week."

Fine. At 9 a.m. the phone rang again. A nice young man in Mumbai, India, said they could deliver the washer today and the dryer next week. No, we preferred them delivered together, thank you.

At 11:30 a.m. a woman called. Neither appliance was available until next week. Sure, whatever. I'd begun to consider carrying the dirty clothes down to the stream and beating them on a rock when Doug came in.

"I found a 1915 General Electric wringer-washer on eBay," he said. "And it still works!"

I asked if it was blue.


"Son of a-" Just then, the laundry basket flew by and slammed into the wall.

"Turquoise, you say?"

Email Cathy Drinkwater Better at cbetter@juno.com.