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Look Who’s Talking

Mar 01, 2015 10:46AM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

By Julie Ross

My washing machine began issuing cries for help in the form of really annoying beep sequences that could only be silenced by human intervention. Apparently, it was getting stuck at certain points in the wash/rinse/spin cycle, had no idea how to proceed, and had to summon its human (sadly, me) to come to its aid, sort out the confusion, and stop its plaintive beeping.

I thought I was pretty much on the cutting edge of washing machine trends, having purchased a fancy front-loading machine that demanded an exclusive diet of high-efficiency (“he”) detergent. Didn’t I just buy this appliance, and why was it turning on me?

I located the paperwork on the washer, and no, it turns out I didn’t just buy it; time flew by, as usual, and it was several years old. So, it was decision time. Do I try to get the poor old thing healthy again or just have it hauled away and replaced? (Sorry, as I age I am starting to take things like this very personally.)

I called the service center. The gentleman on the line suggested that perhaps there was an issue with the “motherboard.” Long pause while I considered the onslaught of technology and how it has crept into every corner of my life, even the laundry room. Is nothing sacred? Anyway, the technician informed me that while the motherboard could be replaced, it would be costly and might not solve the problem. This information made my decision much easier. Off I went to the appliance store to locate a new laundry day chore-master.

It did not take long to find a good candidate. The machine was a warm gray color, within my price range, and featured enough cycles to clean anything from a silk hanky to farm clothes. It even offered an attractive rebate from PG&E due to its extreme energy efficiency.

I called the sales clerk over to seal the deal. He suggested I also purchase the matching dryer. As a set, he explained, the two appliances could “communicate.” Now why on earth did he think that was a selling point? What exactly are the washer and dryer going to talk about? Are they going to gossip about stains? Critique my fashion sense? No thanks. I just bought the washing machine. No way am I going to encourage that behavior. So far, the new washer, old dryer, and I are getting along fine. We don’t talk much and there is not a lot of beeping. It’s peaceful. I hope it stays that way for a good long while.

You can reach Julie at

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