Written by: JILLIAN M
I am currently sipping a glass of wine (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere… well, actually it is 4:15 here, so close enough) while I wait for my laundry at my neighbor’s house. Why am I doing laundry at my neighbor’s house, you ask? Well, about three weeks ago, we were sitting on the couch watching TV when the washing machine started to make a loud thudding noise – so loud that the dog growled at it and then hid behind the chair. The noise grew in intensity, and I was sure the dryer was going to fall off the top of the washer, but we all just sat and watched. The dog peeked out and cocked her head to the side as we all waited to see exactly what would happen. I suggested to my husband that he get up and turn it off, to which he responded, “We might as well let the load finish.” And finish it did, with a final bang and mechanical wobbling sound. We estimated the machine to be about thirteen years old, so we were not feeling optimistic about its recovery.
The next morning, my husband wrestled the machine from the closet and promptly accumulated a pile of metal bits as I went about my day. I love home improvement projects, but had absolutely no interest in this particular mess. He didn’t pull the machine apart because he thought he could fix it – no, this was driven by pure curiosity to see exactly what had exploded. After a few hours of wrenching and swearing, the problem was discovered: the metal wash drum had sheered off and was completely disconnected from the metal frame. NOT GOOD. He salvaged some of the parts (because you never know when you or a neighbor might be in the same situation again), and the rest went to the dump.
At this point, you are probably thinking, No big deal, just go buy a new one… To which I reply, Easier said than done. There are no Home Depots or Sears on-island; in fact, there isn’t even a store where you can purchase any large home appliances at all. And so it was time for some online shopping. I detested this activity before I moved to the island but now, online shopping is something I thoroughly enjoy. It’s quite exciting to get goodies from the mainland and the fact that you never really know when they will actually arrive just adds to the magic.
All we wanted was a simple machine with knobs, but apparently knobs have been replaced with mini computers these days, which are fantastic if you can take the item back to get it fixed when it inevitably breaks, though here, that is not really an option and thus, not a debacle I want to go through. So no computers.
After nearly three days of searching, we found something in our price range that had a minimal level of bells and whistles. Despite our best efforts though, ordering a new machine stymied us at every turn. The company would not take a UK credit card on the website, but would over the phone, but then reported that they did not have the machine we wanted in stock. No worries, we can special order, but only if we went into the store. Good grief! Feeling defeated, we stopped the search. Finally we got a friend in Florida to go get a machine for us.
Our new washing machine is sitting in Florida waiting to come over by boat so for now, we have to do laundry at the resort here. I was excited the first time because it was a new adventure and let’s be honest, the little things are always more meaningful when you live on a rock! I got my token in the office for $3.23 and headed to the machines. We had to use a hose to fill the machine because the water pressure was so bad that it would take days to fill otherwise. This task takes a bit of finesse – you have to time it just right and pull the hose out without moving the lid too much, which interrupts the cycle and means you need to start over with a new token. (Pause in writing to go grab my load of washing from my neighbor’s house.) Quite satisfied and amused with my accomplishment, I loaded my laundry bag onto the golf cart and headed home.
Laundry attempt #2 was a different story. I had waited long enough and the desperate need for clean underwear had become an urgent matter. We loaded the bag of laundry onto the golf cart along with the dog (also eager for an adventure, similar to my disposition on the inaugural attempt) and our $3.23. My husband pumped up our flat golf cart tire as I chatted with our neighbor who offered use of her machine. I politely declined, simply because I was ready for attempt two. En route, we had to make a U-turn because the laundry bag had toppled off the cart, and I wanted to confirm that none of my panties were strewn along the road. No missing luggage, so we continued our journey. I waited on the cart while my husband went to get a token, returning quickly shaking his head. They were out of tokens and they didn’t know where the only guy who can get them out was. They did suggest that we could go try and find him ouselves (how helpful!), but we decided to take a pass.
Back to the neighbor’s house, who enjoyed our tale and was happy to lend us her machine. So here I sit with my wine, waiting on my near-clean laundry, and still waiting on my washing machine to arrive, having no idea what machine we have actually purchased. It was one of those island moments where you just had to laugh. And rejoice in the kindness of island neighbors.