Easier Said Than Done

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.

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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.
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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.

Washing machine

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.

Laundry blog

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.

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Jillian Morris

About Jillian Morris

Jillian found herself on the “Island in the Stream” a decade before it would actually become home. While the white sand beaches of Bimini are stunning, it is the underwater world that was too intoxicating for her and her husband to resist. As a marine biologist turned photographer/videographer, the Bahamas, arguably the Shark Diving capital of the world, was an obvious choice for habitation. It also supports her, possibly unhealthy, obsession with sharks.

While Bimini is only 50 miles from Florida, it has not been overrun with development or lost too much of its charm. Jillian does not miss the noise or traffic of life in the States; she does, however, constantly crave Thai food, micro-brewed beer, and Whole Foods. If she and her husband are not swimming with sharks, you will find her swearing at the computer because of the slow internet, cruising around on the golf cart with her 75-pound pit bull riding as a hood ornament, or adding to her already out of control sea glass collection.

Jillian and her husband also run a shark education non-profit called Sharks4Kids (www.sharks4kids.com), teaching kids around the world about the importance of these misunderstood animals. You can learn more about this and Jillian’s other shark adventures on her blog, The Adventures of Shark Girl: www.shark-girl.blogspot.com/.




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9 thoughts on “Easier Said Than Done

  1. I sympathize with your tale. We’ve a mashing that’s on its last legs. I now have to crawl under a table to plug it in, then turn the leaking water tap on that drips next to the socket that’s hanging off the wall. Plus wiggle the dial till it gives a certain sound and I can hear water. I’ve not a clue whether it is on a wash or rinse cycle I can only guess by the fresh smell and if there is still soap on the clothes.
    I hope your machine arrives soon. Xxx

  2. HA……mine pumps the precious water out while filling (BEC power surge). Therefore I have to put the drain hose into the agitator and hope that it doesn’t pop out and spray my spare room. Once that’s set, and the drain hose replaced into its proper hole, I only have to reset the machine twice before it completes it’s cycle…….hot water only.

  3. Island laundry was one thing my Dad was genius at. We lived on one of the many hilltops, which gave us the advantage of gravity. Our machine sat on a porch outside the kitchen. The drain went down below the washer into a series of large metal barrels linked together. We used an organic laundry detergent, so the grey water was perfect to use on the plants. The barrels were connected to a hose at the far (lowest) end that went to the garden area. We had a vibrant mountainside…mango, coconut, pomegranate, papaya, etc. It was a fabulous reuse of all that precious water. I miss my Dad and his great ideas.

  4. Once upon a time, long long ago, we had full-time household help and no washing machine for a couple of months. No Laundromat, either. Herman filled the bathtub with water, hand-washed everything with a wonderful technique that whooshed the dirt out, and then did it all over to rinse, and then hung the clothes on the line. For that period, our clothes were cleaner than before or since. That being said, I do sympathize.

  5. People who don’t live on an island will never understand! Great post – love reading all the responses too – clearly you’re not alone in the island laundry obstacles! For a long time (and still sometimes) I actually take my laundry to another island altogether because I like their laundry mats better.

  6. Ha ha ha ha!…..Yes, panties in the mangrove or any other Golf Cart flung object is not unusual….. Great story….. Thank goodness our second washer & dryer are holding up….Almost 3 years now….Knocking on wood 😉

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