The washer is dead, the kids are back in school and the new neighbors are
murdering felling all the trees in their front yard. The tears are simmering just below the surface, but I’m feeling the urge to rant more than cry. It’s one of those lifetimes days when you find yourself asking (over and over again), What is wrong with this world?!
Here’s the thing with the washer: I had a feeling it had officially kicked the bucket, but we decided to pay the $99.95 service fee to find out that it is not only dead but unfixable. Even if we wanted to repair its multiple issues (there was talk of the display board being broken, as well as the motor), we can’t. It’s ten-years-old, apparently long past its predicted lifetime, and its parts are no available to fix it. I’m really wishing we had not bought that new dryer still sitting in a box, waiting to replace our still-working, albeit-not-very-efficient, yet rarely-used-because-we-let-the-sun-dry-our-clothes-for-free-dryer that is at least forty years old, even if it is a fire hazard…because you see, there was a time when we built things to last, and not consume and throw away.
Yesterday, while emptying the dishwasher that is only a year old, I found myself putting more glasses in the sink than in the cabinet. Spots. Tiny spots, all over them. Thoughts of going back in time and living the life of Anne Shirley (my favorite childhood heroine) danced across my mind while I hand-washed glasses, and later, sodden laundry that smelled like gym shoes after being stuck in a locked, broken washer for two days. I could see myself in a gingham dress, my hair braided and tucked behind my ears while I sat with my bucket of clothes. My arms felt the satisfaction of racking the dirt free across the imaginary rippled back of the washer-board. And, I was smiling. It was a happier day in my mind. Life simple and unblemished by the advances in technology that distract us and push our minds away from the present moment. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with doing a job yourself, instead of letting a machine do it for you. I thought about how much I enjoy hanging laundry on the clothesline and pressing my face to the dry cloth that’s been kissed by the wind and the sun before I fold it away; running warm water in the sink and watching the bubbles multiply before I scrub clean the pots and pans I have used to cook a meal for my family.
Where do you think a washer goes when it’s time to bury it? I Googled the question, and actually found this article in Scientific American, “Where Do Old Appliances Go After They Die?” Since the author sounded like a kindred spirit, I decided to read what he had to say. I was already feeling a bit lighter after the first paragraph, which is actually a question posed by a concerned consumer who does not want to “add to the waste stream” and would rather repair her old appliances. Good luck finding parts, I smiled wryly before I continued on.
But, there’s hope, the article reveals. Utility companies will sometimes recycle your old appliances if you buy a more energy efficient one (at least when it comes to fridges and freezers), or you can go to Earth911.org to find a recycler near you. Aside from the annoying pop-up asking me to subscribe, I’m already loving this Earth911 site, which I’m pretty sure I’ve visited before. It appears to be updated regularly with great articles on how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle, and find more Earth-friendly products. It’s Lupe’s kind-of site, and I think I’ll dedicate this post to him.
“Each time his peers showed off their newest smartphones, Lupe thought of children in China walking barefoot through acres of discarded electronics, picking cadmium and copper from metal circuits with bare hands. He thought of poisons leaching into the porous tissues of skin, coursing through blood with oxygen along pathways to hearts and brains.” (chapter 5, The Labyrinth)
It literally takes two seconds to type in your type of dead appliance and zip code to find a potential appliance recycler near you. I found one in the neighboring town. Looks like they take washers & dryers, so I’ll be investigating this a little further. There are also links on the Earth911 website for recycling a whole host of other products including yoga mats and nail polish. Yep, things are looking a little brighter around here (there’s also a LOT more sun in the neighbor’s yard).
The grinding of machines crunching tree limbs can still be heard, though, and I am doing my best to breath in the possibility of new life forming to replace what has been lost. I know we will soon need to take some of our own trees down that are dying and diseased, and top others to provide enough light for our solar panels. It will not be easy, I will be blessing the Earth and the trees once again for their sacrifice. If you have a moment to add a personal blessing to the trees and the Earth, adding with it the vision of new life flourishing next door, the elemental spirits, (Lupe), and I would be very grateful.
As for the kids going back to school. There’s not much I can say about that aside from this: I feel like I didn’t sleep at all, but I must have because I can recall having a dream that I was their age, struggling to decide what to wear, and then missing the bus. They both made it to school on time, though, and it’s rather quiet here, aside from the machines next door. It will likely take me a couple of days to get used to it, but I will. Maybe that’s why I agreed to have a tooth filling replaced on my birthday tomorrow. A little
pain distraction is sometimes welcome.
Wishing all kids and parents much happiness at this time of year, and if you’re in the market for a new washer or dryer, don’t buy one “made in China.” A word of advice from the serviceman who declared my washer offically dead. May she rest in peace and be repurposed into some new form. And, may our new washer last at least as long as she did.