Annie Payne Column June 06, 2009

Heaven and hell in two gorgeous machines (finally sitting in my house)

After two years of deliberations and negotiations with her husband, Annie Payne finally has the cherry red, front-loading washer and dryer she’s wanted for years.



In the 1980s film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the main character, Ferris, and his friend, Cameron, have the following conversation in Cameron’s garage, while deciding on whether or not to “borrow” Cameron’s dad’s car.

Cameron (grim monotone): The 1958 Ferrari 250 GTS California. Less than a hundred were made. It has a market value of $265,000. My father spent three years restoring it. It is his joy, it is his love, it is his passion.

Ferris: It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.

Cameron: Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself. We can’t take it out.

Ferris: A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn’t deserve such a fine automobile.

Cameron: He never drives it, Ferris. He just rubs it with a diaper.

Twenty-three years after seeing that movie for the first time, I now understand Cameron’s father. I understand the kind of obsession some men feel over their machines.

I wrote about it two years ago for the now defunct, but yet beloved Charm page in The Daily Sentinel.

The following is a reprint of that article with the rest of the story.

We moved back to Colorado from California seven years ago. When we moved in, my brother gave me a dryer. It was old, but it still worked great.

This dryer has served our family well for seven years. The other day it smelled really hot. I opened the door to check on the clothes and it never started again.

I knew right then and there that the negotiations for a new one were about to begin. When I told my husband the dryer had died, he flatly said, “well, it was really old.”

I started building my case. I told him that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I had a lot of laundry to get done and I even had a wet load of whites sitting in the washer.

I told him, “I guess I better get down to the laundry-mat and get this done. I don’t know how long I will be. Maybe you should start dinner. I hope I have enough laundry baskets to haul all this. What if the machines only take powder detergent and not liquid? How many quarters does it take to run those machines, anyway?”

Thinking he wouldn’t want his wife to go through the trouble of hauling around our dirty laundry for all of Fruita to see, I fully expected him to suggest we go out and buy a new one right then and there.

I thought wrong.

Instead he said, “Have a good time, Honey. Maybe you will make some new friends while you are there.”

Dagnabit! He was on to me.

We go through this same rigamarole every time we have to buy a big ticket item.

I always want what I want right then and there. He likes to take his time, comparison shop and look for the best deal.

Later that night, we went to Thai Chili for dinner. It wasn’t a coincidence that I picked that restaurant. It’s located conveniently across from Lowe’s.

After a wonderful Thai meal, I suggested that since we had a few minutes before our movie started, we should go to Lowe’s and have a look around.

He took the bait. Getting him into the store was half the battle. He had a full stomach and was feeling very agreeable. I was hoping this would work in my favor.

We walked down the store’s center aisle and there it was: cherry red with chrome accents, front-loading washer and dryer on pedestals.

I swear the heavens opened and choirs of angels came down and sang the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Suddenly, the flash of the chrome caught my eye and the angels were drowned out by the sound of revving motorcycles.

It was like the glory of heaven and the fury of hell embodied in two gorgeous machines.

My vision was interrupted when my husband asked, “Did you just say, vroom-vroom?”

“Did I do that out loud?” I guess I was more caught up in my fantasy than I thought.

“Did you see how much these things cost?” he asked. “You didn’t really think that I was going to spend that much money did you? Besides, we only need a dryer.”

And just like that the fantasy was over.

The motorcycles peeled off and the angels dropped their harps and marched away in a huff.

There I was, left alone to look at my pathetic, disappointed reflection in the glass and chrome of the front loaders.

We ended up going to two other stores. Wherever we went there were the same white boring dryers. It was hard for me to get excited about any of them. I had been ruined.

I wished I had never laid eyes on the cherry red with chrome accents, front-loading washer and dryer on pedestals. Did I mention it had 7.3 cubic feet of capacity? Sigh.

I took the mature way out. I decided that if I couldn’t have the red ones, I didn’t want any of them. So there!

The will to fight was taken out of me. My husband had won this round. I knew there would not be a rematch.

So I did what I do whenever I need helping hand. I called my dad.

“Hey Dad, do you still have an extra dryer sitting around over there (because don’t all dads have an extra dryer sitting around)?”

“Yep, do you want it?”

“Yes, please. What will it cost me?” I asked.

“Just your self-respect,” Dad said.

“Too late for that.”

Fast forward two years ...

After months of deliberations and negotiations, the cherry red with chrome accents, front-loading washer and dryer were delivered this week.

They are huge. They look like sports cars.

I just stand in the laundry room and stare at my reflection in the glass and chrome, but this time I don’t see a look of covetousness on my face. I see joy, joy and more joy.

I’ve done every stitch of laundry in the house.

I’ve discovered we don’t have room in all our drawers and closets for when all the laundry is done. As it stands, I have piles of clean, folded laundry all over the house.

I can’t keep up with my new super capacity washer and dryer, which I now lovingly call Thelma and Louise.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I need to put some laundry away, and when I am done I’m going to rub Thelma and Louise down with a diaper.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.


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