It has bells, whistles and it washes clothes

We finally got our own house robot.

It’s actually our new clothes washer, but it might as well be a robot. We bought a computer that happens to do laundry.

After more than a decade of using the washer that came with the house, it finally showed signs of biting the dust, and we upgraded to a brand-spanking new washer and dryer.

Maybe I’m so awed by the high-tech washer because the one we were using was probably as old as me. Boy, things have changed tremendously in more than three decades.

Goodbye, old beige machine with the center post, which chugged along and frequently made the whole house shake when it needed rebalancing.

I’m not going to miss hearing that “ka-THUNK, ka-THUNK” warning sound and running to stop the washer as the dog stared at the metal beast, throwing the lid open and thrusting my hand down into a dirty, soapy tangle of laundry and trying to rearrange it just so the cycle will finish.

I tried to upgrade the washer back when the permanent press cycle stopped working, and the repairman told me it would be cheaper to buy a new washer than fix the cycle.

He also said, “They don’t make them like they used to,” and, “You should hold on to this one as long as you can,” which Hubby repeated every time I pointed out washers and dryers were on sale.

I eventually gave up and just used a Sharpie to cross out the permanent press cycle option so someone would stop trying to use it. This left two cycles: regular and delicate. A full one-third of our washing options were eliminated, I pointed out, to no avail.

While some people might call this frugal, others might call it ridiculous.

That lasted another six years, until a strange burning smell started emanating from the washer during the spin cycle. Suddenly, the potential cost of the house burning down mattered more than the price of a washer and dryer, and lo and behold, we have new appliances.

I’ve never seen so many bells and whistles on a washer before. It has eight programs, and I’m pretty sure we only need to do two loads of laundry a week now because it holds so much more than our previous model.

The first time we watched the washer fill through the clear lid, we stood watching, rapt with attention. The machine re-balanced the clothes in the drum itself and started making a little “ha-reer, ha-reer” whirring noise as it started pouring in water.

“It’s the TARDIS! It’s from the future! It’s a timey-wimey washer!” I squealed, revealing my Dr. Who fandom and general nerdiness. “Maybe it will dematerialize and travel through space and time!”

“I just want it to clean my underwear,” Hubby replied.

Apart from the cool whirring noises, the new washer is so quiet I forget it’s running until it finishes a cycle and plays a cute little song, “La di da di da da!” which I’ve subconsciously been trained to whistle.

I guess I’m officially an adult now, after spending money on something that cleans things and feeling pretty satisfied about it. Who knew acquiring singing robot computers that happen to wash clothes could be so entertaining?

ON ANOTHER NOTE:

Due to a scheduling change, the native plant tour at the Ute Learning Garden I mentioned in my May 20 column has been moved to today, as part of Colorado State University Tri-River Extension’s demonstration day.

Master Gardeners will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the extension office, 2775 U.S. Highway 50, at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, to give talks on different gardening topics.

Tours of the native plant gardens and a seed giveaway also are included, as well as a sale featuring gardening tools and other garden-related items. Call 244-1835 for information.

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener and journalist. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.


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