“Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem.” — Jerry Seinfeld
The past week has presented me with a threesome of events that make apartment style living not only challenging but nerve wracking.This article is the first of three entries that explain how hectic the week has been for me.
Tuesday’s and Thursdays are the usual days I do my laundry. I like to get the job started by 8 a.m. so that I do not have to face a long line up of laundry baskets piled on atop the other by fellow tenants waiting to do their laundry.
This is a job usually uneventful and non threatening but occasionally circumstances change and the mundane becomes troublesome.
On this particular Tuesday morning my laundry was in the machine by eight a.m. and I was watching television and sipping my first cup of coffee for the day. The washing cycle lasted 34 minute and then I would place the items in the dryer for a 75 minute run time.
Ten a.m. arrived and I had successfully removed my laundry from the machine. Nothing unusual about that and I had finished folding and putting the items away.
As I was heading back to the kitchen area I heard a loud screeching sound from the hallway. I opened the door to my suite and noticed this sound coming from the laundry room. The door to the room is always closed and I did not know what was going on inside .
I carefully opened the door and was immediately greeted by clouds of white smoke and the distinctive smell of burning machine oil.
The washing machine in the room was shaking, rattling and rolling on the cement floor. I unplugged the machine, popped open the lid on the top loading washer and noticed that a thick blanket was totally covering the machine’s agitator. It was struggling to do its job and the blanket was making that impossible.
Four large wool sweaters were on top of the blanket and they were easy to remove from the machine. The blanket itself was another story. It was very large, water-soaked and trapped under the agitator blade.
I called the 24/7 resident hep line and they recorded the incident and sent the on site repairman to help me with the machine. Together we both pulled on the blanket and eventually were able to free it from its captivity.
After we had removed the blanket I noticed two things: (1) the water level in the machine had been set to a mid level — not enough to handle this wash load. (2) there was still 20 minutes remaining for the cycle to end. Apparently I had arrived on the scene in time to prevent major damage.
AT 10:35 the owner of the laundry returned to the scene of the crime. She was surprised to find that her laundry had been removed from the machine.
I tried to explain to her that she had grossly overloaded the machine and that the situation might have required a phone call to the fire department had a fire resulted.
The woman calmly looked me in the eyes and said ” I am a new tenant here.”
Her answer just about floored me. Was she new to the use of washing machines or was she new to the reality of doing laundry.
I contacted the company that services the machine and they promised to send a repairman to the site “as soon as possible”. This did not happen and a second call was made one week later.
The operator informed me that the service call had been made. This I assured them was impossible as I had done three things: (1) Unplugged the machine from the power outlet and used masking tape to secure the plug to the wall; (2) used masking tape to secure the lid of the washer and (3) placed a warning note on the lid explaining the danger involved in using it without servicing.
The note, lid and cord were not removed so I knew the repairman was fudging the visit.
Eventually the machine was repaired and my laundry washed.
This article is the start of a three-part series regarding my past week’s misadventure’s.
Next installment: Closing the flood gates. — gc