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Start with one aging washer and one aging dryer. Ideally, aged at least 20 years.

For perfection, never own a new washer, and never have one made within the past decade.

Add one load of dirty rags (preferably ones used to clean up toddler food, so nice and gunky).


Open washer to see tub still full of water and dirty rags. Change cycle selection (because that will fix it). Open washer again to see the same thing, only more sudsy.

Run washer multiple times on each cycle “just to see.” Sigh in resignation.

Spend the entirety of the next day driving around town to inspect washers. Curse those who name washers “Whirlpool Duet XWHRK9950” and “Whirlpool Duet XWHRK9851.” These washers will be numbers 1 and 52 on the Consumer Reports lists, respectively. You will not be able to tell the difference between them, even side by side.

Thank the heavens for your sainted mother, who is in town and able to entertain the Small One by pushing her in the Home Depot race car cart as the Small Driver shouts “Go! Go! Go!” anytime the cart dares stop.

Eventually purchase one (1) washer and one (1) dryer in a state of relieved exhaustion as your husband picks one of the ones you think you liked, based on the scrawling on your paper.

Order said washer (and dryer!).

Wait. A week.

Add: One potty-training toddler who can sense the lack of washing facilities. She will burn through her entire reserve of back-up undies in one day. The scent of toddler pee in the clothes will be unmistakeable.

Allow laundry piles to accumulate. As washer broke unexpectedly, you may be short on critical items (underwear). Plan accordingly. Try not to let toddler smear good work clothes with any more food than necessary. Fail.

If available, heavenly to add: One laundry-doing angel neighbor & husband. Said husband will actually do an emergency load (see: toddler pee) and deliver to the door at 11 PM (same day delivery).

Finally, after one (1) week, blessed delivery men will haul out the ancient washer and dryer (free with house, no guarantee of working, grateful for the almost-year they put in). Shiny new white ones with baffling buttons will appear.

Step the Final: Wash all the things. Finally. Sit and watch the clothes spin around with your baby in your lap. Try not to think about the folding.