Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watching the machines fade away

It's no secret that funds in the Sixbears household have been pretty limited for some time now. We haven't missed any meals. Some of those meals have been pretty basic, but we certainly haven't gone hungry. A little food storage certainly does come in handy.

It's other things that slowly fall apart. When it became clear the car wouldn't pass state inspection without a lot of expensive work, we retired it. Since then, we've gotten by with just the old truck. Inconvenient at times, but not too hard to live with.

The washing machine is slowly dying. Over the years, I've taken it apart and put it back together quite a few times. Eventually, machines just wear out. It still washes the clothes, but everything is slowing down. The heavy duty cycle isn't working right. My guess is that the electric motor is wearing out. Doesn't quite seem to have the same power it once had. Laundry can still be done on the normal cycle, so we make do. Even there, it doesn't spin the drum as fast as it used to and the clothes are wetter than they should be. At least they are clean.

One solution is to just run the dryer a lot longer. Of course, that strains the dryer, which had a major rebuild itself last year. Also uses more energy. Good thing I put in nice long clothesline outside. Saves energy and extends the life of the dryer.

The machine I'm really going to miss is the dishwasher. It's one of my vices. Yes, I know it's possible to hand wash dishes using a lot less water and energy. There are only so many hours in the day, and I don't want to spend any more of them than I have to washing dishes. My wife hates this machine as the noise drives her crazy. For me, it's the restful sound of me not hand washing dishes. Anyway, this machine too is slowly fading away. The gasket around the door is starting to leak. The top rack fell out once, but repairs seem to be holding. Wheels occasionally fall off the bottom rack. When this machines goes, it will not be replaced, in spite of my hatred of hand washing dishes.

My household infrastructure is a bit like the national infrastructure. My appliances are like the nations, roads, bridges, canals, railroads -the machinery of a nation. It takes investment to keep everything running. Patch jobs only work so long. The nation has neglected investment in its "machinery." The infrastructure of the nation is slowly wearing down. Just like me, the nation is going to have to struggle along with things that aren't as good as they could be.

One thing that tough times does for me is it makes me focus on what's important. What things in my life are truly important and worth the effort. Maybe the nation as a whole, after going through a rough patch, will figure out what's important and what's not. What machinery is worth the trouble and what isn't.

I'll tell you guys one thing. If my wife won't let me replace the dishwasher when it finally dies, she's going to start washing a lot more dishes her own self.



  1. Post an ad on Craigslist :

    'Wanted to buy: used appliances from foreclosed homes. Don't let the banks get your appliances for free, sell them to me!'

    So many new homes are going into foreclosure and the owners are leaving the appliances in the homes because the rental they're moving into already has appliances. You can get them super cheap, even the cabinets, sinks, HVAC, water heaters, etc. I have posted this advice in other places, and nobody seems to believe me, but I live in one of those expensive gated communities with foreclosures everywhere and it's happening all the time. People will practically give everything away to keep it from going to the banks.

  2. I agree with Jack. A friend of ours on disability was able to get a 3 to 4 year old matching washer and dryer. They are Maytag commercial quality heavy duty type delivered for $325.00 It was from craig's list too. We gave away our old dishwasher for free on craigslist. It worked well but inside was not looking so pretty. We only changed it out because the kitchen is getting a redo (FINALLY).

  3. My dishwasher died it's final death about 5 years ago. I had already replaced the pump, at great expense and waste of my Saturday. The washing machine pump went out last year. The body is rusting out. The dryer (knock wood) has only had the heating element replaced once about 6 years ago. One of the vehicles always needs something (my truck needs 2 new tires). Just replaced the A/C compressor for the house, and the A/C guy said the evaporator won't last too much longer. The ice maker in the 'fridge has been on the blink for a couple years. The roof leaks. There's rotting wood. The commode in the master bath needs plunger treatment if'n ya do #2. The BBQ is rusting apart. Driveway is cracked in 3 places. Fence is rusting away. Hmmm.... Did I leave anything out? Probably.

  4. Makes living in a tent look like a good idea.