the continuing storrrrry…

I have alluded to our new laundry appliances in other posts (allusion 1, allusion 2), but I haven’t told the true tale. I was going to wait until I knew how it was going to work out in the end, but today I no longer feel I can.

How it began:
As the winter wore on into spring, the clattering of the dryer drum (which had been more or less in play for dunnamany years now; My Sweetie rigged a gasket-buffer that slowed it for a while…) became louder, more persistent, and added metallic shrieking. If I were to go by the story-telling in the child-retrieval lines I’ve paused in, my chief dryer question had become not “how much longer?” but “will it go in a shower of clothes-ruining machine oil?”

As the spring rained off and on, the washer refused to spin-cycle when I chose our usual “permanent press, one rinse.” Originally it was a periodic misfire, but it quickly settled into never at all. Shifting to the “timed wash” option restored water removal… most of the time….

As the school term wound toward finals, the dryer’s moisture sensor quit. This was a little more difficult to discover, but a couple of unusually long-running, very crispy sessions confirmed that we no longer had access to the “wrinkle-free cool-down” option I treasure. Dive at the single buzzer, or iron.

That was the sweetie-convincing last straw. I researched, offered my recommendations, and we went forth one Saturday in early May to buy a washer/dryer pair.

Act 1:
Research indicated mail order was possible, but not especially cheaper/better than a local big-box hardware, and the local big-box hardware options were close to interchangeable…

but one was having a “pre-Memorial Day” sale and rebate. Done. We arrive, figuring we’d say what we wanted, hand them money, and go home. Instead we waited. And waited some more. And watched the lone harassed soul in the department try to serve the folks who had already been there when we arrived—there were some possible clients who came and went as we watched.

At last someone arrived who seemed to be able to make the proper entries in the point-of-sale system,

up to the point when we said we wanted a gas dryer, not an electric one, and that we hadn’t had a gas dryer before. He said we’d need a plumber to survey the site ahead of time, since gas dryers are special-order and not returnable. (Wha? That we’ve looked and there’s a gas valve in our spacious laundry room isn’t enough? Mmm ok?) We order the site-survey, and get a quote for the washer and dryer in order to hold (we hope) the special pricing.

Act 2:
My Sweetie continued to be ill-at-ease about not having actually bought the machines. After all, special pricing is a momentary thing. I agree to do what I can to make sure money changed hands, since we are already certain the gas dryer will be install-able. I call back on the Tuesday following, and reach the other Seasoned Appliance Person. He encourages me to come right over, so I do.

He looks up our details—that much was done well enough—discovers the site-survey, asks me a few questions. He shakes his head, affirms our prior salesperson as a well-meaning soul though inexperienced, and proceeds to both sell me the appliances we wanted and rescind/refund our site survey.

As he’s placing the order, he lets me know the equipment will arrive the last week of May. That’s no good, I say; no one will be home until after the beginning of June! No problem, he assures me, they’ll simply hold on to the machines until I return. They’ll call to schedule an installation time, and when I don’t respond, they’ll wait until I do. I comment that the phone number they have for me is local only; maybe they should have my cellphone, too? I’ll make a note in your file about both things, he says. I leave, satisfied.

Act 2, Scene 2:
The plumber (subcontractor)’s agent calls to schedule my site survey. I tell her no thank you, and I’d already gotten my money back. She sounds unconvinced, but can’t schedule what I’m not willing to put on a calendar. I’ll make a note in your file, she says.

Act 2, Scene 3:
My friend J, checking on my house during our absence, finds two sticker-notes on my door. They say, “BigBox has been here to deliver your appliance on <date, time>, but you did not open the door.”

Act 2, Scene 4:
After I return to Austin, I check the messages on our landline. BigBox called on two different days to inform me that they were arriving within two hours of the phone call; call them back if that wasn’t acceptable.
Which didn’t work, because there was no one to listen to the message until half a week later.

Act 3:
Another week goes by. The plumber’s agent calls to schedule the dryer delivery and installation. We pick a mutually agreeable time; with this information, I feel it’s time to reschedule the washer delivery.

I call BigBox’s delivery desk. I tell the young woman who answers that I’m ready to schedule my washer delivery (that had been missed before). Bewildered, she says, “Well, after the 13th the next available is…” I interrupt her. “My washer is going to be delivered on the 13th?” “Yes, ma’am.” “No one mentioned that!” “I don’t know anything about that, ma’am. Did you need to schedule that la…” “NO. No, the 13th will be fine. What time will it be delivered?” (This in a clipped tone.)  “Well, ma’am, I can’t see that on this screen. They will call you the morning of, though.” “Yes. I’m familiar with that. Thank you.”

Act 3, Scene 2:
The plumber, a delightful person, arrives Friday, June 8. Our gas valve is better suited to a chemistry lab table than a household appliance fitting, so he makes some assessments, calls in an order for a part, and leaves the dryer, etc, in my garage. They’ll be in touch when the valve comes in.

Act 3, Scene 3:
I cancel all my appointments for June 13th.
The only phone calls all day are from spam-bots. My only visitor is the postal carrier.

Act 3, Scene 4:
My Sweetie says I need to show up at BigBox in person to schedule the washer’s delivery. As I mutter about the nuisance of it all to J, she agrees—I need to show up at BigBox. I still don’t see how this would make a functional difference, but I appreciate the value of a Southern lady’s politely unhappy presence. Get me a delivery date, or the police can carry my limp body from the store. I decide to tackle this on the following Tuesday.

Act 4:
At BigBox’s customer service desk, I ask where I should go with a question about deliveries. “Do you want to schedule a delivery?” Me, tartly, “Well… SURE. That would probably be a place to start.” The staffer looks startled.

After asking me my phone number and name, she says, “So your dryer needs to be…” “NO. My dryer is FINE. That install is in process with the plumber. I’m asking about my WASHER.”

Silence. And much keyboard-tapping.
“I have my receipt here, if that would be helpful.” Silence. No moves in my direction. Tapping.

At long last, “I can only offer you the Tuesday the 26th.”
“They’ll call you in the morning to let you know what time of day they’ll be coming.”
“I’ve made a note in your file.”

I don’t cancel my at-home appointments. But I make sure I can be at the house all day.

Act 4, Scene 2:
My trainer has been pummeling me and twisting me around like a pretzel pretty much weekly since December. She calls it “assisted stretching,” the idea being that the sleep-destroying cramps I get in my left leg and hip will go away if those muscles are fully stretched and retrained. The theory is sound; the practice of fully stretching is beyond my mortal pain-avoidance capability. So she comes to my house—much more room for us to work in—for an hour or so each week. We now do this Tuesday mornings.

My landline rings right after breakfast; the delivery driver cheerfully assures me they’ll be at my house between 10 and noon. This sounds better than I’d hoped for, since my housekeepers are slated to arrive mid-afternoon, and they will wash my bedlinens if there’s a functioning set of appliances.

My trainer arrives, and we begin. While I’m face down and trying not to drool as she irons my leg with a roller, she comments, “I think that’s your delivery truck. Yep, they’re coming up to the door.” I get up, gather myself together, and pause for the doorbell to ring. “Aren’t you going to open it? They’re just standing there?” Bemused, I open the door. The driver has his hand outstretched, saying, “I thought I’d rung the doorbell, but I didn’t hear it go, so I was going to try again.”

I escort the driver and his colleague through the house, show them the elderly washer, and encourage them to use my back door rather than haul everything through my “sunken” living room. (It’s only one step lower than the rest of the house, but it’s still a nuisance. A parquet-floored nuisance, versus the washable vinyl in the back.) I leave them to it and return to my pretzel-dom, listening for thumps and sounds of water. I sign the paperwork when they’ve finished, leaving my new machine putting itself through its sloshy paces.

After the housekeepers have finished, I wash everything that might possibly need to be washed so I can see what the new machine’s like. Not just a delicates cycle, but a wool cycle-!

Act 4, Scene 3:
I call the number I have for the plumber’s scheduler. I saved it when he left it at the beginning of June. I have a brief conversation with Shane (not his name), where Shane manages to sound very frustrated despite using extremely few words. He says he’ll speak with my plumber, find out what’s going on, and get back to me.

Act 4, Scene 4:
I leave a message on Shane’s voicemail the next day.
I leave a message on Shane’s voicemail the next day after that. I try to sound as thoroughly dispirited as I feel.

Act 5:

Joe (not his name either) leaves a message on my cell phone (wootwoot!!) while I’m out exercising. In the message, he mentions that BigBox assures him that I changed my mind and ordered an electric dryer which has already been installed—annnnd he would feel more comfortable hearing that from me directly if I wouldn’t mind calling him.

Oh, oh, Joe—I would not mind a BIT! Sticky and damp, I call him right back, and affirm my desire to have THE GAS DRYER IN MY GARAGE installed in the way I’d discussed back at the beginning of June. He runs through the next steps, which include his submitting a valve-installation quote to BigBox, and BigBox then calling me to discuss said quote.

“…When do you think BigBox would be calling me? Tomorrow?”
“Oh, no! This goes quickly! I would figure they’d call you today. In fact, if they don’t call you by the end of the day, call me back.”

Act 5, Scene 2:
I call Joe back.

…to be continued…

today’s title comes from…

The slapstick seems apropos.
Also notice Kermit’s face throughout the episode.


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