When we moved into our house here in Eugene we had to spend a bunch of money on some immediate updates — my memory is so bad I’m fuzzy on the details, but I’m pretty sure the kitchen was carpeted, among other criminal decorating decisions including a strip of hideous decorative flowered wallpaper that bordered the living room walls and a paint job in the main bathroom the previous owner described proudly as “hand sponged” which produced the general effect of a Sherwin-Williams-soaked dog having rubbed itself on various surfaces — and thus had little left over for appliances, so we cheaped out across the board. Our microwave is so old it just has a egg-timer style dial so you can’t program it by seconds, which has resulted in many soft pretzel thawing disasters, and our dishwasher has been long plagued by a weird glitch where it does something mysterious and unhelpful with that expensive fast-dry fluid while reliably producing soaking wet clean dishware every single time, but whatever: our stuff mostly works, even if it’s not particularly fancy.

We did recently have to get a new washer and dryer, replacing the truly ancient used set we had originally bought off Craiglist. The old set had bare-bones functionality: you turned a dial and water would start pouring out, you pushed a button and the dryer would loudly rumble to life. When a cycle was complete both machines released a grating buzzing sound that was apparently intended to notify the entire neighborhood that the laundry was done, although I must say that never stopped me from forgetting to grab things before they succumbed to fatal amounts of wrinkling.

In comparison, the new set feels like an advanced robot duo, full of complex programming possibilities and an oddly charming selection of upbeat electronic noises. Starting a load now involves pressing several buttons before leaving the machine to furrow its digital brow (“SENSING,” reads the display) before getting down to business (“LID LOCKED,” the display informs me, warningly). Boop boop BOOP, the dryer says cheerfully once the power button is pressed, then trills a delightful little tune when it’s finished. Which I of course routinely ignore, because all the technological advancements in the world haven’t solved the ass-painery of folding laundry, especially children’s laundry which is always always ALWAYS inside-out.

As with generations before me, I find myself both embracing and rejecting the new way of doing things. It is undeniably cool that my washing machine feels like something out of the Jetsons, but I’m sure some eventual electronic malfunction will have me raging about how they just don’t make things the way they used to.


15 Responses to “Modern Maytag”

  1. Pete on February 4th, 2020 4:58 pm

    I’ve had a Samsung washer and dryer or about ten years now. Sounds like what you’ve got. Only had one problem with the washer, the pump went out. Only a $30 dollar item but an afternoon to put it in. Also, it’s concept of time is weird. It can have a ‘7’ on the screen but still take 30 minutes to finish.

  2. TinaNZ on February 4th, 2020 7:03 pm

    I see your boop boop and raise you – the NZ National Anthem! http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/8824033/Fisher-and-Paykel-goes-patriotic
    My children (adults who are still at home) have long since learned that however it goes into the wash, that’s how it comes out. Still, though, tight little balls of sock, smh.

  3. Annie on February 4th, 2020 7:15 pm

    I’m scared of the day my 17 year old Maytags shit the bed. I’m worried about my ability to operate the fancy ones. My phone, my tv, my computer are all smarter than me already!!

  4. Samantha Campen on February 4th, 2020 7:49 pm


  5. Lee on February 5th, 2020 7:05 am

    Samantha wins!

    I know it’s supposedly bad form for husbands to buy wives appliances for birthdays, anniversaries, etc, but a new dishwasher would make me so happy right now…

  6. k on February 5th, 2020 8:01 am

    Samantha Campen, I was coming to find out the same! 😂

  7. Elizabeth_K on February 5th, 2020 8:54 am

    I get so attached to old things, even old things I started out not liking, that I struggle with the new. I thought that was where you were going, but then you embraced it — nice twist. I hope your fancy washers work forever.

  8. Linda on February 5th, 2020 8:55 am

    Samantha: SNORFLE

  9. Andrea on February 5th, 2020 6:38 pm

    Lee-if it’s supposedly bad form for husbands to buy wives appliances, what is it when one’s children (all young adults) buy and install a dishwasher for their mom’s birthday? It wasn’t a surprise, but I couldn’t have been happier. I despise handwashing dishes.

  10. Stephanie M on February 6th, 2020 11:46 am

    I think it was about your kids age when I started two rules: 1) I was not responsible for checking pockets. You leave something in them, not my problem. 2) I fold it in the condition it came out. If you put it in the hamper inside out, it likely came out the same way and got folded the same way. Especially socks, omg with inside out socks. If it was halfway inside out (IE one pant leg) it was determined by my mood which leg got “fixed”. 😂😂

  11. Becky on February 6th, 2020 11:47 am

    You should probably choreograph your completion tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg69ajQ-Pao

    We have a Samsung and it plays this same tune, makes me giggle everytime.

  12. Shawna on February 7th, 2020 1:31 pm

    May I suggest outsourcing folding to your children? Yours are the same ages as mine and it’s been their job for at least 5 years to do all the folding of all the laundry, then they have to put away their own clothes plus the linens.

  13. Belle on February 12th, 2020 5:13 am

    Sounds like our LG with the Sensing (how? and I don’t trust it) and Lid Locked, which I hate because I always find something else to throw in and I’m too lazy to figure out how to do the “pause” without resetting the whole dern thing. Give me dials and knobs!

  14. Shawna on February 13th, 2020 9:42 am

    Hey, coincidentally my mom asked me to research a new dishwasher and clothes washer for her – anyone love theirs and would recommend it for a couple of retired seniors?

  15. Shawna on February 13th, 2020 9:43 am

    Oh, I think the washer has to be front-loading.

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