Thankful In The Little Things

tea kettle steaming

When we moved into our current house several years ago, we chose to add hook-ups for our washer and dryer in the garage.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, and for the most part it has been easier.

  • We only have to walk down four carpeted steps rather than 10 narrow wooden ones.
  • The garage, without a car in it, has more room than the basement may have given.
  • The garage does not get water covering the floor in the Spring time.  The first Spring in our home we had a layer of water flowing to sump pump.  While it has not happened to that extent since, it is a normal part of life in our neighborhood.
  • The garage is brighter.
  • The garage is closer to the clothes line outside, though we use the dryer mostly.
  • I can let the kids play outside while I work on the laundry.
  • The washer and dryer are not located right underneath our bedrooms.  (We don’t hear them running if I start a load at night time.)
  • The access to the basement stairs is through some narrow doors, onto a narrow landing – there is not much room to move.  I am not even sure if we could get our water and dryer down there, and don’t want to risk falling down the stairs to find out.

In all, I am glad we decided to put it there.  Some people thought it was an odd decision, but it works for us.  Most of the time.  As I learned the first winter, there is one down side.

  • When it is below freezing for more than a day or two, the washer freezes up.  This has a lot to do with the fact that garage door doesn’t close all the way.  It is like having an open door when the wind blows.  We can not replace the door without doing some work to the opening, as there is not enough room on each side to attach a new door.  The joys of an older home.

The first time this happened, I had no idea why it was not working.  It took many try and a lot of pondering to figure out what exactly caused it to do this and how to handle it.  Over time, I figured out which parts tend to freeze first and how to handle those before trying the more complicated methods.

The rain pipe from the washer is usually the first place water freezes.  This pipe is along an outside wall, it makes sense that it would get cooler first.  The solution for this is easy – boil water in the tea kettle and pour it down the drain about 10 minutes before wanting to do laundry.  It melts the ice and all is right with the world again.  (It took a several times, and a lot of water on the floor, for me to figure that one out.  I thought it was happening inside the washer till I saw it happen.)

pots of boiling water to do laundry

Then next part to freeze up is the actual workings inside the washer.  Sometimes all it takes is putting boiling water in the tub of the washer and a blanket around it to help melt the frozen parts.

heat lamp on washerOther times external heat is needed.  This is currently the only heater we have to use.  There is a safety setting that turns it off it it is tipped over.

While this is great for warming up your feet or a small room, it does not do a quick job.  Once the washer gets to this point, you can count on having to wait a few hours before you can use the washer.

This may seem like a complicated process to go through, and it can be, but in the majority of winters since we have lived here this process only needs to be done less than a handful of times each winter.  Last winter I am not sure I had to do it at all, and if I did it was just to pour boiling water down the drain pipe.

This past winter however was a completely different story.  We went months when the temperatures did not get over freezing.  If they did, it was for a few hours during the day, after a night of very cold temperatures.  For the most part our laundry was getting done on one day every other week or so.  The kids were encouraged to wear their sweatshirts several times, their pants until mommy said they were allowed to put them in the dirty clothes, etc.  Being winter, it was not like they were muddy or overly dirty anyway, so this was not such a huge inconvenience for them.

If the conditions were right to be able to do laundry, everything else I had planned for that day took a back seat.

Finally, my husband in all his wisdom (and tired of seeing his wife work so hard just to do laundry) proclaimed one Saturday that he was going to the laundry mat … all of 6 blocks from our house.  (Now, why didn’t I think of that?!)

The first time he went, he washed and dried the clothes.  After doing so, and coming home, he shared his realizations with me.

  1. It is expensive to do laundry at the laundry mat.
  2. Our dryer works just fine and we can save money by bringing the wet clothes home.
  3. Maybe we should move the laundry stuff to the basement.

I agreed with him on the first two (having already realized #2 before he left, and thought he had too.) but not the third.  “Why should we make my life more difficult for 90% of the year, and potentially sprain an ankle, just because of a few weeks of having to take longer to do laundry?”

I suggested we look for a smaller washer to put in the basement for those few times during the winter that the one in the garage is not working.  So, now I am keeping my eyes open for a small used washer.  I have a price range in mind (mainly how much it would cost us to do laundry at the laundry mat several time during a winter.)

So what is it that I am thankful for?

  1. I am thankful to have a washer to have this “problem” at laundry time.
  2. I am thankful to have a garage that keeps my washer out of the elements and constantly connected to a water source.
  3. I am thankful to have a washer that is connected to a water heater, so I do not have to always heat water if I want it for laundry.
  4. I am thankful, now, to be able to do laundry without having to defrost the washer.
  5. I am thankful for having the option to add a washer to another part of our house.
  6. I am thankful for having the hook up for water and electricity for that second location already in place.
  7. I am thankful for having the funds to make buying another washer an option.
  8. I am thankful for having a husband who was willing to take laundry to the laundry mat for his wife (so she would not have to go with kids in tow).
  9. I am thankful the funds available to look for a used heater this summer at garage sales, to hopefully make the garage warmer this next winter.

These things may not be earth shattering evens to say “Thanks” for, but they are things that are not guaranteed.  These are things that I choose to be thankful for, rather than complaining that for two or three months it was difficult to do laundry.  I am pretty sure there are people who would love for this to be one of the biggest problems they are having to deal with on short-term basis.

What are some of the things you are choosing to be thankful about?  Is there something about which you need to change your perspective?