"21" read the dial. Two glowing green numbers glaring at me from its "advanced" blackened face next to a label touting the wonders of the "Calypso" washing system. An immortal sea nymph you are not, my dear large appliance.
I could hear the basin struggle to fill, then drain, then fill, then drain in a torturous holding pattern of cleanliness. The white cow bayed and mooed as it stared at me with its lowing "2" and "1" seemingly begging me to free it from its burden, to lighten its load.
So I sighed and lifted the lid.
A full load of towels were in the bottom, sopping wet and covered in white sudsy foam.
"Really?" I yelled at the gaping mouth of the machine, "REALLY?"
I reached into the murky depths and removed a single turquoise wash cloth. Holding it under the running water of the sink I rinsed free the layer of suds, wrenched the wetness from it and flung it in the dryer.
Next, a kitchen towel. I continued this foolish game of "Holly the Washing Machine" for another hour while I waited for Harry to return from one of his many weekend errands. He always needs to run somewhere - as if staying home with me for more than three hours at a time would cause his curly head to explode, showering us all with toy stats, chocolate sprinkles and binary code.
The light flickered above me from a dying florescent as I continued to wring the neck of a sand colored Ralph Lauren bath sheet. The light hurt my eyes, the rinsing and wringing was painful and the daunting pile of unwashed clothes at my feet made my brain hurt.
At that moment, all of the frustrations of the past month, weeks, years, minutes and hours were poured into the act of un-sudsing my towels.
With each triumph fling into the waiting dryer I felt my sanity slowly returning - if not my work light.
Finally - I had one towel left.
A large white monstrosity "accidentally" lifted from one of Harry's many hotel visits.
I attacked it like a woman possessed, sloshing suds and water down the front of my not-suitable-for-public-wear Thumper shirt. I kneaded it like a dough ball and watched as the water grew opaque with foam. Blasting it with the spray hose I felt satiated. Done.
I tossed in a Snuggle dryer sheet and hobble-walked over to the couch in the other room feeling pains in my back and legs that my sedentary lifestyle doesn't usually offer.
My phone tinkled with the sounds of "Tainted Love."
"Hey - did the washer start again?" Harry asked.
"No, it's dead. Let's buy new ones. Red ones."
"We'll see. Hey - don't try to get those towels out yourself - you could get hurt."
"Wouldn't dream of it," I lied.
Later - when he got home with dinner and found me passed out on the couch with a streak of detergent down my front and between my toes, I would explain the need to fix what is broken, but for now, I bask in the glory of an accomplishment.
Until I run out of clean underwear.