One evening this week Alex made a shock discovery that sent a chill down my spine and left ice deep in the pit of my stomach.
“The washing machine appears to have broken.”
I nearly dropped the sleeping baby. What..? How could this have happened? What were we going to do?
We have an even division of labour in our house. One of us cooks, the other person clears up. One of us fetches wine, we both drink it. Being equally as unkeen on domestic chores, we have a cleaner. But you can’t really outsource all your washing, can you? And the amount of winter washing with a toddler and a baby, as any parent will tell you, is both unavoidable and immense. There it remains; an inescapable symbol of domestic drudgery. Whoever is around gets the pleasure, which, because I’m currently at home for most of the week, is often me.
So the washing basket sits sits there, gently mocking me with its overflowing sides. Recently, foolishly, I thought I glimpsed the bottom, but it was a false hope; within seconds it was covered up again. If I stage a rebellion and refuse to attend to it for a few days, it rises back up like a phoenix from a fabric flame.
If the washing basket is a – not so mortal – foe, then the washing machine is a brutal weapon in its ongoing war against me. It is all at once both my best friend and worst enemy. And as me and Alex looked on helplessly at the flashing control panel and the wet clothes trapped inside, it didn’t look good.
So if it wasn’t quite panic stations while we waited the next day for the engineer to work some magic, then it was something close. “Please tell me you can fix it!” I begged. He grimaced, made more faces and then eventually, after a lot of fiddling around held something aloft triumphantly. “This is to blame!” he said.
We leant in closer. And there is was. the aforementioned filter-blocking breast pad. Who knew the washable ones don’t mix well with machines? I was just trying to do my bit for the landfill.
So luckily we now have a fixed machine, but it comes right when we’re still getting over the bill to fix the downstairs loo that broke on Christmas Eve when we had a full house (culprit: baby wipe). Parenting – it’s one household disaster after another just waiting to happen. And clearly, the net bag that washable breastpads came in have a purpose, who knew?