I Suppose I Should Have Seen This Coming

It’s a wet day. It’s raining, and everything I’ve been doing in the house is related to water: washing the floor, scrubbing the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen (and the dishes in the sink), doing laundry. I’d decided to run the washer through a self-cleaning because I’d accidentally left a wet picnic blanket in it for a week. I put some laundry detergent in it and set the cycle. The only thing the electronic read-out tells me is Cln, so I have no idea how long it will take. It does what it does. It’s done when it’s done.

So I don’t know how much later it was that I went to check on it and decided to squat down and watch the process through the door. I was a little surprised that I couldn’t see anything.

That’s because everything was suds. It was up to its top in suds.

Huh. 

Did it do this last time?

Everyone knows a front-loading washing machine is hypnotic. It spins this way and then it stops, and then it spins the other way, and then it stops, and then it does a crazy superspeed spin thing, and you’re just there with your mouth open like, “How does it work?” Or maybe that’s just me, because most people don’t really spend that much time staring at their washing machine. But at some point, a noise broke my trance. A tiny, delicate noise.

Hey… what’s that sound? Is that the rain? 

I cocked my head. Listened.

Waaaaiiit…. that sounds like…

It did not sound like rain.

…SUDS.

Shit.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE EXTERNALLY ORIENTED SUDS.

I peered into the space between a stack of stored paint cans and my stacked washer and dryer.

THE SUDS WERE ESCAPING.

I believe my first thought was, Oh, for fuck’s sake.

You see, it has not been an ideal week. Lots and lots of very bad things happened to good people I know this past week. Four things just on Thursday. That’s, of course, in addition to all the bad things that were happening in all the places with the good people elsewhere, as the universe continues its seemingly unprecedented conspiracy to make everyone on Earth feel like there is absolutely no order to things anymore. And Friday started with a part of my car falling off and dragging beneath it as I drove to work, so that I had to pull into a parking lot, grab a large stick, and shove said part around until it was no longer dragging, so that I could at least get it to a gas station, where a nice young fellow told me I didn’t really need that part anyway, and ripped it off.

"Why did you run over that man?" Eliza wanted to know when I sent her this pic.  "Only way I could get him to stay still," I replied.

“Why did you run over that man?” my friend Eliza wanted to know when I sent her this pic.
“Only way I could get him to stay still,” I replied.

I feel sure the universe will prove him wrong about the car part. Also: does it seem odd to anyone else that there is even such a thing as a car part that isn’t necessary? Don’t misunderstand me: I’ll accept the answer, because the ordeal cost me $20 and not $2,000, but still, that seems odd to me.

I was attacked by a vicious curling iron the other day and have two pretty ugly burns on the inside of my left forearm that would be alarming to anyone who might see them.

One of them looks like a hickey. It is not. It just happens to be two or three colors.

One of them looks like a hickey. It is not. It just happens to be two or three colors.

Today I discovered that the cat had broken one of my grandmother’s porcelain dishes (don’t ask), and then I cut myself with it when I was trying to clean it up.

It's just too gruesome to show you without the bandage. Suffice it to say I had to stop cleaning. Obviously.

It’s just too gruesome to show you without the bandage. Suffice it to say I had to stop cleaning. Obviously.

Obviously, all of these things that have happened are far worse than the cancer diagnoses and wars that have been going on with my friends and other countries. And now I had this sort of Bobby Brady laundry situation happening. Because why wouldn’t it be happening? The universe is coked up and blitzed on an epic bender, hell-bent to prove its power while also being cross-eyed with irrational mania. Of course my washer is vomiting soap bubbles.

I grabbed a towel and squeezed into the space I had to work with, throwing the towel on the concrete floor to sop up as many of the suds as it could get (we were working on about two inches).

This is the space I was squeezed into.

I should not have had that ice cream the other night.

I should not have had that ice cream the other night.

While I was back there, I found the valve the suds were spewing forth from.

Escape hatch

Escape hatch

To  keep the constant output of suds from running down the machine to the floor, I had to hold the towel over it while contorting myself as much as my back would allow to see what was going on inside the washer.

Impenetrable.

Foam fortress.

Once I got everything sopped up, I stared at the washer door for a very long time. The suds were impenetrable. In seeming desperation, the washer kept trying another rinse cycle, but that was only making it worse. I kept squeezing back into the space to wipe the suds off the back of the machine before they’d make it to the floor, then coming back around to the front to stare at the door, willing the suds to thin just enough for me to see some sign that it might be over soon. I didn’t feel like I could leave my station for more than a few minutes at a time, so I kept running up and down the basement steps to try to get other things done before going back to check on what was going on with the machine. I think it took about two hours before there was a break in the wall of white and I could see steel.

Really, really clean steel.

Eliza and Jay’s youngest daughter is staying with me this weekend while her sister is on vacation with a friend and her parents are out of town on a quick romantic getaway, and she had come knocking while all this was happening. Fortunately, she’s used to a relatively steady dose of madness, and, being the rare delightful 14-year-old girl, just sat sweetly on the loveseat upstairs in the living room, texting her friends, while I pretended to have my household in hand. Now that she’s hanging out with a friend who’s been overseas for several months, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a text that she’s accidentally gouged out an eye.

It’s just the way the week has been going.

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6 thoughts on “I Suppose I Should Have Seen This Coming

  1. That’s hilarious SC. I laughed out load at the image of you peering into the foam. Maybe you used the wrong soap. I once put regular dish soap in a dishwasher (not knowing any better) and it went nuts =- just like your washer. It had the kitchen floor covered and was creeping into the living room before I caught it. Ha! And what a time to get it cleaned out. The suds just kept coming and coming and coming – it finished the cycle but there were still suds in it and I had to restart it and keep mopping until it was clear.Conversely I once ran out of regular dishsoap and tried using dishwasher soap in the sink. That was a flop – no suds at all – just turned the water grey and sat there. I guess I don’t thrash the water around in the sink quite as much as the dishwasher thrashes it around.

    Lessons in life. 😀 Great post.

  2. Does sound like you’ve had a crazy week! Let’s assume mercury’s in retrograde or something. BTW – the thing with your car? That happened to us when we were driving a rented Caddy on vacation two years ago. We drove through some floodwater, and then it started making this horrendous scraping noise. I thought we’d destroyed something that would end up making it the most expensive rental car ever, but after diagnosing it, Alan crawled under the front and ripped off a piece of plastic that was dragging. Since that happened, you’re now the fourth person who has had a similar experience. Seems like the car manufacturers would just stop already.

    • Something is sure as hell in retrograde, no? You gotta list six nations in violent hell before you even get to the ones where the problem is just devastating illness.

      I think if a part of a Cadillac had fallen off while I was driving it, I would have had a stroke. You’re so right – it’s much worse when it’s not your car. This part was apparently to “protect part of the muffler system.” It was a metal brace of some kind. To not need it seems to leave said system awfully vulnerable…

      Did you have classes all summer? When do fall classes start? I head back this week.

  3. I’m actually DONE. That’s the upside to doing a professional certificate program rather than a graduate degree. The downside is that you don’t get a useful credential to add to your resume. But in hindsight, I think I would’ve gone nuts had I done more than a six month intensive. Good luck!

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