How not to answer the door

Posted on January 28th, 2011

The other day, I practiced the fine art of humiliation. I answered the door in my jammies. At 10:38 in the morning. Now, lest you think me one of those slothful housewives who doesn’t get dressed until 10 minutes before she has to be in the carpool line, let me assure you of this.

I am so one of those slothful housewives.

But that day, when the UPS guy made a delivery while I was dressed in my faded flamingo pajamas, with my hair sticking up and my glasses on, that day it was Harry’s fault I was not dressed. Oh, please. Not because of that. For pete’s sake, this is a family blog. No, it was Harry’s fault because of the washer and dryer.

Here’s the deal. My washing machine recently began to make a strange noise. If I had to diagnose it, I would say my washing machine sounds like a cow somehow got stuck in the thingy that spins around and is trying desperately to get out every time I wash clothes. It’s either that or it’s begging very loudly to be allowed to die in peace.

In any event, I think it might be obvious to everyone on the planet that I need a new washing machine. Everyone except Harry, of course. No, to Harry, it was not obvious that we needed a new washing machine. For one thing, Harry is an engineer.

It’s a well-known fact that engineers are genetically bred to be completely incapable of two things: a) replacing a piece of mechanical equipment without taking several months to diagnose the problem and making a billion futile attempts to fix it; and b) making a major purchase without extensive research and numerous field trips to the appliance store to engage the 12-year old salesperson in technical discussions that can only end with the engineer being banned from shopping in said store for an eternity.

Toss into the mix that Harry is, quite possibly, the cheapest man on the planet and we have real problems here. Problems that led to me answering the door dressed as a scary flamingo woman.

Now, I tried my best to avoid these problems. One Saturday, I ran a load of wash and, as expected, the machine started moaning. Harry heard, and immediately told me that the washer wasn’t broken, it was overloaded. Seriously? It was walking across the laundry room. Call me crazy, but I don’t think washing machines are supposed to exercise. It was also making a mooing noise that I don’t believe washing machines are supposed to make. Plus, it was 14 years old. In washing machine years, that’s like 125 years old.

You try being 125 years old and wash a load of towels. I don’t think it’s easy.

So I did what any woman married to an engineer would do. I changed the laundry and put in a load of 3 t-shirts. And when the washing machine started mooing again, I simply let it moo. And do you know what my charming husband did?

Yeah, he closed the laundry room door.

Really? Really? The machine is begging to be replaced and he just shuts the door? How does that work? Anyway, after numerous attempts to get his attention (one of which, I confess, involved me yelling “for God’s sake, it just wants to die already”), Harry finally took a look at the washing machine. And his verdict was that the machine wasn’t quite dead, it was just nearly dead.

Hello, Captain Obvious. Where have you been all my life?

Anyway, as it turned out, I didn’t need to wait long for the poor thing to be put out of its misery (and as a bonus, I didn’t have to take it into the backyard and shoot it, either). The washing machine suddenly stopped mooing one day. And Harry had to agree to buy a new one or face a life of dirty underwear and stained t-shirts.

So that’s why I answered the door in the flamingo PJs. Not because I was out of clothes, but because I spent the entire morning researching washing machines. Oh, it’s not what you think–I wasn’t looking for reviews or ratings. I was trying to figure out which one came in the prettiest color.

You know, I may not be an engineer, but I know what is most important about finding a new washing machine.  And a matching dryer. After all, they need to match, right?

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11 Responses to “How not to answer the door”

  1. Joyce Says:

    Hilarious! I think engineer husbands are very similar to programer husbands! :-)

  2. Laurie Says:

    Yeah, I think they all have that same “anal-retentive” gene!

  3. ed T Says:

    wow…sounds like my parents…lol
    oh but they have u beat- 20 yrs was our machine’s lifespan….5 yrs of dad claiming the machine was “fine” and he’ll fix it…it’s an engineering thing…part of the degree – “because I am an engineer I can fix everything”….to not work and then admit defeat when said spouse/partner calls the ACTUAL repairman…lol

  4. Laurie Says:

    20 years? Your mother is a saint. A saint. At 20 years, i would have gone out, bought a new machine, had it installed and then said, “this old thing? We’ve had it forever” when questioned about it.

  5. Kiley Says:

    My engineer husband insists that you are totally wrong! And that he is not like that! There is nothing wrong with mooing, he says, and that we too do not need a new washing machine. LOL!

  6. Laurie Says:


    I think this should qualify as a scientific experiment to show that all engineers really are exactly alike!


  7. Gina Says:

    Ive read all of your blogs (When I first found this site I went back & read all of them, for hours.) And I love them! Im only 18 but I check your site weekly for new posts. I love to read and want to be a writer my self and your blogs are funny and inspiring. Write more! lol I need new stuff to read.

  8. Laurie Says:

    Hi Gina,
    Thanks so much! I love that teens read my blog. Good luck with writing and remember, there is no secret to writing. You just have to do it :)

  9. Doni Dorak Says:

    My husband is an engineer. He kept a plastic coffee mug for 10+ years. You could no longer see what was on it and the inside was stained brown. At least he’ll keep you till the day you die.

  10. Laurie Says:

    Doni, LOL! I always tell him that! He’ll do something and I’ll say, “You haven’t changed your style of jeans since 1983. I think we’re stuck with each other!”

  11. washing machine problems Says:

    washing machine problems…

    Manic Motherhood » Blog Archive » How not to answer the door…

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