Life lessons from a clogged washing machine

I posted on Facebook last weekend how grateful I was for an unclogged washing machine…

The embarrassing thing about this escapade is not so much the reason why the machine was clogged in the first place (more of which in a moment – nothing gross I promise you) but the fact that this is not the first time this has happened.

I haven’t seen them for a while, but a year or so ago those public information ads on the TV were encouraging to lower the temperature on our washing cycles to 30degrees C. Around the same time the washing powder companies got in on the act and started telling us how good their new and improved washing powders were.

To digress for a moment, that reminds me – am I the only person who wants to ask what exactly those improvements were (they were usually gloriously vague about this) – I sometimes wondered whether the improvement was that they’d managed to find a way to sell us less for more… in other words the improvement was in their profits, not in my experience of their product…. but anyway.

So like good citizens we turned our washing machine down as instructed.

About six months later we had our first problem with the washing machine – it just would not empty at the end of the cycle. I don’t remember for sure, but I think we actually called someone out to look at it but in any event we were hugely relieved when the answer was discovered to be that running the machine at lower temperatures can allow for the build-up of washing powder in the drain hose, eventually obstructing the free drainage of the machine.

The solution? Run the machine on a very hot wash every so often to keep the drain clear!

I hate to admit it, but I think we’ve forgotten this several times since then and, sure enough, the latest crisis (late last week) was resolved in exactly the same way – emptying the contents of the machine in to a bucket and then run the machine through a hot-wash cycle.

I’d like to say that this time we’ll remember to do this as part of the normal cycle of washing – once a month or so – but I have a nasty feeling that I’ll be back pondering how we’re going to afford to replace washer in just a few months…

My that was a long introduction to the lesson – fortunately it’s a simple one. Clearly my washing machine is designed to function best when asked to deal with a very hot wash every so often. It occurred to me, as I was pondering this, that in much the same way we seem to function best when life asks us to deal with difficulties every so often – it keeps us sharp and focussed on what really matters.

The problem for us is that the lifestyle we’re encouraged to expect (and aim to achieve) is a risk and problem free one – but in fact that’s not only unrealistic – so we end up struggling to cope with crisis when it comes our way…

I’m not advocating the deliberate artificial creation of a crisis in your life every few weeks – but you might as well live expecting them to happen and being prepared to make the best of them when they do.

Now I guess I’d better get back to that washing…