Three years ago my wife pointed out that we needed a new washer and dryer. For years she had suffered with used appliances that we could pick up for a bargain, some of which had lasted as much as two years before clunking out.
Not long after that I found a deal for a new set at one of our local stores and took her there to see them.
"This set includes the new front loading washer technology," stated the tag on the front of the washer. She was excited and so we bought them.
"This washer will be very different to use than the old one," she told me as we hauled it to our house with my truck. "You can't do what you did in the past when washing clothes."
"Oh great," I thought to myself. Another thing to learn. Wasn't it bad enough that my kids had made me learn to text, that the new flat screen television I had bought a few months before had 112 channels instead of five and my wifes new car could be started without a key? All this new technology around me and now I have to deal with a washer that included new operating instructions too.
"You just can't glop stuff in the tank and expect it to turn out clean and looking good," she continued, knowing my propensity for using the "glug" system of measurement on everything I do, including washing clothes.
When we got home I unloaded the machines and removed the old ones from their former place of employment. They would now rest in the junk yard at the back of my property until I could either find a good use for them or they rotted away.
The new machines were the stackable kind so I put them where the old dryer had been. That left some room on the other side and of course we immediately found a way to fill that space up.
My wife tried them out and they worked fine. She kept trying to train me to use the new washer, but I kept giving her excuses when she would approach me such as "I have to go to the office and work on that special that is coming up so I don't have time today" or "You know the hinge is coming off the garage door and I need to fix it right now." There were always a million excuses why I couldn't learn about the new washing machine.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not a dinosaur about learning new technology, but when I don't see the use in it it is hard for me to commit. The dryer was easy and I could figure that out on my own. Therefore I rationalized that she may wash the clothes but I could put them in the dryer, therefore doing my part.
I can see all you women out there shaking your head about my reasoning on this.
The problem is that I often feel like an idiot when it comes to this stuff. No man likes to admit that he doesn't know something, and I have had to eat proverbial crow too many times in my life. I didn't want to try to learn something and then flub it up. There is nothing like failing at something as simple as washing the clothes in a new washer to make me feel shorter than I already am.
Finally though, I had to face the music. She had gone away for a few days to my sons house during the holidays to take care of grand kids in an emergency and there I stood with a large load of laundry flowing out of the top of the hamper in our closet. I needed some clean pants and there weren't any.
I thought about going down and just buying a couple of pair at the store, but worse than flubbing something up is being chicken. I would rather be a flubber than a chicken.
So I called her. I can't remember her exact words and all the details but it was something like "Just don't glug the detergent in, measure."
However she didn't mention measuring the bleach.
Needless to say, some blue jeans turned out like they came out of the 1970s with the white patches all over them.
I dried them and hid them away. I then went to the store and bought some new jeans.
She returned a few days later.
"New Levis I see," she said. "Where are the old ones."
"I guess they are in the dirty clothes," I fibbed in a vain attempt to hide my ignorance of actually operating the washer correctly.
"So why did you buy new ones," she asked.
"Well I saw a deal on them, two for one," I said scrambling to get out of the hole I was continuing to create with my lies.
"Hmm..." she mumbled. "Funny, I just went through the dirty clothes basket and there were no Levis in there."
I hung my head in shame, as if I was standing in front of St. Peter at the gate to heaven and had just told him an untruth that he had uncovered. He has nothing on my wife. She is very good at uncovering the truth. I should hire her as an investigative reporter.
"Okay," I admitted. "They are stuffed under the back seat of the flatbed truck.
"Now why would you put them there?" she asked. "Is it that they no longer look like the Levis you once had?"
I shook my head up and down.
"You used the glug system, didn't you?"
I shook my head, up and down again.
She then shook her head but in the other direction and not another thing was said about it.
She has since stopped trying to teach me about the washer, just like she has never pursued teaching me how to iron clothes after I burnt myself or bake bread after I exploded a loaf all over the kitchen.
I am hopeless. Why she keeps me around I don't know other than the fact that I do a very good job of cleaning out dog runs and changing the cat box in the basement.
My friends and associates all know about me and my ability to really mess certain things up. They often refer to my wife as a saint, because of what she has to put up with.
All I know is that somehow she sticks with me despite my temperament, my tantrums and my inability to grasp certain aspects of daily living.
So I get a nice holiday present every year about this time. It is the fact that she still hangs around despite my shortcomings.