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Sunday, October 20, 2019

What happens when something you’ve counted on for so long is no longer there to help you? Well, the piles of laundry begin to grow—literally. When our washing machine’s interior began smoking during a wash, I was annoyed. I still had three loads of laundry to do, how dare it break down? Then I was in denial; I’ll just let it rest for a while and maybe it’ll fix itself on its own. Finally, I came to the realization that I should probably call the manufacturer. The customer service agent scheduled a diagnostic appointment. When we were told the cost to fix the broken motor and shredded belt would be $427 dollars, we said no thank you. You see, we had a backup plan. All these years we’ve kept a spare washing machine for this moment. But then, when it was hooked up, it too was not in working order. Oh, the irony.

My kids and I spent an hour in Sears looking at all the different washing machine models. The salesman was eager to make a sale, throwing around all the Yiddish phrases he knows. The first model he showed me was the “Mercedes of Washing Machines,” his quote, not mine. Well, none of the others seemed to match up to that one. But, I came to terms with the fact that my laundry room isn’t the place for a Mercedes. Oh well.

While my laundry life was in turmoil, so many other wonderful things were going on around me. At this time of year when we are about to celebrate Chanukah and Thanksgiving, I stopped to realize all there is to be grateful for. When my kids were kvetching that their drawers were empty, I turned to family for some help. When you can count on your family for help and they can count on you, it makes a world of difference. I schlepped (maybe the salesman’s Yiddish rubbed off on me) five loads of laundry to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house. The kids were thrilled to play with their cousins, and dinner out altogether at Shnitzel+ was an added bonus!

That night, our clothes were clean, and I smiled. There was a sense of relief. This was one of those simple things in life that we sometimes take for granted. Our lives depend on the here and now—instant gratification. We don’t always need patience because so many things in life are immediate. I told my kids about the “olden days,” when people would wash their clothes in the river. I wish I could have bottled the laughter that ensued. We talked about how we are so lucky for all the helpful things around us. But then we talked about how we should handle moments when things don’t go our way. And we discussed how thankful we are for family. I love these teachable moments!

I am happy to say, after doing some research, (my husband’s idea, not mine; I just wanted a machine right away), we chose a new machine from Yudin’s Appliances. They removed the old machines and hooked up the new one. The joy of clean clothes! Hopefully, I won’t have to air any more of our dirty laundry in public again.

Tova Knecht is a 2nd grade general studies teacher and Kindergarten computer teacher at The Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey. She spends her summers as Head Counselor for Camp 613 Girls. To arrange for Rainbow Loom or other craft events, Tova can be reached at TovaKnecht_gmail.com.

By Tova Knecht