The Rockwood Files: Letter to My Machines

Dear appliances,

We’ve been together a long time now. And you’re great. Really, you are. I want you to know how much I appreciate all the work you do around here. I seriously don’t know how I’d run the household without you.

But the truth is, I need a break. I need an appliance vacation. I’m just a little tired of stuffing clothes into the washing machine every single day. I resent being at the beck and call of the clothes dryer’s alarm. I can’t just drop everything and rush upstairs to empty it every time it says so. I’ve got work to do, kids to feed and another riveting round of Junior Monopoly to play. By the time I get back to the dryer, the load of dry laundry has developed a few thousand wrinkles and is begging for a visit from its cousin, the iron. But I broke up with him years ago. He’s still collecting dust at the top of the closet.

So I make my peace with the wrinkles and begin the tedious task of folding the clothes. And I fold, and I fold, and I fold. As I run around the house depositing those stacks of folded clothes and towels back into their designated drawers and shelves, I have the strangest feeling of deja vu. Didn’t I just fold and put away this very same Elmo t-shirt just a few days ago? And then I realize that, yes, I did. After a quick trip to the backyard to play with the dogs, it landed right back in the washing machine. Oh, this vicious laundry cycle can wear a person out!

Sure, I could take a day off from laundry now and then. Maybe I could even take off a whole week. But we all know I’d end up staring at a mountainous pile of dirty t-shirts, jeans and Spiderman underwear, and it would take the better part of the following week just to conquer that mountain. No, it’s not worth it. A load a day keeps the mountainous piles away.

Don’t even get me started on the dishwasher. Sure, he’s a huge help but he needs to be emptied nearly every day! I’m beginning to measure my week by how many times I’ve sorted the forks, knives and spoons. By the time I’ve reached five or so, I know the weekend must be getting close.

And what’s going on with the refrigerator? Did you know she’s been secretly hoarding dinner leftovers for weeks now? Just today I opened her up and discovered a box containing two-week-old taco pizza that had nearly fossilized. Then I found a forgotten fruit that had oozed juice everywhere. If the oven can clean itself, why can’t the fridge have a self-cleaning crisper drawer? How was I supposed to know two weeks had flown by since I cleaned it out last? I was too busy folding clothes.

I know how this must sound. I don’t mean to seem ungrateful. I know that without all of you, I’d be scrubbing that Elmo t-shirt against a washboard and hanging it out to dry. Without you, the milk would spoil after only a day. Believe me when I say it’s not you, it’s me. I just need some space. Even the best of friends need a little time away.

So please understand if I let the lid slam down on the washing machine now and then. Don’t hold it against me if I let crumbs pile up in the bottom of the toaster. It’s just that there are so many of you who need attention and only one of me. A girl has to get out now and then for some fresh air and sunshine, perhaps a relaxing trip to the mall or the hair salon. When I come back, I promise I’ll be better. I’ll empty the dishwasher with gratitude and fold that wrinkled laundry with a smile on my face. Because we’re all in this thing together. Running a household is a big job, and we can’t afford for any one of us to break down. Keep the faith, my friends.       


Your benevolent master