“A SINGLE MAN OF LARGE FORTUNE; FOUR OR FIVE THOUSAND A YEAR. WHAT A FINE THING FOR OUR GIRLS!” –– Mrs. Bennet
After a family trip to the pool , and four wet dirty chlorine-smelling towels later, as well as the three my daughter used to give the dogs a bath, I figured it was time to test out my done-it-herself job. I made sure as I loaded and begun the wash to watch for leaks. After ten minutes and in full agitation mode, I do believe I patted myself on my back. I returned to the editing of my book To Refine Like Silver, which I have begun to post on Meryton.com. I had a thought that I should check it after ten minutes and so I did. I stepped into the laundry room to find inches of soap and water flowing in whirlpools on the ground.
I slipped off my moleskin slippers and rolled up my pants and waded in. Sure enough, the drain pipe had come off. I assumed it got dislodged as I returned the washing machine into its correct position. Drat! I reattached it and started sweeping the water out the door to the outside. I had the majority of the water and bubbles running freely down my sidewalk when the washing machine started the spin cycle. There is not just gravity or even centripetal force helping the water be evicted from the very large load of towels, it was a tornado of a geyser. The drain hose had been spit right back out as if it was a hot pepper in the mouth of my very mild tolerant 7 year old daughter. To say I got drenched was an understatement. I had to reach for the escaping hose which was being thrown every which way through the torrents of warm soapy, and yes, dirty dog and chlorine smelling water to reattach it. This time I held it on until the spin cycle ended. I still needed the water wrung from my towels. The machine needed to end its process.
So by this second time of sweeping out the water, I decided that even though it was 8:00 at night, Home Depot was going to earn my business once again. I transferred the towels to the dryer and took off my saturated clothing and feeling somewhat somber at the obvious failure of my fix-it job (notice I didn’t say did-it-herself because I was feeling the full wrath of my self-humiliation of how I had really “done-it”), I grabbed the hose and was determined to find a solution.
In exasperation, hair still wet and plastered in every which way, perhaps even mascara running freely, I asked the first Home Depot man I could find if the hose was supposed to have a clip of some kind to keep it attached to the machine. He led me to the opposite end of the aisle from where I bought the hose. (Mind you, they couldn’t keep it near the hose itself, or God forbid the hose come with it!) But I followed the guy there and watched as he handed me a $0.99 tin clip. He looked at me with some level of sympathy but there was an element of humor in his eyes. Yes, he had just offered me what should seem like an obvious solution that I was oblivious of moments before.
I have to admit here, that for the briefest of moments, I thought “Perhaps having a guy around to help with these projects would be helpful!” But the moment was short lived and I recovered quite nicely. Thank goodness. I learned that $0.99 could buy me a great deal of peace of mind. A man would cost much much more.
So what did I learn from this unwanted shower? I learned that a snug fitting plastic hose expands with hot water and will not stay in place with geysers of excreted waste water, it needs a thin piece of tin to be tightened securely to ground it when the torrents come. That is much like each of us in our own lives. It usually is not the big things that ground us and keep us not only sane but functional as well–– it is the little things that matter. I also learned that learning things the hard way sometimes is the only way, no matter how well you prepare or ask for advice.
So I will endure the sympathetic looks from Home Depot associates. I will put one foot in front of the other and remember that I will never have this experience again. The lesson was learned and I now can say I have successfully ran another load of laundry (with said clip securely, very securely, attached) and can add to the “do-it-yourself” list my ability to hook up a washer successfully.
But all this made me wonder, what would $0.99 buy me in Regency times? Could it buy bread? Could it buy the peace of mind as my piece of tin did to me? What of the 10,000 pounds Darcy earned? How much was it really?
I did a little research and found this interesting table. You can find the whole article at http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/category/money-in-regency/
My point I want to make is that 10 farthings back then was a minuscule amount and probably bought a loaf of bread or piece of candy, but for me? My $0.99 bought me peace of mind. Not only have I learned a lesson the hard way, but I have the benefit of laughing at the lesson, especially when I almost lamented over the fact that I have no Mr. Darcy (and his 10,000 pounds) to attach a hose properly. I almost sold my independence for $0.99! And like I said before, a man in my life would cost me much, much more. It is a price I’d be willing to pay when I do find my Mr. Darcy, but for now? I’ll pocket that money and be happy with my independence.
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