Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Revisiting Washers, Toilet Paper Rolls, And Good People

 ["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published Nov. 27, 2019] ©2019 

One true upside to writing Let Inga Tell You for the last ten years is the opportunity to learn from readers.

We’ll get to my recent column about toilet paper in a moment but first, I’d like to revisit my column from earlier in the year about my brand-new washing machine.  It seems I am not the only person who is exasperated by the “smart” features installed in most new washers.  “Balance” seems to be a particular problem across many brands (probably not all that surprising since one repair guy maintained they’re all made in the same factory in China).  My machine wants to self-balance but if there is anything in there heavier than underwear (God forbid you should want to wash towels), it is scientifically designed to shift everything to one side then sound like it is agitating a bowling ball.  The only person more scared of this machine than the dog is me.  I can’t leave the house when it is running as I have to be prepared to race in and stop a machine that is literally flailing around like it’s possessed before it ends up in the living room.  Multiple calls to the warranty service people have ended with them suggesting I “not wash heavy objects in it.”  These would be the same heavy objects I have been washing in its predecessors for 40 years.  I did finally find one semi-solution which is to ignore all instructions in the manual.  I now over-ride the auto water level sensor on virtually all loads  and wash everything on “deep water wash and rinse” thereby obviating all the ecological advantages this stupid, useless machine was supposed to have.

And now to toilet paper rolls. I had long thought that the country was divided into Red States and Blue States but really it all comes down to advocates of ever-larger toilet paper rolls versus saner, nicer people who think toilet paper rolls should actually fit on toilet paper spindles.  By coincidence, the day my column appeared, the Wall Street Journal had an article about how Charmin and other toilet paper companies were responding to customer clamor for ever-larger rolls so they’d have to be changed less frequently.  I was whining about Charmin’s newer Super-Mega rolls but it turns out I was already waaaaay out of date.  Charmin now has Forever Rolls that sport 2,500 sheets and come with their own starter kit including a free-standing dispenser which in my house we’d have to take out the bathtub to accommodate.  The WSJ reporter did note that no matter how many sheets of toilet paper you get on a roll, it will still be the woman of the house who ends up changing it. 

I also had not been aware that a newer ecological move in the Toilet Paper Industrial Complex is tube-less rolls.  I have read the arguments for this and about why it is just a waste to be throwing out all those cardboard tubes (unless you have grade school kids. Do away with those tubes and you’ll never get a school-made Christmas gift again). If people whine about the five seconds it takes to shove a dowel through a new roll and snap it into the dispenser, try threading a dowel through a squished mass of a toilet tissue whose alleged opening has disappeared somewhere between denuding the forests of Canada and your local market. I gather from readers there is a lot of “GAH!s” and bad words that often go on in the process. 

As for the column about finally getting a window air conditioner for our bedroom after three brutally hot summers in a row?  It was one of the coldest summers on record and we used it for exactly 10 minutes – and even that was during a brief episode of Indian Indigenous American summer in early October. 

And now an update on Charles, the wonderful security guard at the credit union in the Staples shopping center in Pacific Beach whom I wrote about in March, 2016.  We’ve become fast friends ever since he ran out in a sudden downpour and saved me from running over my iPhone which had fallen out of my purse as I hurled wet packages into my car.  He refused a reward, but when I got home, I sent a letter to the manager of the credit union extolling his character. I never go to that shopping center without stopping for a hug and chat with Charles.  At the time, I said I hoped he had at least posted the column I wrote about him in the break room and maybe shared his new-found fame with his family too.  But in a comment that has stuck with me ever since, he modestly demurred. “Nah. I was raised by my grandma. She said that if you do something nice for someone, you keep it to yourself.” 

Charles for President?

 Washing machine from hell

The wonderful Charles, rescuer of cell phones

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