New Washers

We recently got new washing machines and dryers. Our old ones had come from donations by Saint Vincent de Paul. 125 convicts 3 washers 3 dryers x 10 years. So they say the old ones were worn out. Well, about 7 years ago they were at that stage.

The arrival of the new machines brought quite the excitement. All New and Shiny. But the Dials were gone. Only one big clue was left to determine cycle delicate, spin & rinse, bulky items, etc. The place where there was written things like hot, warm, cold, or energy save there was a plug. A silver plug.

At least we could adjust something. In prison you treasure any control over anything at all. But… when you opened the lid everything was gone! Just this big drum with no center thing in it. The round thing with the fins that swished and swashed the clothes was gone.  That thing that you put soap in was gone. It looked like a big bucket filled with holes.
– How the hell does this thing wash clothes?
– Well maybe you have to swish and swash them manually.
– Somebody get some clothes.
Now we will get to the bottom of this. Someone turned it to Bulky Items and turned it on. Nothing happened.
– close the lid, someone said.
With the lid closed it came to life with an audible click. A red light came on that said Do not open. Immediately ten sets of hands reached for the lid. Something was going on we weren’t supposed to see or know about. It was locked. It would not open. The convict with the clothes arrived.
– Open the lid.
– It’s stuck, someone said.
Not being there for the loud click and the red light coming on he said
– Let me try.
With both hands he grabs the lid in the handle grove and pulls. Nothing. He pulls harder and POW! Up comes the lid with a wire now attached to one corner and into the hole below in the washer. It went quiet.
We just stood looking at it. The only thing alive in it was the red light that said Do not open.
– This thing don’t work. Let’s try the other one.

We moved down to washer #2 this time putting in the clothes and the soap, setting the dial to bulky items (thinking that must mean extra clean), and put the lid down. Once again it set to clicking, clacking, a hum, then clack the red light was on.
– I hear water running
10 ears were stuck to various parts of the washer.
– Yep there is water running in it. See if the lid will come open.
Everyone reached for the lid.
– Stuck. Probably have to wait for it to fill up then you can raise the lid to swish and swash the clothes in there.
So we waited… the water stopped. Silence…then hummmhummmmhummmm.
– What the hell is it doing!
– It’s stuck, someone said.
– Well, if it’s stuck we need the lid up to get it unstuck.
The lid lifter grabbed it and again POW! The lid comes up with a wire now attached to it in the same place. All was quiet. The clothes floated in the barrel of water inside, nothing was moving.
– These are like the old ones you still have to swish and swash to wash.
– put it on drain and spin, someone said.
Nothing happened.
– Well we got one left, let’s try it.

The wet dripping clothes were transferred to washer #3.
– get some more soap, someone said.
We put in more soap, closed the lid, put the dial on bulky items and we were off again…
– I hear water.. yep that’s water…
Then clack the red light comes on. The water stops. Hummmm hummmm hummmm.
– You can feel it vibrating when it turns. But you can’t hear any swishing or swashing of washing. It must be stuck…
Lid lifter once again lifts the lid and like the other two got a wire now attached to the lid.
– let’s see if we can find out what the unit next door found out.
As we started down the stairs we met the assistant warden and told him the washers were worthless already, then got stuck, and the lids stuck to a black box with wires. We followed him back to the washers. He just stood there looking at three washers soap and water, and some wet clothes hanging from them all full of water. I guess he was talking to himself.
– Didn’t anyone tell them this is a Mental Health Unit?
I mean, we already knew.

It took a couple of weeks to get the hang of things. They finally rigged them to where you could open the lid anytime, as we were not having our clothes locked up for an hour not being able to watch and occasionally help them swish and swash as they wash. Some brought a bucket of water to pour in at rinse just to be sure there was enough water. They said everything was computerized but we haven’t found that part yet…Now I know why the TV is in a big wire cage with a Plexiglas front. In here they really need to know what is going on inside.

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