I've had my suspicions about the washing machine for some time, since it left a rather damp spot on the floor after some loads, but it wasn't until the second load of laundry yesterday--which was admittedly an overlarge one, so perhaps the fault was partly mine--that it gave up entirely. I ran downstairs to switch loads in a lull in the playdough action and discovered rivers of water overflowing the machine and running across the basement floor, right through all the sorted piles of clothes, into the drain. (An unfinished basement is a great advantage.)
I managed to persuade it to stop filling and even to drain out the water that it had, but beyond that I didn't dare to try. DOB's father, who is ordinarily our person to look at uncooperative machinery, is required to stay off his feet for awhile. DOB and I have the practical mechanical prowess of a chimpanzee--we can poke sticks at things, but if the hole to poke isn't obvious, we generally step back and let someone else do it. (Well, perhaps that is a bit hard on DOB. His theoretical abilities are greater. But he hasn't much time or energy left for poking.)
Although there is certainly considerable annoyance at anything not working, there's also a sort of high adventure in it. Every appliance malfunction is a sort of shipwreck, and the more critical the appliance, the more glorious the smash-up, and the more precious every piece of flotsam and jetsam that can be rescued. I was giddy with delight this afternoon to discover that I had managed to get one of D2's shirts in the first load, as well as several socks for myself, and to realize that D1 still has one shirt left that will go with the one pair of her jeans that made it through.
Further, a sail is in sight. DOB has located a repairman who will come by tomorrow, and his mother kindly took the more desparate loads to wash at her house.