I have a question… has there ever been something that you wanted to buy that you thought would bring you happiness? I think we all have. As silly as it sounds, for me it has actually been a washing machine.

As Paul Harvey would say… Now, for the rest of the story.

One of the bills that I hate paying more than any other is my Jefferson County water and sewer bill. It has been nationally known that Jefferson County has had its issues in this regard. There has been mass corruption in dealing with sewer bond issues that have placed many officials in jail and the story on the cover of newspapers across the country. The end result is that our bills are sky high. There have been times when my water bill has been higher than my power and gas bill… how crazy.

As a result, I am always in search of techniques and even appliances that will help my family use less water. When the front load washers first came out about 10 years ago, I learned that they were far more efficient and used much less water than their predecessors. When I heard this, they had me at hello. When I learned that our current washer was placed on life support by the repair man, I couldn’t wait to go shopping for a new washer. I can’t believe I just said that?

And I actually had a blast shopping for these new appliances.  We looked everywhere and read everything on the subject from consumer reports and on- line reviews. When we finally selected the model we were to buy, I was so excited for installation day. I felt that I was “sticking it to the man” in terms of my water bill. I could all but see my monthly expenditure cut in half.

Well guess what happened… nothing. Something must have gone wrong because my next bill – and the one after that were just as high as the ones before. To top it off, this new state of the art marvel had an interesting side effect as well. It turns out that this generation of front load washers had a draining problem causing an unpleasant smell to develop from the water that did not drain between uses. Nice!

We have since learned methods to curtail the smell and I have made peace with the fact that “the man” -aka, the water/sewer bill will exact his heavy toll on me. But more importantly, I have learned that no one thing is going to make me happy. Happiness is a choice… I truly believe this.

If you are skeptical, try the following exercise from my days as a camp counselor. I was in charge of a dozen 10 year olds who would always wake up cranky. I was up before them and was showered and ready when the bugle blew to wake them all. I told myself every day that for the first 10 minutes, I would be ‘Super Charlie’ and would be in the best mood they had ever seen. I had noticed that since my mood set the pace for the cabin – I would make it the best one possible. So every day, I woke in that frame of mind. For the first 10 minutes, I would force myself into this demeanor. Well, as it turned out after the first few minutes, I was not faking it anymore and the good mood took over. Try it, it works every time… Have a great weekend! Charlie

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