Sunday, May 20, 2007

"honey, the dryer smells like fire. Is that bad?"

So, a couple of months ago, our dryer smelled like it was on fire. And, of course, I'd just been reading and hearing about stories about people whose houses caught fire from their dryer. So I panicked. And started air-drying everything.

For a family of five, air-drying everything takes planning and organization, in which I have very few skills. But I took on the challenge, because I was paralyzed with indecision as to what to do about our dryer. It wasn't terribly old, but I hated to call out a repairman, who would cost me money and it was chancy whether or not it was fixable, and I just didn't know anyone reputable.

So I set up my drying rack, my fan and my hangers. After a week or so, it became apparent that I was going to have to eventually wash the children's sheets and blankets, so I set up a clothesline in my backyard (I'm sure the neighbors cringed at that - and I wonder if that has anything to do with the long-term vacancy in the houses around us? Hmm.) But, alas, I was saving the environment and money all at the same time, and it was perfect clothes-drying weather.

It got to where I was used to hanging everything, and the children stopped complaining about crunchy clothes. So I waited for my electric bill, while I drooled over the fancy front loading washers and dryers. Because it would eventually save me money, right? And because they used less electricity, right? And because I NEED a matched set, right?

I got my electric bill. It had dropped $40! I was stunned! Only three years of that, and I'd saved up for my new washer and dryer set.

Suddenly, I got cheap. Really cheap (who, me?). I decided to take my dryer apart. I had nothing to lose - already it was dead to me, so I might as well take it apart and see if I could possibly fix it, and if not, I could just take it to the dump in parts rather than whole.

I did my research on how to take apart my particular model. Not joking, I think I removed every removable part. I found beads from the socks that my daughter wore three years ago, I found sequins and glitter from her clothes. I vacuumed, I cleaned, I sweated, and I put it all back together. With no spare parts.

Suddenly, for a net gain of $40, I had a working dryer. I had gained a new skill, confidence and a clothesline. And even though those front-loaders still make me swoon, my set looks better to me than it ever has. And I got to brag to my husband about how amazing and wonderful I am.

23 comments:

story girl said...

So, now that the dryer works again, will you still air dry?

#2 said...

I'm so lazy. I was so sure that I would keep up with at least one load a week of air drying, but I'm afraid to say that I've put away my drying rack for now. When the AC comes on, I *swear* I'll go back to it, because I don't want to cool off the house that I'm warming up with the dryer!

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