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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  March 5, 2006
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Topic category:  Other/General

Death of a dryer.

I guess the good news is that I got our dryer working again

The bad news is that, like all major appliances approaching 20 years of age, itís eventually going to need replacement - at a cost Iíd just as soon not think about.

Things just seem to wear out. Iíd rather they didnít, but they do. They, like us, get old and stop working. Thatís one of the major laws of the universe - like bread always falling buttered side down and children never spilling food on a dirty floor.

I think the cause of things wearing out is something called "entropy" which is, as someone (Dave Barry?) once noted, a scientific term meaning "expensive."

The "things" Iím talking about are all of the modern devices designed to make our lives less complicated - washers, dryers, stoves, computers, etc. Theyíre all subject to entropy and theyíre all expensive to fix. I wonít even mention cars. There, these days, the price of even a simple repair is often on a par with a monthly mortgage note.

Wearing out isnít a bad thing. Happens all the time. It just seems that these things also tend to die in groups. Consequently, when you witness the last struggles of (in my case) a dryer, itís probably a good idea to take the pulse of the freezer and the hot water heater, too.

If they donít die en masse, then their other forte is timing.

College is in session. College means clothes, shoes, fees, books, pencils, paper, physicals, and, far worse, transportation (read "car").

Appliance death never happens when youíre flush with cash. Nope. Appliance death is always inconvenient. So, when you combine, letís say, a dryer crossing the river Styx with college expenses, the checkbook starts wheezing like itís going to die too.

This, in scientific terms, is known as a "vicious cycle." Itís expensive too.

Still, I got the dryer working again. However, that didnít happen without some pain.

Like most adult males, when I get home, the last thing I want to do is disassemble a dryer to see why itís making "funny noises" and taking twice as long to dry the clothes we generate for cleaning every few days.

That being the case, when my wife called to tell me our dryer was sick, I told her to call a repairman. This she did. Unfortunately, she picked one apparently associated with the repair firm of "Bam, Boozle, and Fleesum."

An appointment was made and the repairman showed up and went "to work."

When I later called home for the verdict, "New dryer" was what I was told.

However, my wife then asked me some really peculiar questions that began setting off mental alarms. One of the questions was why the dryerís exhaust vent ran through the ceiling.

"It doesnít."

"Well, the repairman said it does and he says itís kinked and needs to be cleaned and straightened before we do anything."

"Really? How much for that?"

"Two hundred dollars."

I told her not to write any checks until I got home.

Upon arriving, I found that the repairman Ė whoíd also been quite willing to sell us a new dryer - had left without reassembling our old one or leaving us a bill.

Reluctantly, I grabbed my tools and got started.

Iíd have been making funny noises too with what I found inside. To wit: $1.32 in assorted change; a small plastic case (red); a McDonaldís French fry box (go figure); a bracelet; several unmatched socks (dryers really do eat them); some bobby pins and buttons; one very desiccated mouse; and enough lint to clog the Holland tunnel.

Three hours later, I had all of the parts cleaned, the exhaust line clear, the motor oiled, and everything back together generally the way it was before the dryer had been pronounced dead. It didnít even make funny noises when we started it. On top of which, I felt good for not having succumbed to what may have been some not-so-subtle sales tactics.

Still, Iím not optimistic. The darn thing is still 20 years old and the fix is probably only temporary. Weíre just hoping to get another year or two out of it before it really does die in some cataclysmic event that takes the dishwasher and stove with it.

No real moral to the story here. Just another suburban horror story averted and 400 or so dollars saved - an amount that wonít even make a dent in what we owe in college loans.

Never really ends, does it?

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2006 by Larry Simoneaux
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