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(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Two years ago my good, old trusty Kenmore dryer stopped running—right in the middle of winter when my clothesline is none too helpful. I wasn’t quite ready to move up appliance-wise, so I just replaced the washer/dryer set with one from a reliable used appliance store. However, I soon discovered that my replacement set was the budget version of my previous set—it was never designed to be as good as what I had owned.

That mattered most with the dryer and doing loads such as the jeans from our now fully-grown family of four. Doing laundry just took longer. Not exactly what I needed with so much of my focus on my mother. Then again, the kids left for college about seven months later, so we got by most of the time.

The kids’ return last summer reminded me just how slowly the dryer did its job. And because our dryer made doing a dull job even less appealing, the kids didn’t do their laundry much. It made me crazy to have so much dirty clothing in the house. Still, I wasn’t ready to upgrade yet.

That is until we knew that Jackson would not be returning to college after Christmas. It’s hard enough to figure out how to live together after living apart. What we don’t need is any additional burdens from using inefficient equipment that increases the time necessary for doing chores that no one really wants to do anyway.

My solution? Re-organize the laundry room and start the new year/new living arrangement with a spiffy new dryer to encourage regular laundry routines.

Great plan except that new dryer doesn’t seem to dry. Really. We’ve reattached it, cleaned out all the lint connections, tried pushing the buttons in different ways, etc. The sensor drying phase shuts off after two minutes—no matter what. And the timed drying phase just tumbles the clothes as dictated—if there is heat, it only comes after about three hours of constant use.

My daughter worked through a load of laundry with the old dryer, but had to return to school with the rest of her dirty clothing.

And my son’s clothing? Still waiting, other than the few necessary pieces we’ve managed to have the patience to dry.

Today we have a Chinook wind blowing with a sixty-degree forecast—might have to break out that clothesline after all.

In the meanwhile, I’m waiting for the service person’s arrival—impatiently—he said he’ll be here in half an hour. (Thank goodness I got his call telling me he would be here solidly within the scheduled window right before I received the company’s robo-call saying the arrival might be delayed beyond the scheduled time—please tell me he knows more than the computer!) Had to wait almost a week for this appointment after our call—after we had waited a week and a half trying to figure out if we were doing anything wrong and could fix it ourselves.

Part of me wonders, how did we as a culture get here? The salesperson told us if they have to come out more than four times in the year, they will replace the appliance—and that does happen. Does this make any sense when these appliances are so expensive in the first place?

I’m definitely longing for that trusty old Kenmore that lasted around twenty years—and that didn’t have any computer parts, which meant my husband also performed any needed repairs himself.

Am I a Luddite if I say I think we’ve all been hung out to dry? I suppose I am, even if I’m not planning to smash up my new dryer—hey, I paid for it already. But, sorry, folks, this way is not better.

Maybe I’ll change my tune when I have a functioning new dryer and see how much more efficient it is with both energy usage and our time. Still, just in case, I’m glad we at least have a clothesline and no covenants to prevent us from using it.

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