It Wasn’t Like This When I Was a Kid!

I hate spending money to replace broken things.  Did you know new appliances are designed to have a seven-year life?  (An apologetic appliance salesman shared that with me when we replaced our microwave for the 3rd time in 15 years.)  

Our first washer was a 25-year-old second-hand Kenmore we purchased for $15.  It was a faithful servant for another 6 years, surviving two babies, toddlers, and a move across country.   Our first dryer worked for 15 years.  Our first TV, 18 years.  And our turntable is still in use.  Oh, how I yearn for the appliances of my youth!

Our dryer isn’t working.  We replaced the heating element just a couple of years ago.  So we’re probably talking new dryer, but I’m just not ready yet.  It’s summer.  I decided to hang my laundry outside to dry like my mom always did in the summer.  I loved wearing a line-dried shirt, soft and supremely fresh-smelling. drying off with a towel that had absorbed the smells of summer, or snuggling into bed with sheets just off the line.  I decided to turn my frustration into an opportunity to celebrate nostalgia. 

It wasn’t an easy endeavor. We are not allowed to have a clothesline in our neighborhood.  So, I had to do something temporary and inconspicuous.  I tried hanging a pair of jeans under the gazebo on a string of lights, but they weighed the string down.  Besides, they wouldn’t get sun.  I considered stringing a rope between trees, but our trees are too far apart (or too close) to do that efficiently.  I finally decided to put the clothes over the deck railing.  I ended up putting them over all the furniture as well, since I greatly overestimated the size of the deck. 

That afternoon it rained, in spite of a forecast of sun.  I hoped the heat (it wouldn’t get below 80 degrees at night) would be enough to dry them by morning.  Sometimes my optimism pushes me beyond the bounds of reality.  In the morning, the dewpoint was 75, our windows were so full of condensation we couldn’t see outside. I stepped outside to a hefty dose of reality.  Instantly, the clothing on my body was damp, my lungs were swimming and my just coiffed hair looked like Bozo the Clown’s.  The clothes on the line hadn’t dried at all.  Sigh.

The forecast was for sun and heat in the afternoon.  There was hope!  For one day, we would wear our dirty underwear inside out (just kidding; I found adequate underwear for another day) and I would use a Shout sheet to get the obvious stains out of the one pair of my jeans I withheld from the laundry (not kidding).  And we would wait.  I’ve learned  patience and perseverence.  And I would not be defeated!

As I was driving home from a volunteer commitment in the afternoon, the minivan was hydroplaning, the road was flooded with more than a foot of water, and the rain was still coming down in sheets.   The clothes had been “rewashed” in nearly two inches of rain in less than an hour.  One of my sweaters now had 6 foot sleeves… 

The radar (and sky) don’t give me much hope for today.  Everything is so soaked that I can’t even lift them off the deck rail to take them to the laundromat. But tomorrow’s forecast looks much better.  I’ve added Target to my schedule today.  Underwear and maybe a Tshirt or two. 

I’m still not ready to buy a new dryer.  It has only been 6 years and 11 months since we bought the last one.  Statistics say I should get another month.  They also say we should have lower dewpoints and sunny skies.  Sigh.  It wasn’t like this when I was a kid!


One thought on “It Wasn’t Like This When I Was a Kid!

  1. Vicki – I love your writing. Even in the midst of all your family is going through, you still find humor in the everyday things everyone experiences. Last fall we replaced our furnace, stove, refridgerator, and freezer. They were the originals from when we moved here in 1977 and they all still worked! We had extra money, so we decided to replace them – was worried the furnace would go out in the middle of winter. Sad to know that these new appliances won’t last nearly as long as the old ones. I, too, love the smell of clothes dried outdoors. I have a clothes line, but don’t use it as often as I once did – getting too old to carry up a load of heavy wet clothes. Take care. vicki

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