This is a story about how boring adulthood is.
Or maybe how ill-advised home ownership can feel sometimes.
Or maybe about bureaucracy and/or incompetence and what happens when the two intersect.
Or maybe about “first world problems.”
Or maybe about how to look on the bright side.
At any rate, one weeknight in late February, I threw a load of wet clothes in the dryer and went about my business, assuming my clothes would be dry in about an hour as usual.
I have two kids, one of whom is a teenage girl, and a dog (with whom I am obsessed but who smells terrible and sheds like crazy), so I do a lot of laundry.
When I went to check the clothes, they were all still wet and cold, although the dryer was spinning merrily. Because denial is one of my favorite emotions, I initially changed the setting on the dryer and restarted it … but deep down, I knew it was probably the thermal fuse (again).
Our house, like many local houses, was completely renovated after Katrina in 2005. We bought it in 2014 … and I’m guessing most of the appliances were only good for about 10 years because everything started breaking down almost immediately after we moved in.
We already have a new fridge, a new stove, and a new dishwasher, so really, all we were waiting for was the washer and dryer to break. Which they have, repeatedly. They’ve never broken badly enough, however, that the repair company thought we should replace them completely.
Anyway, after I finally accepted defeat with the dryer on that chilly February night, I called for service the next morning and was told no one could come out until after Mardi Gras. Luckily, I have friends with dryers, so I figured we’d be able to limp along until then.
On March 7, they came and diagnosed the problem: thermal fuse, as suspected. They ordered the part and told us to call when it came in.
It arrived on March 17, by which time I’d done several loads of laundry at the homes of several friends, trying to spread it around so as not to wear out my welcome. I called later that same day to see when they could come – after getting disconnected several times, I finally managed to get someone on the phone … and they said they couldn’t come out until March 31.
I wasn’t happy about this, but I made my peace with it and also made multiple trips to the laundromat because I felt guilty about relying so much on my friends for so long. My wallet grew heavy with quarters … but then grew light as I went through so very many quarters over those two weeks.
Finally March 31 came. I was so excited! I had so much laundry to catch up on!
The techs came to fix the dryer – two of them because it’s definitely a two-person job with the dryer stacked on top of the washer.
Aaaaaand they were unable to fix it because they said we needed an electrician and a bracket to install the fuse.
I took several deep cleansing breaths and tried to deal with it in a way that didn’t involve crying, but I was ultimately unsuccessful. I know it’s the ultimate first world problem; I know I’m being a baby about it. But I was just so ready to have my dryer fixed again and not have to lug bins and baskets of wet laundry around town. (Also my threshold for mental breakdowns is a lot lower since my mom died.)
On April 1, we had an electrician come out, who said everything was fine and the techs didn’t know what they were talking about, so we called back and said the electrician had cleared us and could they please order the bracket and come back out.
So on April 14, a new tech from the same company showed up. He said he had the bracket – he had several in his truck, he said, because it wasn’t a specialized part – but he couldn’t install it because it was a two-person job and he had been dispatched by himself.
He promised to come back this week with a second person to fix it, and I sort of vaguely started to believe it might actually happen.
My husband and I then got a text on April 15 that said, “Your thermal fuse has been ordered. Please call when it arrives to schedule installation.”
The same text we had received on March 7.
Were we living in a sketch comedy or something?
My husband texted back: “We have the thermal fuse. The tech who came today said he had the bracket. He said he needed a second person to install it.”
The reply came: “Yes, you need two.”
“Yes, two people,” my husband wrote. “When can you come out?”
“No, two fuses,” the reply came. “We have to order the second fuse.”
“If we need two fuses for the dryer, that’s the first we’ve heard of it,” he said. “The ‘two’ was referring to the number of workers needed for installation.”
“That is also needed,” they wrote back.
“WHAT is also needed?” he wrote. “Does the dryer take two thermal fuses?”
“Yes. Two fuses and two techs.”
“Then why were we only shipped one fuse when we requested the repair back at the end of February?”
“Because it needed an electrician first.”
“But it didn’t. The tech misunderstood our breaker box. We had an electrician come out who said everything was fine.”
“Well, when they checked the first fuse, they realized it needed two. The part has been ordered. Please call when it arrives.”
This is boring, I know, and I’m sorry. I almost had to get it all out just to be sure it was really happening.
As of today, April 19, the part has been received but no one has returned our calls or texts.
We have been without a dryer for eight weeks.
But! Since the weather has been mostly pleasant lately, we’ve strung up two lines in the backyard and have started hanging our clothes and towels and sheets out to dry. Everything is a little stiff and it doesn’t get the dog hair off, but at least I’m not schlepping a 40-pound basket of wet clothes to the laundromat every day after work just so the kids can have school clothes.
The bonus is that Georgia – who as you might recall from last week’s blog is currently very into “cottagecore” – thinks that drying laundry on a clothesline is extremely “cottagecore.”
So I try to tell myself that as I drape underwear and school uniform shirts over the lines in my backyard.
“This is very trendy! This is environmentally friendly! This is cottagecore, apparently!”
It sort of works, honestly.
But I’d still rather my dryer worked instead.