Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

August 12, 2013

Cathie Shaffer: One down, one to go: 8/13/13

ASHLAND — Well, things are looking up. The new back door is working fine and thanks to my son and an online how-to video, my dryer is working again.

The washer, I fear, has seen its better days which is my decision for this week — should I call a repairman or simply give up and buy a new one?

Being forced into trips to the coin laundry reminded me once again of how we take so much for granted. The car is supposed to start when I turn the key, the washer is supposed to spin out the water and the stove burners are supposed to light up when I turn the knob.

I have wasted far too much time and energy on those stupid appliances. The door was an easier choice.

The old one was probably original with the house back in the 1930s and had seen its better days. In fact, I already had its replacement on my list of things to do when my bank account allowed. Its decision to lock itself and stay locked just moved that project up.

New appliances weren’t on the list because I hadn’t given a thought to their age or usage. Siding for my house is on that list and so is new fencing in the back yard.

I’ve even contemplated a wooden gazebo as a place to sit and read on a sunny afternoon. I can see it in my mind’s eye with cushions on the bench seats and roses climbing up the trellised sides.

Since I open and close my refrigerator a lot, I’ve wondered how long it might last. But the washer and dryer ... never.

So I was shocked when I found out what they cost these days or how few places offer washers and dryers for sale. I perused the aisles of those few stores with a sinking feeling, which is why I begged my son to come take a look.

I’d like to say he came over with his tool box out of love for his mama, but I suspect it was because he didn’t want me to show up at his house with a week’s worth of laundry.

Our first challenge came when we realized we had no idea how to get the back off the dryer. He finally raised the top and discovered the belt had broken.

Relief swept over me. He had a different reaction since he still didn’t know how to get inside to put a new belt on.

The magic of the Internet led to the discovery of the video showing how to do just that on a dryer similar to ours. In what became a prophetic statement, Sonny Boy said, “It took that guy nine and a half minutes. It will take me an hour.”

Luck was on our side and we managed to find the right belt and new vent hose on our first try. Getting the front of the dryer off, as shown in the video, as pretty easy. So was putting on the belt.

And then he realized the dryer in the video was just different enough not to have the same screws in the back. After a little discussion and trial and error, my son made a best-guess decision and closed everything back up.

We both felt quite triumphant when I turned the thing on and not only did the tumbler spin, but the timer worked again, too.

Yes, I have checked for videos on how to fix a washer with a lousy timer that doesn’t spin out water.   And yes, it does seem like it might be a do-it-yourself project.

But I also realize there are limits to how much you can ask of your children, even if you do promise a homecooked meal of Mama’s fried chicken as a reward.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net.

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