When we first moved into the Elm st Duplex we didn’t have a washer and dryer.
The baby was only a month old or so, and we didn’t have a diaper service either. Trish arranged to trade massage with Nat and Lisa of sound diaper service (http://sounddiaperservice.com) sometime thereafter.
Nowadays, cloth diapers are kept on the baby with a ‘wrap’ instead of dangerous and awkward diaper pins. The wrap is made of some kind of water resistant material and closes with Velcro clasps. The idea being: reuse this wrap and change the diaper within. The reality being: the diaper leaks onto the wrap, so change them both. The service picks up the dirty diapers once a week and leaves us a bag of clean ones. They don’t do wraps. They SELL wraps, however. They started this business before they became parents which has now recently changed. They quickly noticed that even with access to all the wraps and industrial washing machines they would run out. They have since vowed to their customers that they won’t run out of wraps for sale.
What about us? We started with about a half a dozen wraps. It makes a very small load of laundry to wash only six wraps, but we usually try to keep them separate from the rest of the clothes. If we wait until five are dirty, Orion may dirty the sixth during the spin cycle… or before they’re dry… so then we have to use a disposable diaper.
Speaking about drying, let me get to the shower of sparks story.
First, I need to mention Matt and Jess (Not to be confused with Nat and Lisa). Matt and Jess were members of our birth group. We all went through classes together because we all had similar due dates. Sometime after the births, they decided to move back East to be closer to family. We decided to move North to be back in civilization. We had been living outside of Elma in a log cabin (but that’s another story). Point being: the Tumwater duplex was our new home, but it had no washer and dryer. Other point being: Matt and Jess owned a washer and dryer but weren’t going to haul it all the way across the US.
Maybe she’ll correct me, but I think Trish traded massages for the W/D. I know I convinced my pal, Steve, to bring his truck so we could get them. He has since sold that truck, so let’s not get ourselves into any situations that require hauling large appliances.
Matt and Jess did say SOMETHING about the W/D behaving in some peculiar way or whatever. I must’ve been using selective listening. My concern was whether they worked AT ALL.
The dryer came with the metallic exhaust hose, and we borrowed some metallic tape from our neighbor to attach it. The dryer fits snugly between the washer and the vent to the outside. The 4″ diameter hose has to make two ninety degree turns in 3′ with less than an inch margin on any side. What we found out about this type of hose is that it crimps and kinks and generally behaves like it’s made of aluminum foil.
One night, after running it constantly for two years we noticed a burning smell. We also noticed more condensation forming and clothes not getting quite as dry.
Trish put a moratorium on the dryer. We tried using the clothesline during the sunny days, but around here there’s fewer sunny days than wraps.
As our new floor project story was unfolding and wall painting project was under way I conscripted Philosobitch again to consult on the best replacement scenario. I had removed the hose and cleaned it. I had vacuumed behind the dryer – tons of dryer lint. I really didn’t like the prospect of using the same set-up again. I kept referring to ‘new space-age technology crimp-free hoses’ that I imagined were out there. Sure enough, the kind Philosobitch remembered his step-dad using are more better than the aluminum foil kind. He recommends the vinyl kind.
They’re springy and have integrity, built with space-age moral fibers. He also recommends hose-clamps. What a concept! They’re more better than tape!
By the time we purchase our supplies, Trish and Orion are in bed, so I figure that I’ll just do it during the day and send Philosobitch home.
Here we come to the fireworks.
Saturday before the floor guy comes I’m watching Orion while Trish does a massage. I figure “No problem, all I need is a flat head screwdriver, and we’ll be up and drying”.
I pull the dryer out from the wall to get behind it. I don’t unplug it. I never have. I never thought to. I wasn’t planning on dealing with any of the electrical parts. I thought I had enough slack to squeeze past. Not so.
ZZZT! POP! Sparks shower in a beautiful arc for us. It’s an indoor fountain of fireworks. I see a tiny flame and a puff of smoke, but in an instant all is calm again.
Except my racing heart. I think of the fire extinguishers in the house. The closest is in the back of the cupboard above the washer. The furthest is in the back of the child proofed cupboard below the sink. Ridiculous. Useless. Dangerously Negligent.
Now I get the bright idea to unplug the dryer. Yup, the cord is toasted.
When Trish comes home I play Good News/ Bad News. You know the bad news. The good news is that we’re both okay. She takes one look and instantly says she’s going to replace the whole thing. I’ve already put in a call to Philosobitch. I’m sure we (HE) can fix it.
True enough. These things are built to be replaced with a screwdriver (and wrench to get the panel off). $9.75 for a new cord. Also available for washers, refrigerators, and air conditions at Fred Meyer’s.