Thursday, September 23, 2010

What I have learned from my clothesline

In August, just as I had gotten completely caught up with my laundry (really!), my dryer stopped working. It wouldn't turn on at all.

Scott is a can-do kind of guy. Why pay someone else to fix something when you can do it yourself? With the help of the amazing internet, Scott has fixed and installed loads of things around our place and in our cars, saving us untold hundreds of dollars in repair costs.

So, Scott took it apart. He cleaned all of the lint out of the inside of the dryer, the whole exhaust line, and any other place you can think of. We had cleaned out the line before, and I always empty the lint trap, but over 10 years lint gets EVERYWHERE!!!!!!! He thought we needed a new thermo-thing-whatever-it-is (a safety part that makes sure your dryer doesn't get too hot and set your house on fire). It's designed to fail as soon as the inside of the dryer by the motor gets too hot. It is not fixable, so it has to be replaced. Presumably, when replacing the thermo-thing, one would also notice all that lint and clean it out. Or, for normal people, your repairman would do that.

Scott ordered the part, replaced it, put the dryer back together and painted over the rusty spot of the top of the dryer where I had kept the laundry detergent. Wonderful! It worked!

For one load. Now the drum won't turn. He took it apart. Maybe the belt wasn't on properly. He re-laid the belt. He reassembled the dryer.

Nothing. We need a new motor.

The man just this week finished his master's degree. He was doing all of this while trying to get his papers written and go to work and all of the usual Dad stuff he does. As a result, our family of 5 has been without a dryer for a month. No one is wearing less clothes. In fact, there is more laundry now than there was in the summer because I am washing school uniforms as well.

I am not going to lie to you and say that I have been patient about all of this. I have tried (sometimes hard, sometimes not) to avoid nagging him about getting this thing done. I have tried to be cheerful in doing my wash even as certain people complain that they have no (name article of clothing here). I have tried.

This drying is trying. The weather's not as hot as it had been at the beginning of all of this, so the clothes aren't drying in a hour. And now with the kids in school and me working, I really don't have a lot of time to hang wash out.

I did manage to get some things on the line yesterday afternoon. Then we had a thunderstorm while I was at work. No one who was at home brought in the wash.

What this trying experience has taught me is that you can't always make things go the way you want them. Sometimes, your son will turn the hose on the dirt near your just-dried jeans and accidentally splash mud on them. You have do things when you have the chance. You have to plan how you will do it. You have to be patient.

What this trying experience has taught me is that you have to see how not only you are frustrated by the things out of your control. You have to see that your attitude as woman of the house will impact everyone else under your roof. You have to love them all through whatever life hands your way. You have to see that if the broken dryer and the splattered mud are the worst of it, you're very fortunate indeed.

If you can see these things, you will grow to appreciate the feel of the sun on your hair and your newly-acquired mosquito-swatting skills. You will realize that this may just be the Lord's way of getting you to slow down a bit and listen. Listen to Him speaking to you in the three minutes of quiet you'll get as you hang out your laundry.

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