Our clothes dryer is…let’s go with “vintage.” It’s avocado green. It’s built like a tank. And it just won’t die. Last summer we replaced the belt, which was a nightmare of epic proportions. I am not mechanically inclined and the mister is not very good at giving clear, understandable directions, so the repair job culminated in us lifting the dryer off the floor, turning it upside down (you read that right) and SHAKING IT to dislodge a screwdriver that had tumbled down the vent shaft. It was several hours after that before either one of us could speak civilly to the other. (And I am not the one that dropped the damned screwdriver. I am the one that suggested where he could stick it once we retrieved it, though.)
More recently, the dryer started making a noise. The noise didn’t bother me. I’d just turn up the stereo and consider it fixed. I also do this with cars. Denial is not one of my better habits. The noise bothered the mister, though. Oh, it bothered him a lot. So one evening, he took apart the dryer and came upstairs with a pile of parts cupped in his dirty, dirty hands.
“I need you to get replacements parts for these.” I looked down at the collection of grimy, lint and grease-coated bits. There was something that resembled a Rollerblade wheel, a washer-looking thing, and a shattered plastic piece.
I raised my eyes back to his and laughed. “You’re joking, right?”
Of course he wasn’t joking. I slid the parts into a Ziploc baggie and stuck a post-it in there with the model number of our dryer. The next morning I trekked to Home Depot, Ace Hardware and Menard's. None of them sell replacement dryer parts. I ended up at this strange little shop tucked behind a broken-down car wash where the guy behind the counter gave me one of those lady, you must be lost looks. I guess my flutter sleeve top, skinny jeans, and freshly highlighted and curled hair looked a wee bit out of place in a shop that sold some sort of basement deodorizing product.
I pulled my Ziploc baggie of parts out of my purse and shook it. “My husband took apart my dryer, it's in pieces on my laundry room floor, and he says we need new ones of these.”
The man’s expression cleared. He sorted through the crap in the bag and returned with new parts in just a few seconds.
Last night we fixed the dryer. I only called him a dirty name twice and he only made that very male sound of irritation in his throat once, which is some sort of record for us because we are very prone to the home improvement fight.*
*Home Improvement Fight: noun; An argument wherein two people malign each other's aptitude with tools, spacial reasoning skills, and entire characters while they fix, re-do, remodel, or otherwise work on something in, on, or around their home.