I mentioned Friday we had our last dryer-free day (Oh my gosh! You are so excited to hear more about the Hogaboom’s laundry machinations! You know you are!) and this is because:
My brother heard our dryer died a week ago and sent us funds to purchase one. This was included in a package that also contained two different yardages of fabric (seriously! One my favorite things ever to be gifted me! Yes I am using lots of exclamation marks!!) which I immediately serged, washed, dried, and folded. It was an amazingly sweet gift on his part and deeply appreciated. I forgive him for making out with almost all my girlfriends while we were growing up (actually, I never really held that against him, the sneaky lothario).
Friday, the crisp check snapping in my hands, I take the kids out on our errand: finding the dryer. This feels like the type of mission that will either be a resounding success or sap my lifeforce. I think of Sears and their department of sharky-looking guys in dress shirts and ties trying to get me to sign up for a Sears account and how much I hate that sort of thing. Shuddering, I decide first to stop at the used appliance store. I like buying things used, so very much, mostly because for various reasons I cringe at the short lifecycle so many Americans make of the things they buy. So when I see the old-school Maytag (in a sea of Whirlpools and Kenmores) I’m in love instantly. It doesn’t have fancy settings or anything. I think there’s one button that says, “You want this shit dry or not?” Probably an early 80s model, but looks brand-new. As my kids methodically remove and replace the magnetic price tags on the tidily lined-up appliances the owner lets me use the phone so I can talk to my husband about the purchase. It turns out the place delivers the “new” dryer to your house and takes the old one in to refurbish (good luck with our well-worn appliance, which came to us very used and very free and died a prolonged death of unimaginable noise and movement!). I leave the shop just fifteen minutes later with an appointment to be at my house at 3 PM for the switch-out; our laundry routine will resume to a less bothersome one. (Thank you, Billy.)
We get back in the car; even the pissing rain can’t diminish my spirit. Starting the engine the kids clamor, “Let’s go buy Legos!” (P.S. as long as you keep them fed they can play Legos for hours and hours and hours and won’t want to do anything else). “What?” I’m trying to squint past the condensation in the car’s back window to pull out – have I mentioned our vehicles are semi-aquatic? “I don’t have money for Legos. I only have grocery money today.” The kids immediately point out the dryer cost less than the check my brother sent: Nels puts up his hands and counts by tens; figures out the difference. So, my son is five. And he’s sorted this out. I’m laughing because it’s awesome my kids are learning money and currency without drills at school; but it’s funny because they already know a financial windfall when they see one and they have my instinct to descend on it like ravenous jackels. I talk to the kids about the money being a gift intended for household maintenance and in the spirit of the gift we should consider the balance thusly. And they basically explain to me that it’s a gift, its ours. To spend on Legos. The thing is, I will never be a good planner when it comes to this stuff; my heart leapt at the thought of buying my kids a ton of their favorite toys and I swear I would have had this thought had our water bill been late and I owned no working underwear (BTDT). I am just way too soft on them in some ways and I would buy or make them anything they want within my power , because I love them times one million. (Boring coda: Ralph and I decide, ultimately, to put the money in a fund for our next home project: we have neither a dining room table, a waterproof car, and only one saucepan when we could use two).
The Hogabooms are moving up in the world: the first-ever dryer we bought with money (instead of bartering with a man in a Trans Am). Nevermind it came from a charity source. I’m feeling rather fancy.