We’re preparing our home to welcome a new resident. It’s not human. Those of you who are home owners know how you move from crisis to crisis, paying to repair this just in time to start paying for that. Our current issue is a dead dryer. We knew it wasn’t long for this world when we moved in. The previous owners, as most working class folk do, let things go until a machine forces the issue by dying. Being concerned for the environment, we like to replace appliances with more environmentally friendly ones, if we can. They are, of course, much more expensive. With the dryer it was also a space issue. Snuggled together like young lovers in bed, the washer and dryer leave less than an inch clearance total from either wall. The first issue we faced—modern dryers are bigger.
Small and energy efficient is what we wanted. I learned about heat-pump dryers. They don’t require a vent and they’ve been used for decades in Europe because of both space issues and environmental friendliness. Here they cost more and you’ll have to wait because they’re in demand. We decided to side with the environment. Then there’s the problem of the old vent. I gingerly walked out the old dryer and was amazed at the detritus I found. Now, I’m an archaeologist at heart, so instead of sweeping it all in the trash, I sorted through it. I found a dollar bill. And 32 cents—this helps defray the cost of the new dryer. Three guitar picks and a heap of cosmetics. A box of rubber bands for braces. There was ancient history in this pile! The lighting’s bad in that corner so I put on a headlamp like a phylactery. Let there be light.
I had to use most of my tools to tug the old vent out. You have to stuff the hole with insulation and put some furring strips in place to hold the new drywall. Cut out the patch to fit the hole and mud the whole thing up. Why bother painting where nobody will see? By the end of the weekend we were ready for our new resident. It still wouldn’t be here for at least a couple of weeks. The clothesline is strung in the backyard where the even better method of using nature’s dryer is free. For those days without sun and on which we have time to do a load, we’ll be glad for our heat-pump dryer. Particularly when the weather starts growing cold again and global warming enacts its chaos. Hopefully we’ll have a stop-gap solution by then.