As an avowed gadget addict, John Calypso of Viva Veracruz Blog, has recently issued a number of challenges to the blogging public. Or in the case of this blogger, a member of the former non-blogger community (hat tip to Gary Denness). John challenged his blogging friends first to post their computer workstations, which I have duly done.
Now, however, a bigger, brighter, bleached whiter gauntlet has been thrown down: laundry equipment. Now why exactly John wants to see other people’s cleaning hardware is difficult to fathom. Frankly, I haven’t had the nerve to ask. And who knows what’s next? Vacuums? Electrical panels? (Those living SOB would likely have some amusing photos to post.) Coffee grinders? (OK, that one has been done, at least by John.) Leaf blowers? Snow blowers? Oar rowers? (OK, those are people, not machines, but I thought it sounded entertaining.)
In any case, you can see my “equipment” at the top of the page. It lives in my rather dank basement, with myriad spiders and centipedes for company. Fortunately, due to my northern location, there are NO scorpions, thank God! The washer is a rather unassuming Maytag which was purchased new some years ago after its predecessor suddenly died. And it was purchased in a super-utilitarian way. I have no love for laundry equipment, and until now, didn’t much fear that people would judge me by it either. So when I needed a new machine, I picked up my Consumer Reports Buying Guide and picked out their best value, which came to about $300 (circa 2001), called around to various stores to see who had the best price (which turned out to be an independent dealer, well below Sears, Best Buy, Circuit City and the other chains), then went to the store in my little Toyota truck and bought the machine on the spot. It has served me well ever since, magically converting dirty laundry into wet, clean clothes.
The dryer has a more complicated history. It’s a gas-fired “Speed Queen,” a name I’ve always found appealing, and one that has been occasionally lobbed at me by friends in the passenger seat of my car. The dryer spent its formative years in Minneapolis, though not much more is known of its youth. I then purchased it used in the late 90’s from a former co-worker who had relocated to Boston and had no place to store it. I offered what I thought to be a fair price. Though he wasn’t particularly happy, he took it grumblingly. As it turned out, this dryer needed some work before it could be put into service, specifically the gas connections had to be redone, and this required the acquisition of various bits of odd plumbing, and a few hours of my own efforts to make it all work. But since then, it has performed flawlessly, if not speedily.
And in addition to drying my clothes, it also feeds a certain neurosis. At one point I read that the odds of a gas-fired dryer catching fire are meaningfully higher than for electric models. And if you’ve ever looked into the guts of a running gas dryer, you can see why, as it creates a small “tunnel of inferno” in order to operate. So I never run it when I’m not home, and I have a smoke detector right over it. But so far, so good, and the increased danger is offset by a lower operating cost. And that is, after all, the essence of living dangerously, isn’t it?
And in a small, but heartfelt tribute to my love of all things Mexican, it runs off an extension cord. Have at me, John Calypso!