Friday, November 04, 2016

don't look a gift horse in the mouth....

In honor of living in my house for 20 years, I'm sharing 20 memories. Here's #4. 

No photo for this memory, but it's probably just as well. 

As a housewarming/Christmas gift my parents purchased a washer and dryer for me. Even back in those days I was a shop local sort of person. 

There is a family owned appliance store on the East side of downtown where I found a nice new Maytag set. When I made the arrangements at the store they said that for $50 they would deliver, haul the old set away, and connect everything. When I mentioned that part to Dad he said to cancel that part, after all he had a truck. 

Classic "famous last words." 

Mom and Dad picked me up about an hour before the store closed and we wedged into the cab of the truck.  We had a make a stop at a drive through to grab food for someone that needed to eat before we went any farther. 

We arrived at the store about 15 minutes before they closed. Having worked in retail and food service I know how everyone is antsy to leave at that point. The staff was super nice and offered to help load the washer and dryer into the truck and directed Dad to the dock. Dad backed up the truck....into a car in parking lot.

It took time to sort all that out and exchange insurance information and such. By now it's 20 minutes past closing time. We get to the dock and the guy helping load asked if we had an appliance dolly. From the look on all of our faces, he quickly guessed the answer. He then asked what we were going to do with the old washer and dryer. More blank stares. 

At this point his attitude shifted from annoyance to sympathy. He offered to loan us the dolly. We could bring it back to the store when we were done. He would leave the padlock for the fence around the appliances waiting to be recycled unlocked, we could put the dolly and old washer and dryer there and snap the lock shut when we were done. 

Back at my house after much cussing and unsafe lifting practices Dad and I wrestled the old washer and dryer up the basement steps and tried to keep gravity from doing too much damage to us and the new appliances as we took them down the steps. 

So far so good. 

Until we went to hook them up. Apparently dryers don't come with a cord because it depends on how many amps and whether the the outlet is a three or four prong type. This I learned when I went to the hardware store. Luckily I'd stumbled into the right place. Hedlund Hardware has been around since 1935 and I'm sure this wasn't the first time someone had rushed in 10 minutes before they closed clutching the manual from a dryer close to tears. 

When the man asked me whether the plug was three or four prong the tears started for real. He sold me both connection kits and assured me I could bring the other one back. 

Back at home we got the dryer connected - victory! 

Time to connect the washer. The hoses and connection stuff at come with the washer. Water connections are standard, right? 

We had cut the hoses from the old set to detach the old washer from the water line, but had not unscrewed them from the water connection yet. We discovered that they were rusted and whatever else happens to make metal not budge from other metal. 

I should mention that it is now about 10:00 pm and the hardware store was closed and we were about six hours into this simple project.  

Dad asked where my pipe wrench was. Seriously? I had decent tool collection, but it didn't involve a pipe wrench. And none of my wrenches were the right size or sturdy enough. 

I voiced my "let's throw in the towel for tonight" opinion - which I'd been working up the nerve to say for the last four hours. 


Dad had seen the project this far and wasn't ready to give up. He insisted that I ask the neighbors if they had a pipe wrench we could borrow. 

It is now after 10:00 and dark and a weeknight. And I'd only lived in the house for four days and hadn't met any neighbors yet. 

Ever the dutiful daughter, I knocked on the neighbor's door to the north. No answer. Off to the neighbor to the south...not only did they answer the door, but they handed me a pipe wrench without question. 

By now the neighbor on the other side of the double was home and Aaron was kind enough to come and help and bring his tools.  It's amazing how having a non-family member involved help ease the tension. 

By 11:00 everything was connected and working and everyone was speaking to each other civilly. 

Done right? 

Except that we needed to return the dolly and drop off the old appliances.  

Back in the cab of the truck we went. The trip back to appliance store was much quieter. 

I have no idea how much the avoiding the $50 deliver/connect/haul away service cost us, but I'm guessing the deductible from the fender bender was much more that that.  

Follow up: Twenty years later the washer is still working perfectly. The dryer died about ten years ago and I've just gone without one. Between my Great-Aunt Theresa's drying rack and hanging things I don't need one. Plus I don't think I've recovered from the first dryer experience. 


1 comment:

Granny Annie said...

Oh Nora this brings back memories. My parents were helpers too. My new dryer experience involved Mom and Dad insisting there was no need to call an electrician to rewire the garage for the dryer. It seems they cross wired it and when I went to do a load of laundry in my bare feet holding wet clothes I almost electrocuted myself. At that point my parents decided to give up electrical work. Even to this day I have never touched my dryer in bare feet. But oh how I miss my parents:-(