I Was Thinking About Something Else

That pretty much sums up my life nowadays. I will be doing something, walking into a room or driving, and I will go askew. Someone will inevitably ask at that same moment, "What are you doing?". Which will confuse me and I can only respond, "Yeah, well...I was thinking about something else".

(formerly A Connecticut Yankee)

Location: Connecticut, United States

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A Man Vs. A Machine

About two weeks ago we discovered that the Mean Time Between Failures (or MTBF in statistical terms) for our 15 year old Kenmore electric clothes dryer appears to be at this point in time - 15 years. This fact came to light when my distraught teenage daughter came to me and said, "I’ve been running the dryer forever (later discovered the items involved pants, a shirt, and delicates) and it [the dryer] won’t dry” . Not alarmed as yet, I inquired, “What time did you put them in?” “One o’clock” was the reply. As it was now a good hour and a half later I thought it was okay to be alarmed and/or start the internals gears turning to signal that it is time to probably get pissed. We proceed together to the cellar door and sure enough, there were no rhythmic drum noises emanating, but there was a curious small motor noise for which I immediately determined that no matter what, this was really, really gonna suck. So we tromp on downstairs and the dryer was not making it’s muffled hot air noises, but again it was making a curious small motor noise.
Oh, I neglected to mention that at the time this happened we had houseguests that had been with us for a few days already and the six of us were all leaving the next morning on a joint vacation kinda thing. So it was definitely laundry time including the dryer, of course. Which is why you can now understand my outburst directed toward the dryer, “Oh No! No, Not Today! Today is NOT a good day to die! The dryer did not respond. With several bad words exclaimed occasionally under breath and occasionally not, a trip to the Laundromat was made after laundering the necessaries. We went on our trip had fun and didn’t think about the dryer.
Then we came home. There it was. Waiting. Silent. Broken. I procrastinated, as I like to do whenever I get around to it, and a couple of weeks went by. I said to myself, this is not going to beat me, we’re not getting a new dryer. Armed with the internet I started looking for answers and troubleshooting tips for the symptoms (heats up, drum doesn’t bother to fucking turn) and what came back were multiple possible scenarios, the very most likely one being ‘the belt was broken’. Yep, made sense given the noises it generated and the ones it didn’t.
Time for exploratory surgery. I wasn’t too worried. I did at one time work on incredibly sophisticated electronic equipment in the military, so I’m thinkin’ this will be a walk in the park. I carefully move the demon dryer out. Remove all screws from all available panels, laying them out carefully on top of the flat surface of the washer (which, as opposed to the dryer, works) so that they will go back to their intended holes. Then removed panels and found that…YES! The belt was in fact broken!. Walk in the park, my friend, a walk in the park. Out to the dryer drum belt store for a new belt. Return home. Arrrgrgrh. Time to go to work, cannot address situation with dryer today. Must be tomorrow. Tomorrow arrives. I head to the basement to do battle with the wee beastie and as I get down the stairs I see the screws have been moved and placed into a nice, though not arranged in any way, pile that is also not located on the washer. Ignoring this future problem I press on. I slipped the new belt on and discovered it to be way to big. Oh except that isn’t true. Funny, but apparently the belt also has to weave through a mechanism that is held in place by of all things, the tension of the belt. Momentary panic. And ever so briefly, it was known as the fuckin’ dryer. I pretty quickly figured out the path the belt needed to travel so that turned out to be no real big deal and everything went back together relatively quickly. And it worked! I was mighty proud of myself. Worthy of a few Tim Allen gorilla grunts. Most manly It is a good thing when you can declare victory over major electrical appliances.


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