Like Pulling Teeth

As I was tugging my dryer the other day in an attempt to move it out of its niche beside the washer, I realized something. I realized that at my age (never you mind) I had no business tugging on large appliances.

This hit me with all the force of an epiphany, probably because I often forget my age. But what to do? I’d already succeeded in yanking it halfway out of its nesting place with a combination of tugging and rocking slightly back and forth. Really, trying to get that dryer out was like yanking on a gigantic loose tooth not quite ready to break free. But it had to be done, it was time. All sorts of odds and ends were lodged between the wall and dryer: a crumpled box of dryer sheets, some kind of metal box, a stuffed bunny and typically, stray socks. (Never mind them not matching, I’d never even seen any of them before!)

Should I stop my craziness and shove it back, just admit defeat and wait until my son was available to move it for me? I looked over at fat cat Midge to see if she had any wisdom to impart, but she didn’t. The only thing she’s been imparting these days is fat clumps of fur that have the ability to startle me every time I walk into a room and see them strewn about. Has there been a cat fight in here and I missed it?

Is this how it’s going to be now? Have I become one of those stubborn old women who refuse help and end up breaking a hip? My obstinacy, mingled with my tendency these days to hear my dryer speaking to me, should be alarming. It’s not.

What worries me is whether my dryer will still speak to me now that I’ve jolted it out of its resting place.

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Only a Matter of Time

I knew it was only a matter of time before my dishwasher elbowed its way into the spotlight by competing with my squeaky dryer.

Yesterday I walked by and it sang out, “Blew on his hands!”

Or maybe it meant, “Blue on his hands!”

Today its trilling song was, “Ain’t it wonderful!”

Why do I always feel so out of things? I don’t want to sound as if I think there is a conspiracy brewing, but what am I to make of Ain’t it wonderful? I would love to agree that indeed it is—but I haven’t the foggiest.

I’ve always had an odd effect on appliances or machinery in my care. I won’t go so far as to say that they have always been snide to me, but surely there’s been an understated contention beneath the surface.

For example, I once owned a car whose horn blasted every time I made a right turn.  Sometimes the right hand turn was unavoidable or I’d simply forget,i-changed-my-car-horn-to-gunshots-now-people-get-out-of-the-way-much-faster-WHi6T and there went my horn. Blasting, and then it would get stuck that way, earning me glares from fellow drivers and one gas station employee in particular who thought, as I sidled up to the nearest gas pump, that I was laying on the horn from impatience. From a sense of entitlement.

Another car I was graced with liked to spring its hood open like a creepy Jack-in-the-Box at unexpected times. This was never not scary, in fact it was terrifying. But when it happened on the freeway and in the pouring rain, well, you’ll excuse me if just the memory has the power to rattle me to this day.

But about my dishwasher, what’s its story? Friend or foe? I will assume friend until I have reason to think otherwise. I once thought it might be in cahoots with my dryer but now I’m not so sure. The dryer has been oddly quiet of late, which just happens to coincide with fat cat Midge’s constant molting. Everywhere I go, clumps of black and white fur, enough to create a small kitten if I had a mind to. I don’t know what’s going on with those two, but I’m hoping my dishwasher is trying to get my attention because it wants to join forces with me.

Because honestly, I don’t think I can take one more machine turning against me.

 

 

 

Come on, Porcupine!

I’m doing my best to avoid my dryer. It’s nothing personal, I simply don’t care to heat up my tiny home when outside the temp is climbing.

Inside is always ten degrees hotter, and I’ve no AC. So you can see why I try slinking by my dryer as unobtrusively as possible. But inevitably the laundry must be done.

Only one load, I decide. Just enough to get me through a couple days.

My fat-cat Midge likes to nap right in front of the dryer. She won’t move, though I’m in danger of trampling on her as I transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. She looks up at me and gives more of a squawk than a meow, her whiskers quivering with indignation.

I know Midge is in cahoots with my dryer. I’ve long suspected this, and now the certainty of it makes me secretly glad that I accidentally stepped on the tip of her tail.

“Come on, Porcupine!” my dryer squeaks as the drum begins rotating. Midge twists her neck to give me a pointed look. I’ve upset her nap, invaded her space, and brought my squeaky dryer to life, obviously all for the purpose of irritating her.

Sorry, not sorry, I tell her silently. I watch her slowly gather in her limbs and fur to begin the process of standing up. When that’s accomplished she takes her sweet time stretching dramatically.

“Come on, Porcupine!” squeaks my dryer. I’m not sure who’s being addressed, me or Midge.

I should be the prickly one today. This morning Midge awakened me by chomping on a book. Which is an improvement over being awakened by her eating my hair, but not by much.

I should carry a grudge for all the times I’ve nearly broken my neck trying to step over or around her, just when she decided to get up and tangle herself up in my feet.

I should give her murderous looks for the pile of vomit she’s not so cleverly hidden with one of my shirts, a pile I didn’t even know was there until I grabbed the shirt and promptly stepped in warm vomit with my bare feet.

I should follow her example and sit with my back to her when she does something to offend me.

But, when she begins her waddle to her food dish on her impossibly thin stick legs, I don’t have the heart to bear that grudge. I even gently nudge her aside and check her food for ants before I let her start eating.

I think we’re both a couple of prickly porcupines, doing our best to survive the heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a gunshot!

I haven’t wanted to say anything, but it hasn’t escaped my notice that my dryer’s squeaks have taken a rather violent turn.

There’s gunshot, there’s a gunshot! is the latest outburst.

Not a fan of violence, I’d love to ignore this particularly disturbing squeak. But I can’t. What if it means something? What if my dryer knows something I don’t?

If no one hears fromarchitecture-building-clouds-939962 me in a reasonable amount of time,  send in the Marines, would you?

 

Paris

Some of the things my dryer squeaks at me are laughable. For example, “Take a passport, take a passport!” This was followed the next day by, “Read a French book, read a French book.”

I’m not sure why most things are repeated twice but it does serve to emphasize the words, as if there is a sense of urgency I dare not ignore.

Wouldn’t it seem that being told to take a passport, trailed by Read a French book, would imply something? An impending trip perhaps.

Personally, I don’t think I should be allowed to travel abroad. Anyone whose home grows cobwebs long enough to jump rope with is not to be trusted on foreign soil.

Still, I can see me lollygagging in this quaint Paris hotel room. Any cobwebs I might spy wouldn’t be my responsibility would they? I might make mention of it to the young woman who knocks on my door every day to clean. I can see the two of us standing together with craned necks peering up at the unsightly cobweb, foreheads crinkled in mutual consternation.

She would tsk briskly and hurry from the room to fetch a broom. Instantly I would regret my complaint. She can’t be expected to see every dust bunny and cobweb! Think of how many rooms she must be responsible for every day. Regret fills me with the impulse to show her a kindness. When she returns with the broom and knocks down the offending cobweb, we exchange a smile and I press into her hand a piece of candy I’ve been hoarding. The gold foil shines in the palm of her hand as she begins to speak, but I wave off her protest because I can afford to feel magnanimous with all that my quaint little room does for my tired soul.

This is the thing about my squeaky dryer, it gets me to thinking. You can see how one thought on its own might not be much but it leads to another, and then before I know what’s what I’ve woven together a little story that feels so authentic I have to remind myself it’s not a memory.

I’m already grieving that room in Paris with the windows that open inwards, and a twilight so purpled and star-studded that it makes me gasp with delight the first time I see it.

 

 

 

 

Here’s Something You Don’t See Everyday

I’ve put up with a lot from my dryer.

I didn’t complain when a knob fell off.

When it began snagging my clothes I rolled my eyes a lot, I confess, but I’ve learned to let it go, mostly.

I could call the office and make a request for a replacement dryer. Doesn’t that sound logical and even grown up of me? It really does, doesn’t it. But see, I don’t like people in my space, not when I don’t know them. We’ve gone through so many maintenance guys here that I don’t know any of them. And then I’d have to deal with Fat Cat Midge  freaking out (she doesn’t like strange people in her space either). And here’s another thing, what if someone comes in while I’m out grocery shopping and I don’t know anyone’s here and I walk in and they scare me half to death, and Midge too? Doesn’t it almost seem that it would be easier to bear the burden of an old, squeaky dryer that sometimes snags clothes but also, let’s be honest, keeps me company? Talks to me, anyway, even if in a rather pushy manner.

Here I am defending the old squeaker when what I meant to say is that yesterday it gave me conflicting messages. When I first turned it on, the message was, “Put your hands up, put your hands up!” Later, when I threw a new load into its gaping clothes hole it ordered, “Stir the sauce good, stir the sauce good!”

Well really, which is it? I can hardly do both at once. Do you want my hands up or the sauce stirred?

Later, while pondering my dryer’s bossy and conflicting messages, I happened to look up at my living room ceiling and gasped.

“WOT?!” I exclaimed, and you’ll understand that better if you know I just watched Dickens’ Great Expectations and, worth noting also, I am in the middle of an English novel. So WOT came naturally to me at the moment when I spied with my little eye a mammoth cobweb brazenly swaying from my ceiling.

I don’t pride myself on being a perfect housekeeper, but I’m hardly a Miss Havisham. (Another allusion to Great Expectations.) My home isn’t decaying around me as I sit in my raggedy wedding dress, my wedding cake moldering on the table beside me, refusing to let go of the past. Still, maybe it began like this. Maybe being jilted at the altar broke Miss Havisham’s heart a little, then she happened to glance up at her ceiling and saw evidence of what a pigsty she was living in . . . and she just couldn’t come back from it.

Well, not me. I eyed that cobwebcobweb with as much disdain as I could muster, and went for my broom. Where do these things even come from? It wasn’t there yesterday! Gah, it’s nearly long enough to use as a jump rope.

Then, let’s just add insult to injury, I walk by my french doors and what do I see on the patio? Hair. Clumps of hair. Four or five clumps of them. I swear I’m going to have to start a new category for this blog, something like, “Here’s Something You Don’t See Everyday!”

The hair may not seem hairto be related to the dryer, or the cobweb, or Great Expectations. But you can see how it might have seemed to me. Well. I didn’t holler, “WOT?” when I saw the hair. I merely stood and stared, probably with my mouth hanging open. Then I made one of my sons who was visiting go outside and check it out. This might seem mean, but he’s old a grown up, besides isn’t this partially why we have kids? To do the things we don’t want to do? Or is it just me?

I thought maybe a cat had been been in a really bad fight, but he confirmed it was human hair. Okay. But why on my patio? When did it arrive, in the middle of the night? Did it come with the cobweb? I mean, really?

Just now, I’m not kidding, I saw a neighbor walk by who until today had a full head of dark hair. He’s obviously shaved his head. On his balcony maybe? It’s not directly over me but if he tossed the hair and the wind was blowing . . . ah, mystery solved.

That cobweb, though. That dryer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a Nightclub

Sometimes I can’t decide if my dryer just blurts out random stuff in a Tourette Syndrome sort of way, or if it is deliberately snide.

Yesterday, for instance. Its whine sounded for all the world like an accusation as “In a nightclub, in a nightclub!” assaulted my ears every time I entered the room. In a nightclub, indeed. I haven’t set foot in one in years.

Why am I taking this so personally? Consider the evidence. So far, my dryer has whined/blurted the following messages:

  • California, California!
  • Put the brakes on, put the brakes on!
  • You’re my best friend!
  • Elementary! Elementary!
  • Where the wind blows, where the wind blows!
  • In a nightclub, in a nightclub!

 

You’ll note no clues are given. What about California? Put the brakes on what? What do you mean, best friend? Admittedly my lifeleximphoto-446086-unsplash has narrowed a bit as I’ve gotten older but I hope the day never comes that I consider a squeaky dryer to be my best friend.

I just returned from the grocery store where I stood in the produce department watching an employee trying to catch a mouse under a bin of veggies. Now all I can wonder is, how often do mice run and skip over the fruits and veggies that are left out in the open?

You can see I have more to worry about than a snide, squeaky dryer.