One day, back when our house was not only new to us but new to the world, our dryer stopped working. No amount of button-pushing, unplugging and plugging back in, or whacking it with my hand would fix it.
Turns out that the builder of our brand-new house hadn’t vented the dryer outside and the engine burned itself out.
“I’ve never seen this before,” the repair guy said like it was supposed to make us feel special.
Grandma watched the kids while Brian and I schlepped to a couple stores and made the first appliance purchase for our new home. It wasn’t the last, not even close.
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A year later, the clothes washer became a floor/ceiling washer thanks to a cracked drum. At the store, I realized that my 5-foot-2 self couldn’t reach the bottom of the nifty, new-fangled top loader I had planned to get. Frustrated, I quickly, and with no research, picked another.
The dishwasher made it about five years before it needed to be replaced, and the stove only lasted until someone — OK, it was me — slammed something on it in anger and shattered the glass-ceramic cooktop. We went through four, over-the-stove microwaves before we learned to put the spaghetti/potato/soup pot on the back burner so the steam wouldn’t short out the control panel.
We replaced an apartment-sized, moved-with-us-eight-years-ago refrigerator with an armoire style beauty. I had a social-media profile picture next to this fridge, it was that pretty. I named it Thor. I loved Thor.
Thor quickly broke my heart. The compressor went out only a few months later and the replacement compressor lasted about as long. The store sent another fridge that lasted a few years before its compressor fizzled. Or was it the computer panel? Or the flux-capacitor? Who cares? It was broken, out of warranty and more expensive to repair than to replace.
The whole family went that time. “Hey kids, this is how you panic shop for an old-school, side-by-side that’s going to be visiting us for a few years!”
We began to make bets on the next appliance to die.
My husband won, it was the dryer.
Once again, it was a game of Replace Broken Appliance as Fast as Possible. Not a fun game, but the only one I had ever known.
Until this month.
I do enjoy shopping at this time of year ... for fun stuff, like Christmas presents for people I love or jersey dresses with pockets (for myself, this is an admitted character flaw). I don’t enjoy shopping for appliances but all of ours were, technically, functioning.
Then, my husband said the most adult thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life: “We should replace the dishwasher before it breaks.”
“OK,” I told him, “I’ll keep an eye out for a deal,” knowing full well I wouldn’t.
“I’m thinking this week.”
He recapped the problems with it and sealed the deal: “You know it’s going to break when we have people coming over or on a holiday.”
I would like to report that buying a new appliance when the old one is still working was a refreshing experience. I would like to say that leisurely research time and delivery flexibility gave me the upper hand in the purchase.
But I would be lying.
Old dog, old trick. I walked to the middle of the line of dishwashers, looked up the reviews on a couple and checked my Facebook and Twitter feeds to make it look like I was heavily researching before hunting down a salesperson to take my money.
I think we all know what’s next.
On my way out of the store, I stopped at a nifty, top-loading washing machine and reached in.
I still can’t touch the bottom.