Friday, December 12, 2008

The most expensive cap in all the land

Our new dryer stopped working. More accurately, the newish dryer in our new house stopped working. Every time we pressed the button to make it work, it would just buzz and not spin. This, we decided, was no good.

Since it's a Kenmore, we called Sears and they said they could send someone out in a week. They asked if our dryer was under warranty. I looked it up with the dryer documentation we received with the house and found that the original owner of the dryer had purchased an extended warranty when she bought it in 2005, but it expired in August. Ah well. Probably didn't transfer to new owners, anyway.

The Sears people recommended I buy another extended warranty for $205, that would cover the cost of the visit and all parts. They told me that if I just paid for the repairs and parts a la cart, they couldn't promise that the repairs wouldn't cost us several thousand dollars. They didn't say those exact words, but they implied them. Or I inferred them. Whatever. There have been a variety of other things that have gone wrong with the house since we moved in and each has cost approximately $200 to fix, so I reasoned $200 was probably Fate Standard Pricing and went with it.

You never realize just how much you use your dryer until it goes out on you. Suddenly, mountains of laundry grew up on us, overflowing the basket at the foot of our bed and piling in the laundry room. We had to make two trips to a laundromat, which dredged up memories of years gone by before we owned washers and dryers and frequented such places. In fact, being in one reminded me of the most amazing thing I ever saw in a laundromat, which occurred back in about 1998.

There I was, sitting in a laundromat in Tupelo, MS, located a stone's throwing from Elvis's actual birthplace, waiting for my clothes to dry when a girl in her mid-20s came into the place and began loading up several washers with her clothing. Then, in front of God, me and the laundry attendant, she stripped off her clothes down to what I initially thought were her bra and panties, but which, upon lengthy further inspection, turned out to be a bikini. She was quite the comely lass as far as her body was concerned. It was of a quality that would have done well in the small-town strip-club market (within which, for all I know, it might have been employed) and proved to be quite the distraction from my book. Questions might arise at this point regarding why I did not chat up this lovely creature. Leaving aside my crippling shyness and great fear of rejection, there was also the matter of a condition she was afflicted with, which--indelicately phrased, I admit--revolved around the words "face" and "butter," though not necessarily in that order.

No such luck for me during our two trips to the local laundromat last week. No, the most notable thing we saw was where someone had keyed the words "dryer is shit" into the paint of the very dryer we were using, (a commentary we take issue with, because from our limited experience it does not appear to be shit).

A week passed and the Sears guy came out to see the dryer. After ten minutes of trying the button and then fiddling within the guts of the beast, he uttered an "Ah hahhhhh," and emerged, fist clenched.

"I know what your problem is," he said with something of a smirk.

"Okay. What is it?" I said.

The man held out his hand, opened his palm and there upon it was an acorn cap. I stared at it for a long time before raising an eyebrow.

According to the repairman, the cap had somehow come in through the ventilation duct (possibly in the mouth of a damned mouse) because he found it inside the innards of the dryer, lodged in something important that prevented something else important from moving.

The repairman's time and effort came to around $165, a good $40 cheaper than what we'd paid for the warranty service. Adding insult to injury, the man offered to sell us an extension on our warranty. He said for another $75 we could have loads more coverage, including routine maintenance visits. We declined.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the most expensive acorn cap in all the land...

The $205 acorn cap


Anonymous said...

OMG . . . once again I am counting my blessings that I married a man with technical skills. Ya know, most stuff isn't that complicated and a few minutes reading online about how the dryer comes apart and runs and you might have saved yourself some $$

Juice S. Aaron said...


Well, what I neglected to mention is that my father-in-law, who is a mechanic and quite handy at fixing things, had already had a look at the dryer suggested the motor might need replacing. I think the only reason he missed the acorn is that he didn't unhook the dryer vent hose to have a look in there.