Thursday, August 12, 2010

Drying My Eyes

This is it. This is when you all decide that I’ve crossed over. The only thing I can say in my defense is that…if I’m crazy…I’m taking you down with me.

So, the other day, my dryer quit. Now, I don’t have the detailed specifics. I checked its pulse. I held a mirror up in front of it. But before I knew it…it was gone.

Now, I’m guessing that dryers quit in multiple thousands of households every day. And I’m guessing that the level of annoyance when that happens is probably about the same.


My dryer has a history. In fact, my whole washer/dryer combo has a history. It’s probably not interesting to anyone else but me. But that doesn’t mean the history is not there.

In short…I moved to Florida after my husband and I got married. We didn’t have much money. No…wait. We didn’t have ANY money. However…and this may sound strange…we still wanted clean clothes.

Our area in Florida was known as the second worst county in the United States for rust. Which meant that (when you don’t have money) you’re not all that excited about putting a brand new washer and dryer in a garage (where the utility hook-ups are) filled with salt watered air. One could say that their value might depreciate. Or rust from the inside out until you go outside to find a pile of rust and underwear. So we did what any normal couple would do with no money.

We went to an estate sale.

I LOOOOVE estate sales. I’m the ultimate bargain shopper. So when we bought a piano at this sale and the sellers mentioned they would just throw in the washer and dryer for free we were on board. I mean…tell that to a couple who have been living on Ramen for 3 months and that’s the equivalent of winning the lottery.

When we had our little washer/dryer windfall, we told ourselves, “If they last us a year, it will have been a good (free) investment.”

So 14 years, 3 kids, and 1 deceased husband later, I’m replacing the dryer. I’d say that it has served us well.

This is when the “crazy me” emerges.

When the (always nice) delivery people from Lowes came to my house to deliver the new dryer and take the old one, I had the most irrational urge to tow-strap the 2 of them to the 2 wheeled dolly and say, “Did you know that this was so hard for us to buy 14 years ago? Did you know that my husband moved and installed this damn thing in at least 3 houses? How could you just take something that looks old but washed my husband’s clothes and not even give it a second thought???”

If this had actually happened I would have chalked it up to a Widow Moment. And then tipped them well.

A few days later, I was trying to explain my almost crazy behavior to my mom. To further secure her sainthood, she just replied, “You know what? The day that your great aunt replaced her old washer in her carriage house in Louisiana…well…it brought me to tears. And your grandmother and grandfather looked at me (in my early teens) like I was crazy.”

Well. It’s nice to know that appliance grief is genetic.

All I keep thinking is…if I’m so sad about selling that damn dryer…how am I going to feel when I decide to sell my house? The house that we remodeled and made our own, but may not fit us eventually? I mean…think of all of the appliances I’ll have to let go of.

Is there a word for this in therapy? “Appli-widowed-can’t-move-on-a-phobia?”

© Catherine Tidd 2010


  1. Well, if there isn't such a word, there oughta be! ♥

  2. love it...keep writing sister...of there such a thing..

  3. WC, within a month of my husband's demise the first appliance to die was the side by side kelvinator freeze/fridge. It was a gift by my husband to me on the birth of our baby 31 years ago. I saw the guys push and pull the applicance out of the kitchen door, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, memories of years gone by,the many christmases with over loaded goodies tucked in all corners of the fridge,and now it is heading to where i don't know. I watched as they replaced the old with the new, in my wee heart I say a final goodbye to my faithful kevi it served us well and not to be forgotten :)
    jessie w.

  4. Nita Popp here...Hot Subject - Thanks for putting this topic on the gentle cycle, WC!

    Here's a fresh scent dryer sheet... Hope it helps with our static emotional clings, both before and after...As a widow who did an auction of our all our personal belongings, it's a tumbler to deal with. The apprehension of what's coming is tough. Seeing it sold is tough. Awaking to an empty house, feeling like an empty life remains, is equally as tough. Then, once the sadness and tears subside and acceptance sets in...Cleaning your house becomes a breeze, the good memories flood back into your mind, the joys you brought to others from an estate or auction sale helps, and a realization journey of emptiness waiting to be filled begins, and something quite different happens in the end too. Something you didn't imagine. When it comes to glass half full thinking and feeling...Those tough moments in widowhood make you tougher for the new deliveries life wants to send. Though those moments have the ability to dump our 1/2 full glasses out, it can also fill our lives with something fresh and new, relative to where and how we focus, the gift of the old and/or new. Yes, we often kick, scream, and cry through the process and ask how life could dare take things that we hold dear? However, we soon discover without emotional milk spills and dryer breakdowns, we would end-up sour, wrinkled, daring to try and fix something we're not equipped to. I'll get off my soapbox, as I can almost see my granny shaking her finger, with her other hand on her hip,saying from Heaven..."Try doing life's laundry on a wash board and hanging it out on a clothes line, My Dear!" Hmm...Venting has changed. Wisdom and wise words still remain the same.

  5. I guess there are some mixed blessings that come with having inherited nothing of his things...Cause if I had them I'm sure I'd hoard them like the crazy lady with the 48 cats. Don't touch the sacred holey sock!!!

    I wish I had a sacred holey sock to hoard... :(