Saturday, January 12, 2008

Getting a 'Handle' on Things

A couple of days before Christmas, the snapping-latch-device that keeps my dryer door shut bust beyond repair. Never having been responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a large mechanical device, my reaction (after I verbally assaulted the device for inconveniencing me) was to panic. What had I done? Why had I been so rough with the dryer door? I didn't think I closed the door anymore aggressively than I have ever closed a dryer door in previous history. This time, had I gone too far? Why didn't I use more finesse? Was it really necessary to slam it shut? I was a bad, bad person. I immediately jumped to the absolute worst conclusion (a personality trait that is, no doubt, a part of my immense charm): My landlord would make me replace the whole entire machine at my expense. Oh God help me!

After Christmas break, I calmed down somewhat, and tried a more level-headed approach to the situation. This was in fact, only the door latch. Surely replacing such a small item couldn't be that complicated or costly, could it? I took a notebook downstairs and jotted down the machine's vitals: Brand, serial number and model number. I used that wonderful resource called the "Internet" and quickly learned latches for this brand of dryer were pretty universal, and one could be shipped to my door in eight days for about $10. I figured it was worth a shot.

To dry my laundry while I waited for "the part" to arrive, I arranged my ski pole in about a 65-70 degree angle and wedged the door shut. By this time, I was feeling about as resourceful as a carrot-chomping Bugs Bunny. "Go me."

I waited in breathless anticipation (no exaggeration) for my dryer "part" to arrive. By Wednesday I was getting a little concerned and doubting the validity of the Web site I had visited to order "the part."

Then Friday, it arrived. I didn't even take my coat off. I went immediately downstairs to the basement (OK, I let the dog pee first, I am not inhumane). I ripped the bag open and in about 10 minutes my dryer door was again operational. It was a proud day.

A lot of people would laugh at the fact that I am savoring this "small" accomplishment. I understand. The people that know me also would laugh, but because they know me, they would be aware of the fact (while laughing) that (for me) this IS a noteworthy accomplishment.

I have a tendency to rely on the opposite sex to "rescue" me whenever a situation arises that I feel (or am too quick to assume) is beyond my can. At the risk of sounding like a Lifetime Original Movie, I have learned an important lesson here: Maybe I should try to handle things myself before hitting the panic button and involving someone else.


When you are having a drink this weekend, have one for me and make a toast, "to small victories." When you are a small town girl, that is all you have!