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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 4 ~ September 29, 2008
~ Never Take Your Appliances for Granted

My husband and I generally tend to be the "Glass is Half Full" kind of people. If we sat down and dwelled too often on some of the tougher aspects of parenting a large family, we'd probably become overwhelmed and frightened to death to face a new day! By choosing to look for those sometimes hidden silver linings, we can usually keep our momentum going and soon enough we've conquered another milestone. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Well, I must confess on this rainy Monday morning I've just awoken to, (fifth day in a row of rain here in Rhode Island, by the way!) I'm trying, really, really trying, to find the silver lining in my current broken dryer situation, but now that it's been nearly two full weeks without one, that silver lining is starting to look a little bit like black.

If you've ever wanted to see a grown woman nearly lose it, last Friday would've been the perfect opportunity to observe my very close call to a mini nervous breakdown.

My kids and Disney
Good memories to ease the pain of my dryer woes!
The first week that I was without that very important appliance in this mother's life, the clothes dryer, I managed to look at the whole nuisance as a minor aggravation-certainly not the end of the world, although it was easily tacking an extra two plus hours of laundry work to each day. Still, I was just so happy that the service appliance repair man could get us the part within 4 - 5 days, and that the $1800 we spent on this luxury commercial-grade dryer was not in complete vain.

Not only was my attitude bright and sunny, so was the weather! I was able to hang a lot of our clothes out on my new makeshift clothesline, and despite the towels drying like stiff cardboard, I will say everything did smell clean and fresh.

I patiently waited for the appliance place to call with the great news that our part was in. Each time I left the house, I'd zip back in to check my phone messages, in hopes of hearing those fabulous words "Mrs. Butler, we've got your part! We'll be there tomorrow!"

No such luck!

After six LONG days went by, I finally picked up the phone to call and inquire. For those of you who don't know me too well yet, I must admit I never like to impose myself (or my children!) on anyone. My philosophy of "you always get more with honey than you do with vinegar" has been one I've lived all my life-but the older I get, I can see I need to perhaps rely on a little more vinegar in certain situations. I hated to bother the nice people in service and repair, but it had been over 6 days at this point, and I knew that rain was a coming, so my line drying would now come to a screeching halt.

Carlos, the very nice gentlemen that answered my call, told me he'd look up our paperwork and get right back to me. That was easy, I told myself! Think again, Cheryl.

Carlos did call right back, but not to schedule an appointment to install the new starter. Oh no-Carlos called with some other news. The part was on backorder and they wouldn't know the status for another five days. Why five more days, you ask? Well, Carlos apparently went to the same school I did when it comes to standing up for yourself-the manufacturer, he tells me, does not allow inquiries on parts for a full 15 days after the order is placed.

At first I thought I was part of a bad dream. Was I hearing correctly that he wasn't going to even make a simple phone call for another five days because that is what the guidelines for the manufacturer suggested?

I thanked Carlos for his time and hung up the phone. I then collected my cranky almost 3-year old, Annie, and off we went to pay Carlos a personal visit. This was unacceptable and this mother of eight who has now been told the part is indefinitely backordered (oh, and did I forget to mention he said they may not even make the part any longer? A Whirlpool 3-year old dryer . . . they may not make the part any longer!!!) was not going to let it gently slide by.

Carlos, don't mess with this mother!
Carlos - don't mess with this mother!
To make a long story short-Carlos and I are now good friends! Carlos himself comes from a family of ten children, so I used my trump card--"I have 8 children, do four plus loads of laundry a day, and cannot live without my dryer for another two weeks, only to be told they don't make the part any longer." Get the picture?

I was never rude or abrasive, but I must've been persuasive, because within the first 10 minutes that I was physically standing in the appliance store (with other customers listening, mind you) Carlos had made a few phone calls, located the part, and was having it over-night expressed to their store! That was last Friday. The part is still not in, but I'm told it will arrive today and I can expect service by Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. I'll take it!

This experience has taught me several things, and I'm going to use it as a definite learning experience and then carry on.

  1. Never take my appliances for granted, ever, ever again!

  2. Never rely on the repair people to call the shots--make the phone call a couple days after they have been here just to "gently" check on the status. (That old honey vs. vinegar thing!) !

  3. Never believe those TV commercials that line-dried towels are soft and fluffy-I tried softeners, and even ironing them (pitiful, isn't it!) and they were all stiff as road kill. !

  4. Always securely fasten undergarments while line drying--my neighbors have seen more than they care of our tidy whities that have blown into their yard during this saga. (And this includes my wonder girdle!-My secret is out now!) !

  5. Choose laughter over the nervous breakdown-especially if you are in your forties-red, puffy eyes are much more unattractive when you already have a few slight wrinkles. (Key word being slight!)

On that note, I do believe I see the sun starting to peek out behind a band of very thick, dark clouds so now it will definitely be much easier to find the silver linings with whatever today has in store for me.

Enjoy your week everyone and when I write next week, hopefully my dryer will be purring away in the background!

Take care,
   ~ Cheryl

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