A day late and a dryer short

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So Earth Day was yesterday. I had a post composed in my mind to write about that, but my posting ability was curtailed by my attempt on Monday night to cut my thumb off and my subsequent need to spend yesterday afternoon in the urgent care, where they glued it back on. Still, as I drove home from the urgent care, the only passenger in my SUV on a backed up freeway full of other one-passenger SUVs, I was thinking about Earth Day, and about how much we've changed our lives to be more environmentally conscious, and about how much more is needed.

We have definitely made some changes. We still commute by not-all-that-efficient car, which is bad, but we commute together, which is good. We recycle everything our curbside recycling will take, which is good, but we don't save the other stuff and take it to a recycling center, which is bad. We have mostly phased out paper towels in favor of cloth napkins, which is good. I still take a shower nearly every morning and a bath several nights a week, in very hot water, which is bad. We compost, which is good, but my dear partner and in-laws spread chemical fertilizer on our roses this weekend, which is bad. So while we're improving, it is definitely safe to say we're not there yet.

What else, I wondered as I sat in traffic, should we do? What one change should we implement on this Earth Day? But by the time I got home, I'd forgotten all about it. Why? Because I was greeted by a sweaty, ranting Mark and a disassembled clothes dryer. It stopped working. He took it apart and discovered that due to an ill-fitting pipe, hot air and lint have not been going outside, as they should, but back into the dryer's cavity. This, he suspects, has either led a thermostat to trip (good) or the motor to burn out (bad). It also very easily could have caused a fire, but luckily didn't. However, we're not sure at this point if it's something Mark can fix, or if it will have to be repaired by someone from GE. Neither of those things was really going to happen last night. And in the meantime, there was a load of wet laundry in the washing machine.

Mark said he was going to ask our neighbor if we could use her dryer. But it seemed to me there was a far better plan.

A clothesline.

We live in Texas. It's hot here, already. We've got solar energy to burn. We have a decently sized yard with lots of trees to string lines between. Why on Earth have we not been using a clothesline? Why has it never occurred to me? My mom almost never uses her dryer--in the summer, she hangs clothes outside, in the winter, she hangs them inside. Rural frugality works like that. It's ridiculous that I hadn't thought of it before.

So we strung up a rope, hung the bedding that was in the washer to dry, and put dealing with the dryer off. Mark seems skeptical about the whole idea, but he'll come around. He hated the idea of compost to begin with, too. I'm going to suggest we use the dryer on an emergency basis only all summer. And I'm going to go out today at buy some clothespins.

Happy Earth Day, y'all.

5 Comments

Don't you love when the universe answers questions for you!

I actually only hang dry my clothes in the winter....its too humid here during the summer and they tend to get moldy. Even in the winter, I can't seem to solve the problems of stiff clothes (although I've been told a dose of fabric softener should do the trick...I just hate adding another product to my routine) or linty clothes. For some reason, when we hang dry we get all kinds of weird, hard to remove lint.

So if anyone has any tips on resolving that one, I'd love to hear them. :)

Happy earth day!

I haven't had a dryer in over five years and while it would be nice to quickly dry clothes sometimes, I got used to doing my laundry on a schedule so that things I need a couple days from now are washed and then hung out to dry in time. In the summer it only takes an hour or two anyway. And there's nothing like the smell of laundry that's been line-dried!

I strongly recommend a drying rack placed next to the washer, esp. for smaller items like socks. Saves a bunch of time.

Be careful putting things like pillowcases and sheets out on heavy pollen days. That can be a problem.

I used to hang my clothes on a line when I lived in Texas, and in fact still do in CO when it's not snowing or something. It's just how I was raised, in a country where electricity is very, very expensive. Things dry quickly enough, even in the humidity. Also, your clothes stay nice for longer -- so it's all good!

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