Mid-July, in an email exchange revolving mostly around calculus, carpooling, and a boy named Fred, my dear friend – let’s call her Yolanda* – appended the following personal news:


Our clothes dryer broke down, so I picked one up for $35 on Craigslist. Hoping it doesn’t burst into flames. For now underpants are on the clothesline in 90 percent humidity. Had to change the cord from 3 prong to 4 and Philipe** is swiching the door to open on the left…as a treat for me. Sweet!!

* All names have been changed to protect the innocent. And the guilty.
** Philipe is Yolanda’s 18yo wunderkind.

The next day, this update arrived:


The dryer situation took a bad turn. After 7 hours of transport, cord exchange, paying my helper dad with ice cream and massive lint removal, the load of wet clean clothes tumbled around for 3 hours and, I don’t know how, but felt even more wet than upon entry.

So Philipe and I took our basket to the 24 laundomat in Colfax at 11:30 p.m…..which, guess what, closes at 9 pm. We had no choice but to enter the premises illegally and stuff our junk in the dryers. Of course, as I was violently banging on one of the machines that refused to acknowledge my quarters…the owner arrived to see my surprised and guilty face.

I yelled for Philipe to make a run for it, and I would create a diversion, but the guy said I could calm down and just lock up when I am done filling the machines with all my money.

Breaking and entering, check.
Laundry fees for the week 35 and up, check.
Me in the same outfit from now on, likely.

I’m dyin here…

Have I mentioned that Yolanda is the funniest person I know?

I replied:


Oh, man, do I love you.
That was awesome. Best way to start my day. Ever.
There is a 24 hr laundromat just a little further down the road, btw. We’ll leave a light on for ya’.

Later that evening, as I was crying while attempting to read the email to Scott, he believed every word. I was taken aback, as I had assumed that we were the privileged recipients of Yolanda’s latest forays into creative memoir-style writing. I suddenly felt as though clarification was needed:


I can’t believe I have to ask, but how much of this is reality?

Her answer?


Why? Did you hear my name on the police scanner?

All true AND..the guy came back a second time and found us STILL in his laundromat at midnight because after 3 cycles of 8 minutes in the dryer and damp clothes, I switched machines thinking another dryer would work better..but it was a 30 minute cycle! With 20 minutes left on the timer, the guy walked in and he did not try to disguise the look of annoyance with a hint of rage on his face. So I grabbed the laundry and ran out…mostly dry.

Of course, since the $35 dryer was my bad, I mayyy have given Sheldon*** the impression the new/old dryer was working great. So he decided to surprise us tonight and drive from Duluth to do his laundry!!! Yep. A normal wife would just admit the Craigslist mistake, but c’mon, it’s me. I put his stuff in the dryer for 2 hours and then had to hang the really wet pile on the line. Thankfully Sheldon is asleep and won’t have to watch me blowing on his clothes like they are candles on a bday cake to make it look like the dryer actually dried them.

I might be making marriage and laundry a lot harder than it has to be.

*** Sheldon would be the unfortunate husband of my laundry-challenged buddy.

A week later. The saga continues:


Well, my laundry situation continues to be a kick in the shorts. I have endured ELEVEN days without a properly functioning clothes dryer. Have I been the epitome of grace and patience? No. But, tonight I will attend the Laundromat during regular business hours like law-abiding citizens in an attempt to be a better example to Philipe and direct him away from the rule-breaking chaos that has been this past week and a half.

Finally, today the repair guy arrived!!! YAY!!! I was SO EXCITED to get caught up on wash after Sears left, that I washed 2 loads while whistling a happy tune and then mom-danced while cranking up my “fixed” dryer. Two hours later….wet clothes. AHHGGGGGGGG! Back to the clothesline. What a pleasure it was for me to realize it must be manure spreading day nearby. My laundry is covered with stink and flies as I type this and the repair guy has yet to return my call.

Meanwhile, I have realized Sheldon produces the highest quantity of laundry in our family, I had to put a ban the use of towels and sheets and am becoming dangerously close to reverting back to cave-woman attire. What did they wear? Like a few strategically placed sugar maple leaves? Sounds disposable and awesome to me right now.

Again, I offered up what had to be a very attractive laundromat in our mudroom. I even sweetened the deal with chocolate and the great entertainment of watching us wade through the bedlam of our pre-camping gear-explosion. No bites. Here I must invoke a bit of Aaron Burr: I swear, your pride will be the death of us all. Beware, it goeth before the fall:


Thanks so much!! You’d think with all of my complaining, that I’ve been at the laundromat more than twice…I’ll be fine, and I think that was the final laundromat experience since I plan on making the Sears repair guy stay until a load is totally dry on his next visit. Hostage smostage.

Happy packing over there and Happy camping!! No need to bring me back giant maple leaves…the dryer woes will be over very soon!
Thanks for the offer, I just needed to “vent” haha haha dryer vent. No there is not a gas leak here. Its an electric dryer.

Yep. Must be bedtime.

The email chain ended here. Never did the ten o’clock news feature a missing Sears repairman, so I had to assume that Yolanda and family were fluffing their freshly-laundered towels and basking in the glow of the dryer light.

I visited last week. Our every-few-months day of catching up and chocolate.

Adorning Yolanda’s spotless dining room corner was a dryer. A perfectly good, functional dryer. Another perfectly good, functional dryer could be found in the laundry room. Functioning.

Why? Because as our story concludes, we learn that the first dryer was never malfunctioning. Nor was the second. The villain in our story turns out to be the jerry-rigged vent pipe packed full of seven cubic yards of lint. Oops.

The upshot of the story is – if I have my details straight (I am tottering back in the arena of total disbelief) – that the Yolanda household is now protected by a whole-house appliance warranty. The upshot appears to apply only to the Sears repairman who scored a monthly commission on his latest subscription, but at least there is an upshot.

The moral of the story? Yeah, I’m not even going to go there.

If you need me, I’ll be checking my credit card statement for mysterious recurring charges labeled “Sucker.”

Thanks, Yolanda, for being my inspiration,

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