Hang Me Out to Dry

After happily drying our clothes for a decade, our dryer hit its tweenage years and started giving us the silent treatment. It would only work when we said magic words or used pliers to wrangle it into submission.

I wasn’t ready to plop down several hundred bucks for a new dryer, so I suggested we string a clothesline in the backyard for fresh, sunny, natural drying. But with all the snow and the rain and the wind and the snow and the snow, I finally gave in.

clothesline-cold-depth-of-field-166592One weekend, the hubby and I got in the car, girded our loins (I think that means we buckled our seat belts) and drove to the gargantuan furniture/appliance store where we were immediately attacked by suit-coated salespeople.

They swarmed from everywhere. I thought, at first, they were zombies and impaled a couple of them with the leg of a kitchen chair before I realized my (understandable) mistake. One of them valiantly latched onto us, and the rest of them staggered back into the bowels of the store.

Our salesperson/creature had mainlined 17 Dr. Peppers and hopped around us like a crazy ding-dong until we reached the appliance center. There were washers and dryers as far as the eye could see, which isn’t far because I’m pretty nearsighted. But trust me, there was a huge dryer selection.

Mr. SalesCreature launched into his spiel. “I want you to have the dryer that your future washer will adore. Not the washer you have now, but the one you’ll want in two years.”

I explained we weren’t looking for an appliance matchmaker, but he continued.

“You don’t want a dryer that will be mocked by your future appliances,” he said, as if he weren’t talking nonsense. “You want a dryer that will raise the standard of your home.”

He’d obviously never seen our home.

He guided us to the Drying Machines O’ The Future, detailing all the dryer features we never knew we needed. Throwing out terms like Wrinkle Shields, Quad Baffles and All Major Credit Cards, he described a Utopian laundry room where unicorns came to raise their young and clothes never smelled like mildew.

We then learned about laundry pedestals; the crazy 12-inch tall invention that raises your washer and dryer by, well, one foot.

“Why do I need my laundry machines on $300 pedestals?” I asked. “That seems like it’s setting a bad precedent for other appliances in my home.”

“You won’t have to bend over to get your clothes,” he said, jumping in place. “They even have pedestals with a tiny washing machine to wash small loads, or to store cleaning products!”

“Wouldn’t I have to bend over to reach that?” I asked.

He blinked, then started again with the benefits of appliance pedestals, but I interrupted.

“Look,” I said. “We have $300 in cash, $200 in collectible stamps, $123 in Kohl’s cash and $67 in pennies. What can we get with that?”

His face fell. He waved his hand in a vague direction that could have been behind him or downstairs, then walked away. We wandered until we found a machine that could dry our clothes. We purchased it and ran from the building, making no eye contact with any sales-zombies in the area.

The new dryer is beautiful. It’s shiny. It’s not coated with lint-covered laundry detergent. It actually seems kind of haughty, so I’m glad we didn’t buy it a pedestal.

We assure our old washing machine that it’s still a valuable part of our family. We hope positive attention will keep it working for a few more years, but it’s also in the tweenage stage, so I’m expecting tantrums and/or the silent treatment at any time.

First published in the Davis Clipper: http://davisclipper.com/opinion/hang-me-out-to-dry/

How to Tell if Your Co-Worker is a Zombie

Zombies are the it creatures this year. If you’re going to be creepy–zombie is the way to go. But sometimes you work with people who beHAVE like a zombie but you’re not quite sure if they’re actually infected. They tend to look dazed, unfocused and have a tendency to drool–but is that just the way they are? Or could they be an actual zombie?

(Did your co-worker attack a pit bull on the way to work, or is he a zombie?)

Why take a chance? Here’s a list of warning signs that your co-worker, either male or female, could be a flesh-eating, reanimated corpse:

  • She stares at you with absolutely no expression. Just a little bit of moaning once in a while.
  • You can hear his loud chewing even though you’re not even in the same room. And don’t get me started on how loud he can drink milk.
  • He wears clothes that are stained with blood-colored spots he insists are ketchup or chocolate pudding, he doesn’t remember.
  • It takes her forEVER to walk anywhere. If you’re behind her in a narrow corridor, trying to get to the drinking fountain, there’s a good chance you’ll die of thirst.
  • He smells. Sometimes he smells like he doused his head in Old Spice. But he still smells.
  • Your co-worker tells you he’s hunting a band of humans led by former sheriff Rick Grimes.

(Better hide, Rick. My lazy-ass co-worker is after you. You should be fine.)

  • Manners? What do you mean by this word “manners”?
  • He picks his nose during meetings and rolls the booger between his fingers until he can flick it away. Usually in your direction.
  • She continually thumps your head like it’s a ripe watermelon.
  • You remember attending his funeral two years ago.
  • She tells you she has a “hankerin’ for human flesh” and then laughs like it was a joke. But then she stops laughing and stares at your neck.

Now, I realize that this behavior can describe many humans, including teenagers, but be careful because you never know when you’ll look up and stare into the eyes of the abyss. No, not your boss. A real-life, or real-dead, zombie. Carry a blunt object just in case–and aim for the head. Stay careful, my friends.