Our dryer broke a couple months ago.
Our dishwasher broke a few months before that.
The way we handled these broken “necessities” after our financial troubles is much different than the way we handled them before.
Which could be part of the reason why we entered into financial trouble in the first place.
This is not the first time our dryer has conked out on us.
When you have nine people living under one roof, you are pretty rough on all your appliances.
Plus, walk into any appliance store and the salesperson will basically tell you that they are all pieces of shit that are going most likely going to last less than ten years.
So the first time our dryer died, it was kind of old.
So we bought a new one. A really expensive, top-of-the line one.
It had like fifty different settings. It had steam. I was sure I’d need all of the settings and a shit load of steam.
In eight years I used one of the settings. And none of the steam.
When that broke a couple years ago, I bought a used one for a good price off of Facebook. It was another nice front-loading one with all the bells and whistles.
I never used any of the bells. Or whistles.
I mentioned earlier that the dishwasher had broken.
Five years ago, before our financial troubles, I would have rushed to the store and bought a new dishwasher immediately.
And it would have been the biggest and the best and the most expensive one.
Because we needed it.
We had about a one month overlap where we had no dishwasher and no dryer.
That’s definitely inconvenient.
It takes more time to wash the dishes by hand. It certainly takes more time to hang the clothes out to dry.
Plus, you need to plan your laundry around the weather forecast.
We did finally get a new dishwasher about a month ago. I didn’t get the best. Or the most expensive. Or the one with every feature known to mankind.
I went to a scratch and dent store. And I got a brand new dented Maytag. It’s a solid dishwasher. It was half price because of the dents. It’s only a matter of time before the kids beat the crap out of it anyway, so buying one in perfect condition for full price is kind of dumb.
And now that it’s installed, you can’t even see the dents.
We are still without a dryer.
We could buy one.
But I don’t really want to. Not yet, anyway.
I’ve realized how easy it is to get into the mindset of things being necessities when they really aren’t.
We have come to need so many things that are actually unnecessary.
I’m not saying a dryer isn’t necessary.
Okay. Yes I am.
It’s not necessary.
Because clothing will actually dry without a dryer.
It’s a convenience.
But convenience doesn’t always equal better.
Not having a dryer is forcing me to stay on top of washing the clothes. Because when you have to hang them out to dry, it obviously takes longer, and there are only so many loads you can wash and line dry in one day.
And getting them put away is more of an issue now because the system I was using before is thrown off.
In addition it’s making it very clear that I have let the kids slip with respect to helping me out in this department.
I’m also doing an electric bill experiment and trying to see how low we can get our bill. Because it’s slightly ridiculous right now.
And I realize how easy it is to mindlessly run dryers and dishwashers and rewash loads of laundry that you forgot were in the washing machine once or twice or four times. What a waste.
All that stuff adds up!
And while these conveniences help you out in the short term, they can make your life more difficult in the long run. They can help to make you mindless and lazy and unappreciative and turn you into a kind of a wimp.
I’m not saying we should all renounce electricity and dig a root cellar and return to the days of Laura Ingalls, but perhaps we have all forgotten the difference between wants and needs.
Perhaps we could live without some of the things we think are absolute necessities.
Didn’t our parents survive without dishwashers and iPads and iPods and drive throughs and remotes and 5 billion cable TV channels?
Didn’t we survive without them?
Imagine how much simpler your life would be if you didn’t have to make sure you charged fourteen different devices before you could leave the house.
If you got rid of the iPad, you’d also rid yourself of the charger(s) you need to keep track of.
You’d rid yourself of the parental restrictions you’d need to put onto it and the time you need to take to monitor what your kids are doing on it.
You’d save all that time you waste trying to find it when the battery dies and you can’t locate it.
And you might actually interact more with your children.
I know, but then you wouldn’t be able to watch whatever show you wanted whenever you wanted.
Trust me, I struggle with this one.
How the heck can I run on the treadmill if I can’t watch the latest episode of whatever show I’m bingewatching on Netflix?
That would be torture!
But that’s part of the problem.
We have become a bunch of people who expect instant gratification and everything under the sun available to us at all times.
We don’t have to plan for anything. We don’t have to think ahead. We have made everything so easy.
We can Google everything. Stores are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
You can get next day shipping.
Everything has been made so convenient that we cannot even fathom surviving for a couple days or weeks or months without a dishwasher or a dryer or whatever that thing we are sure we need is.
So that’s why I’m not rushing out to buy a new dryer.
My husband isn’t super psyched about this.
But I feel like everyone in this house needs some reminders.
And the kids need to know that you can, in fact, function without modern appliances.
They need to learn how to survive without every single bell and whistle at their disposal at all times.
Because sometimes those things that are supposed to make life convenient also enable us to easily forget what’s important.
So for the time being, we’re gonna keep a couple things old school.
It could be worse.
We could have to walk uphill both ways in three feet of snow like my grandfather did.
And when you look at it that way, hanging the clothes out to dry isn’t so bad after all.