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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Going to Home Depot

As you may know, my daughter Spencer and her boyfriend Glenn recently bought a new condo.  It's not really home yet, because as the poet says, "It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make a home, a heap o' sun an' shadder, an' ye' sometimes have t' roam."  Ye also have t' put up curtain rods an' connect th' dryer vent, but the poet didn't mention that part.

Glenn had already bought the flexible hose and the duct clamps at the Home Depot, so I gave him a brief rundown of the procedure as I remembered it, and he clambered behind the dryer and set to work.  Maybe I could've done it myself, but I let him do the honors.  Not that connecting a dryer vent is that great an honor, but we have to gather these little Golden Memories while we can.  I should mention Glenn is a pretty big guy.  He does Iron Man triathlons where you run a marathon after you've had a refreshing four mile swim in the ocean and pedaled 112 miles on your bicycle.  So he's squeezed back there bending joints he never knew he had, working the screwdriver and cursing the flexible hose, until he announces, the clamps are the wrong size.

This is no big deal, I assure him.  I have never once embarked on a project that didn't require at least three trips to the hardware store.  And it's true - it might be as simple as replacing the light bulb in the refrigerator.  I might measure the bulb, write down the serial number, and verify if it's a left or right-handed model.  Nevertheless, it will require at least three trips to get the right one.

So we get the right hose clamps and Glenn sets back to work.  These hose clamps, of course, are designed by NASA engineers to just barely fit.  And by just barely, I mean they don't fit at all, but by a sufficient amount of cussing and straining you can make them fit.  Glenn is hampered not only by being a big guy but because he naturally can't let a full stream of cuss words loose in front of his girlfriend's father.  I swear, the worst thing I heard him say was "Darn."  Anyone will tell you, you can't do a decent repair job without access to a full range of cussing vocabulary.  I wanted to tell him, "You can use the F-word if you want, son.  It's fine."  My view of the operation consisted of the top of Glenn's head accompanied by creaking sounds.  Some of the sounds were the operation of the screwdriver and some were his joints.  He rose from time to time to wipe sweat from his brow and rest his knees, and then went back to work.  It would've been so much easier if he could've cussed.

At last he announced the hose was on, except he expressed a concern it was too long and would crimp.  I examined his handiwork, and while it did look like a dryer vent as imagined by Dr. Seuss, I felt it would do fine.

However, when Spencer saw it, she felt the dryer was not properly aligned with the washer, and after she'd tugged and twisted it into place, Nancy declared the hose was definitely crimped and the dryer wouldn't vent.  So Glenn removed the hose, amputated about half of it with my trusty exacto knife, and reattached it.  He was no longer finding it as hard squeezing back behind the dryer.  Partly because loss of sweat he'd shrunk down by about a fourth, and partly because he'd bent additional joints in his arms and legs.  By this time each forearm had two brand-new elbows.

We pushed the dryer back in place, and the hose crimped again.  At this point, Nancy expressed a desire to give it a try, and she went behind the dryer herself.  I will say now, and I love my wife as dearly as man ever loved woman, it would have been an enormous cosmic injustice if she'd succeeded in connecting the dryer vent after Glenn had expended so much sweat, effort, and inadequate cussing trying to do it.  She failed.  Thank the Lord.

I tried myself, and was able to connect the dryer, but when we pushed it back, the remaining section of hose was irretrievably crimped.  Oh, by the way, getting out behind the dryer, I managed to break one of the shelves in the dryer closet.

Part of the problem is the dryer exhaust pipe and the wall duct don't line up and there's very limited space to twist the hose.  I spent the rest of the evening meditating on how we could address the problem.  When we got home, Nancy showed me various solutions available online, but I paid only polite attention.  I was cogitating My Own Plan.  Please, please, please if you read this blog and think you know the answer, DO NOT write in to say what it is.  This is not merely a matter of a dryer vent.  Dryer vents come and go, they are expendable.  Here today, gone tomorrow is how it is with dryer vents.  This is a matter of pride.  In any case, I believe I have the solution.

It will require just one more trip to Home Depot.

***

PS - Check out Jesse Christiansen's Next Big Thing Interview here for his new novel, Pelican Bay: http://jgchristiansen.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/next-best-thing-author-interview/

1 comment:

  1. The problem with dryers and the "accordian" style exhaust hose is that...in order to do it correctly, without some kink in the hose...the dryer has to be at least a foot or so away from the wall. And that just doesn't look right, for some reason. The hoses on the washer are only about 3/4 of an inch in diameter (garden hose-sized, more or less), and they're rubber (some have that metal mesh around 'em for strength)...but they'll bend quite easily, with no problem. Plus, they're usually attached to faucets up high, and easy to get to.
    The dang dryer has that vent pipe that's usually 4 inches in diameter (at least)...and the flex hose takes up way too much room behind there. And you can't get it to bend sharply enough with kinking up. All you can do is either (1.) Install both the washer and dryer so that they're a foot or more away from the wall, or (2.) Install the washer as close to the wall as possible, and then install the dryer out further so they don't line up...and listen to your wife mumble and grumble about it forever.
    ...and the angels wept.

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