Miller: Appliance hell |

Miller: Appliance hell

From hell’s heart I stab at thee …!”

I actually quoted those words from “Moby Dick” while hunkered down in the back of our clothes dryer earlier this week. And if I’d remembered them, I would have finished Ahab’s line, directed at the tangle of wires and mysterious thermostat thingies I was looking at: “For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!”

Normally, I don’t have a problem with household repairs. I’ve fixed ovens, refrigerators, sinks, toilets and garbage disposals with only a few cuss words and my modest assortment of tools. I know how to do a lot of this stuff for one simple reason: My father taught me. Growing up, we never saw a handyman or plumber or any other such person in our home, because Dad knew it all (or could figure it out). And for many years, I was the kid handing him the tools and wishing I was elsewhere until I got old enough to start doing it myself. It wasn’t until I had my own places to take care of that I realized how valuable that training was, and it’s saved me a lot of money over the years.

But this dryer … I thought it was a simple matter of replacing the heating element and the other thingy called the thermal cut-off. But the parts place sent me a replacement that was some kind of universal thing requiring some extra wiring and complete with very poor instructions. Next thing I knew I had some wires crossed and the newly installed thermal cut-off literally exploded when I turned the dryer on to test it.

This is not the kind of thing that inspires confidence in one’s spouse. Even if I had gotten it going after that, every time Jen turned the dryer on she’d be wondering if a 10-foot blue flame was going to shoot out the back.

Most of the times, doing stuff myself is satisfying. Simple household repairs fulfill a primeval need to accomplish things in the name of domestic satisfaction. Usually, I can figure out what’s wrong and fix it when I have a little time to ponder the situation. But when something like a dryer craps out, that’s a red alert in our house, where the laundry runs close to 24/7. So, in between trying to put out a newspaper, juggling family things and rehearsing a show up at the theater in Breckenridge, I was taking time out to climb around among the dust bunnies to fix the damn dryer.

This is not the best use of my time, and I began to suspect the exploding part had done something awful to the rest of the electrical workings. Beaten like a dog, I called the Appliance Doctor (and I have to plug the number here: 262-9052) and hoped the repair wouldn’t require some kind of bank loan.

Suffice to say the Doctor (in this case, the highly competent Matt Macomber) showed up and had things up and running again in short order for a very reasonable charge. The Miller Laundromat is back up and running, and I don’t have to spend lunch hours contorting my spine behind the dryer.

This is not to say that my DIY days aren’t over; my inner cheapskate will almost always win out. But I do think the next time the dryer throws a rod, I’ll leave it to the experts.

Editor Alex Miller can be reached at or 970-668-4618.

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