Good sports Friday to you all. The Browns are in camp. The Indians are struggling with Minnesota. The Cleveland Cavaliers are still champions. Just last week I watched the Chagrin Falls varsity football team do 15 sets of sprints up Grove Hill in downtown Chagrin Falls. It’s that time of year. We’re getting our final vacations in for this summer, and the kids are headed back to school in no time. So let’s talk about laundry.
As I get closer and closer to the age of 40, I think I’ve learned some things about being an adult in this world. I know much more about home improvement and choosing contractors. I know about utilities and bills. I know how a mortgage, home equity line, and the refinancing process go. I’ve both bought cars, leased cars, and dealt with new and used cars. In the last six months, however, I added one more nugget of knowledge to the pile. I know quite a bit more about appliances, and I think you will find this compelling. You can justify spending extra money on some appliances, but you should never bother to chase the bells and whistles on your clothes washer and dryer. I’ve been there and I’m never going back.
This revelation might not sound exciting, but to me, it feels revolutionary. I’ve long been a proponent of “you get what you pay for” when it comes to appliances, and sometimes it’s worked out well. I’ve spent extra money on a gas range cooktop and loved it. Same with the ventilation hood. Spending extra dollars for an oven? Wasn’t worth it. As long as the oven heats and broils, is big enough for your use, and the thermostat is reasonably accurate, that’s all you need it to do, right? Same with the refrigerator. You want it to keep things cool, and probably make ice without breaking. I’ve seen water dispensers that tell you how much water is now in your cup, and that’s a novelty, but it’s just an unnecessary point of failure.
About no appliances have I learned this more starkly than in the laundry room. I’ve tried fancy LG washers and dryers, equipped with modern computers and sensors to aid in the washing and drying of clothing. The maintenance and repairs were so complex and frequent that we punted them only three years after we purchased them because they threatened to cost more in service than they did out the door at the store. Next, we took the advice of a local appliance company who recommended Fisher and Paykel top-loaders, again with some fancy features and functions. We paid extra to have that beautiful set and the extended warranty to try to keep from repeating the LG fiasco. No dice.
There’s something about appliances that are mechanical, and sometimes violently so, that just doesn’t mix well with computers. A washing machine is a mixture of violent shaking with water, and I have no actual evidence to back this up other than the circumstantial kind, but I think adding computers to that equation is a problem.
The current state in my house is that my wife and I are on our third marital set of washers and dryers, and we’re due to celebrate our tenth anniversary this October. Maybe I’m spoiled or have an unrealistic view of the world, but this seems like too many laundry sets for a decade of marital bliss.
As a result, we’ve decided to attack this issue head on by going backward. When we replaced our dryer last fall, we got a super-special discounted dryer with no frills from Sears. It’s a store brand, I believe. This month when we replaced the leaky, broken washer, we did so the same way. Maybe the result won’t be much different, but I’m hoping. I don’t remember my parents ever having to replace their older, less technologically advanced appliances in such short cycles.
And maybe we’ve stepped back not having a super dryer that will occasionally tumble to keep sitting clothes from wrinkling. Maybe we’ll be tortured without a red light indicating whether the clothes in the dryer are still damp or not. Maybe we’ll miss the electronic beep from hitting buttons rather than the mechanical clicks of spinning the dial, but I doubt it. And if we do have to replace these things in just four years like their more expensive counterparts, at least we will have spent only about two-thirds of the cash for the privilege.
The way he beats the last defender is incredible.
I’m not a giant fan of 30 Seconds to Mars, but they have a fascinating documentary on Netflix. It’s a few years old now, but the story is great for anyone who is interested in the music industry and how it works. While the band, led by brilliant actor Jared Leto, was working on their third album, This is War, they were also being sued by their record label for $30 million. How does a band get sued by their own label for $30 million? It’s just a part of the historically brutal way that the music industry has been run.
It’s not the greatest film of all time. It’s a little bit long, and it’s pretty self-reverential in a lot of ways. I mean, Jared Leto made a film that casts him and his bandmates as artists, crusaders, victims, heroes, and ultimately victors. While some of that isn’t far-fetched, it’s quite an ego that lets you make that film about yourself. In the end, however, we learn a lot about just how screwed up the anachronistic label system is and just how litigious it can be as common business practice.
Even if you don’t like Leto or his band, it is well worth the watch for fans of music and the music industry. Here’s the trailer.