Sometimes I don’t think I make enough money for everything I do at work, but you know who really didn’t make enough money for all the work he did? My dad.
I spent part of my day today, in my dad’s shoes. Let me explain.
Today is Sunday so I spent part of my day getting ready for the work week, including doing laundry. I usually do my laundry between other tasks, today it was while I was studying for my ASBOG fundamentals of geology exam that is coming up in less than two months. I took a short break to go check on the clothes in the dryer and I never got back to studying.
I went to go check the clothes and they were dry and ready to move so I could get the next load in the dryer. I have plenty of laundry baskets, but for some reason I just love playing the game of carrying all my clothes from the dryer in the garage to my bedroom in my hands while trying not to drop an article of clothing. Because I value my time and I don’t want to make more than one trip to the garage, this is how I usually do laundry:
- I remove the dry clothes from the dryer and place them on top of the dryer to wait for me to carry them away to my room.
- I open the washer to remove the washed clothes and stick them in the dryer.
- I always check the lint trap to remove any lint before turning on the dryer, once the lint is removed, I turned on the dryer.
- I start running the washer and put in the next load.
- I scoop up all my dry clean clothes from the top of the dryer and swiftly and carefully walk them from the garage to the bedroom.
Today in the middle of step 3, after I pushed the clean clothes to the side to check the lint, while I was about to put the lint screen back in the slot, I accidentally nudged the clothes just enough to have one of my no show liner socks roll off my clothes pile and into the lint trap opening.
The last thing I need is to start a fire and burn down my house; of course that’s immediately were my mind went.
I stuck my hand in to try and reach for the sock. Nothing!
I remember that we have a handheld drain snake with a claw that we use to remove clogged hair in the bathtub and I run to get it and proceed to shove it down the opening and blindly open and close the claw praying to grab a sock. Nothing!
I try my hand again, because why not?! I would like to say this was the last time I tried my hand, but I was very desperate and delusional, so it was not.
Alex was taking an afternoon nap because I had sent him away so he wouldn’t be a distraction while I was studying. I wake him from his slumber irrationally talking about my sock in the dryer lint opening, the house possibly burning down, and a cry for help.
He joins me in the garage, we unplug the dryer and move it up enough so he can squeeze behind it. He disconnects the dryer vent and shakes it out; we find 4 different lost earrings and a surprising amount of pen components, but no sock! I tell him it makes sense that the sock isn’t in the vent because I did not run the dryer after the sock fell, so it must still be in the dryer. He sticks his hand in the vent opening on the back of the dryer, nothing!
I’m asked to bring the vacuum with all hose attachments to him. I do. He tries to vacuum out the vent, but nothing! He did however take the opportunity to clean the vent opening that leads outside the house, I’ve been secretly worrying about needing to clean this for a while now, so this is all it took to make it happen.
I don’t believe that he can’t reach anything with his hand or with the vacuum inside the dryer vent opening so I trade places with him so that I could stick my hand in the opening and try the vacuum, but nothing!
Gambling on the possibility of my sock causing a fire is not an option, so google to the rescue! We are going to have to open the dryer. Since I was already behind the dryer and because I’m pretty sure I can do anything, I decide to be the one to give it a go. Alex brings me the tools and I start removing screws from the back panel. I do try to prematurely bend the panel to see if I can get in there without removing all the screws, but that’s a no go, all the screws and the complete panel have to be removed to gain access to the lint trap. With the panel removed, I still have to remove the screws from the lint trap. Once the back screws from the lint trap are removed, I find that I still can’t move the lint trap because there is screws in the lint trap opening on the top side of the dryer that must be removed. Removing those screws allows me to wiggle the lint trap, but I still can’t completely remove it without removing other components.
At this point, I don’t know how long I have been working on this, I’m dripping sweat from everywhere, I’ve giving up on squatting while working on the dryer because my body can’t handle it, so I’m sitting on the dirty lint filled garage floor. So much sweat! All of this for one sock, how much longer?! I’m pretty ready to give up, but I need to finish my laundry, so I try the drain snake again, nothing! I get my light and peak through a corner of the bottom back lint trap opening and I see the sock!
Cue the angels singing ahhhhhh.
I manage to maneuver the sock retrieval, I vacuum up all the lint I can see, and I put and screw all the pieces back to their original state. I was so gross and sweaty from doing this one, seemingly simple task, that I immediately went to take a shower and cool off. I do a lot of thinking in the shower, today my though was man, I can’t believe how much of a pain that was and then my thought was on my dad because for most of my life he has been an appliance repair man, so he removed socks from lint traps for a living.
Of course my dad did more than just remove socks from lint traps, he did just about everything appliance related; all self-taught from reading books and trial and error. He did have a store front at one point, but usually he just rented storages that he kept parts, appliances, tools, and performed repairs in. He was always working and would always come home very sweaty and smelly. I remember being grossed out sometimes when he would come in the door and give me a loving side hug. It’s making my eyes water just thinking that I would ever feel that way of my dad working hard in the heat in a storage unit trying to provide for his family. Especially knowing that he always probably felt like he wasn’t doing enough because like I said in previous post, we were poor.
I don’t have a favorite parent, I love both of them very much, but my dad will always have a special place in my heart. My dad hasn’t always known how to be the best dad, he has battled with depression all his life and because of that he has periodically battled with alcoholism. Even though I had seen him be an alcoholic on and off for most of my early life, I’m happy to say that he is what I’m calculating to be, 16 years sober, even though those 16 years of life have brought about many trials, he has persevered.
There have been so many defining moments with my dad, but the one that comes to mind because I’ve already talked about my decision to get married at 17, was the talk I had with him about that. I was asking him if he would come with us to the courthouse to sign the documents that would allow me to get married at 17 because I needed a signature and my mom had been making a big fuss about everything (rightfully so, but don’t tell 17 year old me that). My dad told me that he knew I was going to marry my ex-husband as soon as I mentioned and started dating him. In short, my dad said he was going to let me live my life and make my decisions because he never wanted to hold me back, but just to know that he would always be there if I needed him; if I decided this was not what I really wanted and needed to come back, he wouldn’t hold anything against me, he would just be there to pick me up. That was everything to me. My dad loves with all his heart and everything he has, I think that’s where I get it from, even if we don’t have much to give, we give what we have with everything we’ve got.
I’m afraid I’ve deviated from my original thought, which was that anytime I feel sorry for myself thinking I don’t make enough working in my cushy air-conditioned office, to think that I make more than my dad sweating his butt off hauling refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers in and out of his storage unit to just barely get by.
Me and Alex did high-five each other when we were done and he told me I would make my dad proud and we should have gotten a picture to send him and show off I could handle the family business. I know I make my dad proud every day and there is nothing I could ever do to change how proud he is of me and I know there is no way I could ever deny or question how proud I am of him.
I know part 2 of my previous post is still pending, but my dad was in my thoughts today, so that will have to continue next time, I promise!