The morning started out rather well. I made a to-do list with the intention of tackling as many items as humanly possible given my lack of sleep the night before. First on the list: Fold the wash.
As I bounded downstairs I immediately noticed that the dryer was still running from the night before.
How odd, I thought, as I opened the dryer door and reached for an armful of laundry.
A dryer without heat is like a car without wheels, a martini minus the vodka, or Kurt Vonnegut without a cigarette dangling from his weathered lips.
Not sure those similes work, but I was tired and our dryer is broken.
The last time the dryer broke I called the repairman and it cost me $79 for him to tell me I had a bad circuit breaker (one of the legs in the outlet was not getting power). I remember avoiding his gaze and choking on the knot of embarrassment rising in my throat. I wrote the check mumbling something like oh, yeah, I should've checked that I suppose. I swear I heard him laughing on his way out the door.
This time would be different. No patronizing repairman. No chance of embarrassment. I'll fix it all by myself. My wife will think I'm a hero. My ten-year-old son will see me as a fix-it god.
Where to start?
I drove to the local hardware store and purchased a device to test the outlet. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... my thoughts were interrupted by the salesman eyeing me over his glasses, "You know how to use that thing, right? Make sure you plug one prong into ground, the other into positive. Don't cross 'em." The only thing missing was the pat on my head on the way out.
Don't cross the streams. I felt like Ray in the Ghostbusters.
I stood in front of the outlet, device in hand. Am I nervous? No, hell, I know what I'm doing. I'm not an idiot. I slowly inserted one end into ground, the other into positive. No little light. I tested the other. Still no light. But the dryer runs, just no heat. Then it dawned on me. The metal probes on the end of the device were too short to reach inside the outlet. I took off the cover and carefully pulled the outlet from the box. I tested it again. Power to both legs.
The problem was in the dryer.
I needed more confidence. I needed moral support. So, I did the only thing a guy can do when he needs an answer. I Googled, of course.
I Googled: Amana dryer no heat. Behold! The answers poured forth from the Internet gods. It was information overload.
I rummaged for half-an-hour to find the necessaey tools (also noting that I needed to add clean garage and carriage shed on my to-do list).
I plugged in the droplight and clicked it alive. The filament blazed and immediately popped. Dead.
I needed to find a bulb.
Fifteen minutes later, new bulb screwed into the droplight, I crouched low and began disassembling the shell of the dryer. I checked the vent. Clear.
I tested the thermostat and dryer element. Then I tested the Thermal Fuse. No continuity. Could this be the culprit?
Back to Google.
Yep, that's it. I felt so confident that I made my solution public to both my wife and son.
"Great, Dad!" his eyes beaming adoringly skyward.
"Honey, I'm so proud of you." Was that a wink?
I left for the appliance store head held high.
Within an hour, I thought, problem solved.
But within ten minutes, I stood back outside the store defeated.
This particular thermal fuse was out of stock.
The rest of this tale is apparently on back order...