A Caregiver’s Story…. Dryers and Washers

Our dryer stopped working; aaand because it has been band-aided and coaxed along, I know that this fix will cost a couple hundred dollars. I realized one day the dryer would need an expensive fix, so I started a washer and dryer fund. Every time we got extra money I’d squirrel away a portion, sorta like tithing ourselves. I even sold some stuff on an online garage sale. I started my ad, “Help me build my washer and dryer fund.”

Now the question is, fix the dryer or get a new one.

As I said, we’ve been doing repairs on the dryer and each time it needs a new repair we have tossed around the idea of getting brand new.  But, when money is tight, it is hard to justify purchasing new when the old “work.” This time out, I really don’t want to buy new-to-us-used because, in a short period of time, we could end up right where we are now.

In preparing our financial-tightwad brains for a future inevitable dryer purchase, we studied and window shopped to know what brand we wanted. And now that the inevitable day is here, we decided that on our next drive south, we will check out the sale that is going on at the big box hardware store.

I want it noted that we will also be looking at refrigerators. A new fridge is on the top of my list (tied with the dryer.) because I have watched mom one to many times, reaching to the bottom of the fridge for the fruit in the crisper drawer. I just know one day she will topple over if we keep our current fridge.

On the last day of the sale, mom, the hubs and I head south to the big box hardware store. Because it is the last day, there is pressure on our part to make a decision. We quickly scan the inventory on the floor and see they have two sets of the brand that we have been studying up on. One model has a single detail difference. There is a “scrubbing tub” set in the top – which pushes the purchase price up a hundred dollars more. Nope, I can’t see myself using that at all, ever. Besides, the dryer that comes as its twin is double the price of the other set. So, the decision is made for which pair. Now the decision is, do we want to spend the money.

Out of the blue mom pipes up – “If you are going to get a washer and dryer set, get a good one, and I will pay for it.”  Holy WHAA??  I poke my husband, “Did you hear that?”  “No, what did she say?”  So mom repeats what she just told me. My husbands jaw drops to the floor and he damn near started bawling right there in the middle of the store. (Sorry honey, your secrets out. Softieee)

We say yes to moms offer and the salesperson starts building the transaction.

Initially, we decided that if we found what we wanted at a reasonable price, we were going to purchase the appliances with the stores twelve months same as cash financing. Rousing my husband out of his stunned daze I remind him about the fridge; since mom is buying the washer and dryer let’s pick out the fridge and finance that. He says ok and the sales person nods that she heard. While the hubs and salesperson are huddled together getting the laundry pair ordered, I’m pointing out fridges to mom.

I’m showing mom details in the ones I like. For our current circumstances, I like what’s called a four drawer. It has a french door style refrigerator top, with a separate slim drawer for items like eggs, cheese, and lunch meat. Under that is the freezer with a deep basket and a smaller basket on top. In the door there is filtered water and ice dispenser. I take mom around to look at others too, as the four drawer isn’t the most expensive but neither is it cheap. I show her one that is similar to the four drawer, but less expensive. The only difference is that it doesn’t have the deli drawer or water and ice in the door.

After looking at all the available fridges, Mom states she also likes the four drawer. So, I tell the salesperson that we want to add the four drawer fridge to our order. She grins, grabs the tag and starts adding it to the order. My husband begins to tell her that we are going to finance the fridge and mom announces, “Nope, I’m going to pay for that too.”  Mom’s pop-up generosity doesn’t surprise me as much anymore but my husband – well – he was stunned. For about ten seconds he was speechless before he could stammer out a humble, “Thank you very much.”

It’s amusing to me how appliances can make me giddy. I guess part of my happiness comes from the fact that in getting these appliances we didn’t go into debt. Plus, we got items that should last us a few years. And instead of going for the cheaper option, which we usually do, we were able to get exactly what we wanted.

Despite my excitement of receiving new appliances, I am also perplexed at the where and why of mom’s brain. Why did she decide that this moment was the time to be uber generous? In trying to understand, I did ask and she indicated that she felt she had to pay for her room and board some how. (She already contributes to the household.) So, I can only speculate on how she came to the conclusion she needed to pay for her room and board.

If mom was living in a care facility, her monthly rent could be as high as five thousand dollars a month. This price level usually includes a one bedroom or studio apartment, laundry service, once a week light housekeeping, two meals a day and possibly a nurse on staff. Extras like help with hygiene, dressing, or medication are a la carte services. Or maybe because mom is aware of what it would cost her to live in a care facility she understands the savings she has by living with us. But there is a third option. My mom shows love by giving people stuff.

In reality her reasoning probably includes a bit of all of the above. I can accept and appreciate that.

Thanks mom.  I love you too.

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