Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Needs, Wants, and Good Old Convenience

I've been pondering the process of prioritization, and it has me examining my decision making process in the simple everyday bits and activities of life. I like things organized. I like to know that everything can fit in a neat little box that can be labeled and pulled out as needed. Well, the same goes for thought processes and priorities, in budgeting and time management. You know the old mantra, "Do I NEED it or just WANT it?" when making purchases? Well, this has led to an interesting couple of weeks around here. To us, it is no big deal, but after a conversation at work last week, I realized that maybe for some it is a big deal. Let me explain:

A few weeks ago, our dryer was giving us fits. Can you really blame it? After all, it has faithfully dried as many as 10-12 loads per week for years. Once again, Scott worked his magic on the poor old dryer, and it tumbled away, but couldn't really handle the heavier loads. So, we compromised. We washed the loads as usual, but hung up items that would air dry quickly and only loaded the dryer with about half of each load. After doing this several times, I realized that I was hanging almost the entire load of laundry to dry either on the rack in the laundry room, or on the shower rod in the bathroom across the hall. Then, the dryer gave a last tumble and went kaput. No biggie, we just kept hanging the clothes as we had been doing, and we draped the towels and sheets over the banister to dry.

We mentioned to each other that the dryer really has had it this time, and needed to be replaced. OK. We'll get to it. It is not that we can't replace it, but neither of us really wanted to go scouting the different models and compare prices to get the best deal. We'll get to it. Now, it has been a couple of weeks since the dryer went out, and it is still sitting there unplugged in the laundry room. No new machine yet. We'll get to it. We have talked about those new large capacity, stacking washers and dryers... Mmmm. Yep that is what we decided on about a year ago, and we still haven't made the leap yet, but maybe soon now that the dryer needs replacing anyway... and if we can swing it, I want to invest in 2 sets; after all, we are still doing 10-12 loads a week, and the kids are growing so as their clothes get bigger, there will be more loads.. add to that we are adding another child, and 2 sets would be very convenient.

Back to the issue at hand. What would have happened if the washer went out? That seems to be a no brainer to me, we would have piled in the car and had a new one purchased within 2-3 days (if not 2-3 hours). We just cannot go longer than 3 days without becoming buried in dirty clothes. But, is a dryer a need, a want or just a convenience? Well, we certainly need to have clothes. We need to clean those clothes, so I drop the washing machine in the need category. But we have been without a dryer now for several weeks, and we still have clean clothes. I can even see benefits of not running the dryer. For one thing, we are saving on electricity. I haven't seen the bills come through yet, but that is a pretty easy benefit to come up with. Next, we are forced to do at least 2 loads a day so that we have enough space for everything to dry. I mean, I don't want the laundry to take over the house literally, we may lose each other, and I only have so much "drying space." But, this means that we don't get bogged down and behind on the laundry either, so it is a benefit. And, finally, my house smells WONDERFUL! Let me tell you that whoever thought of combining Downy softener with Febreeze is just plain brilliant.

So, my conversation with a coworker last week was an eye opener. For us, it was maybe a little inconvenient to have to wait for the clothes to dry, but it isn't really a big deal. We deal with laundry daily anyway, so by the time I need to hang something today, the items from yesterday are ready to be put in the closet. But, when my coworker found this out, she was pretty shocked that we have waited so long, and I have still not set a date to go dryer shopping. It will get done eventually, but there are just so many better ways to spend my time right now. Air drying clothes doesn't take up any more of my time than the dryer. They just hang there and dry all by themselves. It's not like I have to stand there and watch them. I'd rather spend quality time with my hubby, or my kiddos. This is where I was pondering my process of setting priorities. A dryer is only a dryer, but having the windows thrown open and watching my children play outside on a beautiful spring day, or cuddling up with them and a book on the sofa on a rainy spring day just seems to be so much more important than carting them off with me to look at dryers. Besides that they are expensive, and I can still come up with ways to spend my money on other things, and still have the laundry done.

After all this rambling, you may just think I have finally lost my mind for good. But as silly as it may sound, being without a dryer has been a blessing in disguise. Sure we have our needs met; we have a lot of our wants met too, and, there is nothing wrong with convenience. But every so often we are allowed to see convenience for the blessing it is and be grateful for it. So I am grateful that I have the opportunity to examine what I have taken for granted (a functioning clothes dryer), and it only reminds me that God is so amazingly good to us, He will always meet our needs, and He will teach us something new everyday if we are willing to listen. He can even use an old worn out dryer as a teaching prop.

Here's my post from the Lots of Kids blog last week:

Fresh Paint:

Oh, I love it! OK, so I don't love the clearing out the rooms, taping off the trim, etc. But, once it is done, I love the way it brightens up a room and makes it fresh and new again. We spent this weekend painting into the wee hours of the mornings, and there is still some finish details to do, but it is beautiful.

The girls' room is bright with a soft lavender on the top, a mint green stripe around the middle, and a robin's egg blue on the bottom. We rearranged the furniture, and hung white paper globe lanterns from the ceiling. It wasn't my first choice of color scheme, and is a little funky for my tastes, but I wanted them to have their say too. They said that they have gone from a little girl's room to a big girl's room. :-)

We had plenty of the green paint left to paint the girls' bathroom a solid green. We added new green and blue "frog" bath accessories to complete that one.

The boys' room is a rich red. Their bedding and decor is "Country Americana" and with a blue carpet, and white trim, the red is a perfect match for their quilts and such. We have to finish a second coat of paint down there tonight, then we can put the room back together tomorrow. The red is warm, and cozy. The boys (and Mommy) love it.

Finally, the new guest room (used to be Joesph's until he decided to move in with his brother), is a butter yellow on the top, and navy on the bottom with denim and multi colored bandanna accessories.

We will add new molding in all of the rooms to really make the colors pop and give them all a finished look, but the painting was enough for one weekend. Who knows, I just may get motivated by how good those rooms turned out to paint the whole house. :-)

Hmm. Fresh Spring breeze coming in the window and the sun is shining on fresh new paint.


Scott Lord said...

You see, this is why I am the most blessed man on this Earth. Trials and tribulations may some of the most difficult I have ever endured, yet somthing as simple as the dryer going out, and my wonderful wife sees the beauty in it. I am blessed.

Dad said...

Ya all are "NUTS"! Take the income tax check and buy a drier. :)

Love To You Both


Thankfulmom said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. It always makes my day to see that somebody reads my ramblings. I love your Dad's comment (above) - he sounds just like mine. Will you still like my blog if I confess that I just got a new wonderful washer and dryer set? I smile every time I load that washer up to capacity!
Congratulations on your new daughter!