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My dryer got lazy a few weeks ago. It decided that towels didn’t need to be fully dried and that wet shirts and socks were beyond its jurisdiction. No problem, I just pulled out the old clothes line, strung it up outside in the sunshine and – yeah right! I called a repairman like any good electricity-addicted consumer would do. He told me he would be at my house between 10 AM and 2PM, which was perfect because I had absolutely nothing else to do that day. Not one blessed thing.

He came, said the dryer was in great shape, replaced a wayward part, and like magic the Kislowicz family was no longer damp.

Fast forward 10 days and the washing machine got to thinking that the spin cycle was a friendly suggestion rather than a specific requirement. Another call to the fix it man, another 4 hour time window, and another quick 20 minute fix that cost me $100.

As a savvy mother of 4, I sensed something familiar about this situation. One child develops a condition that requires some special TLC and suddenly the others are stricken with mysterious and improvable ailments that necessitate additional snuggling and personal attention. The dryer may have been legitimately sick. The washer was just jealous.

And then my inner conspiracy theorist took over (I should get an award for how well I hide my crazy). I got to thinking that no sane person would expect another sane person to sit around for 4 hours waiting to get an appliance fixed. We would be outraged if even the most prestigious doctor made us sit in a waiting room for half that time, yet it is standard practice for repairmen. It must be that the appliance fixers are in cahoots with the appliances themselves.

The fixers understand that the appliances consistently work hard in return for very little recognition. So they have established an hours long waiting period where the appliance owner has nothing to do but sit and think about the appliance. When the appliance has had its fill of attention, the repairman arrives, tinkers around with a wink wink, pads his pockets and heads out the door. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution appliances have been purposely breaking down to extort money for the repairmen and appreciation for themselves and no one has been the wiser. But it stops now.

You ask, ‘what can we do to prevent mechanical breakdown? How can we protect ourselves from the full days wait and the hefty bills?’ Come close and I will tell you the secret that will end this madness: Acknowledge your machines before they break.

Go on, tell your dryer that without it you smell of mildew. Tell your washer that without it you smell worse than mildew. Being shy will cost you time and money, so take a deep breath and tell your water heater how grateful you are for your warm morning shower. And tell your freezer that you are eternally thankful because although they say you can live without ice cream, can you really call it living?

I now routinely thank and praise every motorized object in my home. (Consequently they have revoked my award as talking to all these inanimate objects has made it near impossible to hide my crazy.) And in the two days since I have labeled myself the Appliance Whisperer not one machine in my home has broken. Not one. In the past 48 hours I have paid no one triple digit sums to tighten a screw and laugh at my mechanical ineptitude. If that’s not proof enough that I have gained the upper hand over my machinery then just come over tomorrow between 10 and 2 – chances are you will not find me here waiting. I will be out enjoying life.

As I type I hear the rhythmic hum of the dishwasher, content in its knowledge that a working appliance is an appreciated appliance. I also hear my children crying because all this doting on machines has left me with limited time to spend with the human members of my household. Oh well, at least when my children break the doctor can only make us wait for so long.