If you aren’t from the States, you might not know about Kenmore appliances, but they’re the store brand sold at a large chain of stores called Sears, where happy homemakers go to buy things like washers and dryers, dishwashers, lawn mowers, tools. And where some really really unlucky kids get dragged by their moms for back to school clothes shopping. No, I’m NOT naming names. Therapy does wonders for recovering from the trauma, however. Don’t ask me how I know that.
ANYHOO, point being, I’m really excited because I bought myself the latest version of the Italian Kenmore clothes dryer on Friday, bringing me to a grand total of not one, but TWO! How lucky am I? I get to launder clothes not only for myself, but also for my three preschool-aged children, as well as all of our linens and towels.
As a testimony to the hallowed Kenmore dryer, don’t take it from me, take it from the “Dave Brubecks” below, in a pearl of wisdom from 1969:
Pianist-composer Dave Brubeck lives in a huge Japanese style house in Connecticut with 5 pianos and 6 children. Statuesque Iola Brubeck runs the big house without any help except for a cleaning lady one day a week. “With six children, I needed the best dryer there is,” says Mrs. Brubeck, standing in her kitchen next to her new Lady Kenmore dryer from Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Oh, God bless statuesque Mrs. Iola Brubeck. You see, I feel like she and I have so much in common. Except for the fact that I’m not married to a legendary jazz pianist and I only have 3 kids not six, and I’m divorced, and I live in Italy not Wilton, Connecticut, and I don’t run a huge Japanese-style house… but I am rather statuesque, though, at 5 ft. 11 inches. That’s 180 cm to you Europeans. What I really envy Iola for, however, is her Lady Kenmore dryer from Sears, Roebuck and Co.
People will ask me from time to time, what do you miss most about life in the United States? After a quick mental battle between Skippy Chunky peanut butter and the Kenmore fine line of dryers, I go with Kenmore, every time.
Because you see, my dear readers, this is what an Italian Kenmore looks like in the non-huge, non-Japanese style apartment that I proudly call home:
I will have you note that I bet good ol’ statuesque Iola didn’t have a RED AND YELLOW IKEA CIRCUS TENT for her six children! Nooooo, eh? Ha! Gotcha there, Iola! Take THAT with your damn Lady Kenmore “for women who want the best even if it does cost less.”
And yes, astute observers will note that that family photo framed on the wall is, in fact, my daughter at age 2 standing in a diaper on the kitchen counter wearing Nikes, socks, and a long chain necklace. I like to think she might have a career as a rapper. She might think differently. Only time will tell.
Did you see the blue curtain-like thing on the right? Yeah. That’s the sheets hanging out on the line on my balcony. Kenmore #3, if you want.
Oh, people. Look. Even psycho-baby (the name I’ve devised for this evil baby doll that my same daughter adores and got from God only knows where, I think my MIL, and reminds me totally of that freaky doll from Toy Story) is desperate, as she sometimes is wont to do:
I have no idea what the picture is next to her head. Maybe it’s like a Rorschach test that one of my kids developed in order to test psycho-baby’s state of mental health. In any case I don’t think it could be any worse than my own!
See, now you understand my envy. I need a Lady Kenmore, people. I really do. I know, there are dryers in Italy, I know, I know. But they aren’t the energy-sucking behemoths of my homeland. They’re puny.
I think if I ran a Kenmore in my apartment, I might blow out electricity from here to the Vatican.
You do know that if I run my washing machine, hot water heater (electric, I know, so primitive) and hair dryer all at once, I get a total blackout and have to go down to the building’s basement to flip the breaker switch? No, seriously. Yes, I know, I know, I could ask the electric company to increase the power available all at once, but I don’t want to. I kind of like the fact that it makes me more conscious of my energy consumption.
That being said, running an American dryer in my apartment would be such a fun experiment, don’t you think?
All joking aside (honestly! put joking aside for a moment!) I’m not even really complaining because I can drape heavy clothes like jeans and sweatshirts over the radiators. What? You didn’t know this is the Italian equivalent of a real dryer? Come on now! Get with it!
Is it shameless of me to show this ignominy? Possibly. But I like to think I’m “keepin it real” … or something.
Back to joking aside though. The fact that most Italian households don’t have a dryer is due to the fact that it consumes such an ungodly amount of electricity, it would be truly unheard of. From this article about alternatives to clothes dryers, we learn that
An electric clothes dryer draws between 4,000 and 6,000 watts, and costs about 60 cents an hour — about $158 per year, on average — to operate.
I guess from an average U.S. middle-class household budget perspective, that really isn’t much money, which is why it’s so easy to just dry clothes in a dryer. Sigh.
Oh hell, I don’t want to get into a big environmental debate. I’ll stick to my two rickety clothes-drying racks and the oh-so-asthetically-pleasing towels and jeans draped over the radiator.
But, if you want to lend some solidarity from outside Europe, you, too, can join Project Laundry List!
Do it for psycho-baby.