Wednesday, December 07, 2005

can't staunch the bleeding

We're continuing to hemorrhage cash these days. In addition to all the recent air fare/hotel/ground transportation/meals expenses from my week-long stay in Houston, the bill for my medical care at MDA finally arrived: $1700.25. That "$0.25" really cracks me up. Couldn't they just round it off to make things nice and even? No, I guess not.

So, we've got that large bill to deal with, plus Christmas shopping, which is being judiciously timed to coordinate with various credit cards' statement closing dates. You know, if I wait until next Wednesday, the charges won't show up until January's statement, and we won't have to pay for them until February.

The latest assault on our fiscal fortress: for the past couple of weeks I've been struggling more than is usual with the laundry, because our dryer, while it still mostly works, stops and starts seemingly at random. I finally sat down to investigate how much it would cost to repair it, and the news is not good, or good, depending on how you look at it -- but in any event, the news is expensive.

We have an electric dryer that stops running, although sometimes it stops as soon as I release the start button. It could be either the drive motor or the even heat control element; minimum cost for the replacement part: $131.24.

Am I going to do this diagnosis and repair myself? No way -- I'm moderately handy with a screwdriver, but I'm not into disassembling a dryer. So I check out the Sears product support site and learn that the minimum for a service call is $65, which is a good deal -- but I know that diagnosing the problem and putting in the replacement part(s) is going to cost a lot more than $65.

So, at this point, we're looking at at least $250, probably closer to $300 to fix a dryer that's 9 years old, without having a good sense of how long the repairs will last, or without having any sense at all of what else is just biding its time, waiting to break.

I ran all these numbers by DH, and he agrees: we should look for a new dryer. But we'll probably wait until after Christmas, unless we can get some smokin' no-finance-charge deal with payment deferred for eternity or something. I reassured him that we don't need a new washer right now, because we don't -- but I'm wondering how long that baby's going to last, too.


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