Dryer fire & cat in the ’mat

Our littlest house guest, Kitty, earned an award this week. Kitty, so called because no one in my house could agree on a name for the feline that wandered up to my back door about 6 months ago.
The rest takes a little longer to explain.
It all started a few months ago when my dryer started making a horrible squeak. Then, it stopped. Then, it started. We figured out that if we only dried about half a load at a time, the drum wouldn’t yell at us as often or as loudly. So that’s how we’ve gotten by for the past couple months.
It was getting to the point that I was angry every time we dried a load of clothes, though, because that little high-pitched noise was so constant, I could barely concentrate — and we all know that as bad as American Idol can get, a fan like me must hear every off-key swoon, minus a ringing from the laundry room.
I had been asking a relative with a truck (not naming names, David) to help me out with a dryer we had stored at my sister’s. Week after week, I’d text him: “Dryer today?” to no avail.
Finally, my last text to him prompted his response: He was quickly in my driveway with a dryer on the back of his truck. My text?
“Glad I got that dryer since mine just caught on fire.”
OK, not “flames” fire, but “glowing hot orange ready to” kind of fire. All I can say is thank goodness we were home and Buddy (our Boston Terrier) needed to go out. I smelled something warm and opened up the dryer door to see what looked like the sun setting right in my house.
We quickly unplugged it, pulled the clothes out of it, fanned it down and got it outside. All the while Rusty was doing this, I had my phone in hand ready to make the 9-1-1 call that help was needed.
Within hours, we were installing the new “used” dryer from my sister’s shed. We put a wet load in, and sure enough, we took a wet load out.
After a little bit of research, my handyman-going-to-be-engineer son Elijah had taken the fuse off and we were sure that would solve the problem. I was impressed he watched a 45 second video and was taking the dryer apart (but then again, this is the same son who replaced his own glass screen on his broken iPhone — twice).
I get a text from Rusty in the morning: “Fuse wasn’t the issue.”
We decided it must be the element.
A couple hours went by the next morning before a text from my husband made me literally smack my forehead.
“There is no element. It’s a gas dryer.”
Hmmm... that poses a huge problem: We have no gas hookups in our all-electric home.
In comes Kitty
My son Nate is playing on a travel baseball league that meets in the Nappanee area a couple of times per week. Tuesday, it was my turn to take him. I told Rusty I may as well load up the laundry and take it to wash and dry while I waited in Nappanee for Nate’s practice. So we loaded up a huge tub with clothes, tossed in some clothes baskets and off to Nappanee we went.
I dropped Nate off and found the Quick Clean Laundromat on Market Street. I opened the trunk of my van and started separating the whites and towels from the darks, and as I pulled out a T-shirt, a familiar little face shook its sleepy head and looked at me.
“What the...? Kitty!”
Yes, Kitty had slept in the tub of laundry from the house, to the van, and all the way to Nappanee until she woke up — uh, until I woke her up.
I was flabbergasted. Normally a dog will more than happily go for a ride in the car, but a cat?
I had to be very careful getting in and out of the van taking load after load into the laundromat because while she’s gotten out of the house at home, I didn’t know what Kitty would do if she darted out of the car that far from home.
I took all the laundry in and needed some soap, so I talked to the attendant, and friendly as I am, I mentioned Kitty had snuck into the laundry basket and was waiting for me in the car.
She was as shocked as I was. She said there were lots of firsts in that laundromat, but Kitty was the first cat. I brought Kitty in to see the attendant, and while she was a little scared, she seemed to not mind the roadtrip much, nor all the attention she received from her stow-away adventure.
She even got an award for it.