Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo learned two interesting facts viz the wonderful world of home appliances this weekend.

The first fact is that there is a difference between a three-prong electrical outlet for an oven, and a three-prong electrical outlet for a dryer.  The former consists of three straight slits set in a triangular pattern.  The latter features two straight slits and a sort of L-shaped one.

The second fact is that this piece of divergent evolution must have taken place some time in the last fifteen years or so.

Ask me how I know these interesting facts.  Go on, ask away!

Well, I’ll tell you.

Last week our old Kenmore Series 80 dryer broke down for the second time in a couple months. Since the cost of having an electrician out to fix the same dryer twice would already come mighty close to the cost of just buying a new one, we decided to go with the latter option.  Mrs. R duly found a new Whirlpool model on line and ordered it from Home Despot.

Now this old Kenmore dryer, along with its companion washing machine which is still going strong, are the last major appliances left from when we originally bought Port Swiller Manor 17 years ago.

Home Despot duly delivered the new dryer on Saturday.  However, when the delivery guy unplugged the old Kenmore, he looked at the outlet and sadly shook his head.

“That’s a range outlet,” he said.  “You need a dryer outlet.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

He explained.  This was when I learned the first interesting fact mentioned above.

Later, I sat down and looked up dryer outlets on the innertubes.  There is all sorts of argle-bargle in the how-too links about three and four prong dryer outlets, how you’re not supposed to go from four to three, but that you can replace a three pronger with another three pronger, and other pieces of arcana.

This was when I deduced the second interesting fact mentioned above.  I also asked myself a question;  “Our old dryer seemed to have been perfectly happy with the range three-pronger all these years.  What bureaucratic busybody or outlet-industry tycoon decided that this just isn’t good enough anymore, and why?”

The world wonders.

The upshot of it all was that, after all that,  I eventually had to whistle up our electrician anyway.  Ol’ Robbo is a keen do-it-yourselfer when it comes to most home improvement projects, but I simply will not do jobs that involve electricity.  I’m not quite so bad as that aunt of James Thurber who believed it leaks out of light sockets, but I am sane enough to know that fooling about with it without knowing exactly what I’m doing is a shortcut to all kinds of hurt.  He came out and put in the proper wall outlet, and then I hooked up the dryer to the external vent.  (I’ll also eventually patch up the drywall around the new outlet, which our electrician had to get a bit rough with trying to winnow out the old one.)

The new dryer, by the bye, is providing excellent service so far.  It finishes up a load about twenty minutes faster than our old one.   And yes, I have reached that station of life where such things give me genuine pleasure.  Lawn.  Off.

** Taken from one of W.S. Gilbert’s more clever tongue-twisting lyrics, of course, the moment when the Pirates first ambush the daughters of Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance:

Here’s a first-rate opportunity
To get married with impunity,
And indulge in the felicity
Of unbounded domesticity.
You shall quickly be parsonified,
Conjugally matrimonified,
By a doctor of divinity,
Who is located in this vicinity.