DH = Dear Husband
Fruclassity is badass-inclusive
“Fruclassity means that your unique characteristics have permission to express themselves. They aren’t stifled by an unbending frugality.” That comes right out of Fruclassity‘s Mission Statement, and it’s a concept we support wholeheartedly. There is flexibility and room for a range of approaches to debt-freedom and financial independence around here. That said, and although our tagline is “Frugality for the not-so-badass”, we are entitled to some seriously badass moments. (If you’re not familiar with the concept of “badassity”, read the “‘Fruclassity’ & MMM” subsection of our Mission Statement.)
Our dysfunctional dishwasher & 3 options
Just as we were getting ready for a road trip last Thursday, we discovered our dishwasher wasn’t working. There was no quick fix, and we needed to leave, so DH, our 3 daughters, and I took out all of the dirty dishes to wash them by hand. A pool of water that would not drain was left to stagnate at the bottom of the dysfunctional appliance, and we left for 4 days.
When we came back late Sunday night, DH again took a quick look at the dishwasher. That stagnant pool of water now reeked. We had to come up with a game plan, and we talked about our options:
- We could get a new dishwasher. We’ve now paid off all non-mortgage debt, and we’ve started to save an emergency fund. We would be able to buy a dishwasher with cash in hand – but that just seemed extravagant for a Plan A.
- DH could first see if he would be able to fix it. He is handy and good at problem solving, but he runs a home business, and time is money for him.
- We could call in a repairman. Risky, and not necessarily worthwhile since our dishwasher is about 7 years old – only destined to survive another couple of years anyway. A repair might cost too much.
We didn’t have a clear agenda, but Monday morning saw DH taking our dishwasher apart. “I think it’s the control module,” he said before too long. And he had an idea. His friend Ken is in the midst of moving. The house he is leaving is going to be torn down to make room for a condo development, and his old dishwasher, exactly the same make as ours – and dysfunctional because of a leak – is going to be discarded along with everything else that is left inside. “I could go to Ken’s and get the control module out of his dishwasher and see if it works in ours.” Brilliant!
Monday afternoon, DH went to Ken’s controller, and Monday evening, he installed it in our machine (which, fortunately, had spontaneously drained itself of the stinky water as DH had dismantled it). It still didn’t work. Ugh! DH had taken hours out of his day to get this thing working – going back and forth between the dissected appliance and his business and Ken’s place – but the problem remained unsolved. “I have to stop wasting my time trying to fix things,” he said in frustration. “It makes a lot more money sense for me to focus on my business.”
DH decided to get the advice of an expert, and we were told to expect a visit between 3:00 and 6:00 Tuesday afternoon. “It’s your touch panel,” he diagnosed – at a cost of $80. Would we like him to order a new one for $180? DH said “Yes.”
Problem identified, frustration relieved, DH said, “You know, I could get the touch panel from Ken’s dishwasher and see if it works. But it would look funny.” I asked why it would look funny. “Because his machine is white.” A black dishwasher with a white touch panel? Or $180 for a new black panel that would likely only serve us for two years?
“Perfection Is The Enemy of Frugality”
“Perfection Is The Enemy of Frugality,” wrote Mrs. Frugalwoods last month. “Frugality never yields perfection,” she asserted. “It is a humorous and imperfect pursuit of creativity, ingenuity, hacks, self-taught skills, and counter-culture modes of existence.” Wasn’t there humour in a mismatching dishwasher? Wouldn’t this solution be creative? DH was being decidedly ingenious, and it was certainly counter-cultural to have a black dishwasher with a white touch panel. I encouraged DH to go for it, and Tuesday evening, he went off to Ken’s again.
“Here it is,” he said upon his return. “I’ll try to install it tomorrow.” But he couldn’t help himself, and he gave it a go then and there. It worked! We canceled our order for the $180 new panel.
As I write this post past midnight, the dishwasher is humming downstairs (cheap hydro hours in these parts), and I feel a reverse pride that is becoming familiar to me. I don’t mind if our mismatched appliance ends up turning a few heads. I know that our almost-17-year-old van does. Our 20-year-old bikes do too I bet. And that pride is only heightened by my inside knowledge of the back story involved. The temptation to buy new that we resisted. Painstaking work and discouragement endured by DH. Our decision to try again. And mission accomplished!
I’m an advocate for Fruclassity. Each one of us has a unique way of playing out the frugality that moves us towards our financial goals. There is room for value-based spending. There is room for exceptions and even mistakes. There is also room for occasions of full-on badassity – and DH and I have claimed our right to it. Our black and white dishwasher proves it.
Have you had any DIY triumphs that you’re particularly proud of? Do you pull the occasional badass move? Your comments are welcome.