Kennedy: A family friends that squeals and beeps

Kennedy: A family friends that squeals and beeps

February 11th, 2018 by Mark Kennedy in Opinion Columns

Our Kenmore clothes dryer squeals like a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Thirteen years of hard labor have stretched its drive belt. The squealing usually lasts about 10 seconds before the Kenmore settles down and gets to work.

I was single until my late 30s, and I never imagined how much soiled laundry a family of four could create.

A lot, as it turns out.

Day after day, month after month, our washer and dryer slosh and spin to shorten our stacks of dirty clothes. There are towers of towels, heaps of hoodies, scores of socks and an overabundance of underwear.

Mark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Early in our marriage, my wife and I made a deal. She'd do the clothes, and I'd do the dishes. Timewise, it turned out to be poor deal for her; but to her credit, she has never tried to renegotiate. I think she was afraid I'd toss a red blouse into a washer full of white dedicates, accidentally detonating a "pink bomb."

My wife has, however, started to insist that our two sons, 11 and 16, deliver their dirty clothes to the laundry room and put away their clean ones after they are folded. It's a reasonable request, but compliance requires vigilance.

Our sons have developed the habit of nodding "yes" with their headphones on, whether they hear the question clearly or not. Cute. Sometime I have to lift an ear flap to reiterate: "Go and get your dirty clothes!" Next, you'll see them reluctantly trudging through the house schlepping overstuffed laundry bags.

The fold-and-store process is complicated by our dog, Boise, who plops down right in the middle of an unfolded pile of clean clothes. He seems to like the feeling of warm towels against his tummy. Getting him to vacate his cozy nest takes some doing.

Our older son goes through about three times as many clothes as anyone else in the family. His piles of dirty clothes suggest he does more wardrobe changes a day than Cher in a Christmas special.

"Are you considered well-dressed among your friends?" I asked him innocently a couple of weeks ago.

"I don't know, maybe," he said, a hint of suspicion in his voice.

The internet is filled these days with warnings of children and teens intentionally eating detergent pods, then broadcasting their exploits on social media. This proves conclusively that teenagers often confuse funny with stupid.

Thankfully, we haven't noticed any pods being ingested at our house. But were we to run out of hot dogs and frozen pizza, who knows what will get eaten.

Not only does our dryer squeal, it has also developed a habit of beeping for no reason. Midway through a cycle it will beep several times — always in multiples of three.

Also, the timer does not work reliably, so we are afraid to let it run when we leave the house.

A reasonable person would conclude that it is about time for us to buy a new dryer. But as all frugal families know, you don't euthanize an appliance until it fails completely.

Until then, the squeals and beeps are just reminders that hard work is getting done.

Perhaps some day I'll write the obit for Mr. Ken Moore.

But today is not the day.

Contact Mark Kennedy at or 423-757-6645.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315