Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

The Aspen TImes
Aspen, CO, Colorado

A couple of months ago, my clothes dryer turned off its heat. It kept spinning, but the laundry was a big, cold lump thumping around. It is possible to dry clothes in a cold dryer, but it takes about seven hours, so I had to take steps.

I don’t have a clue how old that dryer is, but 20 years would be a conservative guess. I fully expected that a repairperson would give it last rites, but I have this service contract with SourceGas, so I thought the least I could do was let them take a whack at it.

During a serious cold snap two years ago, my furnace kept going out for reasons largely unknown, with the result that it took six or seven visits from SourceGas to fix it.

The repair guys were great, coming out at odd hours and during holidays, and every one of them said, “Get a service contract!”

I thought they were just pimping for the company and pointed out that only the furnace and the water heater were gas – all my other appliances, including the stove, are electric – but Israel explained that the service contract included everything.

By then, my furnace had practically been rebuilt, my refrigerator and dishwasher had recently been replaced, but I trusted Israel and signed up for the service contract, which costs about $22 per month, secretly expecting it would be money down the toilet.


Six months later, my furnace went out on a Sunday. A repairman arrived within 10 minutes (he happened to be on a job nearby), there was something wrong with the water pressure, which took five minutes to fix, and if I hadn’t had the service contract, it would have cost hundreds of dollars for a weekend visit. Hooray for the service contract!

So the clothes dryer was running cold, and I called SourceGas, using the magic “service contract” words, and the next day, the repairman arrived, pulled out and dismantled the dryer (how much lint can you accumulate in 20 years?), replaced a little thingamabob, and lo, the dryer was back in business, have a nice day, YES!

This past Sunday, I threw a load of laundry into the washer, which is substantially older than the dryer, and wondered, when I came back into the kitchen, what that big stain on the rug could be only to find the entire room in full flood mode.

I called SourceGas on Monday morning – now it’s Tuesday morning, Israel is in the kitchen, and I await the verdict.


OK, the verdict is that the washer is dying but still has a dance or two left in her. Israel took the whole thing apart – a rusty mess – fixed a clamp, and it’s ready to go a few more rounds; meanwhile, I’ll start shopping around for a new one.

And as we all know, the new ones aren’t half as good as the old ones.

Su Lum is a longtime local who was neither solicited nor compensated by SourceGas for this column, which appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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