Domestic Utility Reassessor

dry rackToday, my standing drying rack lost another leg.

A drying rack, if you have never had to deal with one, is something that you hang wet clothes on after washing. There are several varieties of them. Mine is like the image on the left, so sort of like a prototype for a pool chair. As most Czech homes have washers and very few Czech homes have dryers, a drying rack is an important member of the domestic utility club.

A few months ago, one of the legs broke.

Buy a new one? Pah. Never.

If there’s one thing I have become quite adept at (well, one thing I can publicly admit to) it’s my abilities as a rigger. But rigger sounds like a truck driver or someone who helps Republicans win elections, so I prefer the term Domestic Utility Reassessor.

As a Domestic Utility Reassessor, I ensure that all household utilities, utensils, and simple objects are put to their best (and often creative) use. Also, I try to not spend any money on new stuff. A large part of my duties as DUR is to simply look at things that need to be done or things that have broken with utilitarian eyes and wonder: what can I use to have that working again? Or, what can I use to do this at its lowest possible output? Or, what in this house can I use to do that job so I don’t have to go buy stuff I don’t want to buy?

As DUR, I have reassigned spatulas as poop scoops (metal ones were built to remove poop), metal tea strainers to portion cat food, (unused) toilet brushes as backscratchers, and a broken microwave as a storage cabinet for bread and crackers. But it’s about fixing things as well. Blue tac makes a hell of a fix for cabinet doors that won’t close and I swear that belts and neckties are the duct tape of the accessory world.

I know many other DURs. A friend of mine has converted his fridge into a bookshelf, another friend has converted her dishwasher into a storage unit for shoes. I was also brought up in a house which was heavily influenced by a DUR lifestyle. I was twelve before I realized that other people didn’t keep knobless doors closed with neckties. I was twenty before I first faced a television whose stand wasn’t a bigger, broken television. It’s impossible to adequately describe or exaggerate the importance of orange milk crates in my home.

So when the first drying rack’s leg snapped like a blue twig, I had already figured out the rig. I propped its lame side up on the radiator. Obvious. The metal wires even fit right into the radiator’s slots and the rig even helped keep the one side raised higher. Job well done. But when the opposite leg snapped, I worried that I might have to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

But I wasn’t doing that without a fight, so, like a any good DUR, I scout the flat.


admit it: you’re impressed

Fixing it is out of the question. Every now and then I get it into my head that I need to fix something. This thought usually takes place about an hour before I am bleeding and on the phone with my landlady either explaining, apologizing, or asking her which emergency authority would be best to direct my call. So I just look around for things.

It’s at this point, that I find the obvious rig: a chair. Not only does it fit perfectly, the clothing hanging above it provides enough of a curtain to make it interesting for the cat. So it’s a three-in-one, drying rack stand, cat toy, and chair. I win.

Should you need a DUR in your life to come and help you reassess old furniture, household items, or utensils, feel free to call on me. I charge a nominal fee (2 beers, 2 Becherovkas) and I bring my own tape measure (glued together with blue tac).

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