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Chewing gum. A childhood obsession of mine. I would scuba dive into the deepest abyss in the house, the couch, and recover five pennies lost to the world as we know it. Their age and rarity would probably be worth a paper dollar to my grandpa. But the agonizing spread of time between his next visit and the possibility that he wouldn't buy them from me wasn't worth the risk because the corner store three houses down had a little glass jar full of Bazooka Bubble Gum priced at $0.05 a piece, one of the only things in my life that I had enough money to buy and didn't have to ask permission for first.
Now if I wanted to hunt down some quarters and dollar bills in a life threatening safari, also known as my mother's purse, sneak up to the store, purchase a Baby Ruth and arrive home with the appetite destroying enemy in hand, I could. Would I eat it all myself? No. Would I be questioned on my integrity and ability to be trusted in the home? Yes. Would my mother make me share the candy bar with my two sisters? Yes. Did I find that fair? No. If I was willing to put my neck out and risk my integrity and ability to be trusted by my own family for the momentary delight of caramel, chocolate, peanuts and I think nugget (what the heck is in a Baby Ruth anyways, leave a post if you know) I should have been awarded that candy bar for my bravery and given the honor of eating it in front of my sisters while I watched Sesame Street, knowing I was the only one that still needed to learn my ABC's and numbers.
Gum was my oasis. It was nonthreatening and like a Chewy granola bar commercial, it kept my mouth busy at the most important times: church, long car rides, parent teacher conferences and any check out counter in the tri state area. I could ask to bum a piece off any adult in my family and they would happily oblige. I guess I was a chatter box child attempting adult conversations at the irritation of most people around me. You know the type.
In my adulthood my love for gum is more of a way of life than a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I use it to clean food from my teeth after eating, which in turn helps to prevent cavities.
It is a form of stress relief and a tool for focus when my mind is in overdrive.
And let's face it, if my breath stinks, which happens to all of us, I can pop in a piece of gum and I'm good to go.
In all it's glory there is a downside to gum. And I'm not talking about the epidemic of gum stuck to sidewalks and the bottom of tables, although that is pretty bad. What I'm about to mention is much worse. It's a slap the forehead and say, "D'oh!" type of moment. It's an interrogate every person living under the roof type of offense. It's leaving gum in your pocket when you wash and dry your clothes.
Not only does this ruin almost every item that's in the dryer with the offending sticky outlaw, it coats the dryer drum with this tar like substance that's stretched and smeared and baked on! The first thing that came to mind when this happened to me was that it was probably my fault. I tried wiping it out, really I did. It wasn't budging. But you know what, I had a bucket of rotten smelling rags that needed ran through the wash so...dust to the wind. I mean, come on, my dish rags would look better with more stains anyways, so that was a mute point. To my surprise, and I don't recommend this because it could have been a fluke, the gum stayed on the dryer drum and didn't transfer to the rags. Oh ya, I was back in business and the laundry getting d.o.n.e.
That gum stain has become a part of my dryer. I honestly don't even notice it anymore, in a negative way that is. Now when I see it I'm like, "What's up buddy? Stay strong". I know that's wrong. That's how houses slowly deteriorate. When things that are broken or dirty just become a part of your home, maybe go to a nice Bistro or shop in an upscale town, then come home with fresh eyes and the inspiration to take on a few outdated DIY projects. That's what happened to me after a visit to my mother's house and I saw her beautiful, and I mean gorgeous, washer and dryer. I came home and stared at that gum stain like I was a made man. It was going down. But how? Graaannnndddmmmaaa!!!!! Hhhhhheeeelllllllppp!!! By grandma, I mean Google. This is what I found...
1st thing's 1st:
Put a small load of old towels in the dryer. Run on warm for a few minutes and soften the gum.
2nd thing's 2nd:
Mix a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent with a tad of water. Make a thick paste and apply to a clean cloth.
3rd thing's 3rd:
Use the cloth to scrub off the gum; then wipe the entire dryer drum.
4th thing's 4th:
The next load in the dryer should be damp rags. This will remove any residue or gum leftover.
I followed these instructions and said bye to my old friend Dry Gum and my new friend Melted Crayon. I was pleasantly surprised that it removed both! This is definitely a method I will be passing down to my kids and sharing with my friends. Obviously checking pockets is the best prevention. Share that too. And if you do find some lost treasure, maybe indulge in a favorite childhood candy. It may not be good for the body but it sure is good for the soul.
Written by Jessica Connor