Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Lasko Stack

If you go on a hockey trip, and you don't have room to bring a fan, the first thing you do when you get to your destination is buy a fan. Hockey gear gets incredibly wet, and the fan is all you have to dry it out before it's used again.

A few months ago, we bought a cheap box fan--a Lasko--and discovered that it's a powerhouse. It's incredible how much air this fan pushes. So it's always our go-to fan when it's available.

We've been in Grand Rapids for a week, and the clothes supply was exhausted, so I stumbled down to the in-hotel laundry facility to replenish our stock.

I was able to use two washers with no problem, but the dryers were still being used when the washers had finished. It was about 10 p.m. already, and I was beat. Eli was already in bed (and had been for half an hour) while staff toiled away.

Around 10:30, the woman who had clothes in the dryers came and took pity on me, combining her clothes into one dryer so that I could use the second one. She warned me, though, as a hotel laundry veteran, that the dryer I would be using didn't dry clothes very well.

She was right.

After half an hour, the clothes were still wet--not sopping wet, but not dry in any sense.

It was 11:15 now.

Come on man. Use that brain! Drying clothes is pretty basic. There has to be some kind of alternative way besides heat.

I thought for a few minutes, and then it hit me: The Lasko Stack.

Cotton wicks. I had to fold the clothes anyway. I could just fold them, layer them in one big stack, and put them right in front of that incredible Lasko fan at high speed.

Wake up in the morning, clothes dry.

Inspired by this razor-sharp insight, I folded the very wet clothes and made a stack at least a foot high, then carried it back to the room and placed it in front of the Lasko.

This morning, Eli 14.10 woke up and said "How late did you have to stay up doing the laundry last night?"

"After eleven," I said, "and the clothes were still wet in the dryer, but then I used the Lasko Stack."

I didn't say anything else. Just waited.

Seconds passed. More seconds. Finally, he couldn't stand it anymore. "What's that?"

"You have to say 'What is The Lasko Stack?' " I said. "It has a name."

"All right, all right," he said. "What is the Lasko Stack?"

I explained the basic principle.

"So if I walk into the living room and check the clothes, they should be dry, right?"

"I hope," I said. "The Lasko Stack was not tested before going into production."

"Why haven't you gone in there and checked already?" he asked.

"Building up the drama," I said. "Don't you feel it building?"

Eli walked into the living room. A few seconds later, he burst out laughing.

"Still wet, huh?"

"VERY wet," he said, laughing hard.

"I'm just failing to succeed," I said. "Part of the process."

"The process has some pretty wet clothes," he said. "Why is this called The Lasko Stack," anyway?"

"Because if I didn't have some kind of name for this, it was just some old guy who was too tired to wait for the dryer to finish," I said. "Branding. T-shirts. That name had it all."

I went on a quick inspection. There was a dry stripe on almost all the shirts, but it wasn't a big stripe. The Lasko Stack might work, but if it did, it worked at glacial speed.

"I thought the wicking process would handle this," I said, "but I neglected exposed surface area. There needed to be more for this to work."

Eli went to breakfast, while I sat down and tried to figure out how to dry at least a few things to make it through the day.

When he came back, about fifteen minutes later, I had a plan.

"So if we hang all the shirts in the closet," I said, "and all the socks and underwear on the rack above, then put the Lasko INSIDE the closet and close the door..."

"What are you calling this?" he asked.

"The Lasko Vortex," I said, and he burst out laughing again. "No, wait--the Lasko Vortex Amplifier."

We'll find out tonight when we get back to the room, but I think the Lasko Vortex Amplifier is going to be big.

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