When blue sparks start flying out from the electrical cord, it’s time to get rid of your iron — even when it’s the iron your mother gave you for Christmas in 1985.
I wanted an iron for Christmas that year. I had just moved in to my very own apartment, the first time I’d ever lived alone. I was looking forward to no more roommates with boyfriend issues or annoying habits. But no more roommates also meant no more roommates’ irons to borrow. So I made my request, and my mom came through with a name-brand steam iron, nicely wrapped for me under the Christmas tree.
That iron was a workhorse, ably de-wrinkling my good clothes after each trip to the laundromat. It remained a hardworking steam iron until 1988, when I moved from Wisconsin to Iowa as a newlywed. Shortly after we were settled in our new apartment, my husband accidently knocked my iron out of the bathroom storage cabinet, breaking the water reservoir. No longer could it hold water without leaking. I was in graduate school at the time and didn’t have extra money to buy a new iron. And besides, my mother had given me this iron. So my steam iron became a dry heat iron. It still removed the wrinkles from my good clothes. So I kept it and used it. Until sparks flew out of the cord in October 2016.
I guess two months shy of 31 years isn’t a bad life span for a former steam iron. I got my mother’s money’s worth out of it, and then some. Last week I bought myself a new steam iron. We’ll see if I get 31 years out of this one.