Wednesday morning as I was starting up a very large load of clothes, the dryer put forth a loud pop and started smoking. We don't allow smoking in this house, so I was taken aback by the brashness of the act. Then, realizing that this wasn't brazen smoking, but rather the "Help me, help me!" variety, I called the dryer doctor.
Since our health insurance doesn't cover major appliances, I was delighted to have the repairman tell me that he could find nothing wrong. (On the other hand, I do wonder where that smoke came from ... and yes, all smoke detectors have new batteries and are in good working order.) He thought that something small, possibly plastic (with three little girls in the house? Naah ....) had worked its way through the interior holes and gotten on the heating element, then burned.
Of course, there are only 80 more shopping days until Christmas (don't panic -- that's not counting Sundays, and I plan to be done by December 18th) so I'm sure at least one of our major appliances will give out in the next month or two. They seem to plot for it to happen near Christmas, pesky things.