Update on my appliances, since I know you're all dying to know
what was wrong with the dryer:
Nothing, as it turns out. This is normal. The person on the phone in the service department was probably fully aware that this was normal, but unwilling to say "eh, don't worry about it" because it was a gas dryer and thus there was a small chance that it was actually some sort of extremely dangerous problem.
Apparently the dryer company oils up a bunch of parts a bit better than they need to, and the first time you run it, some of the oil burns off. Or something like that. Anyway, it quit smoking pretty quickly once I let it run (I hadn't been willing to try this on my own because, well, fire! bad!) and it has now cheerfully and efficiently dried one load of laundry.
In other news, I have been harnessing my powers of procrastination to do something productive. I don't feel like editing the novel I just finished (yet! I will get to it, I just don't want to do it yet) so instead, I have written 2400 words on a new novel. This is intended to be a children's (middle-grade) adventure SF novel. Molly won't read much fantasy, so I went looking at one point for some age-appropriate SF. I wanted some classic-style adventure SF of the "Voyage to the Mushroom Planet" school -- kids build a rocket or do something else cool, danger is involved but nothing too disturbing to a six-year-old. The catch is, Molly also mostly won't read books about boys, so the protagonists needed to be girls. It is relatively easy these days to find children's fantasy with empowered girl protagonists. Adventure SF with empowered heroines? NOTHING. If it's out there, I couldn't find it, and the people at Uncle Hugo's couldn't point me to it.
So, I'm going to write some. This is, quite honestly, the first time I've ever written something out of the motivation of "dammit, where are the girl characters?" I was born in 1973, and you know, I wouldn't have thought there were any categories left with this particular hole, except for possibly westerns.
If someone would like to point me towards the books I missed, and assure me that actually I don't have to write this after all, feel free. (I might write it anyway. Because Molly's read the first chapter and wants me to hurry up with the second -- actually, she immediately started to write the second chapter FOR me and wants to know what I changed of what she wrote. But, maybe I could point her towards something she'd enjoy to read while I write this.)
I have never written anything for children before, except for the things I wrote when I was a child. It's weirdly intimidating.