Posts Tagged ‘appliance repair’
- Which of the following constitutes grounds for breakup or divorce?
(a) Scheduling a date or event to take place at the same time as a playoff game.
(b) Scheduling a date or event to take place any time between the beginning of the pregame show and the end of the postgame show for a playoff game.
(c) Scheduling a date or event to take place any time between the beginning of the football preseason and the end of the weeklong post-Super-Bowl analysis.
(d) Attempting to conduct a conversation about subjects other than football.
2. Which of the following phrases must never, ever be uttered to a guy?
(a) I think of you as a friend.
(b) Don’t you just hate thin women?
(c) I didn’t get any beer; I didn’t think it was important.
(d) Oh, please – you know all those teams are basically the same.
3. Tears are justified:
(a) In reaction to the death of a dear relative or friend.
(b) When you laugh so hard you cry.
(c) On stage.
(d) When the Chicago Cubs finally win another World Series.
4. Catcalls and explicit comments directed at passing women:
(a) Are just features of a guy’s natural exuberance around attractive members of the fairer sex.
(b) Can only be understood by any reasonable person as healthy flattery.
(c) Bespeak unbridled, irresistible manliness.
(d) Should really meet with better results than experience bears out; clearly, there’s something wrong with the women involved.
(a) Gives women a good idea what to strive for in a relationship.
(b) Serves as a perfectly reasonable substitute for the presence of one’s significant other.
(c) Serves as a perfectly reasonable substitute for the existence of one’s significant other.
(d) Oh, come on, that‘s not pornography – it’s art. And besides, I get that for the articles.
6. Medical treatment is required:
(a) For injuries obviously requiring stitches.
(b) For conditions involving the vomiting of actual internal organs.
(c) In cases of multiple severed limbs or bones protruding from the skin.
(d) Oh, please – it’s just a flesh wound.
7. Who has the right of way?
(a) The biggest, baddest vehicle.
(b) The driver with the best rack.
(c) I meant gun rack on top of the pickup truck.
(d) Really, I did! Ask Joe! Isn’t that what I clearly meant, Joe? See? Even Joe understood that!
8. Which of the following chores is properly assigned to a guy?
(a) Shoveling snow from the front walk, followed by four days’ worth of making excuses for doing nothing else around the house, because, man, that shoveling really wasn’t so good for his back, you know?
(b) Taking pride in extracting the most repulsive, slimy hairball from the drain and insisting on giving everyone a close-up view of the, uh, trophy.
(c) Taking out the trash with great fanfare every three or four weeks.
(d) Disciplining recalcitrant appliances into proper working order with well-placed kicks.
9. Clean laundry:
(a) Magically appears in the dresser and closet.
(b) Is far too complicated – why can’t we just toss those pantyhose in the washer and dryer?
(c) Doesn’t get done fast enough around here. Just sayin’.
(d) Cannot possibly involve an honest expectation of a guy’s participation, considering the need to actually consult the care instructions on the garment label.
10. What is the proper way to give driving directions to a guy who pulls over to request them?
(a) Calmly and politely, without betraying a sense of the impending apocalypse that this has actually happened.
(b) To the woman in the passenger seat, because, really, she’s the one who demanded they stop and ask; he knows exactly how to get there.
(c) Slowly and carefully, trying not to be too obvious about looking for the hidden video camera that must be documenting this flagrant practical joke setup.
(d) In whatever language they speak on the alien world you inhabit.
I am honored to present the Household Resistentialist Awards, given to inanimate objects that go above and beyond in frustrating the intentions of humans. We have new categories this evening, and the competition for each award has been fierce. In the end, we trust that our choices will resonate with you.
Let us begin the proceedings by calling attention to Toys with Many Small Pieces. This category began as a niche, but quickly came into its own as the quantity of injuries and inconvenience these toys cause gained rapid recognition. Here are our nominees:
The LEGO scattered about the house: For their performance in ambushing unsuspecting parental bare feet. The LEGO pieces executed their mission with exquisite timing, waiting for exactly the right time of night that Dad’s yelp would wake the miserable toddler.
The K’nex pieces: For making themselves available to the four-year-old with a knack for experimenting with What Might Fit in the Bathtub Drain, even though K’nex tend not to be found in the bathroom. The resulting plumber’s bill amounted to $240.
The set of marbles: For finding exactly the right time to burst out of their heretofore unbroken container and scatter all over the floor, creating a bedroom-level hazard unseen since the toothpaste-clogged sink of 2007. Special mention goes to the blue-and-white marble for bouncing clear across the room and cracking the monitor screen.
The old set of Tinker Toys: For getting stuck together so tightly that Dad ended up breaking a piece and giving himself splinters.
And the award goes to: The LEGO! Not only do they provide sole-piercing ambushes, the pieces adhere so well to one another they cause the occasional separated fingernail in vain attempts to wedge them apart. Well done!
Next up: Vehicular Manslaughter – The wheeled wonders that wound. From little matchbox cars to the family SUV, these little devils have the power to maim, kill and drive people nuts.
The Flat Tire: When Dad juggled the schedule to find available times to teach the six-year-old how to ride a bicycle, he had no idea what was in store. He painstakingly removed the training wheels and raised the seat to accommodate the boy, then proceeded to pump up the tires by hand. But the bicycle tire had other things in mind – namely, the discovery, after schlepping the bike to the park (the only stretch of flat ground in the vicinity), that all the pumping was for naught. Of course the tire didn’t let on that it had a puncture; it led Dad to believe he had simply attached the pump improperly. So he schlepped back home in the heat, retrieved the pump and began using it. Then he realized it was for naught, and had to haul the bike back, all but unused.
The uninstallable car seat: The family car was generously lent to friends for a small moving job, which entailed removing all of the cumbersome rear seats. The time-consuming reinstallation process proved even more frustrating when one of the seats refused to lock into place. After momentary panic and a series of random moves that could not have accomplished anything tangible, the seat decided it had toyed with Dad long enough, and settled into place.
The collapsing computer caddy: After years of uneventful use, the wheeled contraption holding Mom’s computer tower decided to bow, rendering its wheels moot. Now, to reach the sockets and doodads in the rear of the machine, she must use sufficient force to move it outward, but not too much, lest important things get disconnected.
The shopping cart wheels: The team of shopping carts at the local Kroger’s has made every shopper’s life a pain in the wrist – not a single cart has four working swivels on its wheels, and some are jammed altogether. Just last week this caused a five-cart pileup in aisle six. Special mention to the dozen eggs that sent itself crashing into Mom’s dry-clean-only blazer as a result.
The strap-on roller skates: Not content to injure only the kids wearing them, these hazards took up strategic position exactly where the laundry-basket-carrying Dad would step, bruising his backside and sending the clean, folded clothes over the railing, down two levels and onto the dusty basement floor.
And the award goes to: The roller skates! Can you believe people voluntarily attach wheels to their shoes? And this is supposed to represent an evolved species? Paging Mr. Darwin, please retract your thesis…
Finally, the old standby, appliances. There was a rich crop of candidates this time, and the Academy had a rough time whittling down the choices. Here are the top five of a superb group:
The living room stereo: Not content merely to find nonexistent flaws in CDs and skip all over the place, this system caused not one, both both cassette decks to crap out. Most of Mom’s good music is on cassette: Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Billy Joel. With everyone switching over to more durable, higher-quality media, finding a decent repair shop will prove irritating, bedeviling and downright impossible. Oh, and there are two cassettes still stuck in there.
The toaster oven: First, lull the family into complacency by functioning reasonably well for a while. Then refuse to stay on unless someone is physically holding down the “toast” button.
The dashboard digital clock: It resets every time the car gets serviced, but there’s no way to adjust the time – none of the buttons respond. What better way to cause some undue stress in people made uneasy by the thought of arriving even a few seconds late? To make it work more effectively, this clock has engineered a reading about forty minutes ahead of the actual local time.
Dad’s cellular phone: For no apparent reason, in the area where Dad spends most of his working time, his phone refuses to receive a signal. This not only causes unwanted problems with work; it also engenders bitterness with Mom, who actually blames Dad for his phone’s behavior! To top it off, even when Dad is away from the desk, this phone has a way of surreptitiously getting its buttons pressed so as to change from “vibrate and ring” mode to “silent” mode, further driving a communication wedge between husband and wife!
The electric shaver: This rechargeable baby started out so promising, so effective. It was a gift, a barely used hand-me-down from Dad’s Dad. The foil screen shaver worked twice as fast as Dad’s old rotary model. Until the foil screen locking mechanism broke on one side. Now Dad has to use both hands to shave, holding the shaver in one hand and holding the screen assembly in position with the other. Having it repaired would cost too much, and Dad has his old shaver as a backup; but going back to the backup means taking longer to shave and not getting as smooth a result.
And the winner is: The electric shaver! This appliance not only makes Dad contort himself to get a normal shave, it timed its shenanigans to coincide with the period when the bathroom lights had burned out and no one ever remembered to get new bulbs when it was convenient!
Thank you, everyone. Please enjoy the after party in the padded ballroom.
It’s sweet of you to show concern for the DVD player, sweetie pie, but it doesn’t need to eat. It certainly doesn’t need to eat macaroni and cheese, so please don’t try feeding it again.
And you might not like hearing this, but none of our machines need food: not Daddy’s shaver, not the dryer and not the vacuum cleaner. It only seems like the shaver chews the food. It only sounds like the dryer is saying, “Yummmmmmmmm!” And it only looks like the vacuum cleaner is eagerly swallowing whatever you give it. Please stop feeding the machines or they’ll break.
We’ve had enough trouble with creatures that do need to eat. I shouldn’t have to remind you what happened to the goldfish, who didn’t survive your leftover pancakes with maple syrup. It’s a very generous, caring thing to do, sharing your food, but sometimes the best thing to do is just eat it yourself. I made all that yummy food just for you. Just enjoy it. The phone charger can’t enjoy it. It doesn’t have a tongue to taste with, and no throat to swallow with.
The same is true of the computer, sweetie pie. Those little holes aren’t for feeding the computer. They’re more like eyes and ears. What would happen if you put food in your eyes and ea – don’t do it! It was just to get you to think about it. It hurts to have food stuck in there. It hurts the computer, too.
Yes, you can hug the phone, and the stereo speakers. Just make sure no one is using them at the time. And you can give all the kisses you want to the computer mouse. Just no food. And no makeup! Mommy’s lipstick is not for playing with, and certainly not for putting on the computer screen! We have all these great pieces of paper set aside for coloring, and a whole bunch of crayons. If you want to color, ask for them. Don’t go applying Mommy’s mascara to the air conditioner remote control.
You know that Daddy gets upset when you try to give a bath to his mp3 player. Even a bath in milk, sweetie; it’s just not good for the machine. It doesn’t need to be nursed; Daddy keeps it against his chest because he has a pocket there. And no, Daddy’s shirt pocket is a very bad place for the mud cakes you made at the park today.
So please, honey, if you’d like to share your food, offer it to me. Or to the dog. The live one, not the stuffed one.
If I ever write my autobiography, remind me to include in my reference materials all the old shopping and to-do lists we have lying around.
It’s amazing what one can divine about history from just a list of items to purchase or accomplish. The one that was lying on the kitchen counter, for example, must be from during the summer, because it has an item, “fix daughter’s bladder.” Without that item checked off, I would never recall in such vivid, aromatic detail all the times we had to clean sudden puddles around the house all through July, August and September. It being summer then, that also meant that the clothes thus soiled, if she timed it right, would end up sitting in the laundry room for up to three days at a time before finding their way into a wash, benefiting mightily from the warm weather’s tendency to augment pungent experiences.
Another list item calls for me to get a haircut. By itself, this item indicates nothing, since I tend to go up to three months without a (professional) trim; once I notice I’m getting a little bushy behind the ears it goes on the to-do list, but there on the list it remains until I can find time to make the arduous journey on foot all the way to the barber, who so cruelly placed his establishment a full eleven-minute mosey from our front door (in the meantime, I trim some bits myself when they irritate my ears too much; this often results in comically exposed bald spots and an uneven coif, the shame of which contributes to continued delay, for fear of the barber’s reaction. I’m so damn secure). The number of times my haircut has appeared on the task list might not be particularly high, but that’s because the same task list can last half a year, and we just circle previously checked items to indicate their renewed relevance. So by itself, this item tells me nothing about the so-called life in progress around the list, or when it had relevance.
But other items on the same list complete the picture: get carpenter estimate on rotating bar. We have a wooden bar that we thought might serve well as a casual eating spot for two or three people. It juts out into the space separating the kitchen from the dining room, but that space is so crowded that it’s a good thing we never followed through by buying bar stools. It’s enough of a challenge to get by when someone’s standing in front of the refrigerator; forget about when the fridge is open. And the bar, which serves well as a surface for rolling out pie crust dough, attracts all the detritus and not-quite-relevant-yet-but-too-important-to-put-away-yet mail, random broken pieces and – surprise, surprise – lists, which occasionally fall on the floor and get trampled, wrinkled or chewed by household members who haven’t yet reached the age at which a clear distinction exists between “allowed to touch” and “not allowed to touch” (that would be everyone but Mrs. Thag, who never, ever does anything even remotely inappropriate. At least not in public).
So we want to rotate the bar ninety degrees, putting it along and against the wall between the pantry and breakfront, but as my do-it-yourself home improvement skills aren’t quite as good as my vaunted barber skills, we started considering getting estimates about a year ago. We’ve gotten one so far, and I have no idea what it was, or who gave it, or even when.
Shopping lists are a similar story – milk, bread and a few other items appear, get eliminated and reappear with such frequency that I wonder why we bother crossing them out at all (about ten years ago, we had begun a shopping list, with one item on it – eggs – and posted it on the fridge with a magnet until more groceries volunteered to get used up, and a friend commented how, uh, wise it was for us to have a separate list for each item: “Honey, have you seen our eggs list?”). But the evolution of our shopping lists bespeaks an evolution in sensibilities: we now bite the bullet and buy the relatively expensive Cheerios and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, even though they still appear on a separate, older, When We’re Rich list.
If you happen to feel like getting down and dirty with a home improvement project, come on over with your tools. We can’t afford to pay much, but we’ll bake you a nice chicken dinner. As soon as we get someone to fix the cord of the oven, which seems to have melted. Honey, have you seen our oven list?
The deterioration of our domicile and its contents continues. For weeks now, my wife and I have wondered aloud which system or appliance would fail next. Today the answer arrived: our stereo.
This has precedent, naturally. The reason we acquired this unit in the first place was its predecessor’s utter malfunction (as distinct from a screwed-up dairy cow, which would have udder malfunction)(you just know I’m going to milk this one for all it’s worth)(my wife, looking over my shoulder at this crucial moment in the proceedings, just wants to cream me for that one)(puns make her blood curdle)(I can’t continue this for too long; we know who the big cheese is in this house)(really, this digression merely serves to give my ideas time to ferment)(are you feta pwith this yet?), starting from the cassette decks and eventually extending to the CD trays. We searched high and low for a system that took cassettes. This was about seven years ago, and all the stores were pushing the mp3 format. We, who had accumulated several decades’ worth of taped music, remain loath even now to abandon those cherished cassettes. And now we have no illusions that we’ll find anything at all with tape decks in any electronics store. Antique shops, perhaps, but that’s for a different demographic: wealthy, with spare time to browse. Any browsing we do occurs in the cookie aisle. As it happens, antique shops have no cookie aisle (if they did they’d call them “biscuits”).
Perhaps the time has come to transfer the select elements of our collection to another format and be done with it. Some tapes have doubtless deteriorated in all this time. We’d just have to decide what stays and what goes. But from what little research we’ve done, it ain’t cheap. I know I’d love to hold on to those Vivaldi bassoon concertos; that Def Leppard mix, not so much (come to think of it, I haven’t seen that tape in more than fifteen years. Hmm.).
Alternatively, we could just trash everything and pay for downloads of the stuff we really want to keep. The quality would be better anyway. Either way, though, we’d clear a good bit of space in the media cabinet that we could then use for the kids’ toys, which seem to take up more and more space every week, even though we seldom buy a thing in that category. How does that happen? Do the stuffed animals reproduce? Do the things we discard sneak back out of the trash? Actually, I believe that not only do they sneak back out, they trade places with things we do need, such as that missing boot. And those oven mitts.
Of course we could try to get the damn thing fixed. But I suspect that, given our previous unit’s performance, the repair would last only so long, and suck up money that we’d inevitably spend on a replacement.
Next you’re going to tell me that stereo systems are obsolete; the newest thing is to have all the music you want directly implanted in your brain. Thanks, but I have enough trouble keeping old TV commercials from cluttering up my mental processes. I don’t need Rod Stewart in there, too: “Oh, the rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum…”
Or is it “river”? Why don’t you go check it out? In the meantime, where the ocean meets the sky, I’ll be sailing.
Check that: I’ll be here with the scouring pads, trying to rid my brain of that scourge.
In my last post, I mentioned in passing that recent weeks have seen more than their share of things breaking. Naturally, the time has come to elaborate, because I can hear the clamoring for details. Unless that’s just the refrigerator again.
It started quite a while ago, actually, but we didn’t notice anything awry until last month. That’s when the water softening system sprang a leak. We couldn’t get it fixed immediately, so we had no choice but to bypass it, and got a taste of the good old days, when all water tasted like dust. And let’s not forget the attractive white buildup of caked mineral matter on everything. When the service company finally deigned to do its job, we had to lay out a small fortune for a piece of proprietary plastic.
Then we noticed some dripping in one of the bathrooms. Turns out the air conditioner compressor, which lives in the ceiling above said facilities, was malfunctioning. That helped explain why, on a hot day, it seemed to be humidifying the air. With no time to attend to the matter before a trip overseas, we simply made a note to get it serviced upon our return.
The air conditioning troubles remained with us during our trip however, as I noted in a previous entry: the a/c in the behemoth of an SUV we used decided to crap out the day after we got it. Just like home, only using a higher grade of gasoline.
We got back home and noticed a shiny new water meter that the city had installed. That was nice of them, but their fiddling with the connecting pipe had caused a small leak – on our side of the meter, of course, for which, technically, we are responsible. My wife spent a frustrating half hour on the phone with them, in the process discovering that the meter’s serial number corresponds not to the one installed on our house, but one installed in a completely different part of the city last year sometime, and they have no record of our meter replacement, not since its installation in 2004. It took some forceful insistence to get the jobsworth at the other end of the line to recognize that they might want to send someone to get this situation checked out in person, considering that every other meter on the street was also replaced in the last few weeks, replacements that the city does have on record. In the meantime, we attempted to tighten the connection ourselves, and you can guess the result. Instead of crummy-tasting water, this time we were forced to get by with no water, until a friend came by with a pipe wrench and improved the situation.
I just realized I saw the meter reader go by this morning. If in fact they have no record of a meter replacement, the obscenely low reading for this month will mean they owe us money! Lots of it! Hold on while I share this revelation with my wife!
Right. They’ll more likely accuse us of tampering. This is going to be fun.
The fun, as you recall, was in full swing before our trip. But before we had a chance to call the air conditioner people (and finding ones who would answer the phone proved a trip in itself), we discovered that the unit upstairs, as well, wanted in on the fun. Drip. Drip. Drip. Dridripdripdripdripdrip…
Apparently, the water accumulates because the system has no (freon? do they still use freon?) gas left, or very little, and by whatever magic is involved, this results in lots of ice, which melts in the heat, disrupts proper functioning and drips wherever. Oh, and in checking on the other units, we discovered that the receptor for the remote control on one of them refuses to recognize any function other than “heat.”
We have an external cabinet that houses the gas balloons for our oven and stovetop (no integral gas lines in these parts), and it seems to be disconnecting from the house – or at least one part of it does, causing one door of the cabinet not to align properly with the other, and the padlock therefore can’t be inserted.
And just two days ago we discovered that the fridge barely works. We shall be forced to make milkshakes of the Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, as it somewhat thawed and then refroze upon transfer to another freezer. ‘Twill be icy (lemons and lemonade are sooo not the right metaphor for us).
Our mantra for the last month has been, “It’s only money.” I hereby open the floor to suggestions for a new mantra when we run out of money.