Friday, May 19, 2006

Appliance Apocalypse

Bad appliance Karma. It’s come home to us, and I don’t know why, exactly, but it has. In a past life, someone in our house must have robbed and murdered an entire family of toasters who were on their way to church. It’s the only explanation.
It started with the coffee maker. Not the maker, actually, just the stainless-steel carafe. I was washing it out in the sink, and thought it was cool since it had been off for two days. I was using lukewarm water, but the glass lining shattered. Seriously, loud pop-explosion, shards of glass erupting from the top, shattered. It was like it had been capped in a drive-by, the damage was so severe. And all attempts to replace just the carafe came to naught. They don’t sell it individually, which stinks of foul play, but that’s the biz, I guess, as you will see later.
Then it was the stove. It just would not shut off, no matter what we did. The dial just kept going round and round and the stove was getting hotter and hotter, so finally I just turned off the gas and called in one of the big guns…my grandfather-in-law who came, looked at it and basically said, “well, it sure is broken, isn’t it?” So I put it back and called a repairman he recommended. Of course, it could not be that simple.
Repairman comes … has to order a part….another three days without the stove, which did give us a handy excuse not to cook…but then he came back and everything was fine, a hundred bucks later.
A week goes by, everything is fine, and then ….
My daughter gets us up on a Sunday morning and tells me that the toilet is running over and that she didn’t do it. sigh …. So I get up, find that she’s telling the truth and that there’s water all over the bathroom floor. Toilet water, with …. You know .. . in it. Thank God it wasn’t the solid stuff. So I try to plunge it with no luck and clean up the floor because-thank God!—the water has at least stopped running by now. And we’re trying to sell this damn house, so I decide to call someone. Since it’s Sunday, no is is open except Mr. Rooter who wants fifteen dollars just to show up, but I ok that because, you know, I’m desparate. The repairman gets here and shows me in his manual where he’s supposed to take the entire toilet out and this will cost me $270.00. When he is done waking me with smelling salts he tells me that he can be nice and try to snake the thing, and this will only cost me $98.00. I knew I was being screwed, but see above re: desparation. So he snaked the thing and it seemed to clear whatever it was out. I paid my money and he left. $98.00 for twenty minutes of work. Lesson learned.
Later that week I found two broken sprinkler heads in the backyard. They made a lovely fountain. Those, I was actually able to fix for a combined total of $3.96. And I didn’t break them further in my attempt to fix them, which means some supernatural power must have been at work.
The next weekend the toilet was running slowly again. It didn’t over-fill, but it took hours to drain the toilet. I called in the even-bigger gun, my father, who is a mechanical genius and will probably one day be the subject of his own blog entry. He agreed that it seemed it was stopped up (uh, thanks) and offered to come by and help me take the toilet off. I should say here it was not simply the prospect of taking the toilet off that kept me from doing it unassisted, I could have done it. It’s just that … I break things, and if I’d tried to do it by myself I’m sure the porcelain would have ended up in four or five pieces and a geyser of feces-water might have erupted to engulf our neighborhood, killing thousands and worse, seriously cutting into the value of our house.
So my father comes over the evening of mother’s day and we take the toilet off, without breaking it or the plumbing system of greater Tehama county, and we find that it is, indeed, hopelessly clogged, but we can’t really get to what’s inside. So, we turn it upside down in the bathtub and use the hand-held showerhead the kids use to wash their hair to create pressure so whatever it is shoots out the top (now the bottom) and what emerges but….
A chicken-little Mcdonald’s alien-kid bobblehead toy. I shit you not.
So, I guess it was an alien plot. Aided and abetted, I’m sure, by my three-year old. He cops to nothing, by the way.
We managed to re-attach the toilet without incident, and it was later that same evening, I noticed the fridge was really not getting cold.
I should mention here that two weeks ago my wife told me the fridge was making a funny noise. I ignored it because who really wants to think about that, and managed to tell myself that it was just the ice tray filling, because sometimes that does make a funny noise.
Well, now the fridge was warm, and the freezer only slightly cooler, so I call Sears and find out they really just want to sell me a three-hundred dollar service plan, so I move on to Scott, the guy who fixed my stove. He comes over on Tuesday and looks at it and finds that –Gack!—the defroster unit must be replaced and he can order the part and won’t even charge me for the second service call when he comes to replace it. So, the part is ordered and I have the job of cleaning out the fridge. You know what’s coming, right? Of course, we had just gone to the grocery store. So there I was, at midnight, throwing away about $200 worth of food.
So, Scott is a good guy and a good repairman, but the repair, mostly for the part cost about 200. Combined with the lost food … it adds up. But everything is fixed, right now. Except the things I know have been broken for a while (I’m looking atYou, fan in the laundry-room and my daughter’s ceiling fan) and I’m hoping it stays that way for a while.
But the microwave is looking at me funny, and I am afraid.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I am a bad, bad person, ok?

Just a quick observation.

There are few things more heartwarming than a child singing a song they wrote themselves.

There are also few things more excruciating than a child singing a song they wrote themselves. Especially one they're singing in front of an audience....with a accompaniment...on the spot volunteering....on the topic of teasing....with a religious theme...

I honestly had to leave the auditorium...and I'd made it through the six-year-olds getting up and mangling jokes for 20 minutes. (what's grey and red and red all over .... a newspaper!)

I told you I was a bad person.