Life Out Loud: Appliance services

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My laptop computer had some sort of suicide pact with the coffee maker and the dryer.

I realize that in light of tragedies such as war, famine and natural disaster, losing three convenience appliances in the space of three days is a First World Problem to have, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

The sudden deaths are just too hard. There is a reason they call these repairs “appliance services.” They are like tiny wakes. I need closure.

I am driven NUTS by malfunctions that occur without rhyme, reason or foreshadowing.

I prefer strange noises, smells and general ongoing performance issues. Sure I plan to ignore them, turning up the radio of necessary so as not to actually HEAR them, but I do appreciate a heads up.

This gives me time to budget, plan, shop around and complain bitterly that they “just don’t make things like they used to.”

Frugal

I’m also a very frugal person who can never forget that my great-grandmother had the same refrigerator for more than 50 years.

I believe my in-laws had the same laundry pair for more than 30.

To my mind, anything expensive is barely out of the “new” stage a decade in. To be fair, the dryer was well into a second decade of life.

I think that’s 102 in dryer years. I had grown used to having to kick the door shut with my foot and rig it so it would stay closed for an entire dryer cycle.

Surely I cannot be the only one with duct tape on her laundry list?

Our coffee maker, source of my life’s blood, is technically still operational but produces such swill that I’m not entirely convinced it isn’t melting plastic into the mix. It also likes to randomly dump a good portion of the brew all over the countertop and floor.

Nothing says “good morning sunshine” like the greeting of sludgy brown ooze creeping toward the kitchen door.

Should I ever have to explain to a medical professional how I burned my foot stepping in coffee, I will know that frugality has outweighed functional common sense.

Beans

I know it is possible to go grab a $20 coffee maker off the shelf. I know because that’s how we got to this point in the first place.

Hoping for a slightly better cup of Joe with some sort of “low tide” flood control, I allowed myself to be seduced by the coffee connoisseurs.

I spent the better part of a day searching online reviews to find the coffee maker best suited to our needs. There are about 1,500 to choose from and the model most often recommended cost upward of $100.

I’m sure Joe DiMaggio never saw that coming when he started pitching for coffee makers all those years ago.

Why does caffeinated convenience cost a mint?

I’m not asking Juan Valdez to personally grind my beans. I just want coffee that doesn’t taste like burnt dishwater.

Meanwhile my grandmother has been using the same percolator to make perfectly delicious coffee since 1954.

Computer

The third and final victim in the trilogy of appliance death is the one I am taking the hardest. My laptop computer was only 18 months old, cut down in its prime.

There was no warning and resuscitation efforts were futile. I was leaning over the ominous black screen crooning “Live!” for hours.

For the record, muttering vague threats while pressing forcefully on the reset button does not actually fix anything.

Without my laptop, I have lost my “work space.”

I am effectively cut off from everyone I have ever known. If I don’t log on at least once a day, a good portion of them will presume I have died.

The dryer I can work around (clothesline! Duct tape!) The coffee maker I can limp along (licking your own countertops is OK right?).

The computer I sent off with Mr. Wonderful who delivered it for repair the very instant the smart people repair store opened.

In doing so, I hope he explained to the smart computer saving-type people that if his wife doesn’t get her laptop back post haste THE EARTH MAY SPIN OFF COURSE AND WE WILL ALL BE DOOMED! DOOMED I TELL YOU!

I don’t doubt the phrase “people may die, man” might come into play. I am just a little bit addicted.

It’s interesting to note that one of the last working acts of my laptop was a click to order the platinum coffee maker.

Do you think the computer was jealous? Now I still have no coffee, but I do have a serious case of buyer’s remorse over spending so much on coffee. That does keep me up at night, so results are similar.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is bored, tired and has damp clothing but appreciates that these are not real troubles. She welcomes comments c/o lifeloutloud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460; or KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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