Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A House Is Made Of Walls And Beams But A Home Is Built With Love And Dreams Screams: Why I Might Be Pureeing Thanksgiving This Year

Thanksgiving 2011.  Above the snowy tablecloth, heads are bowed in gratitude.  One by one, each person speaks a blessing--something for which he or she is thankful this holiday.  It is Nance's turn next.  She lifts her head; her eyes become misty and her lip trembles slightly.  Her hand reaches for a piece of cutlery.  "I...I...I am grateful that my house has not made me kill myself.  Yet."

Why is it that Things go wrong and fall apart in bunches?  Consider:

Monday afternoon, the refrigerator repairman is in my kitchen on his cellphone and my guts are in a knot.  Sunday night, after over two hours of buzzing in two-minute intervals, my side-by-side gave up. So, Rick and I loaded up all our chilly comestibles into laundry baskets and trucked everything to the tiny basement fridge and crammed it in. When I brought home the turkey, I had to use brute force to get it in there.  Mr. Repairman has now made two trips to his truck, each time carrying a wire-sprouting thingamajig.  More on that later.

Earlier this month, my garage door opener...didn't.  I needed to go someplace, pushed our inside button and...nothing. So, I did what everyone would do in this situation.  I pushed it eleventy million times really, really hard and screamed the Eff Word.  Hard to believe, but this did not work.  "Oh, did you simply take your key and go in via the service door?" you may be asking calmly and rationally.  And I would merely answer you with my teeth gritted in kind, "Oh, would that be the service door blocked by Sam's loveseat, some sheet metal, a fishing rod, a bag of fertilizer, and a basket painted with cow spots?  Certainly."  And then, because I am too short and too weak to first reach the lever and then try to pull it hard enough to open the non-functioning door after climbing over all that crap, I found my way to my car and used the button inside of it.  IN THE PITCH-DARK.  BECAUSE...

The electricity in the garage is inexplicably not working either, so there were no lights working inside when the service door blew shut.  That would explain why the pump on the pond also stopped aerating the water, resulting in a fishkill.  Goodbye, Johnny Depp, who we raised from an egg, and Garbo. I will miss you both. Sigh.

Monday, I was also waiting for the chimney sweep. Our fireplace, instead of making our house a toasty, inviting space worthy of a Christmas card, instead renders it a horrific scene worthy of a fire safety film. It belches smoke into the living room as if hoping to turn us all into hams and bacon. At 9:30 he appeared and, for some reason, simply stood on the porch. Period. Then I realized:  he had been ringing the doorbell for a while. The doorbell that had, until today apparently, worked just fine. 

What is happening?  In the past six weeks alone, my computer has refused to acknowledge even a casual relationship with my printer, my car battery completely died, the dual zone wine refrigerator capriciously becomes single zone, and I'm not sure, but I think my crockpot is plotting against me for Christmas Eve.

So, back to The Refrigerator Issue.  But you already know that he didn't have the part on his truck--they never, ever, ever do. And even when The Part comes Tuesday, there's no guarantee that it will fix the problem--something about a relay and a locked-up compressor--but, as Repairman Tim said, it's worth a shot, but, hey! Eight years is what you can expect to get out of refrigerators these days anyway, so it's about right. WHAT?! I wanted to beat someone up! This fridge is a wuss, an eleven hundred dollar, stainless steel, ice and water in the door WUSS.  Its teeny little almond-colored predecessor in the basement is twice its age, half its price, no-frills, and still going strong. WHAT A LOT OF FUCKING BULLSHIT.

But what I said was, "Thank you so much for fitting me in today and tomorrow. I really, really appreciate it.  See you tomorrow."  And then Rick and I went to the appliance store last night to pick out a possible replacement and get the final slot on the delivery list for Tuesday.  Because the way things have been going, we don't want to take any chances.


  1. Oh my word! Well now we know what you're meant to do with all your new free time. Sheesh!

  2. Propitiate the Lares. Quickly!

  3. It is the Penates you have to propitiate. I always get them confused. Which is why my electricity is flickering this morning, and the toilet is not flushing properly.

  4. Mikey G.12:49 PM

    Students are usually easier to deal with.

  5. Given the common denominator of things electrical in this Story of the Evil House, I'm thinkin' .... mice! Heh, heh. Kidding, but not entirely. We went through a spate of things malfunctioning a while back: the garbage disposal switch stopped working. The plug outlet that I always used for the iron would fade in and out, causing the iron to lose heat without warning, creating puddles filled with lovely sediment all over the clothes. Our doorbell also went on strike. The fridge, thankfully, was OK (older, no-frills model.) One day, on opening the trash compactor, I got the fright of my life as I stared down on a little mouse, standing on his haunches and looking at me as if to say, "Hey, can't a guy have a bite to eat in peace and quiet?"

    An electrician who came round subsequent to that assured us that it certainly appeared that rodents had gnawed through a few wires.

    The property manager of the condos showed me how to set traps with peanut butter. Four of them bit the dust in the next 48 hours and we, thankfully, haven't had any signs of rodent squatters since.

    Then again... this could just be a Murphy's Law corollary to the original: If half a dozen things are going to break down in your home, they will likely all happen in rapid succession, and if possible, during the holidays when you are expecting company.

    At this point, you must have survived Thanksgiving one way or another, and I suspect it might provide grist for the blogmill. I just hope that new side-by-side wasn't too ungodly expensive. (Why is it that technology has made everything cheaper, smaller, faster and more efficient... EXCEPT for home appliances, which seem to get bigger, slower, less efficient, cost a king's ransom, and have a considerably shorter life span?)

  6. It's true that things don't ever seem to go wrong one at a time. It's always at least 3 or 4. I just got over one of those periods and don't look forward to it happening again. Hopefully you have lots of things suddenly going way better than expected! Belated Happy Thanksgiving! ; )

  7. Lisa--Thanks. Thanksgiving was very nice, and let's hope that the avalanche of disasters means that Christmas will be catastrophe-free. (I am knocking on wood right now!)

    Ortizzle--Oh, the garage situation was definitely rodent-rooted. We have a terrible problem with moles, and they tunneled under our deck and into our pond before. This time, they disrupted AND ate the wiring to the garage door opener, etc.
    As far as the refrigerator...sigh! We replaced the wire-sprouting part, and it started right up. SAVED! WE THOUGHT. The day after Thanksgiving, it quit. Period. We had to buy a new refrigerator AND, because now the standard size for fridges is at least 35-36" wide, we also had to practically remodel half the f***ing kitchen. Our previous model was 32" and was crammed into the only available space in our teeny cottagey kitchen. And the salesman said, "The government wants them more energy efficient and the customer wants them bigger, and all that means they don't last as long." WHAT?

    Mikey G--But I'd still rather be retired.

    Mary G--I researched it (my mythology knowledge is almost nil) and it sounds like both would have been correct. Either way, you're right. But what did I do to piss them off in the first place, I wonder?

    The Bug--Apparently, my basement steps are my new stairmaster. I really gave them a workout for several days as I went from one floor to the next for ice, dairy, leftovers, etc. HOW AWFUL FOR ME!

  8. PHEW!

    Am I glad I decided on NOT stopping in to see you on the day after Thanksgiving.

    There we were, merrily riding along the Ohio Turnpike and I said to my husband, "We should stop in and see Nance and Rick today. They are probably just sitting around drinking wine and replaying their wonderful holiday."

    Now that I have read this post I have decided that my Guardian Angel was correct when she advised against the visit. She told me not to go near your house for at least a month to let the smoke clear...

    As my old Irish Granny used to say."Sorry for your troubles,

  9. Nancy--You should have stopped anyway. The wine fridge is always stocked, and so is the cellar, and we are ALWAYS looking for an excuse to open a bottle or two and share. We have a bottle of mead that needs to go, actually, and I'm not fond of the stuff. Someone needs to come and help Rick drink it.

  10. At least you live in Ohio. You could use your garage as a refrigerator *if* you managed to get into it.

    Our first year in this house, everything broke, including the house itself. We broke too, but then put ourselves back together again.

  11. V--Ohio's weather in late November was balmy and in the upper forties and mid-fifties! NO ONE WAS COOPERATING WITH ME! And, the garage door saga continues. It finally gave up yesterday and has retired. Now, just in time for Christmas, we have to buy an entirely new mechanism and have it installed. They come tomorrow. Sigh. I would ask, "What else?!" but I am terrified. As you know, there can always be Something Else.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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