Monday, December 31, 2012

Be Careful. Your Microwave Might Know My Refrigerator And Your Car Might Be In On It, Too

Perhaps you remember last year during The Holidays when I was victimized by my house.  How my refrigerator quit right before Thanksgiving, the garage door refused to go up, and the fireplace billowed smoke into the living room, among other Domestic Tragedies.  What I neglected to confess to you in a later post was that my oven also went on strike in the middle of Christmas Cookie baking.  Luckily, a repair was all that was needed, not an entirely new stove.

This year, I felt confident, knowing I had a new refrigerator and a newly repaired stove and garage door.  We understood the fireplace's quirks, and I had posted a sign on the front door that the doorbell did not work, so no delivery person would ring in vain.  I was ready for The Holidays!

Oh, ha ha.  It is to laugh. 

Thanksgiving.  I went to pick up my fresh turkey on Tuesday afternoon.  "It seems a little...frozen in parts," I said to the butcher.  "Oh, no!" she said cheerily.  "It's a little frosty on the wings, but stick it in the fridge and it'll be fine for Thursday!"  Thanksgiving morning, after feeding the cats at 7:30, I pulled the turkey out of the basement fridge and unwrapped it.  It was frozen solid inside; I couldn't even wrench the neck and giblets out of it.  Panic.  Water bath thawing and cursing.  After all that, the damn thing popped its timer a whole hour early anyway. 

Christmas Eve Party Prep.  I go to the grocery store for a big shop.  When I come home, in the snow, I push the button on the keyfob to pop the tailgate so I can unload the groceries.  Nothing.  I go to open it manually.  Nothing.  I re-lock it and unlock it again.  Nope.  I'm standing there in the slushy driveway and the snow and cold with a car full of groceries.  So I go back in the garage where I have to wrestle with the backseat--fold it down, crawl in the backseat and the backend, and pull out the groceries.  And is this my only errand requiring the capacious tailgate?  Of course not. I have to go to the warehouse club and do all of this all over again. 

A few days later, I grab a glass to get some ice water from the handy dandy dispenser on the front of my year-old side-by-side fridge.  I press my glass against the ice lever and suddenly it belches a mixture of crushed and cubed ice with incredible force.  I remove my glass hurriedly, expecting the ice to cease, like it's supposed to.  But it doesn't stop.  IT KEEPS VOMITING ICE ALL OVER THE FLOOR WITH RECKLESS ABANDON.  I scream at it to stop, but it doesn't, of course.  I open the door, and it stops ejecting ice, but the motor keeps running.  I shut the door, confident that I've stopped the...cycle...and it starts spewing ice at me, at the floor, at the cabinets opposite in some sort of mad celebration of Appliance Independence.  I'm truly scared at this point, and I grab a wooden spoon and start poking, poking, poking at the lever, but it only spits ice at me faster and with more volume.  I open the door again, and it stops blurting ice, but the motor runs incessantly.  Frantically, I search for an ON/OFF switch, and I find one blinking red.  I throw it to OFF, but nothing happens.  I close the door and the avalanche begins anew.  Flinging the door open again, I take the ice bin off its pedestal on the door while the motor drones on.  Fearfully, I shut the door and I kid you not the thing still throws ice on the floor, but how? How? HOW!?  I grab my cellphone and call the appliance store that sold me this Hellish Beast.

Store:  Hello, and thank you for calling Appliance Store.
Nance:  I need Service, and hurry!
Service:  This is service, how can we help you?
Nance:  Hi, I bought my KitchenAid refrigerator there a year ago, and right now it's going crazy. It won't stop throwing ice all over the place.  I've switched it off, but it won't stop. Please send someone.
Service:  Well, the girl who usually schedules is at lunch and--
Nance:  This isn't something to schedule!  I need someone here now!  This thing won't stop!  The motor keeps running and it's throwing ice all over my floor! I need help NOW!
Service I understand, but I don't even know where the service guys are right now. I'm just filling in while she's at lunch.
Nance:  Please give my message to someone there that can help me as soon as possible. (hangs up)

To get to the final act, my icemaker spit out one last enormous clump of frosty ice, and then it shut off.  The appliance store called back and scheduled a service call for the 27th, and I had no icemaker for my Christmas Eve party of over 25 people.  One bright note in all of this?  The store agreed to backdate the repair so that it would be covered under warranty since the warranty ran out on November 26th.  The fridge needs a whole new circuit panel, which would also explain why my produce and cheeses often froze in the refrigerator side. 

I've been nothing but nice to that refrigerator.  My car, too.  The turkey's vengeful behavior, I could understand, but not that butcher.

Friday, December 21, 2012

And So I'm Offering This Simple Phrase

May you find the magic of the holiday and may it last the whole year through.

Merry Everything from the Dept. of Nance.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Picture found here
The horrific tragedy in Connecticut has affected me--as I'm sure it has so many of you--on a variety of levels.  As I watched the news and learned more and more of exactly what happened at Sandy Hook, a school, for heaven's sake, I wept.

I wept because, of course, they were just so little.  And all they did was go to school.  They went off to school for a day of reading and learning and laughing and having lunch in the cafeteria and smiling at their teachers who were there to help them.  Maybe today would be somebody's birthday in their class, and they would have  cupcakes or little mini Snickers bars. 

Instead, someone blasted his way into their school with an assault rifle and slaughtered their classmates and their teachers. And instead of Sandy Hook becoming the first name ever associated with a school shooting, it joins a community.  Instead of Sandy Hook being a rarity, it lands on a fairly lengthy list.

After the two teenaged gunmen strode the halls of Columbine in April of 1999 and killed fifteen people, including themselves, nothing meaningful regarding sensible gun regulation happened.  I was teaching at the time, and our school's reaction was to devise a security protocol and institute student I.D.'s.  My students wanted to talk about the I.D.'s, mainly how silly of a response they were.  "The Columbine shooters were Columbine students!" they pointed out.  "That's not the reason," one student said darkly.  "They want to be able to identify the bodies."

As I was watching the coverage and crying, I was also angry.  Angry because Columbine had meant nothing, obviously.  Angry because it seems as if politics is more important than, ultimately, commonsense safety of our schools and our neighborhoods.  Why is the NRA allowed to bully our legislature?  Do students have to die so that people can take their guns to National Parks?  Buy guns freely at gun shows?  And do you mean to tell me that guns make us safer when the USA has more guns than any other large nation, yet we have more gun violence and gun deaths than any other large nation?  If you put fifty people in a room and give them all a gun, does that make the fifty-first person who goes into the room safer?

I also became angry because I thought of those poor teachers who went to school that day prepared to teach, yet walked into a survival situation.  I thought about how our country as a whole does not value teachers.  How many times do I hear about how teachers are merely overpaid babysitters?  How they only work nine months a year; how "those that can, do and those that can't, teach?" 

I became angry when I thought about the shooter, who was only a twenty-year old young man.  How disturbed he must have been!  Did he ever get any help, or could his mother, who was his custodial parent, not get assistance because of some problem with insurance?  I thought about all of the baloney that Rick and I sometimes have to go through just for prescriptions.  Why is our health care system such a mess?  Was this a contributing factor?

Lisa, over at Anali's First Amendment, said she was trying to write it out.  Write about the Sandy Hook tragedy as a sort of catharsis, to release her grief and make some sense of her feelings and reactions so that she could regain some serenity. 

That's what this post is, too.  I couldn't put something up here in this space without first acknowledging this event.  It was too vast for me to go unmentioned.  And it was too much with me to go unwritten.

The writing is not as refined as I would normally like.  I didn't go for style.  It's not pretty.  It's not impeccably researched.  It's probably not even coherent.  Now, look out for this last part because it's raw and ugly, but it's very, very much what I want to say.

I knew that this time, because the victims were very little children and because there were so many, that there was a better chance of getting some real discussion on gun control.  Maybe not actual Gun Control Capital G And C, but at least some substantive talk.  Because no one gives a good goddamn about teenagers getting shot up, it would seem.  I do, but who cares what I think?  But we all know that until some poor deranged shooter goes into the Congress and shoots a bunch of these stodgy old men right in their zippers(which seems to be the only thing that they do care about), no one in Washington will have a sense of urgency regarding commonsense legislation about regulating guns in this country. 

How telling that not a single pro-gun rights senator would appear on today's Meet the Press.

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