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Monday, June 18, 2012

Home Moan-ership

If you labored under the delusion that collective bargaining extends only to pro athletes and hourly workers, you're not alone. But it turns out that home appliances have labor rights, too, as I discovered when three of mine went on strike in as many days. 

The dishwasher was the first to leave me, just when I needed it most.  It walked out of the proverbial factory in dramatic fashion on a Saturday morning, mere hours before I hosted a party for 65 people.

The dryer decided it might not want to do nights and weekends any more, either.  It still put in a cameo appearance by accepting new loads of clothes, jostling them around, and emitting the usual beep to let me know its shift had ended.  But it didn't bring any heat to the job, which is to say it did nothing except make noise and juggle.  The dryer had become so useless that, instead of beeping, it might as well have slid down the back of a brontosaurus and yelled "Yabba Dabba Doo!" at the top of its lungs.  I decided to give it a couple days off and returned to it late on a Tuesday night, after I had taken an Ambien.  (I prefer not to be lucid when confronting home maintenance issues. I solve problems much more creatively that way.)
The dryer resides in the basement and shares living space with a toilet, sink and bathtub in what a friend refers to as a "very full bathroom."  I view it as paradise for the multi-tasker. I descended the stairs to the basement and strode purposefully towards the electrical panel to reboot the dryer.  (Breaker resetting is the only home repair task I perform with complete confidence, aside from writing checks.) I flipped the switch purely for effect and made my way to the bathroom to assess the results.

I forgot all about the dryer when I walked in and saw a long, thin bubble of sorts that ran from the ceiling above the shower head over to the bathroom window and all the way down the wall to the tiles of the floor. It looked like the domestic version of what phlebotomists call a "good vein."  The Ambien convinced me that I ought to tap it.  I reached out and flicked it, prompting the wall to bleed rust-colored water.  Next, I did what any sleeping pill-enhanced homeowner would do: I went to bed, just in case the whole episode was a hallucination.  The following morning I revisted the scene and found a thin brown stripe marring the sunny yellow bathroom walls and a still-defunct dryer to go along with it. 

At this point I'm not going to talk about the fridge. As both a key holdout and keeper of the beer, it wields tremendous negotiating power.  Best that I not risk divulging any strategic secrets here.

So much for my triumphant return to home ownership. This two-month honeymoon lasted about as long as my marital one.


  1. This is hysterical! I love it! I mean, I'm sorry about your troubles but hahaha.

    Hang in there, Mr. Fridge!

  2. Oh no! You and houses just do not do well together. You must have angered the House Gods in a past life. If you ever run out of current material (I say that rhetorically, of course), you may want to start a House Thread and chronicle some of your better adventures on Boxwood Lane. Like the Great Pipe Odyssey of 2003, which of course I only cared about because it nearly caused cancellation of my going-away party.

  3. Plumbing and major system pre-party failures are another recurring theme, so yes, expect those tales to make an appearance soonish!