Our Un-handy Household

For this week’s discussion, one of our foxes asked: “Have you ever had an appliance, car, or machine that just won’t cooperate?”

Here is another situation in which I have limited experience. It’s not that we’ve never owned things that didn’t work. But in our house, once something doesn’t work, it’s replaced. My husband has NO tolerance for things that fail to perform as expected, and he has NO skill fixing things – so if an appliance breaks down he’ll call a repairman, once. But if it breaks down again, we head off to the store for a new one.

VoltWhen it comes to vehicles, we used to replace them every three or four years, so our cars were always under warranty. But having two daughters in college (plus both of us taking early retirement) made it necessary to cut back on non-essential spending for awhile. I drove a very reliable SUV for eight years, and hubby kept his Jeep for about ten years. We suffered through a few expensive fixes before we got the kids all grown up and on their own. Finally we traded them in (the cars, not the daughters) for new ones with warranties.

ApplesThe only time an item is allowed to remain in the house after repeated visits to a repair expert is when it’s something used only by me. So that would include the newer techie devices (computers, ipads, smart phones) and sewing machines. Since I’ve always used Apple products, our tech stuff very rarely needs repair – calls to tech support are mainly to ask for help using it. Here are the Apple products currently in use in our house – one laptop, two iPads (regular for me and mini for hubby), two iPhones (a 6s for me and a 4 for hubby) and an Apple Watch. So far, none have given us any problems. A few months ago my printer refused to print with black ink. All the colors worked, but not black. Since the thing was long past its warranty I checked trouble-shooting forums online and found a few things to try, but nothing helped. The last-resort solution was to take it apart and soak a certain piece in hot water. Instead, I took a lesson from my hubby and bought a new one. I advertised my old one on a Freecyle site and someone with a handyman son came to pick it up the next day.

SewingMy sewing machine and serger get used a lot, so I take them in for yearly maintenance checks and cleaning. But eventually things wear out (or so the repairman tells me) and the machine doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Last year, my sewing machine started to balk when I told it to go backwards. Like a stubborn two-year-old, it kept going forward. People who sew realize that this is not a good thing if you’re trying to sew something that needs to stay sewn together. Backstitching is the sewing machine version of tying a knot. So when the machine doesn’t want to do it, I have to hand-tie the top and bottom threads together. It’s a pain in the neck. I took the machine to the shop, explained the problem and left it for repair. Twice. The second time, the repairman explained to me what he had done was only a stopgap measure and maybe I ought to think about replacing the machine. Since I don’t teach during the summertime and my spring semester paychecks are used for the summer taxes, I’m hoping this temporary repair holds up until I start teaching again in the fall. The machine still occasionally ignores me when I tell it to backstitch, but I’ve discovered various ways to smack it into submission. Sometimes, if I turn it off and then turn it back on it’ll work. Sort of like restarting my computer, I guess.

Or maybe I can get another part-time job…

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About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Kiyono/e/B0067PSM5C/
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8 Responses to Our Un-handy Household

  1. jeff7salter says:

    “The machine that refused to backstitch”
    Truly, that should be a new children’s book.
    I like your husband’s approach and wish we followed it here. Unfortunately, we still possess everything we’ve ever owned and the only things we’ve gotten rid of (in garage sales, for example) were things I treasured. So you can see the problem.
    Since I have no idea what I’ll write in the Hound Day column, I can’t spill too many beans here, but suffice it to say that most of my driving life has been on used vehicles… some so used that they’d laugh at me when I sat down and tried to start them.
    The two we have now are both 2005 models — one was brand new and one was a demo with full warranty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      You still have EVERYTHING you’ve ever owned? Goodness, you must have an amazing storage system. Sometimes I wish we kept things a bit longer – it would make our budget a little healthier – but having things that are under warranty is nice. As for the children’s book, I think I’ll leave that to someone else. Joselyn has a great story about one of her appliances that would make a much better one – but I’ll leave that for her to tell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        both of us tend to be packrats and each came by it honestly. my mom was a packrat and my dad never bought anything. Wife’s mom bought everything and never tossed any; her dad was a packrat and never bought anything.

        Like

      • Joselyn says:

        My haunted sewing machine! I forgot about that one. I decided to write about my awful first car. I don’t think the Vatican could exorcise its demons.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The problem with the sewing machine would be a bother with as much as you sew. I hope the repair holds for you until you can get a new one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Me too! I’m not too worried, though. If it gets to the point where I can’t get it to work I can always borrow my mom’s. She doesn’t sew much any more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I have never been in the financial position to replace anything and everything.I am in awe. I have a recalcitrant sewing machine, a Necchi.It’s sitting in my garage in a box.I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I was so happy when I bought it and had a lot of plans.I made a number of things but would have done more.I had it looked at and they did minor work but it only got worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Tonette, I wouldn’t say that we’ve always been in that financial position! Some of our biggest arguments have been over whether to fix something or replace it – or even to do without something. Hubby grew up in a wealthy family, so he’s not used to doing without.

      Liked by 1 person

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