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.
When 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.
The 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.
My 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…