Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time to take the Plunge

I may have ended up taking a plunger to the pool fountain because of the dishwasher. Or perhaps it was because of the three wildly disparate quotes for the exact same electrical wiring job. It may have been because Home Depot engaged in some creative license when mixing a can of paint for me, or really, I suppose it was a combination of all those things.

I think a law exists in the universe that if you buy a previously owned home, no matter the amount you paid for it, you will doubtless inherit things just on the verge of breaking. Three constantly running toilets, a filthy air conditioning condenser, screens that mysteriously drop directly from the window frame for no apparent reason, these are all par for the course.

When the dishwasher showed signs of being on its last legs, my husband and I conferred. We don't like to buy much on credit. When you marry someone in the accountancy end of financing, you really come to understand how taking on interest rates on anything you don't absolutely have to is not the most sensible approach. I peered sadly at the dirty glass, twice run through a heavy-duty cycle.

"Ugh. Well, we should wait until next month to get a new one." I said, eying my husband. He nodded and exhaled. "So we'll just have to get a sponge on a stick for the glasses."

"Yeah," he answered thoughtfully.

"And a drainer." I was nodding as I spoke.

"Okay, I can go do that." He didn't sound happy.

"And then we'll all wash whatever dishes we personally use." I stated flatly. "Since I'm not any body's Scullery Maid, and I don't intend to start now."

"Annnnnnd, I'll just be off to buy a dishwasher," said my husband, vanishing in a cloud of determination born of being against doing dishes by hand.

You'd think that would be simple, right? Oh, you are so wrong! We originally bought a top of the line Electrolux dishwasher from Lowe's. For the price we paid you'd think the darn thing could sing you to sleep, and surreptitiously run the vacuum in the dead of night. At first we were told it would be delivered the next day. Then we were told it would be three weeks because they had to build it first. We canceled the order, and went to Best Buy, ordering a very similar one.

That was two and a half week's ago. The first dishwasher came and it turned out that the warehouse must have played Hulk!Smash with it before tenderly packing it on the truck in swaths of cushioning. One side was spectacularly caved in. The next one must have gone via Kazakhstan because after three days, even Best Buy stopped trying to figure out where it went instead of here. They refunded the delivery charge entirely, gave us an additional sixty dollars off, sent a total of 125 dollars in gift certificates on top of that.

Allegedly my new dishwasher will arrive tomorrow, but as I've recently come to understand what a rare and endangered breed the dishwasher has become? I somehow doubt it.

Then there was the parade of electricians who took turns either lying merrily to my face, or being dangerously incompetent. The crux of the matter was needing to upgrade a 120 exterior line to a 220 exterior line for that blessed hot tub. Some said the existing conduit could be used. Another said it couldn't. One informed me that I needed over a thousand dollars worth of work done to accomplish this, including -- I kid you not -- the use of a jack hammer. We went with the guy who could use the existing conduit, and if my house explodes or catches fire? I'm sure the other two will dance a jig on my grave, but so far so good.

Then there was the hallway, where I wasn't sure how much paint I would need. So I purchased a gallon of Ralph Lauren paint, presented my paint chip to the clerk at Home Depot who hit several buttons on the computerized paint mixing system, and gave me a color that looked one heck of a lot like the one I'd selected.

But when I eventually ran out of paint, went back, bought another gallon and finished the hall something looked off. I called to my husband, and confirmed the sad fact that seven hours of edging and going up and down ladders went right down the proverbial drain. The colors were similar, but they were different.

When we took both paint cans back to Home Depot, the manager ran the codes and discovered that the first paint can contained a color that, "Isn't in our system." They replaced the paint for free, but couldn't explain how that had happened. Or why the system misfired in such a way to create a similar paint color vs. spitting out a gallon of Puce, or what have you. We've since fixed it, while making use of some heavy duty words, if you get my drift.

So when the water fountain attached to the pool started to overflow I glared at it. There's no way to turn it off without turning off the pump for entire pool. There are two PVC pipes in the fountain, and neither appeared to be doing anything other than drowning.

"I'll get the number for the pool repairman." My husband said in a weary tone.

"You do that." I said, marching past with a toilet plunger held aloft, like a spear.

"What are you doing?!?" He yelped.

"Don't worry, it's brand new, it's never been near a toilet in its plunging life." I made my determined way to the pipe.

"Honey! How do you know that will help?!?" My husband looked horrified.

"I don't! But I am sick and tired of being at the mercy of everyone else, and accepting their screw ups. If something is going to go wrong? I'm going to be the one making it go wrong this time." And with grim determination, I fitted the plunger over the PVC pipe, looked to my husband and said, "Well? What do you think?"

"Go for it, honey. The pump system is covered by insurance if you blow it to smithereens."

It worked like a charm.

Now if I could just please have my dishwasher Best Buy? On the upside, it's taken so long that we were able to pay for it in the next month's budget after all.


Kathryn said...

You go, girl! Woohoo! Woman power!

Glad the paint got straightened out.

Hope the dishwasher comes thru. We haven't had very good luck with Best Buy, but i do hope it works. We did some minor renovations in the kitchen a year ago. Fun, fun, fun. :( :P

Land of shimp said...

Ah, the joys of renovations. Also known as: The Best Method to Lose Your Mind Quickly!

We did a lot of renovations at our old house, so we're veterans too.

Still, the dishwasher is here! It appears to run, and clean things and everything. No doubt it will organize an uprising in the night and talk the fridge, toaster and all other appliances into some sort of rebellion, but for now?

I'm so grateful for clean dishes. Really, it's like a miracle from on high!

Pauline said...

Hi, love your story! Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. It's not always easy to stay motivated, but comments like yours keep me going. Yes I am from the Netherlands but I have lived in Ivory Coast for the past six years, so for now that's what I call home.

Land of shimp said...

Pauline, I hope you never lose the will to continue on with your blog. It's one of my favorites, and I can't even express how much I would miss it.

I've got some friends who read this, but aren't on Google, so may not know how to search for your blog. It's called West Africa Wins Always.

You will learn things about the people of the Ivory Coast and get a glimpse into lives very unlike your own. It's an amazing blog.

PhilipH said...

What a cavalcade of catastrophes. Had you considered blowing the whole kit and caboodle to smithereens and claiming on the insurance? No, of course not - nobody in their right mind would have done.

But I might have done!

Glad your new washer-upper-machine arrived. I have never owned one. My wife has, for the past 15 years, designated me as the proverbial chief cook and bottle washer.

Still, she undertook that important position when bringing up the kids and I was at work.

Jolly good and strong posting by Lady Shimp.

Regards, Phil

Land of shimp said...

My dad used to use that phrase, Philip and I use it because of him, "Chief cook and bottle washer." He also used to say, "We must press on, Mr. Stanley, if we expect to reach Nairobi by nightfall!" an expression I never did adopt, because no one seems to know what it means. I did, my dad did, and I suspect you just easily fielded that one :-)

You know, I've really been enjoying your comments, here and elsewhere. Just wanted to let you know that!