Category Archives: appliances

Death By Michael’s

I am deep in a shame spiral right now. A shame spiral, true, trimmed with felt, glittered pumpkins, ersatz tree boughs — in fall colors — foam stickers, and decorative stones. But a shame spiral nonetheless. And yes, you guessed it. It’s Michael’s-related. I can barely bring myself to speak of it.

But I will try.

I went there with MJ today to make a return. We ended up not using all of the stuff we bought for crafting at the birthday party. I wanted to get it back quickly. Before, that is, I waited too long and wound up stuck with eight fall-themed rubber stamps, two packs of blank greeting cards, and two non-washable ink pads I would never use. Because that, folks, is forty bucks right there. Forty! You heard me right. Madness.

So I did the return. But then I made my fatal error. I had a picture — a large drainage map of the USA — that Mike just bought, and I wanted to see how much they would charge to frame it. Why not? I was there, right? The map was with me. They do framing, after all. So I proceeded on into the store, MJ in tow. We went back to the framing section. MJ had a lollipop she’d gotten for her birthday. We had time. The guy showed me some things. They were having a 55% off sale. I agonized. I called Mike. He suggested I get a second quote. I said he was right.

And then I ordered a frame. A really expensive one! One I don’t even know if we’ll like. And I paid up front for it. At Michael’s!

What am I, on crack? Whatever small amount of aesthetic credibility I ever had — which is, let’s face it, about a nano-speck — has just been sucked into a credit card machine in a strip mall in Glendale and spat out in the mega-parking lot outside. I ran over it on my way out. Whatever shred of it remains is now packed into the treads of my tires, mixed with old chewing gum and warm asphalt. I will never get it out again. Unless I use a toothpick. Which will break. And give me a splinter.

Nor will I ever get that $560 — yes! Agh! — back again. Holy shit. I can’t believe it.

I should’ve kept the party leftovers. I could’ve made a frame for the map out of pumpkin heads, acorns, and ladybugs stamped onto brown-paper envelopes. I’d be $560 richer. $560! That’s a dishwasher. Not a Kitchen Aid, but something better than our currently-owned antique. It’s a stove. Not a Wolf. An eighth of a Wolf. Still. It’s a month — part time — at a fancy school for MJ. It’s a plane ticket to New York for Christmas! A replaced window! Several rugs! Nine parking tickets! Five Trader Joe’s runs! God knows how much dry cleaning for Mike’s shirts!

Most importantly, I’d have my self-esteem back. For now? Look for it in the returns bin at Michael’s. It’s on sale, cheap. As is.

Oh A can you C?

This is going to have to be short. It’s too hot to write. Oh, we have AC, alright. Central. But it’s set to 78 degrees. Mike believes the benevolent dictates of Jimmy Carter trump the wan pleadings of his enervated wife. Last night, as we were falling asleep in our his/hers puddles of sweat, he suggested I need to become more Hegelian. I had to ask him to repeat himself four times. I kept thinking he was saying “Heck, alien.” Which struck me as a funny thing to say to your wife at any time, but especially in the middle of a heat wave.

Anyway. Fine. My husband is a saint. He is thinking of the “greater community.” His mind is on the grid, not my gripes. He is nobility itself. I am venality personified. And I hate being hot. No, of course I don’t want a brown-out. It would suck for all of us. On the other hand, I’m willing to gamble it won’t happen. And if it does, it won’t have been my comfortably cool house that made the difference. I don’t think. We’ll never know, will we?

This climate-related selfishness on my part is long-standing. It’s ingrained. My sister and I took a trip to Greece together about 13 years ago. She was just out of high school, and I was just into a seven-year relationship that I was already eager to escape. We went for ten days, hit four different islands, sunbathed nude, ate a lot of feta cheese, and had a terrific time. Some of the hotels we stayed at were a bit on the budget end, but it didn’t matter. As long as they had AC. And plenty of it. We liked it blasting. At one particular hotel — on Naxos, I believe — we cranked it so high that we had to call the front desk and ask for extra blankets. Would you believe they cut off our power completely? Assholes. They seemed to find some sort of cognitive dissonance in the co-employment of AC and down comforters. Whateverrrrrrr.

Frankly, I think the Greeks need to be more Hegelian. Enough with Socrates. The guy didn’t even exist. And if he did, he clearly preferred to be cool. He walked around naked! I don’t have that freedom. Who does? Even my daughter’s lefto-fringy nursery school requires underpants. Anyway. Hegel. I’m not entirely sure what he thought. (Yes, I was a philosophy major. We’ve discussed this before. I smoked a lot of pot in college. Get off my back.) I do recall it has to do with the greatest good for the greatest number. And I’m all for that.

I just happen to think the greatest number is 72. Or maybe 73, if you’ve got ceiling fans.

Farewell Old Fried

Sometimes progress marches backwards. At least in this house.

It turns out that the lemonade was a fatal blow. My old friend, the 2008 MacBook I have loved so well, is dead and gone.Yesterday I had its hard drive pulled out and placed into an old, black MacBook someone gave to Mike awhile back. I think it’s a circa 2006. I will use this until such time as I can buy a new computer. Until, that is, we do not have other, more critical expenses to consider. Such as keeping our roof from collapsing, replacing the windows in the living room before Mina impales herself on a broken louvre pane, hiring a lawyer to get our will in order…

In other words? We’re talking around 2024.

I know. It’s ridiculous to feel self-pity about such a loss. There are people in the world with real problems. Still, it’s hard not to feel a bit depressed. But get over it, right? Laptops aren’t people, or animals. Or even really cute toys. They’re just things.Things, true, that we clutch to our bosoms for hours every day. Things, in this case at least, that have been with us since before our child was born, before we were pregnant, even. But things nonetheless. Ephemera, really.

But ephemera upon which I was really, really dependent.

So farewell, aluminum box. I will miss you.

And hello ancient, heavy, unwieldy black antique. Once I’m done bemoaning my sorry state, I’m sure we’ll get along fine. Until then just bear with me, OK? I’m grieving an old buddy.

But people — like progress — move on. Eventually.


Foul Mood Friday

Here’s why:

  • Had a new mommy friend over for a playdate this morning. Made scones; they burned. Ran late; the house was a mess. Tried to talk to her; MJ tortured me the entire time, begging me to read her a book and screaming lustily when I wouldn’t. For the record: I read her, on average, twenty books a day. Often it is the same book six or seven times. I act these books out. I use accents. I exclaim over pictures! I answer questions! I comfort her when she becomes irrationally afraid of, say, the word “zoom.” I am not, in short, a book-reading miser mom! I just wanted to talk to a grown-up about something other than bears, dogs, or ladybugs for ten minutes! Is that really so much to ask?
  • Having a new friend over also entails the dreaded house tour. Out come the self-conscious explanations, the we-wanted-to-fix-this-but-we-ran-out-of-money, the pathetic apologies for our “ghetto” appliances, the “someday we’ll rip all of this out,” and, finally, the falsely cheerful “well, at least it was cheap, right?” After these house tours, (when the recipient has rushed home to weep with gratitude for what they have), I invariably fall into a vast depression.
  • Took out a brand new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser this morning. Total dud. It didn’t erase (magically or otherwise) anything! I would’ve done better using a pencil eraser. Or my own spit. What happened? The last time I used one I was shocked by its efficacy. This morning, not so much. Another idol falls. More depression.
  • Mina reeks of skunk. Thus, so does the house.
  • Speaking of which, Mina’s collar was ruined in the skunk incident. This week I dragged MJ to Petco to get her a new one. I did not order online. I “supported my local business,” (she said with heavy irony). But, when we got there, Petco had virtually no collars. I called over a sales associate. “Oh, bad timing” he told me. “We just got in a huge shipment. They’ll all be out later today. We’re really down to the dregs, aren’t we?” Then he walked away. “Why yes,” I almost screamed, as I restrained myself from lassoing and then choking the guy with a nearby leash — “you really are! I am going to have to buy a pink studded Elmo collar if I want to leave here with anything at all today! And, by the way, do you have kids? Because in case you didn’t know, driving to a mall in Glendale with your two-year-old — who incidentally just had a blood draw for a routine lead test that she’ll probably fail, but which I got her through by promising we’d come here after and buy a red collar for our dog — is a huge pain in the ass. And if you think I’m coming back later after your ‘big shipment’ is unpacked then I think you’ve been smoking too much of that catnip you’re probably also out of!” Anyway. We left there with something tolerable — it had weird plastic details on it, so it was on sale. Nine dollars. When we got it home it didn’t fit. I had already cut the tags off. I had to toss it. This morning I ordered a new one on the website. Which of course had everything.
  • My favorite cardigan was also ruined in the skunk incident. This loss brought on a spell of grief one might think disproportionate to the event. But a good cardigan is hard to find. And it is a key piece of equipment for one such as myself. Doctors have their lab coats, ballerinas their tutus, death, his robe and scythe — and stay-at-home moms have their cardigans. This one was the perfect weight, color and design. Nice enough to wear to a birthday party, casual enough to sit on at an impromptu picnic, long enough to cover my ass when I wore low-waisted jeans. And with pockets! Pockets that held, at various times, bottles, teething toys, crackers, trash found in the sandbox, socks, half-eaten apples, and many, many flowers. Said pockets also often held my cell phone and ipod touch. Which brings me to:
  • Yesterday, having no cardigan and therefore no appropriate pockets to keep it in, I shoved my ipod touch in the back pocket of my jeans. A little while later I sat down at a low picnic table to help MJ with something. I felt, rather than heard, the sickly, glassy crunch of its screen being totally destroyed.
  • Finally, I had pretty much settled on a preschool for MJ. Great relief and rejoicing. Then this morning I heard — from my new mommy friend, in fact — that there was an incident there a couple of years ago involving a parent who gave kids wedgies. WTF? My mind raced. Is the parent still there? Should I ask? Or just flee and send MJ to her “safety school?” Which is apparently — I also learned this week — in danger of being shut down? Or the other school we like, which is lovely but so expensive that we will never, ever, be able to afford to replace an ipod, an appliance, a skunked collar, or anything else in this house again? I really don’t know the answer. But my kid’s future depends on it. More, and greater depression.
  • Wedgies? Really?


Done yesterday:

  • Early shift. Up at 5:55 AM
  • Trader Joe’s shop
  • Put away groceries
  • Took out recycling
  • Made soup
  • Baked a batch of cookies
  • Picked up what seemed like every toy MJ has ever owned, for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
  • Straightened and vacuumed our bedroom
  • Swept up playdough fragments in kitchen
  • Washed two loads of laundry
  • Folded one load
  • Put clothes away
  • Loaded dishwasher
  • Picked up what seemed like every toy MJ has ever owned, for what seemed like the umpteenth time.

Done Today:

  • Cleaned both bathrooms top to bottom (including baseboards of half bath)
  • Took out trash in both bathrooms
  • Wiped out shower floor (yes, with MJ’s sock)
  • Attended family lunch. Chased MJ while (childless) others ate.
  • Declared war on mint and paperwhites in front garden. Dug nonstop for one hour.
  • Folded one load of laundry
  • Picked up what seemed like every toy MJ has ever owned, for what seemed like the umpteenth time.
  • Unloaded dishwasher. Marveled that one bowl came out dirtier than it went in. Made note to self to gather photographic evidence of said phenomenon.
  • Completed final preschool application for MJ.
  • Attended birthday party with Mike and MJ.
  • Took down Christmas tree.
  • Swept living room.
  • Rearranged living room furniture
  • Swept outside (with Mike) front and back
  • Pulled weeds in driveway
  • Emptied recycling again
  • Took out trash
  • Swept up Playdough fragments in kitchen. Threw out Playdough.
  • Picked up what seemed like every toy MJ has ever owned, for what seemed like the umpteenth time.

Ah, weekends are so restful.


Last Tango In The Living Room

I feel like I just slept with an ex-boyfriend.

Last night’s dog-eating-diaper debacle created a dilemma. Our floor was a mess, with diaper fragments and little bits of micro-filling ground into the carpet everywhere. But there was no time to clean it up before MJ went down, as we were running late. Plus, the diaper was dry (Mina prefers them soaked with urine, but in a pinch she’ll go for the “unbuttered toast”) so I figured it could wait. I fed my daughter, bathed her, read to her, put her down. All the while the mess in the living room sat.

When I finally got Myra-Jean to bed I went straight into the living room. Under the guilty eyes of my miscreant hound I picked up the bigger pieces of the mess. I felt it would be best not to vacuum, though, until MJ was fully asleep. Plus, I was hungry. So I ate. While cleaning the kitchen. And watching “Parenthood.”

Then Mike came home. Immediately upon entering the living room he stopped. The “accident” was hard to miss; it looked like a dry, white oil spill on the black sea of our rug.

“What’s this?” he asked.

I explained to him what had happened. Then I told him I’d been waiting to vacuum until MJ had gone down. I was just getting ready to break out the Dyson — to let it strut its stuff, as it were.

“You can’t use the Dyson on this. She’ll wake up for sure.”

Huh. He wasn’t wrong. The Dyson, while wonderful in every other way, is a shockingly loud machine. Shockingly. Perhaps I forgot to mention that in my rhapsodic piece about it the other day. It’s deafening. Like a jet engine. I’m surprised it doesn’t have contrails.

Mike and I stood there, staring at the fuzzy nimbus on our rug. I’m not fastidious (ahem– understatement!); I could’ve waited til the morning. But Mike? I knew it would kill him.

And suddenly I knew what was coming.

“You know what we could do?” He looked at me, eyes lit up like a tanning bed.

I sighed. The Electrolux, with all of its many, many flaws, is a relatively quiet machine. Compared to the Dyson, it purrs.

And that is how I ended up with Methusala back in my arms a mere four days after I put him from me permanently.

I must confess — as I ran him back and forth over the rug the old feeling of comfort came back to me. After all, I was with him for so long. I knew his every move, his every reaction, his every vacu-thought. And, as if thrilled at a second chance, Methusala performed his work proudly, quickly, and efficiently. It was hard to imagine what flaw I had found in him before. He seemed the epitome of quiet ability. It was such a pleasure that I found myself vacuuming even when the rug was done. I did the whole living room, then unplugged, moved, and started again in the kitchen. I found that I could not stop.

Until I reached the door of the utility room.

Right on the other side, I knew, was the Dyson, crouched in it’s corner, purple skin glowing in the moonlight, every plastic fiber straining to hear what was going on out here. I was being cruel. I was being disloyal. I was being dumb. And I had to face the truth: the past was the past, and the Electrolux was part of that past. It was time to let go.

And I would. As soon as I finished the corner under the dogbox.

I pulled Methusala in that direction, determined to enjoy these last moments to the fullest.

Suddenly the power cut off. His cord had fallen out of the socket. Right. I had forgotten about that. It happened all of the time. One of the many quirks that drove me up the wall. Sighing, I decided the corner would have to wait. I tugged on the cord to activate the retractor. And tugged again, And again. After thirteen mini-yanks the cord was mostly in, and I was mostly over it. I said goodbye to the Electrolux and putt it back in the utility room next to its successor.

Who I couldn’t look at. Maybe in a day or two.

I’ve heard Dyson’s are very forgiving.