Living Retired #205- July 24, 2017
DO-IT-YOURSELF HOME APPLIANCE REPAIR
An automatic dishwasher is a beautiful thing– when it works.
First, you lightly rinse the leftover Kraft Dinner and ketchup from the dishes and silverware before loading everything into your ultra-quiet stainless steel dishwasher. Then, add lemon-scented ‘Destroys Baked on Food’ dish detergent and press START.
An hour later it is time to empty the dishwasher. You remove the half-cleaned plates and silverware– caked with remnants of leftover Kraft Dinner and ketchup– that were heat-sealed by a near-nuclear infrared heating process during the Power Scrub Plus cycle.
You transfer the ‘sort of clean’ plates and silverware to the sink. Add hot water and liquid ‘Removes Toughest Grime’ dish detergent, and with some sort of scrubbing device officially referred to as ‘the thingy we use to clean the guck off the plates’– curse as you scrape the dishes clean!
That’s how an automatic dishwasher is supposed to work.
But then it happens…
“Dear, is there any reason why there is water on the kitchen floor underneath the dishwasher?”
The rule of Household Appliance Malfunction– HAM– dictates that automatic dishwashers are factory programmed to break down the day after the extended warranty ends and the day before your extended family arrives for their annual Free Family Feast & Drink Someone Else’s Alcohol Event.
FULL DISCLOSURE: the following descriptions, depictions, and outright lies came about when a friend sent an urgent email indicating she and her husband returned home to a broken automatic dishwasher.
Our friend followed the HAM directions– she friggin’ screamed, “Dear, is there any reason there is water on the kitchen floor underneath the dishwasher?”
Then she posted on her Facebook page: ‘OMG! My husband said he’s going to fix the dishwasher!’ The outpouring of support from her Followers was remarkable–17 ‘Likes.’
Her husband did what any male baby boomer would do…
First, he grabbed the tools for the job– a roll of duct tape and a hammer.
At this point our friend’s wife posted a selfie on Instagram standing alongside the slate countertop with the collection of ‘DO NOT LIGHT THESE DECORATOR CANDLES.’ Then, she texted ‘OMG! What do I do now? He thinks he’s changing a light bulb so he went for his hammer! Please save our marriage.’
My wife recognized the peril our friend was in. She emailed, “My best advice for do-it-yourself appliance repair is to Google: marriage counselling.”
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, our friend’s husband was ready to tackle the leaking automatic dishwasher. He assumed the ‘Appliance Repairman Position’— got down on his hands and knees so that the distance between his shirt and boxers revealed enough of his rear end to make his wife cover her face, “That’s disgusting!”
I knew there had to be something that I could do to help…
I grabbed our file of home appliance manuals: the above the stove microwave oven, the below the stove warming oven, and the over-the-top expensive 4-slice toaster with removable crumb tray and ergonomic avocado peeler! They are in pristine condition– never been used. Never read either.
Our automatic dishwasher manual is a 64 page booklet written in English, French, and Spanish PLUS a separate Installation Instruction– that opens up to a double-sided poster the size of one of those small Caribbean islands you see on Beachfront Getaway on HGTV!
The automatic dishwasher installation instruction manual begins with: WARNING: AVOID GENERAL HAZARDS. DO NOT USE THE DISHWASHER UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY INSTALLED.
Now I’m no Bob Vila but who the hell would stack the dishes from the family Christmas dinner into the automatic dishwasher BEFORE it’s even installed???
“Honey. I know the installation manual says it’s a GENERAL HAZARD to use the dishwasher before we have it installed, but be dammed I’m going to run the dishes through the Pots & Pans cycle!”
I mean think about it. What do manufacturers take middle-age men for– morons?
I sent an email to my friends husband: “Hey, you know not to use the dishwasher until it’s completely installed, right!”
It wasn’t even a nanosecond before our friends wife texted: “It’s a mess! There’s hot water and soap suds spewing from our dishwasher! My husband figured he’d start the unit up before he had it completely installed! For the love of Pete I don’t know why I put up with this!!”
Page 2 of our Dishwasher Care & Use Manual reads…
WARNING: IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR THE END USE CONSUMER TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE PROCEDURE TO SHUT OFF THE INCOMING WATER SUPPLY AND THE PROCEDURE TO SHUT OFF THE INCOMING POWER SUPPLY. SEE THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS OR SPEAK WITH YOUR INSTALLER FOR MORE INFORMATION.
My call went through to his cellphone voicemail. He couldn’t answer because he had his flashlight wedged into his mouth, his legs stretching out from inside the cupboards while his arms reached behind the dishwasher. It was like the party game Twister.
So, what have we learned about do-it-yourself home appliance repair– other than women don’t trust men with tools?
Serve Kraft Dinner on disposable paper plates.
Gary Chalk a retired Canadian baby boomer has written for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and is a member of Humor Writers of America. Each week over 3,000 people across North America read Living Retired. To unsubscribe or to book Gary’s keynote address ‘I Don’t Have Wrinkles, I Have Laugh Lines’ visit https://livingretired.press.