After the Fact: More roadblocks in my highway


The dishwasher in this house has never worked very well so, before Chris and Patience moved in, I’d unplugged it and began using it as a “second” pantry. We still wash dishes “by hand,” and some of the things I put into the former dishwasher are still there. In my defense, when I bought them, they were on sale at a price I couldn’t pass up. And we might be saving energy that’s otherwise used in the shower. My logic may be faulty, but it’s well-intentioned.

My friend Bev commented, off-hand, that I had enough “stuff” in this house for several households. I do. And there are several households living here. Chris and Patience have multiplied by many times the amount of stuff they brought when they arrived.  Which is not offset by my buying items “just in case,” or those things for which “I have a plan.” I’m as often organized by chance as by intention: my Christmas buying begins sometime shortly after January 1st. The good part is that, come the holidays, my bank account isn’t so stressed; the other part is that, by December, I’ve forgotten where I put anything. If it doesn’t turn up, it gets “recycled” into the next year’s Christmas giving.

Come to think of it, Henry Ford would approve my Christmas “plan.” I’m convinced that the engine in my Jeep has a dozen or more spare parts, stuck in from the Jeep that preceded it on the factory line. Otherwise, why would those dashboard lights go on when the message they are flashing is not remotely possible? Why is a seatbelt “not fastened” when there’s nobody in that seat? And the “squiggle” that’s supposed to alert me to a skid comes on when the car is parked in the driveway? Somebody out there is driving a Jeep with missing warning lights: if you have a Jeep, “squiggle” it on a wet road. If the light doesn’t go on, call me: it’s probably an extra, installed in my car. 

I’ve discovered that most things designed to operate with a computer component, don’t.  And it will cost you a whole lot more to get it fixed than the model before that didn’t have a computer drive. I don’t know if it qualifies as computer-driven, but, unless you have a window that’s easily opened from the outside, don’t change your door locks to the “press a button” number pad. First, you have to remember the entry code. Then you have to hope the pad recognizes the numbers you selected. Meantime, here in the Valley, your fingers have frozen and the door won’t open. If you’re lucky, your neighbor is home and he’ll share his expertise: a hammer, a screwdriver and the crowbar from his car. Sometimes, the old ways are best. 

Speaking of codes: I finally resorted to buying a notebook specifically for writing down all the passwords I need to get into anything on my computer. I’d do that (the list of codes) on the computer, but then I’d have yet another password to remember. There was a time when I could call my bank directly, give them my name and they’d give me any information about my account. Now, I have to give them the account number, the password, the back-up password, my mother’s maiden name and send a quart of blood.

For some reason I have yet to determine (and my mechanic isn’t any help with this either), my car will refuse to start. It’s like having a dead battery, but the battery is just fine, thank you. However, releasing the negative pole, waiting several minutes, then reconnecting and the car is happily purring along once more. And you just know the computer is laughing at the joke. In fact, I think even my old dishwasher/new pantry is laughing: it no longer has to work while I stand at the kitchen sink, doing the job it was supposed to do when I bought it.

More In Opinion