Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Support, by Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter
It happens every couple of years. Like rabbits, our “stuff” goes through a hearty life cycle and dies. For the past year, we’ve experienced a dramatic decline in the population of electronic, mechanical and otherwise indispensable gadgets of humane living.
It started with the coffee pot. The carafe, not wanting to balance politely between the sinks, jumped right off the counter and plunged to a messy demise. That makes four pots in five years.
Of course, I couldn’t replace it without buying a whole new coffee maker, so I dug out the old camping percolator. No moving parts, no glass parts and no filters required. Nothing much short of a Mack truck would ruin it, we reasoned.
As soon as the snow flew our snowmachine decided to stage a dramatic death at the bottom of a large hill. Due to the graphic nature of my husband’s verbal tirade, the dialogue of this gruesome scene cannot be shared in the paper.
The newer old cassette player-era truck and the slightly hipper CD-capable car staged a mutinous coup and became acutely ill, both running up healthy repair bills and causing a major disruption. The older than eight-track cassette-set truck (while being driven when vehicle one and two were in intensive care) suffered a major valve malfunction and tragically died on the spot.
As spring warmed the Earth, our copier/printer/fax was not to be upstaged by the vehicle drama, and right when I needed to print off several crucial documents it decided to spit 18 ½ of each page of the 20 pages needed. After three rounds of this pettiness, it then got severely constipated and no amount of coaxing would get it to get going again.
Trying to prevent a scene with the mower, we took it in before the dandelions made their debut. Long story short, after all but implying that our mower came to this country on the Mayflower, the mower tech broke it to us that it was not worth fixing.
Next was the Maytag dryer. Even though it is way past his adolescence, it followed the crowd and, sensing the mood, became passively aggressive. Although it kept tuning round ’n’ round, it stubbornly refused to dry. Even the guy who came to fix it admitted that Maytag repairmen are lonelier than ever, mostly because things are cheaper to replace than repair.
As I sip my tea (I got tired of dealing with the messy coffee grounds) and read the paper, it makes me think — perhaps our lives are too complicated. As I scan the ads, I consider that we should go back to fixing things instead for throwing them away. Let’s see … parts. Perhaps we could find a new axle for the trailer? Maybe if I look on Craigslist? OK, automotive … will you look at that?!? Whoo-whee b-a-b-y! A brand-new, XLT, chrome-plated, fully loaded sweet ride complete with Apple dock, OnStar navigation … .
Grounds for staying married: Sticking with a budget and making things work.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer, a wife and a mom.