Friday, September 23, 2011

Ms. Fix-it?

ROSEMARY HARRIS: I think there's a line in a Woody Allen movie about one's appliances acting in concert and deciding to fail three or four at a time. Mine must have had a powwow last week because this week I've had a steady stream of - things that didn't work whihc in turn caused another thing that didn't work - me.

Computer died. the one that 3 experts and PC Warehouse said there was nothing wrong with. I resurrected an old one - just for the time being and spent a full day downloading drivers for it. I had a lot of shipping to do this week and wanted to have a movie on in the background - DVD player didn't work. Wanted to make sure I got to the post office on time so I checked my - kind of expensive - watch which I had serviced 9 months ago. You got it. Didn't work.

In addition, all the rain we've had has wreaked havoc on every door and window in my house so simply getting some air has been torture.

Why are these relatively small problems so exasperating? A tree didn't fall on our house during Hurricane Irene. My husband, my dog and I are all healthy. Is it that when machines or appliances stop working I'm completely baffled as to why something that was fine 24 hours earlier is now dead as a doornail? I'm fine with natural disasters but let the Ipod or the toilet stop working and I start snarling.

Can/do you fix things..or do you just pitch them? (not that one can pitch a toilet...)


  1. I think that the most irritating part is that most electronics cannot be fixed or it would cost more to have them fixed than it would to buy a new one.. Printer ran out of ink -- went to the store & the price of ink was the same as a new printer!! What the heck is that all about!????

  2. So funny - I saw your link to this post on facebook: "Fix it or pitch it?" I thought you were talking about a manuscript, of course, this being a writers' site. I thought, "Well, fix it and THEN pitch it!"


  3. We live in a throwaway society now. Things aren't made to be fixed, and you can't find anyone who knows how.

    Sounds like my last computer: one day the screen just went dark, puzzling the experts at Best Buy. They suggested sending it back to the maker, which would cost me postage, an unknown fee just to look at it, and the price of the repair, not to mention an unspecified amount of time. I bit the bullet and bought a new one, as the marginally lesser of two evils.

  4. I'm one of those people who hates to throw anything away. Our dryer has been brought back from the dead numerous times by a wonderful local repairman. Ditto the dishwasher which is going on 35 years old.

    My rule of thumb with major appliances: fix it if it costs no more to fix it than it does to replace it. Because a good repair person really can make an old appliance work just fine. THey weren't that complicated! (They had no electronics.)

    But anything electronic? It's never ever ever going to be 'good as new' so move on.

    Which brings me to my major pet peeve: if companies MAKE products that can't be fixed, then they should required to make it real easy (and free) for you to recycle their dead.

  5. I feel you your pain. In late August, my iPhone, external hard drive, printer/fax, and laptop went beserk. I'm still working on getting everything copacetic. the printer dies every three years. Ridiculous, but I've come to accept it.

  6. Fix some, pitch some. I go by more of a time guideline than a money one. If it's going to take days of effort on my part, packing something up, hauling it to the post office, filling out paperwork--then I'm unlikely to fix it (unless replacing it would be muy expensive). If I can do it myself in under an hour (replace toilet tank innards, buy and connect a new cable--then I'll probably fix it. You're right about the frustration factor, though!

  7. I try to fix what I can before I call in the professionals. If they can't fix it, then I trash it.

  8. Oh, Rosemary! I feel your pain. My desktop went on the blink. The local guys took one look and handed it back (after keeping it for three days!) I then shipped it to the tech guru who built it for me. There was a cable loose. He fixed it, shipped it back. But the mouse and keyboard continued to cause problems and my monitor was flickering. Then the mouse died. Got a new mouse. Keyboard and monitor work fine now. Then the hot water tank started leaking. And my old van, which we gave to the kids for a second car when the SiL's old car died, fritzed. Three weeks, part by part, the mechanic thinks it's fixed. Finally. Expensive but cheaper than a new car because neither of them are working at the moment. He was downsized and she's writing her master's thesis. Last night, the "lamp" on the big-screen TV burned out. The BIG big-screen in the family room. *sigh* I'd wait for the other shoe to drop but I'm out of shoes!

    If I had a deep bank account, I'd simply pitch them all. But I don't, so it's definitely a fix-it situation. I can fix a lot of things, but not the hot water, van, or TV. Luckily, there are those life-savers who do.

    It is Friday, right? I can go hide for the weekend?

  9. They ALL ALL ALL die at the same time. It's like when ALL the light blubs go at the same time. Why???

    My theory is if you ignore them, they will fix themselves. My broiler hasn't worked properly for years--well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

    And we don't realize there ARE lifespans if things, and it's okay to part with them.I getting a new couch for my study. YAY! Jonathan said--the old one is perfectly good. And yes, kind of , it is. But it's TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD!!!

  10. What happens to all our electronica when we move on to the latest iPod, laptop, iPad, digital camera, etcetera? I hold on to my gadgets until the technology is beyond decrepit...Just bought a new camera, for example. My old digital camera is still sitting around: donate it? sell on ebay? What? What kills me is that my ancient Canon film camera is fully functional -- has been for decades. This fancy DSLR I just bought? I'll probably have to replace it in five years...sigh...

  11. A couple of weeks ago, my hairdryer AND the two spare hairdryers in the house all went kaput at the same time. What's with that? A global conspiracy to make me have frizzy hair??

    My DH never throws anything away if he can fix it. Fortunately, he IS the computer tech, so if it's electronic he usually can. Except for the time the kitchen sprayer stuck on open and doused my laptop, which was sitting open on the island . . . snap, crackle, pop, and then it really was the black screen of death.

  12. My husband is Mr. Fix-It. He has brought computers and appliances back from the dead more times than I can count.

  13. The joke of the neighborhood when my kids were litte was that 'my Mom had a tool box.' No other Mom did.
    We fix what we can but electronics. No way.

    motor, appliance and electronic illness or death is contagious.

  14. Hank, that's why I love to give a bag of lightbulbs as a housewarming gift. I swear, buy or sell a house, and the light fixtures rebel.

    But boy, did I feel stupid when I called the plumber this morning to fix the leaky ktichen faucet. All he did was pull the sprayer out of the handle, show me where a silver clampy thing had come loose, and screw it back on. And yes, I had looked at the manual, and well, you know ... .

  15. I am not handy at all around the house; however, I can fix computers and sewing machines. My best girlfriend loves tinkering around the house or car...she has fixed my dishwasher, toilets, put a new battery in my car, put together anything that said 'some assembly required' (I hate those words), and hung things on the walls for me. I would her dinner. I usually called and asked her to come for dinner, then I would say could you bring your pink tool kit and drill with you?

    The only problem now? She retired and moved out West! I really miss her.

  16. I've gotten less good at this stuff as the years have gone by. I actually used to know how to tune up by old VW. Boy those were the days. The word on my computer is needs new hard drive and new oprating system. And add another $70 to transfer my data. Right..I'll do that. I can hear myself three years ago saying "oh, no, I don't need the extended warranty!" Grrr.